Queens Speech Highlights

Author: Ross Sturley CIMCIG

The CIC produced and circulated a summary of the Queen's Speech, reproduced below.
Withdrawal Agreement Bill
Central to the Queen’s Speech is the commitment to implement the Brexit deal struck with the EU in October. However the bill will be different from the version brought before MPs last time round with some compromises on issues such as workers rights and Parliamentary scrutiny over the next stage of negotiations stripped out.
Agriculture Bill
Replaces the EU Common Agricultural Policy with a post-Brexit system of subsidies that rewards farmers for promoting biodiversity and access to the countryside, rather than yield.
Fisheries Bill
Creates licensing powers for fishing rights after Britain leaves the EU fisheries policy. Foreign boats no longer have automatic access to UK waters. Legal commitments to ensure sustainable fisheries.
Trade Bill
Rolls over existing EU trade deals after Brexit.
Immigration Bill
Introduces the government’s new Australian style points system that will apply to anyone wanting to enter the country from the end of next year. It will end free movement of people and change the rights of immigrants to access benefits.
Financial Services Bill
Confirms UK financial rules after Brexit and promises to simplify rules on selling overseas investment funds.
Private International Law Bill
Implements international agreements on rules governing cross-border legal disputes to clarify dispute resolution after Brexit.
Home Affairs
Police Powers Bill
Gives police greater powers to criminalise travellers who set up unauthorised encampments and allows them to seize their property and vehicles.
Counter Terrorism Bill
Bring in tougher sentences for the most serious terrorist offenders with a 14-year minimum following the London Bridge attacks. It would also remove early release for prisoners who receive extended determinate sentences. Licencing supervision for terrorist offenders will also be strengthened.
Sentencing bill
Serious violent and sex offenders will face longer sentences, with the automatic release point rising from halfway through their jail term to two thirds. The bill increases the range of reasons for giving murderers “whole life” sentences, meaning they will never be eligible for parole, including child murder. Community orders will also be strengthened to ensure they deliver an “appropriate level of punishment”.
Sentencing Consolidation Bill
Allows judges to implement the Law Commissions sentencing code that will consolidate the law on sentencing procedure in England and Wales.
Foreign National Offenders Bill
Increases sentences for serious foreign criminals, including rapists and child abusers, who return to the UK in breach of deportation orders from a matter of weeks to years.
Prisoners (disclosure of information about victims) Bill
Murderers will be denied parole if they fail to disclose where they have buried their victims. Paedophiles will also be denied parole if they fail to disclose the identities of children they have abused.
Serious Violence Bill
Places a statutory duty on public bodies to work together to reduce the levels of serious violence.
Criminal Justice Bill
Tougher sentences for people found guilty of assaulting a police officer have been dropped after clashes between the home office and ministry of justice. The police covenant, focusing on the physical protection of officers, will be enshrined in law.
Special constables will be allowed to join the Police Federation so they can benefit from additional protection and support.
Extradition (Provisional Arrest) Bill
In the event Britain is no longer able to access the European Arrest Warrant after Brexit, the bill will replicate its powers while allowing arrest of people wanted by “trusted partners”.
National Security and Investment Bill
More powers for the state to intervene in takeovers by “hostile parties” where there are national security implications.
Electoral Integrity Bill
New legal requirement for voters to produce photographic ID before casting their vote and limit number of relatives who can act as a proxy.
Espionage Legislation
Plans to criminalise “harmful activity” on behalf of other states to prevent spying. Will also look to update the UK’s treason laws and the Official Secrets Act and consider a compulsory register of those lobbying on behalf of foreign powers.
Royal Commission on the Criminal Justice Process
A “fundamental review” of the effectiveness of the courts system to be set up, the first since 1991. Constitution, Democracy and Rights commission set up to “develop proposals to restore trust in our institutions and in how our democracy operate”. Includes repeal of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act
English devolution
White paper to hand powers to the regions, boosting the number of mayors and giving greater autonomy to combined authorities. It includes a promise to find a way to end “vexatious litigation” against military veterans.
There are also plans to create a new shared prosperity fund to replace EU structural funds after Brexit and to be made available across the UK.
Boycott ban
Prevents councils, universities and other public bodies waging boycotts, divestment and sanctions campaigns against foreign countries, notably Israel.
NHS and health
NHS Funding Bill
Enshrining annual budget increases promised by Theresa May, which will reach £20.5 billion in real terms by 2023-24, or £34 billion in cash terms
NHS reorganisation
A commitment to “draft legislation” to remove elements of competition requirements from the NHS to make it easier for organisations to work together to join up care. There will also be a pledge to update the Mental Health Act intended to reduce the number of detentions made under the act.
Medicines and Medical Devices Bill
Powers to prescribe some medicines will be handed to a wider range of health professionals to ease pressure on doctors and nurses. A registration scheme for online sellers will be set up to crack down on fake drugs. Clinical trial red tape will be cut as Britain leaves EU rules, aiming to make it attractive to test new medicines — and medical AI — in this country.
Social Care
Repeat of the Conservative manifesto promise to start looking for a cross-party solution to shield people from catastrophic care costs so that no one has to sell their home. In the interim £500 million a year will be put in to prop up the current system.
Health Service Safety Investigations Bill
This legislation would enshrine the existing Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch as a legally independent Health Service Safety Investigations Body (HSSIB) with the ability to keep secret anything doctors and nurses tell it in order to create a “safe space” for them to speak honestly about mistakes.
