• At Kemp Little, we are known for our ability to serve the very particular needs of a large but diverse technology client base. Our hands-on industry know-how makes us a good fit with many of the world's biggest technology and digital media businesses, yet means we are equally relevant to companies with a technology bias, in sectors such as professional services, financial services, retail, travel and healthcare.
  • Kemp Little specialises in the technology and digital media sectors and provides a range of legal services that are crucial to fast-moving, innovative businesses.Our blend of sector awareness, technical excellence and responsiveness, means we are regularly ranked as a leading firm by directories such as Legal 500, Chambers and PLC Which Lawyer. Our practice areas cover a wide range of legal issues and advice.
  • Our Commercial Technology team has established itself as one of the strongest in the UK. We are ranked in Legal 500, Chambers & Partners and PLC Which Lawyer, with four of our partners recommended.
  • Our team provides practical and commercial advice founded on years of experience and technical know-how to technology and digital media companies that need to be alert to the rules and regulations of competition law.
  • Our Corporate Practice has a reputation for delivering sound legal advice, backed up with extensive industry experience and credentials, to get the best results from technology and digital media transactions.
  • In the fast-changing world of employment law our clients need practical, commercial and cost-effective advice. They get this from our team of employment law professionals.
  • Our team of leading IP advisors deliver cost-effective, strategic and commercial advice to ensure that your IP assets are protected and leveraged to add real value to your business.
  • Our litigation practice advises on all aspects of dispute resolution, with a particular focus on ownership, exploitation and infringement of intellectual property rights and commercial disputes in the technology sector.
  • We have an industry-leading reputation for our outsourcing expertise. Our professionals deliver credible legal advice to providers and acquirers of IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) services.
  • We work alongside companies, many with disruptive technologies, that seek funding, as well as with the venture capital firms, institutional investors and corporate ventures that want to invest in exciting business opportunities.
  • Our regulatory specialists work alongside Kemp Little’s corporate and commercial professionals to help meet their compliance obligations.
  • With a service that is commercial and responsive to our clients’ needs, you will find our tax advice easy to understand, cost-effective and geared towards maximising your tax benefits.
  • At Kemp Little, we advise clients in diverse sectors where technology is fundamental to the ongoing success of their businesses.They include companies that provide technology as a service and businesses where the use of technology is key to their business model, enabling them to bring their product or service to market.
  • We bring our commercial understanding of digital business models, our legal expertise and our reputation for delivering high quality, cost-effective services to this dynamic sector.
  • Acting for market leaders and market changers within the media industry, we combine in-depth knowledge of the structural technology that underpins content delivery and the impact of digitisation on the rights of producers and consumers.
  • We understand the risks facing this sector and work with our clients to conquer those challenges. Testimony to our success is the continued growth in our team of professionals and the clients we serve.
  • We advise at the forefront of the technological intersection between life sciences and healthcare. We advise leading technology and data analytics providers, healthcare institutions as well as manufacturers of medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnological products.
  • For clients operating in the online sector, our teams are structured to meet their commercial, financing, M&A, competition and regulatory, employment and intellectual property legal needs.
  • Our focus on technology makes us especially well positioned to give advice on the legal aspects of digital marketing. We advise on high-profile, multi-channel, cross-border cases and on highly complex campaigns.
  • The mobile and telecoms sector is fast changing and hugely dependent on technology advances. We help mobile and wireless and fixed telecoms clients to tackle the legal challenges that this evolving sector presents.
  • Whether ERP, Linux or Windows; software or infrastructure as a service in the cloud, in a virtualised environment, or as a mobile or service-oriented architecture, we have the experience to resolve legal issues across the spectrum of commercial computer platforms.
  • Our clients trust us to apply our solutions and know-how to help them make the best use of technology in structuring deals, mitigating key risks to their businesses and in achieving their commercial objectives.
  • We have extensive experience of advising customers and suppliers in the retail sector on technology development, licensing and supply projects, and in advising on all aspects of procurement and online operations.
  • Our legal professionals work alongside social media providers and users in relation to the commercial, privacy, data, advertising, intellectual property, employment and corporate issues that arise in this dynamic sector.
  • Our years of working alongside diverse software clients have given us an in-depth understanding of the dynamics of the software marketplace, market practice and alternative negotiating strategies.
  • Working with direct providers of travel services, including aggregators, facilitators and suppliers of transport and technology, our team has developed a unique specialist knowledge of the sector
  • Your life as an entrepreneur is full of daily challenges as you seek to grow your business. One of the key strengths of our firm is that we understand these challenges.
  • Kemp Little is trusted by some of the world’s leading luxury brands and some of the most innovative e-commerce retailers changing the face of the industry.
  • HR Bytes is an exclusive, comprehensive, online service that will provide you with a wide range of practical, insightful and current employment law information. HR Bytes members get priority booking for events, key insight and a range of employment materials for free.
  • FlightDeck is our portal designed especially with start-up and emerging technology businesses in mind to help you get your business up and running in the right way. We provide a free pack of all the things no-one tells you and things they don’t give away to get you started.

