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Consumer rights and NIC changes announced in Queen’s Speech

The publication of draft Consumer Rights Bill, bringing together a range of consumer protection proposals, was amongst several business-related measures announced in yesterday’s Queen’s Speech.

The bill will be published by the Government in the summer and will include more protection for consumers who buy digital content, such as e-books, digital music, games and software. The draft bill has been welcomed by consumer groups and will also outline details such as the amount of time consumers have in which to return faulty goods for repair, replacement or refund.

Other measures affecting businesses included a National Insurance Contributions Bill designed to reduce business employment costs with the introduction of a £2,000 Employment Allowance.

A new Intellectual Property Bill aims to make it easier for businesses to protect their IP, particularly designs, with the introduction of a Unified Patent Court.

There will also be legislation designed to incentivise businesses to invest in new low-carbon power sources including wind farms and nuclear power stations, and a Water Bill which will allow business customers to switch their water and sewerage supplier, with the hope of encouraging competition.