After such an unexpected (for most) Election result, it’s no surprise that Theresa May followed up with a scaled-down Queen’s Speech. Eight out of the 27 Bills announced related to delivering Britain’s exit from the European Union, which will take up a significant amount of parliamentary time leaving little room for changes to domestic policy. However, there were two things mentioned that will be important for our sector.
First, the speech included a commitment to look again at the fairness of the energy market. This is welcome news. Retailers should not be tied into unfair contracts and hit with excessive backbills.
Second, there was mention of raising the National Living Wage (NLW). We don’t yet know whether this is a new commitment or a reiteration of the manifesto pledge for the NLW to reach 60% of median earnings by 2020. Either way, continued increases will mean tough decisions for many retailers.
If anything, this Queen’s Speech was marked by what wasn’t in it, rather than what was. There was no commitment on Making Tax Digital proposals, and no sign of the Local Government Finance Bill plans that would have made significant changes to the way local authorities distribute rate relief.
While the coming months will likely be dominated by Brexit discussions, our primary goal is to make sure that key domestic issues such as employment, rates, energy and crime remain front of mind for government officials.
You can keep up to date with our lobbying activity on our website at ACS.org.uk/lobbying or follow us on Twitter at @ACS_localshops.