Manifestos: What is the impact for technology businesses?

With the upcoming election on 8th June 2017, we take a look at the party manifestos for the Conservatives, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats, and explore how their pledges could impact tech businesses.

Conservatives

Labour

Liberal Democrats

Digital charter

  • A new institute of technology for world-leading digital skills developed and run in partnership with the tech industry. After leaving the EU, funds will be repatriated to a British Business Bank.

  • Legal framework to regulate the internet including working towards an international legal framework.

Digital start-ups and creatives

  • “Appoint a Digital Ambassador to liaise with technology companies to promote Britain as an attractive place for investment and provide support for start-ups to scale up to become world-class digital businesses.”

  • “We recognise the serious concern about the ‘value gap’ between producers of creative content and the digital services that profit from its use, and we will work with all sides to review the way that innovators and artists are rewarded for their work in the digital age.”

Start-ups and fast growing businesses

  • A ‘start-up allowance’ will be offered to those starting new businesses, which will support founders with living costs in the initial stages.  Fast growing businesses looking to scale up will be offered mentoring support.

  • “Build on the success of Tech City, Tech North and the Cambridge tech cluster with a network across the UK acting as incubators for technology companies.”

Broadband and mobile coverage

  • Make broadband switching easier and pricing more transparent.

  • Access to high speed broadband for all homes and businesses by 2020.

  • Rollout of 5G technology by 2022 with 95% geographic coverage.

Broadband

  • “Deliver universal superfast broadband availability by 2022. Labour will improve mobile internet coverage and expand provision of free public wi-fi in city centres and on public transport.”

  • “Improve 4G coverage and invest to ensure all urban areas, as well as major roads and railways, have uninterrupted 5G coverage. On day one we will instruct the National Infrastructure Commission to report on how to roll out Ultrafast 300 Mbps across the next decade.”

Broadband and mobile coverage

  • "A programme of installing hyperfast, fibre-optic broadband across the UK.”

  • “Ensure that every property in the UK is provided, by 2022, with a superfast broadband connection with a download speed of 30Mbps, an upload speed of 6Mbps, and an unlimited usage cap.”

  • “Work with Ofcom to ensure that mobile phone companies provide fast and reliable coverage in rural areas.”

Infrastructure

  • "£740 million of digital infrastructure investment"

  • “Smart grids will make the most efficient use of our electricity infrastructure and electric vehicles, and we will use technology to manage our airspace better to reduce noise pollution and improve capacity.”

Libraries

  • “Ensure libraries are preserved for future generations and updated with wi-fi and computers to meet modern needs.”

Infrastructure and new technologies

  • Support investment in cutting-edge technologies including energy storage, smart grid technology, hydrogen technologies, offshore wind, and tidal power (including giving the go-ahead for the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon), and investing heavily in research and development.

Cybercrime

  • Bolster the response to cyber threats on private businesses, public services, critical national infrastructure, and individuals, working with the National Cyber Security Centre.

Surveillance and cybersecurity

  • “Investigatory powers must always be both proportionate and necessary. “

  • “Reintroduce effective judicial oversight over how and when they are used, when the circumstances demand that our collective security outweighs an individual freedom.”

  • “Introduce a cyber-security charter for companies working with the Ministry of Defence.”

Surveillance, encryption and cyberwar

  • “Roll back state surveillance powers by ending the indiscriminate bulk collection of communications data, bulk hacking, and the collection of internet connection records.”

  • “Oppose Conservative attempts to undermine encryption."

