The Government announced its annual budget on 21st March and restated many of its proposals for an overhaul of employment law.
In addition, the Chancellor outlined a number of fiscal changes that will be of interest to employers.
Chief amongst these was the declaration that the income tax personal allowance for under 65s will rise to £9,205 from April 2013. In addition, the highest band of income tax will be slashed from 50% to 45%.
A number of measures were announced to help businesses, including the announcement that Sunday trading laws, which prevent retailers in England and Wales trading for more than six hours on a Sunday, will be relaxed between 22nd July and 9th September 2012 in order to promote spending during the Olympic Games. Although no specific guidance has been released on how this will be effected, emergency legislation is expected before April which will give further detail.
North of the border, enhanced capital allowances will be made available to businesses setting up in certain areas of Scotland. These “enterprise zones” will be set up in Dundee, Irvine and Nigg.
Headline news for public sector employers was the announcement that the Government will publish evidence on regional public sector pay, in particular on the issue of reforming pay to reflect local labour markets.
Another key proposal of the budget (although one that remains nebulous at this stage) was that the Government intends to overhaul health and safety legislation. It was announced that around 84% of health and safety laws will be scrapped or improved.