Queen’s Speech 2017

Following the General Election, the Queen’s Speech recently set out this Government’s legislative programme for the next two years, which focused on the following:

Getting Brexit right

We need to get Brexit right, delivering the result of last year’s referendum in a way that commands maximum public support. At the General Election, over 80 per cent of the electorate backed the two major parties, both of whom campaigned on manifestos that said we should honour the democratic decision of the British people.  While this will be a Government that consults and listens, we are clear that we are going to see Brexit through. So this will be a busy legislative session with a number of Bills geared towards making a success of Brexit:

  • A Repeal Bill that will provide as much legal certainty as possible for businesses and individuals as we leave the EU.
  • An Immigration Bill that gives us control of the number of people coming here from Europe while allowing us to continue attracting the brightest and the best.
  • A new Trade Bill and a new Customs Bill which will enable the United Kingdom to conduct its own independent trade policy, helping British businesses trade with thriving markets around the world.
  • A Fisheries Bill will allow us to control access to our territorial waters.
  • An Agriculture Bill will provide stability to farmers as we leave the EU.
  • A Nuclear Safeguards Bill will protect our world-leading nuclear industry during Brexit.
  • An International Sanctions Bill will allow the UK to continue to comply with international obligation

A stronger economy

This Queen’s Speech sets out a number of measures to build a stronger economy so we can improve people’s living standards and fund the public services on which we all depend:

  • The National Living Wage will be increased so that people who are on the lowest pay benefit from the same improvements in earnings as higher paid workers.
  • Work on our modern Industrial Strategy will continue to ensure all parts of the country share in economic success.
  • We will make markets fairer for consumers, including measures to tackle unfair practices in the energy and telecoms markets.
  • An Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill will ensure the UK continues to be at the forefront of developing new technology in electric and automated road vehicles.
  • A Spaceflight (Satellites) Bill will support the UK’s position as one of the largest aerospace industries in the world and help the development of new technology for modern satellites.
  • The High Speed 2 Phase 2A Bill will provide the powers to build and operate the next stage of the HS2 network between Birmingham and Crewe.
  • A National Insurance Contributions Bill will help to create a fairer and simpler system for National Insurance Contributions.
  • A Smart Meter Bill will allow the government to ensure the effective and efficient completion of the smart meter rollout – a vital upgrade to bring our energy infrastructure into the twenty first century.
  • We will continue to bring down the deficit.

A fairer society

At the same time as strengthening our economy, much work needs to be done to build a fairer society where people can go as far as their talents will take them, and where no one is held back because of their background.

We will:

  • Continue to build a world-class education system by ensuring every child has the opportunity to attend a good school and all schools are fairly funded. We will reform technical education so that we have a world-class system.
  • Work towards a new Mental Health Act, reviewing the mental health legislative landscape and publishing recommendations on where new policy could provide greater rights for those experiencing mental health problems, so they can live their lives free from discrimination.
  • Work to address the challenges of social care for our ageing population, bringing forward proposals for consultation to build widespread support.
  • Continue to increase housebuilding through the measures set out in our Housing White Paper.
  • Go further to tackle discrimination, addressing the gender pay gap and discrimination against people on the basis of their sexuality, faith, disability, gender or race – including through our racial disparity audit of public services.

In addition:

  • A Draft Tenants’ Fees Bill will look at tackling unfair fees on tenants, making the private rental market more affordable and competitive.
  • A Travel Protection Bill will improve protection for holidaymakers by updating the UK’s financial protection scheme for holidays.
  • A Data Protection Bill will ensure we have a world-class regime for protecting personal data, and a Draft Patient Safety Bill will set out a framework to help improve patient safety in the NHS.
  • A Draft Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill will provide a statutory definition of this hideous crime and ensure robust protective orders are available and that victims get the justice they deserve.
  • A Civil Liability Bill will crack down on fraudulent Whiplash claims which is expected to reduce motor insurance premiums by about £35 per year.
  • A Courts Bill will reform the courts system in England and Wales to ensure they are more efficient and accessible, and in doing so utilise more modern technology.
  • A Financial Guidance and Claims Bill will combine three financial advice bodies into one, ensuring the people across the UK are able to seek the help and advice they need to manage their finances.

Keeping Britain safe

Keeping our country safe is a fundamental duty of any government, and we will continue to support our armed forces:

  • We will meet the 2 per cent NATO defence spending commitment to 2022 and increase spending by at least half a per cent more than inflation every year, to keep the UK safe.
  • An Armed Forces Bill will provide our Service personnel with modern, flexible opportunities to serve their country in ways that better suit their lifestyle aspirations and circumstances.

But as we have sadly seen with the recent attacks in Westminster, Manchester, London Bridge and Finsbury Park, the country faces an unprecedented threat from terrorism:

  • Our counter-terrorism strategy will be reviewed to make sure the police and security services have all the powers they need to protect our country.
  • We will work to regulate cyberspace, reaching international agreements that prevent the spread of extremism and terrorist planning.
  • We will continue to tackle the threat of terrorism at source with military action against Daesh.
  • A new Commission for Countering Extremism will be established to support the Government in stamping out extremist ideology in all its forms.
  • We will also ensure that critical national infrastructure is protected to safeguard national security.

You can read my post on what the Queen’s Speech means for Amber Valley here.