  • Inform innocent people if they have been placed under surveillance (if this will not impact an investigation).

  • “Recognise the expansion of warfare into the cybersphere, by investing in our security and intelligence services and acting to counter cyberattacks.”

Personal data and social media

  • Right for information held by social media platforms to be deleted for over 18s.

  • Industry wide levy on social media and tech firms to “counter internet harms”.

  • New online identification system called ‘Verify’ will be rolled-out “so that people can identify themselves on all government online services by 2020, using their own secure data that is not held by government.”

Personal data and online abuse

  • “ensure that tech companies are obliged to take measures that further protect children and tackle online abuse. We will ensure that young people understand and are able to easily remove any content they shared on the internet before they turned 18.

Digital Bill of Rights

  • “Introduce a digital bill of rights that protects people’s powers over their own information, supports individuals over large corporations, and preserves the neutrality of the internet.”

Universities and research funding

  • New institutes of technology in every major city in England to provide STEM training and technical skills.

  • More money invested in research and development – 2.4% GDP rising to 3% over 10 years.

 

Education, Funding and research

  • Protect the science budget, including the recent £2 billion increase, by continuing to raise it at least in line with inflation.

  •  “Commit to build digital skills in the UK and retain coding on the national curriculum in England.”

  • Double innovation and research spending across the economy.

  • Guarantee to underwrite funding for British partners in EU-funded projects such as Horizon 2020 who would suffer from cancellation of income on Brexit.

Safety online

  • "We will continue to push the internet companies to deliver on their commitments to develop technical tools to identify and remove terrorist propaganda, to help smaller companies build their capabilities and to provide support for civil society organisations to promote alternative and counter-narratives"

 

 

Digital receipts

  • "We will oblige all digital companies to provide digital receipts, clearer terms and conditions when selling goods and services online and support new digital proofs of identification”

Ticket touts

  • [In relation to ticket touting], “Labour will enforce anti-bot legislation and implement the recommendations of the Waterson Review to ensure fair opportunities for fans to buy tickets.”

 

Transport

  • Every car will be zero emission by 2050.

 

Transport

  • “Encourage the swift take-up of electric and driverless vehicles”.

Tax

  • Corporations tax will be reduced from 20% to 17% by 2020.

Tax

  • Labour plans to increase taxation for large corporations (to 26% by 2021) and re-introduce the lower small profits rate of corporation tax for small businesses (being those with profits below £300,000).

  • It will also introduce an excessive pay levy on companies with staff on ‘very high pay’. 

 

Small business

In addition to the re-introduction of the lower small business corporation tax rate and increased access to lending through the National Investment Bank, Labour offers the following additional small business-focused policies:

  • reforms to business rates, including switching from RPI to CPI indexation and exempting new investment in plant and machinery from valuations;

  • exempting businesses with a turnover of under £85,000 from quarterly reporting requirements; and

  • curtailing late payments by ensuring bidders for government contracts pay their own suppliers within 30 days and developing a system of binding arbitration and pecuniary penalties for persistent late payers across private and public sectors.

Tax

  • The Liberal Democrats will reverse a number of tax cuts introduced by the Conservative Party, including the reduction in the corporations tax rate from 20% to 17%. 

  • It also plans to target corporate tax evasion and avoidance, for example by reforming corporations tax in order to benefit the smallest companies by introducing a tax that takes account of a range of economic indicators, including sales and turnover, rather than a profits-based system.  They will run a consultation process in this regard.

 

National Investment Bank

  • A National Investment Bank will be established with £250 billion of lending power brought in from private capital finance in order to address existing gaps in lending by private banks, particularly to small businesses.

British Business Bank

  • The activities of the British Business Bank will be expanded in order to address the capital requirements for medium-sized businesses.

Mergers and takeovers

  • The Conservatives will look to consult on updates to the rules governing mergers and takeovers.  They note that they will require bidders to be clear about their intentions from the outset of the bid process, will ensure that promises and undertakings made in the course of any bid will be legally enforceable and allow the government to pause any bid in order to allow for further scrutiny.

Takeovers

  • Labour plans to introduce protections for workers and pensioners in the event of a corporate take over.

