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Expert opinion: General election 2017 – what does it mean for UK businesses?

Written by Peter Jones on .

Peter Jones of The HR DeptPeter Jones of The HR DeptThe post-Brexit political storm continues, with Theresa May looking to secure her position before she enters the complex negotiations that will precede our withdrawal from the European Union.

The polls are well in favour of the blue corner, but announcements being made by opposing parties could chip away at their lead.

As the debate heats up, what will be promised for small businesses? What changes will be proposed for the British workforce? We are only a couple of weeks in and are already witnessing big claims from the major parties.

Proposed employment policies

First things first. What do all the major parties have in common? They all know that Brexit is inevitable.

Talks are less about the possibility of another referendum and more about the type of Brexit we are heading towards – soft or hard.

Labour has recently been very vocal about several key issues, already making a number of key announcements.

They want to guarantee the rights of three million EU nationals currently living in the UK, alongside pressing for a reciprocal guarantee for UK citizens living in the EU.

Under Labour The National Living Wage would also rise to £10 per hour. It is welcome news for employees on lower incomes – but can many businesses afford to pay it? Some argue that the cost of employing people is already too high.

On top of this, Labour is proposing an extra four bank holidays for the British workforce. That’s four more days of greater spending, but it’s also four more out of work.

Brexit and employment law

Most parties are reluctant to change the working rights we have adopted from the EU – the government confirmed this last month when announcing the Great Repeal Bill.

Labour will make movements though to replace the government’s Great Repeal Bill, guaranteeing the continuation of workplace protections enjoyed by UK workforces and set by the EU.

Other parties are just starting to forward their key campaign messages. The SNP are pushing against a hard Brexit and government cuts in Scotland.

Their goal is the realisation of an independent, pro-European Scotland. UKIP are focusing their campaign on socio-cultural issues as their fight for British independence from the EU comes to an end.

To capture voters’ imaginations, last week their leader proposed to ban the headscarf that most users wear for religious and spiritual reasons.

Small businesses will always be a hot topic

This general election has come at very short notice, though most parties are now finding their voice and formulating their key campaign messages.

We are yet to see a manifesto, but we’re certain that small businesses and employment will remain key battlegrounds of the campaign.

Peter Jones runs the HR Dept in Swindon and Wiltshire, and offers cost-effective, hassle-free, expert advice on auto enrolment. www.hrdept.co.uk/offices/south-west/swindon