This page contains some of the latest updates from UK Goverment, central Parliament and the devolved nations, on issues which may affect the hire industry, or be of interest to business in general.
If you have any questions and wish to speak to us about matters of government policy please contact our Public Affairs Manager Mark Bradshaw on 0121 380 4621.
Mr Hunt has set out the Government's response that aims to mitigate the impact of the short lived Truss Administration's Budget in September, and the continued pressures caused by high energy and food prices.
The key measures in the Autumn Statement are:
With thanks to Randall's Monitoring for their report on the Autumn Statement. HAE EHA will share further information when the details of the Budget bundle has been reviewed.
Rishi Sunak Becomes the New UK Prime Minister and Appoints his Cabinet
Rishi Sunak MP formally took on the role of UK Prime Minister after being appointed by King Charles III on Tuesday 25th October, replacing Liz Truss who who resigned after only 49 days in office. The other MPs in the running, Boris Johnson and Penny Mordaunt, were unable to acquire sufficient public nominations.
Mr Sunak has appointed a new Cabinet and team of departmental ministers, with some experienced ministers returning to previous roles and others in new coordinating roles. A full Government list can be found here, which is being updated as appointments are being made.
The Full Autumn Statement and Medium-Term Fiscal Plan and publication of the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) analysis, originally scheduled for 31st October, have been moved to 17th November. This will allow time for the new Prime Minister, a former Chancellor of the Exchequer, to have some input into the financial measures under consideration.
Liz Truss Steps Down as Prime Minister
Following building pressure from Tory MPs, Liz Truss has stepped down as Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative party. The resignation means she becomes the shortest serving Prime Minister in UK history.
Liz Truss will remain PM until a successor has been chosen, with a leadership election taking place in the coming week. Further announcements will be made over the next few days.
The full resignation speech can be found here.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer Outlines Growth Plan for the UK
On Friday 23rd September Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng, announced a 'Growth Plan', which aims to tackle high energy costs and inflation, and increase productivity and wages. The full speech can be read here.
The proposals are extensive, covering improvements to living standards, public services, energy savings for homeowners, and new Stamp Duty exemptions. There are also measures to help businesses and boost construction that will, directly and indirectly, benefit equipment hire companies.
In addition to these UK-wide announcements, the change to Income Tax and Stamp duty will mean over £600 million in funding for the Scottish Government and approximately £70 million received by the government of Wales.
Click here for the full article and to read the UK Growth Plan Measures for Homeowners and Individuals.
On Wednesday 23rd November the Chancellor will make a follow-up statement about the Medium Term Fiscal Plan and outline a forecast from the Office of Budget Responsibility. A HAE EHA news report will cover this, disseminating the relevant points.
If you have questions or concerns about the Chancellor's Growth Plan you can contact HAE EHA Public Affairs Manager Mark Bradshaw on 0121 380 4621.
Support Package Announced to Help Businesses with Rising Energy Costs
On the 8th September Prime Minister Liz Truss announced that businesses would receive the same levels of support with energy costs as that offered to households. The new Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS) ensures discounted rates on wholesale electricity and gas prices for businesses in the UK; similar to the Energy Price Guarantee covering domestic households.
Relief packages will apply from 1st October 2022 with savings shown in energy bills for that month, which are usually issued from November onwards.
For businesses across the UK, including Northern Ireland, this means:
The EBRS applies to energy contracts agreed on or after 1st April 2022 and will end on 31st March 2023. The support is automatically applied to energy bills, no application process is required.
Savings are also available for businesses that use alternatives to gas, such as diesel or heating oils, important for the hire sector as many depots and other premises are powered by non-grid fuels. There is some information here, more on this will be provided soon. Hire businesses in Northern Ireland may reach out to Invest NI for specialist advice on becoming more energy efficient.
If you have questions about the proposed support scheme contact HAE EHA Public Affairs Manager Mark Bradshaw on 0121 380 4621.
Government Announces Energy Help for Businesses
The new UK Prime Minister Liz Truss has announced that businesses will see their energy costs capped at the same price per unit, or kilowatt hour (kWh), that households will pay under the government's new plans.
The scheme will run for six months (in contrast to two years for domestic customers) although this will be reviewed in three months' time to see if the help should be more targeted towards certain industries, giving businesses certainty. It could then be extended for vulnerable businesses.
The PM said: "We will provide support to vulnerable sectors", adding that the Business Secretary will work with businesses to review where this should be targeted, to make sure support goes to those most in need.
The ban on fracking (shale gas extraction) in England will be lifted, and there is a new joint Treasury/Bank of England funding support package for the energy sector.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer will make a Fiscal Statement later in September.
Details of the support for businesses can be found here.
Prime Minister Liz Truss Shapes New Cabinet
Following her victory in the Conservative Party leadership election, Liz Truss MP was confirmed as UK Prime Minister. Ms Truss has carried out a major reshuffle, removing many of the cabinet-rank ministers serving under the previous PM. There is now an ongoing process to appoint middle rank and junior ministers across the government departments.
A couple of observations. There are at least six senior ministers of state who will attend cabinet meetings - adding senior capacity to several departments. The new PM has appointed ministers to a single department and not to two or more departments, as many roles were previously cross-cutting. This should simplify back office administration and accountability, but may also impact on cooperation between departments, for example home affairs and justice or business and education.
As the appointment of new ministers is ongoing, the most up-to-date Ministerial Appointments List is available on gov.uk. Randall’s, HAE EHA’s parliamentary monitoring partner, will prepare a more in-depth analysis which we will share when available.