 

Executive pay

  • The Conservatives plan to make executive pay packages subject to strict annual votes by shareholders and companies will be required to explain their pay policies, particularly any complex incentive schemes.  The use of share buybacks in this regard will be examined, in order to ensure that performance targets are not artificially met and executive pay inflated.
 

 

Board composition

  • Listed companies will be required to ensure employees’ interests are represented at board level, but either nominating a director from the workforce, creating a formal employee advisory council or assigning specific responsibility for employee representation to a designated non-executive director.  Employees will also be given the right, subject to certain restrictions, to request information relating to the future direction of the company.

Directors’ duties

  • Labour plans to amend company law so that directors owe a duty directly not only to shareholders, but to employees, customers, the environment and the wider public.

 

Foreign ownership

  • Where foreign-owned companies control important infrastructure (such as telecoms, defence and energy), the Conservatives plan to ensure that such ownership does not undermine British security or essential service by strengthening ministerial scrutiny and control.

Co-operatives

  • Labour plans to double the size of the co-operative sector in the UK, with support for such businesses offered by the new National Investment Bank and regional development banks.  Labour also wants to introduce a proper legal definition for co-operative ownership.

 

Brexit

  • The manifesto reiterates the Prime Minister’s Article 50 pledge, that existing workers’ rights would be protected following Brexit and will also be “built on”. It makes no mention of measures that will be amended or repealed as a result of exiting the EU. At the point of Brexit, the Great Repeal Bill will convert EU law into UK law.

Brexit

  • Labour will also protect employment rights guaranteed under EU law after Brexit. The party has pledged to scrap the Great Repeal Bill and instead introduce an EU Rights and Protections Bill that will guarantee all existing protections afforded under EU law.

Brexit

  • The LibDems will guarantee the rights of existing EU nationals in the UK, including that of EU workers.
  • The LibDems will preserve employment rights under EU law after Brexit.
  • The party intends making the final Brexit deal subject to a referendum.

The gig economy

  • Although unparticularised in the manifesto, the Tories have promised to continue with the work followed under the Taylor review, the independent evaluation commissioned last year to review employment practices, focusing on new forms of work, the rise of self-employment, the ‘gig economy’ and the disruption of traditional labour markets. The Conservatives have stated that following the review they will ensure that the interest of employees on traditional contracts, the self-employed and those working in the gig economy are all properly protected.

Zero hours contracts

  • Labour would ban zero hours contracts to ensure that every worker receives a guaranteed number of hours a week.

Zero hours contracts

  • The LibDems would ban zero hour contracts and introduce a right for workers to request a fixed-term contract.
  • They would push to introduce the requirement to make regular work patters contractual after a certain periods of employment.

Employment status

  • Labour will create new definitions for “self-employed”, “worker” and “employee”.

Self-employed people will be presumed employed unless employers can show otherwise.

 

Employment rights and tribunal fees

  • Labour will broaden the pool of workers entitled to employment rights, giving all workers equal rights from ‘day one’. 
  • Labour will abolish employment tribunal fees and extend the time limit for bringing maternity discrimination claims to 6 months.

Employment rights and tribunal fees

  • The LibDems would create a “good employer” kite mark obtained by paying a living wage and avoiding unpaid internships.
  • The party would abolish employment tribunal fees.

National Living Wage

  • The Tories’ manifesto confirm that the National Living Wage, which applies to workers 25 and over, will continue to increase in line with the target to reach 60% of median earnings by 2020.

National Minimum Wage

  • Labour intends to raise the national minimum wage for all workers over 18 to the level of the national living wage.  The party has also pledged to crack down on employers who refuse to pay NMW.

National Living Wage

  • The LibDems will require larger employers to publish data on workers earning less than the living wage.
  • The party will introduce an independent review into a genuine living wage.

Right to request leave

  • For employees of Company with 250 employees or more, the Conservatives have proposed the introduction of a right to request unpaid leave for training purposes.  Employers would only be under an obligation to consider such requests.
  • A new statutory right to unpaid time off would be made available for family carers. This would allow workers to take between long term leave, while retaining their employment rights and allowing a return to the same job at the end of the period.
  • The right to child bereavement leave would also be introduced but little detail of such a right has been provided.

