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17 Aug 2022

According to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, retail sales rose in July though the news came with a warning that this could be the “lull before the storm”.

11 Aug 2022

A viable option for today’s cash-strapped consumers looking to spread the cost of their new method of transportation is retail finance. Retail finance can take the cost of their new...

11 Aug 2022

Cycling UK has opened nominations for its annual list celebrating inspirational women who empower others to get cycling

11 Aug 2022

It has been reported that the Government is likely to introduce a causing death by dangerous cycling law as part of new legislation to be included in a Transport Bill which will begin its...

11 Aug 2022

With climate change and fuel prices on the rise, many people are turning to alternative methods of transportation in order to cut their carbon footprint and save money. The government is slowly...

10 Aug 2022

The Family Bike Club, a non-profit family cycling social enterprise project, is seeking to collaborate with a proficient cycle mechanic to offer repair services to the passing public from their...

20 Jul 2022

Are you an ACT member? You can get free access to the full range of ACT job boards! Alternatively, an ACT silver membership is the same price - just £60 per year - for...

20 Jul 2022

Mark Brown, guest writer for the ACT, has created a graph using DfT data that compares the use of different vehicles...

20 Jul 2022

Each week Maybe* round up the best social media posts from across the UK. See who's coming...

14 Jul 2022

It's been a busy first half of the year at Maybe* HQ and they've kicked off the second half with one of their favourite celebrations, Independents' Day. Maybe*'s support of the campaign made 21...

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How the Queen’s Speech affects independent shops

Posted on in Business News , Cycles News , Political News

The Prince of Wales delivered the Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament today. The speech sets out the government’s agenda for the upcoming Parliament, outlining proposed policies and legislation. An overview of the main announcements relevant to independent shops is below. Please find a breakdown of all the policy announcements with context and explanatory notes from the Government's website here.

The Levelling Up Bill

The Government will bring forward the Levelling Up Bill which aims to grow the economy in towns and cities that need it the most while improving the planning system to empower local high streets. The Bill will reform the planning system by giving councils greater powers to bring empty premises back into use by enabling forced rental auctions of vacant shops in town centres and on high streets. The Bill will also require the Government to produce an annual report that monitors and updates its progress to deliver its missions for levelling up. Further details on the reforms are expected in the coming weeks.  

Non-Domestic Rates Bill

The Government will bring forward a Non-Domestic Rates Bill to deliver reforms to the business rates system. The reforms will include more frequent revaluations, incentivising investment through the introduction of a 12-month relief for improvements made to a property and improving the accuracy of valuations.

Whilst initiatives such as the Levelling Up Bill hold potential in the growth of local economies, there is still much to be resolved in terms of the unrealistic business rates, which remains to be one of the biggest causes of empty shops on our high streets.

Transport Bill

The Government will introduce a Transport Bill that will include proposals to support the roll out of electric vehicle (EV) charge points. The bill aims to keep the UK at the forefront of transport innovation by helping deliver the reforms the Government have promised to decarbonise transport, transform the way UK people travel, and better connect communities. The bill will deliver on the Government Electric Vehicle Strategy to enable the installation of more EV charge points throughout the UK, as part of the transition away from new petrol and diesel car and van sales by 2030.

Following the indication from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps that the Queen’s Speech would hold information on the first legislative moves of e-scooters, the apparent omission on this subject was disappointing.

The legalisation of e-scooters on public roads would certainly provide an obvious opportunity for cycle retailers. Any changes in legislation are unlikely to come into effect quickly and therefore the ACT recommends that dealers should continue advise any potential customers looking to buy e-scooters about current government legislation. It is important the industry provides, and is seen to provide, clear advice to consumers at the point of sale about where e-scooters may be legally used.

Financial Services and Markets Bill

The Government will deliver a Financial Services and Markets Bill that will bring forward new laws to protect access to cash by revoking retained EU law on financial services and updating financial regulators’ objectives to bring about a greater focus on local economic growth. The Bill will support consumers by protecting access to cash by ensuring the continued availability of withdrawal and deposit facilities across the UK, and that the country’s cash infrastructure has a long-term sustainable system.

Public Order Bill

The Government will instate a Public Order Bill that will generate harsher sentences as well as establish new criminal offences for protest groups that lock themselves on, or attach themselves to, premises that are not their own. The bill will also give the police greater powers to conduct stop and search in a bid to prevent disruptive processes and impose Serious Disruption Prevention Orders on offenders that repeatedly endanger the public. In addition, groups that block highways and roads will receive stronger penalties for their actions, including substantial increases in fines.    

Brexit Freedoms Bill 

The Government has announced a Brexit Freedoms Bill. The bill seeks to make repealing laws inherited from the UK’s membership of the EU easier to repeal and reform. EU laws written into the British statute book will not be required to have a specific Commons vote on them. This may mean that these laws will be repealed or amended faster. It is unclear which laws the Government will target. However, the Government’s Benefits of Brexit policy paper, published earlier this year, outlined the plan to cut £1bn of red tape for businesses and improve regulation.

Energy Security Bill

The Government has announced an Energy Bill. The bill seeks to aid the Government’s plans to transition to net zero and build on the COP26 summit. The bill also aims to improve Britain’s energy security, which follows the Government’s energy security strategy policy paper published last month. The Bill also look at reducing the risk of fuel supply disruption by giving Government the power to give directions to, require information from, and provide financial assistance to core fuel sector businesses to ensure resilience and continuity of fuel supply. The measures impacting the fuel sector have been set out in the Draft Downstream Oil Bill.

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