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Here we go again!

By Ian Holloway, head of legislation and compliance at Cintra HR & Payroll Services

I can’t think of a year recently in which we have not had some sort of election. Then, on 18 April 2017, to everyone’s surprise, prime minister Theresa May announced a ‘snap’ election on 8 June 2017, ratified by the majority of members of parliament the following day.

Yet, we were only two years into what was supposed to be a fixed parliamentary term brought to us courtesy of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011. This act was introduced in the early days of the Conservative-led coalition government from 2010 to 2015 and was seen as the Liberal Democrats’ way of securing that they would remain in the power-sharing arrangement for a fixed length of time. The act seemed to spell the end of the uncertainly of a general election every four or, maybe, five years (or any time in between). Fixed-term parliaments did bring stability for civil servants but also long and drawn out campaigns.

Forget the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, however, and look to the two situations where it does not apply:

1. Where a ‘no confidence in HM Government’ motion is passed, or
2. Where a motion is passed saying “there shall be an early parliamentary election” supported by two-thirds of MPs

Perhaps we should be referring to the above act as the (Not necessarily so) Fixed Term Parliaments Act!

Joking aside, there are serious implications about Mrs May’s snap decision. There are, currently, ten parliamentary bills in ‘ping-pong’ between the two houses in Westminster:

1. The Bus Services Bill
2. The Children and Social Work Bill
3. The Digital Economy Bill
4. The Health Services Supplies Bill
5. The Higher Education and Research Bill
6. The Intellectual Property (unjustified threats) Bill
7. The National Citizen Service Bill
8. The Neighbourhood Planning Bill
9. The Pension Schemes Bill and
10. The Technical and Further Education Bill

Possibly, what will happen is that any parts of the bill that are preventing agreement in the houses will be dropped to allow swift passage before the houses rise upon the dissolution of parliament on 3 May.

The same could be said about the Finance Bill 2017 that will bring us things like Optional Remuneration Arrangement and off-payroll working, both retrospectively effective 6 April 2017. Also, the first Making Tax Digital proposals are contained for action at a later date. Possibly, a hasty Westminster ‘wash-up’ will see the watering down of some of these proposals in order to get this important legislation through. That is absolutely the last thing that the payroll profession needs at a time when guidance is at its barest minimum anyway.

And the reason for the snap election at the end of the day is Brexit!

Posted on 23rd April 2017 by Jerome Smail



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