The Queen’s Speech

The Queen’s Speech

This year the Queen’s Speech follows a year of political turmoil, with the UK’s Brexit vote, Theresa May’s ill-judged snap election (resulting in the government’s reduced majority in the house of Commons), terrorist attacks in Manchester and London, and the dreadful fire at Grenfell Tower, North London that claimed 79 lives. The result it was a rather slimmed down speech with few purely domestic policies.

For the world of employee benefits there were no significant changes announced and the 2018 Queen’s Speech has been cancelled to allow more time for the government to manage the UK’s exit from the European Union following the Brexit process. This means the current situation for Employee Benefits is unlikely to change until 2019 – thank goodness, I hear you sigh!

However, it would be a mistake to think that there will be no changes during this period. For example, changes to National Insurance contributions and taxation, plus possible tweaks to the system of tax-reliefs for pension savings could happen with a resultant impact on employee benefits. Sadly these sorts of changes are driven by the short-term need for government to raise income and cut expenditure rather than political manifesto commitments, and quite often get their first public airing in the Chancellor’s budget statements rather than the Queen’s Speech.

Finally, it is also worth highlighting that there remains a number of change already in train for employers to manage in the interim period. The introduction of tax-free childcare, the advent of Workplace ISA’s (and the launch of the Lifetime ISA), proposed changes to the ‘advice allowance’, the recent increase in insurance premium tax, contribution increases for workplace pensions, and the reduction in the number of salary sacrifice benefits are all live issues for employers to be aware of and to consider at or before their annual benefits review.

For more information about any of the above please contact us to arrange an employee benfits review.

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