The King opened the new session of the UK Parliament today with a range of new UK Government bills announced in three broad areas: Growing the Economy, Strengthening Society, and Keeping People Safe. The full text of the King's speech, and details about each of the bills announced, as well as some commentary by the Prime Minister, is in this document.
There are three Bills of relevance to the tourism industry at large:
Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill - This is a carry-over Bill from the previous session. The UK Government conducted a quick consultation on drip pricing and fake reviews; that was in order to feed into this bill. Drip pricing is the practice of additional costs being added during a consumer's booking journey. In many cases this is for genuine additional products and services which give consumer more choice and businesses more opportunity for selling. However, the Government is keen to tackle the practice in particular for mandatory service fees etc. The document says that any action on drip pricing is subject to consultation - which could simply be subject to the outcome of the consultation which recently closed, or further consultation. The same consultation also looked at tackling fake reviews which would be of benefit to many businesses who suffer from this unfair practice which the Government is also planning to tackle in this Bill.
Draft Rail Reform Bill - This will look to "Simplifying fares and ticketing, providing more convenient ways to pay with the rollout of Pay As You Go and new ways of buying tickets such as single leg pricing which will make the railways easier to use (for example by removing the anomaly of some single tickets being almost as expensive as a return ticket)."
Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill or "Martyn's Law". This has been discussed and debated previously and could have significant implications for many in our sector.The Bill will require certain venues to fulfil necessary but proportionate steps according to their capacity to mitigate the impact of a terrorist attack and reduce harm. The duties that premises will have will depend on the size of the venue. Premises and events with a capacity of 800 or above will be in the enhanced tier, while premises with a capacity of 100 to 799 will be in the standard tier. Some details on the requirements for both the enhanced and standard tier are in the Government document but the Standard tier requirements will also be subject to consultation, in order to "strike the right balance between public protection and avoiding undue burdens on smaller premises..."