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General Election Hub

Election Hub

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A general election will be held on 4 July: the countdown is on

Welcome to the Mishcon de Reya General Election Hub.  

On 22 May 2024, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that a general election will be held on 4 July 2024. During the short pre-election period, candidates, political parties and activist groups will be fervently outlining their manifesto pledges, key policies and visions for the future.  

Our hub will provide individuals and businesses with legal content, news and updates relating to the election from our team of informed lawyers across the firm. We like to say that advising on the relationship between the law and politics is in the firm's DNA – so please join us as we embark on an intense period of announcements that have the potential to touch on all aspects of our future, be it regulation, tax, the innovation economy,  justice, employment, immigration, technology, education, the environment and more. 

If you have any questions about how the election may affect you or your business, please contact a member of the team. If you have questions specifically about electoral law and campaign financing, please contact a member of the Politics and Law team.

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12 June 2024

Green Party manifesto launched

Green
Business, Personal 

The Green Party has proposed tax reforms in its manifesto, targeting increased funding for the NHS, housing and climate crisis initiatives. Plans include a new wealth tax of 1% on assets over £10 million and 2% on assets over £1 billion, expected to raise £15 billion annually.

Additionally, the Greens aim to raise National Insurance contributions for annual earnings above £50,270. Key policies also feature rent controls, building 150,000 new social homes annually, phasing out nuclear energy, ending sewage dumping and halting new fossil fuel projects.

12 June 2024

Conservatives pledge to bolster UK's life sciences with R&D investment and regulatory reform

Conservative
Business

The Conservatives made a manifesto commitment to support the UK's world-leading life sciences sector. Some of their key promises were:

  1. R&D and clinical trials: Focus on developing new treatments for diseases such as Parkinson’s and motor neurone disease, and increasing the number of commercial clinical trials. This is likely to be supported by their pledges to: (1) increase public spending on R&D to £22 billion per year (up from £20 billion this year); and (2) maintain the current R&D tax relief scheme.
  2. Regulatory reforms: Streamline regulations through the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), including the removal of the NHS Budget Impact Test. The 'budget impact test' meant that NICE-recommended technologies costing the NHS more than an additional £20 million a year would be ‘slow-tracked’. This test had previously attracted criticism as it did not account for general cost-effectiveness or other social or ethical value to patients.
  3. Adoption of medical technology: Invest £3.4 billion in new technology for NHS staff and for patients (with the hope of increasing productivity in the NHS by 1.9%). This includes replacing old computers, funding technology to help read MRI and CT scans more quickly and use AI to free up clinicians' time for frontline patient care.

Anna Sloan, Managing Associate in the Life Sciences Group, commented: "Last year, the Conservative-led Government had published an AI Regulation White Paper outlining its framework for governing AI in order to drive safe and responsible innovation. It is therefore not surprising that the parties are campaigning on the introduction of AI and better technology (particularly into the NHS) and to double its digital and AI expertise in the civil service."

11 June 2024

Conservative manifesto hints at return of key legal services bills

Conservative
Business

Today's publication of the Conservative manifesto suggests that two bills which failed to make it through the 'wash up', the Arbitration Bill and the Litigation Funding Agreements (Enforcement) Bill, may return to the legislative agenda. The manifesto stated "we will support our world class legal services sector, including through an Arbitration Bill.  We will help individuals and small business bring cases against wealthier opponents with legislation to support third party funding of litigation". 

Of Counsel and Knowledge Lawyer at Mishcon de Reya, Leah Alpren-Waterman, commented: "Both Bills had an important part to play in maintaining the UK's position as a leading disputes centre: the Arbitration Bill provided welcome clarity on the practice of commercial arbitration, while the Litigation Funding Agreements (Enforcement) Bill, sought to reverse the problematic PACCAR decision. The Bills had broad cross-party support and so, while it was disappointing that they didn't quite make it onto the statute book before Parliament was dissolved, this hopefully won't be the last we see of them."

11 June 2024

Conservative manifesto immigration policy takeaways

Conservative
Business, Personal

The Conservative manifesto pledges to curb migration by introducing a cap on work and family visas, raising the income threshold for Skilled Worker and family visas with inflation, and increasing visa fees. It also proposes health checks for migrants and higher Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fees or mandatory health insurance.