Divorce Bill
Introducing no fault divorces by removing the requirement for a prolonged period of separation or a claim of “fault” before a divorse can be granted.
Online Harms
A duty of care will be imposed on social media companies, overseen by an independent regulator, to prevent cyberbullying, child sex abuse and terrorist propaganda. Plans out for consultation.
Employment Bill
Obliges all firms to pass on the full value of tips, service charges and gratuities to staff without deduction. Extends redundancy protections to pregnant women and makes flexible working the “default” for all workers unless employers have good reason to refuse. Workers would have the right request a more predictable contract. Parents of sick babies will be allowed extended leave and unpaid carers will be entitled to week’s leave. There will also be a new single workers rights enforcement body.
Renters’ Reform Bill
Makes “no fault” evictions illegal while setting up a new lifetime deposit scheme that could transfer between properties. There will also be a new register of rogue landlords. Landlords promised a streamlined court process to get their properties back.
Promise to consult on 30 per cent discount for local people and key workers buying a first home. New shared ownership and affordable house building programme also promised. Planning white paper to make building easier and £10 billion for schools and GPs around new developments.
Pension Schemes Bill
Prison sentences for employers who are reckless with employee pension schemes will be among powers given to the Pensions Regulator. Clear information in a “pensions dashboard” has also been promised to savers along with new rights to transfer money to another pension scheme.
Domestic Abuse Bill
Creates a statutory definition of domestic abuse, emphasising that it is not just physical but can also be emotional, coercive or economic abuse. Establishes a domestic abuse commissioner to represent victims and survivors, raise public awareness and hold public bodies to account. Creates a statutory presumption that victims of domestic abuse will be given special support in criminal courts, such as the ability to give evidence by video link
Domestic abusers will be banned from cross-examining their victims in court.
Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill
An introduction of no-fault divorce, removing the requirement that one spouse must make an allegation about the other’s conduct to end a marriage. It will also remove the possibility of one spouse contesting the decision to divorce. There will be a new option to make a joint application to divorce in cases where the decision to divorce is a mutual one.
Confirmation that the schools budget will increase by £4.3 billion in real terms by 2022-23. The government expresses this as a cumulative cash boost of £14 billion over three years.
Reiteration of promises to raise the minimum wage to £10.50 an hour and increase the threshold for national insurance contributions.
Promise of a national disability strategy next year to people into work
Plans to update business rates to increase the retail discount to fifty per cent to ease pressures on high street stories.
Environment Bill
This legislation will commit the government to legally binding targets to reduce air pollution. It also includes further measures to tackle plastics waste, including charges for single use, building on the plastic bag charge, and improve water quality. Powers will also be brought forward to allow government to mandate the recall of vehicles which do not meet emissions standards.
Climate change
The government says it will bring forward a series of measures in the budget to ensure it can meet its target to make the UK carbon neutral by 2050.
Animal welfare
Increases the maximum sentence for animal cruelty from six months to five years. Consultations on improving welfare of live animal transport, a ban on keeping monkeys as pets and the import and export of hunting trophies.
Scandal clear-up
Windrush Compensation Scheme Bill
Legal powers to pay out compensation for people who were denied services or jobs because they came from a Commonwealth country before 1973 and could not prove eligibility under the “hostile environment” policy designed to crack down on illegal immigration.
Building Safety Bill
Plans for new building safety regulations to prevent a repeat of the Grenfell Tower fire of 2017, which killed 72 people.
It will provide “clearer accountability” and impose “stronger duties” on those responsible for the safety of high-rise buildings. Residents will be given a “stronger voice” in the system, while enforcement and sanctions will be strengthened to “deter non-compliance”.
Fire Safety Bill
Another piece of post Grenfell legislation would give fire services powers to take enforcement action against buildings with dangerous cladding and fire doors.
Infrastructure and transport
Railways (minimum service levels) legislation
Legal minimum services required during rail strikes to be set down in law, including specifications for staff who must work
Scrapping the rail franchise system The government will commit to ending the system of rail franchising introduced as part of 1990 privatisation and replace it with a new model focusing on performance and reliability. It is expected to build on recommendations in a review into the system being carried out by the Williams Rail Review that was established under Theresa May.
Air traffic management and unmanned aircraft bill
New powers for the police to tackle the unlawful use of drones and other unmanned aircraft. Ministers will also get powers to be able to direct airports to change the design of airspace, following warnings if reforms are not made by by 2030 1 in 3 flights could be delayed for an average of 30 minutes.
Broadband legislation
New legislation to fulfil the Government’s pledge to roll out superfast, one gigabit broadband across the UK by 2025 including amending building regulations.
Airline Insolvency
New powers to ensure holidaymakers will not be stranded abroad if their airline collapses.
National Infrastructure Strategy
Promised alongside the budget in February with an aim of “levelling up and connecting every part of the country” as well as reducing carbon emissions
Rail reform and High Speed 2 Bill
Reforms the rail franchising system and opens up lines and stations that have been closed. Will also improve rail services in the North and Midlands. Powers to build phase two of the high-speed rail link between London and the North. However, this is “without prejudice” to a review on whether it should go ahead
Space, science and research
Doubling R&D spending and creating a national space council. Prioritising government investment in areas where the UK can gain a competitive advantage, such as clean energy, space, robotics and artificial intelligence.
Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill
Allowing extra cash to be given to running the 2022 games and banning unauthorised sales of tickets