Before her recent birthday extravaganza kicked off, the Queen took to the House of Lords to deliver her 2016 speech and give the headlines of upcoming government plans. The upcoming bills were across a wide number of issues and varied in controversy although some will be of particular interest to businesses in terms of how they operate and interact with their employees.
Usain Bolt Broadband
The UK Digital Economy Bill is definitely one to watch as it included proposals for a minimum broadband speed, providing faster services to houses and businesses. With the new minimum speed of 10 Mbps to be guaranteed and the potential right to automatic compensation when broadband service is down, more doors are open to businesses to reduce operational costs.
Whilst the baseline speed may not be the Usain Bolt of internet connections, gradually improving connectivity across the country could lead to more companies introducing alternative working arrangements. The push towards being better connected than ever might provide your business with the opportunity to evaluate the use of your office. Using alternative office desks in shared
spaces does not only have great potential to provide a better work-life balance for employees but also offers the chance to network and generate new relationships with different businesses.
On a larger scale, continuously improving broadband could mean that a move away from the sky high office rents of London to a well-connected countryside venue is on the cards. Whilst contacting clients or doing business over Skype or the phone is not for everyone, a relocation and change in communication could be an attractive way of reducing operational costs.
Policing the Panama Papers Fallout
Following lots of scandals relating to the use of evasive tax measures and offshore accounts, measures are coming in to deal with tax dodgers. The Criminal Finance Bill will aim to introduce a new criminal offence by making companies liable for stopping their staff facilitating tax evasion. With police and courts being given more powers to recover criminal assets, all businesses should ensure they are complying with relevant tax law and keeping an eye over suspicious employee activity.
Whilst not the most alluring of issues, with the pensions deficit left by the collapse of retailer BHS, we all should take note of the Pensions Bill. With more and more auto-enrolment schemes appearing, having been pushed by the government, increased number of savers are having money put into schemes they have little or no choice over and which are sometimes poorly regulated. The bill aims to bring together several pensions advisory body to form a cohesive unit, making it easier to regulate and understand pensions. The Pensions Regulator will also be given more powers to regulate Master Trusts, thereby providing greater protection for employees on auto-enrolment schemes which have been pushed by the government. Whilst pensions might be a long way off for you, it’s never too soon to start planning ahead!
Adapting to changes in legislation and growing your business can seem like a never ending to-do-list but Hybrid can be there to guide you every step of the way. Unlike a traditional law firm, we don't charge by the hour and we won't charge for each phone call or email. Instead, all of our fees are fixed and agreed with you upfront. Why not contact us today to book your free consultation to discuss your legal requirements in further detail, we’ll be delighted to talk to you!
By Louis Muncey
The contents of this article are intended solely for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or financial advice or opinion in any specific facts or circumstances.
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