Families and work

  • Labour has pledged to extend maternity pay to 12 months.
  • Labour intends to increase the provision of free childcare to all two year olds and to issue subsidies in addition to free-hour entitlements to allow all to access free childcare, no matter their working pattern.
  • Labour has also pledged to introduce 4 new bank holidays (St George’s Day, St David’s Day, St Andrew’s Day and St Patrick’s Day).
  • With the help of the Health and Safety Executive, the party will also attempt to introduce mandatory workplace risk assessments for pregnant women.
  • Labour has pledged to increase the rate of paternity pay and double paid paternity leave to four weeks.

Families and work

  • The LibDems will make flexible working, paternity leave and shared parental leave “day one” rights.
  • The party will extend the free childcare provision to all two year olds and to the children of all working families form the end of paid maternity/paternity/shared parental leave.
  • The LibDems would also introduce an additional one month "use it or lose it" period of shared parental leave for fathers, to encourage greater take up among men

 

Protecting pensions

  • The Pensions Regulator will be given new powers to scrutinise acquisitions and issue punitive fines for those found to have wilfully left a pension scheme under-resourced and, if necessary, powers to disqualify the company directors in question. The introduction of a criminal offence for directors who deliberately or recklessly put at risk the ability of a pension scheme to meet its obligations may also be introduced.

Trade unions

  • Labour will repeal Trade Union law and introduce sectoral collective bargaining.
  • It will give all workers the right to union representation.
  • Guarantee all unions access to the workplace.
  • Launch a public inquiry into blacklisting.
  • Only award public contracts to union recognising employers.
  • Introduce electronic balloting for industrial action.

Public sector

  • The Liberal Democrats will abolish the public sector 1% cap on pay rises and update wages in line with inflation.
  • The party will give greater protection to NHS whistleblowers, end the pay freeze in the NHS and guarantee the rights of all NHS and social care workers from the EU.
  • The LibDems will also introduce name-blind recruitment processes in the public sector and introduce a presumption that every public sector appointment shortlist should include at least one black, Asian or minority ethnic candidate.

Equality Act changes

The Tories have pledged that over the next ten years they will get 1 million more disabled people into work. As such the follow measures have been proposed:

  • The Equality Act will include discrimination protection against those suffering from episodic and fluctuating mental health conditions. 
  • The Tory manifesto also suggests that employers would be provided with incentives to employ “vulnerable” workers such as workers who suffer from a disability, those with mental health problems, rehabilitated criminal offenders, the long-term unemployed and former wards of the care system.

Equality Act changes

  • Labour will amend the Equality Act to make challenges to disability discrimination easier.
  • It will strengthen the Act to ensure that women are better protected against being penalised for having children through unfair redundancy.
  • Better protect transgender people by launching consultation and reform.
  • Audit all proposed legislation with reference to gender and the impact on women in the workplace.

 

Discrimination

  • The LibDems will push for at least 40% female boards in FTSE 350 companies.
  • The party will introduce Parker Review recommendations by ensuring there is ethnic minority boardroom representation.
  • The LibDems will guarantee the freedom to wear religious or cultural dress.
  • The party will outlaw caste discrimination.
  • It will also extend the law to protect individuals against gender identity and expression discrimination.
  • The LibDems will also build on gender pay gap reporting requirements to include the obligation to monitor and publish data on gender, race and sexual orientation pay gaps and employment levels.

Immigration Skills Charge

  • Companies employing migrant workers would see the Charge rise from £1,000 to £2,000 per year.

Migrant workers

  • Labour will work witjh the trade unions to ensure migrant workers are not exploited and ensure that the Modern Slavery Act is followed and enforced.

 

 

Pay and equality

  • Labour will reform pay ratios for public sector employees and abolish the 1% public sector pay gap.
  • The party will introduce an equal pay audit requirement to tackle the ethnicity gap.
  • It will also create an independent body to ensure gender pay gap reporting compliance.
  • Labour will accept the recommendations of the Parker Review to improve ethnic diversity at board level.

 

Apprenticeships

  • Labour intends to increase the number of apprenticeships, introducing new targets to make them more accessible, especially to those with disabilities, veterans and women.
  • The party will provide employers with more flexibility on how they use the Apprenticeship Levy.

 

For further information please read the full versions of the Conservative Party manifesto, the Labour Party manifesto and the Liberal Democrats manifesto or contact a member of the Kemp Little team.