To combat illegal migration, the manifesto reaffirms the Rwanda removal policy and aims to clear the asylum backlog within six months. Additionally, it suggests reforming asylum rules and giving Parliament control over the number of refugees the UK accepts, based on local capacity.

Read more

11 June 2024

Conservatives signal commitment to leasehold and rental reform

Conservative, Liberal Democrats
Business, Personal

As expected, the Conservatives state that they will continue with the programme of leasehold reform, including capping ground rents to £250 initially with a view to removing them altogether and abolishing "no-fault evictions". The Liberal Democrats are somewhat aligned although, despite confirming that they will ban no-fault evictions, they have proposed that tenancies be granted with a 3-year term by default. 

It will be no surprise if the Labour manifesto expected later this week also contains variations on the theme. One key question will be how quickly the relevant party will be able to implement the changes in the legislation that they propose and what kind of challenges they will face along the way.

11 June 2024

Key points from the Conservative manifesto on personal taxation

Conservative
Personal

The Conservative manifesto refrains from discussing the proposed abolition of the non-dom regime, leaving the policy's future open. It commits to retaining Business Property Relief and Agricultural Property Relief, which support small business growth and prevent forced sales upon death. The manifesto also pledges to keep Business Assets Disposal Relief, offering a reduced 10% rate on Capital Gains Tax for business sales, without increasing CGT rates.

For first-time homebuyers, the Stamp Duty threshold will increase to £425,000, coupled with an improved Help to Buy scheme to assist with home purchases. National Insurance Contributions for employees are set to decrease by 2p, with a plan to eliminate NICs for the self-employed by the end of the next Parliament, a policy not shared by the Labour Party.

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11 June 2024

Liberal Democrats commit to legislating for 'good' business

Liberal Democrats
Business

Yesterday, the Liberal Democrats made a manifesto commitment to support change to make large companies and their directors responsible for better business practices. The party stated it would "reform fiduciary duty and company purpose rules to ensure that all large companies have a formal statement of corporate purpose, including considerations such as employee welfare, environmental standards, community benefit and ethical practice, alongside benefit to shareholders". This is to be coupled with an impact reporting obligation.   

Corporate Partner, Kate Higgins, commented: "This statement supports the principal concept behind the idea that the role in society of companies has changed - that they have a purpose beyond returns to shareholders. If enacted, it would make mandatory for large companies a corporate purpose which some companies, such as B Corps already adopt in their constitutions voluntarily. It’s an interesting development alongside the Better Business Act campaign. That campaign has been in existence for a while, but not gained Government support in recent Parliaments.”

See our 2021 article here.  

11 June 2024

Employee share plans and employee ownership

Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrats
Business

There is generally cross-party support in the UK for encouraging employers to offer shares to employees and there are a number of statutory tax-advantaged and non-statutory arrangements for achieving this.

We expect the post-election regime to remain favourable in this regard to support the productivity agenda and attract and retain skills talent.  We would anticipate, however, that there will be some tinkering and some further changes made, there are, after all, a number of pending consultations that still require a Government response.

The Lib Dems are first out of the blocks in terms of their proposals in this area and we will be monitoring for further developments from the other parties.

Read more

10 June 2024

Liberal Democrats manifesto pledges reforms to legal migration laws

Liberal Democrats
Business, Personal

The Liberal Democrats have published their manifesto today.  In the first of our posts, our Immigration team look at the LibDem commitments in terms of legal migration, which represent a significant and, as expected, more generous shift from the current system including proposals to:

  • Replace the current work-based visa system with a more flexible merit-based model
  • Expand the Youth Mobility Scheme
  • Reverse the increase to the minimum income requirement for family visas
  • Grant Settled Status (also known as permanent residence) to all EU citizens and their family members who currently have Pre-Settled Status in the UK.
  • Simplify the immigration rules.

Read more

7 June 2024

Party manifestos expected

Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Green
Business, Personal

In this first blog post we anticipate the launch of Party Manifestos in the coming days. 

The election announcement and rush to finalise outstanding legislation in the 'wash up' have left uncertainty as to the fate of a number of draft bills. These include the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill, the Arbitration Bill (which was designed to implement reform recommended by the Law Commission, the Litigation Funding Agreements (Enforceability) Bill and the Renters (Reform) Bill, amongst others.  The announcement has also impacted the Government's plans for legislation on the tax treatment of non-domiciled individuals

Our legal experts will be posting more here as events unfold.

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