Prince Charles has outlined the government’s priorities for the next year, delivering the Queen’s Speech for 2022.
The Queen did not attend the ceremony to officially reopen Parliament due to ill health.
The main points are summarised below.
A proposed Mental Health Bill to restructure the mental health system in England and Wales
A Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill will limit future prosecutions of British soldiers and grant families greater rights to information about deaths related to the Troubles.
A Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Bill will create powers to implement trade agreements with these two nations
A Social Security Bill aiming to improve the process for people claiming certain benefits near the end of their lives.
An Identity and Language (Northern Ireland) Bill
An Identity and Language Bill will seek to officially recognise the Irish language in Northern Ireland.
Digital & media
- The Online Safety Bill is a voluminous piece of legislation that fulfils a government promise to properly regulate internet material.
- A new Media Bill will allow for the proposed privatisation of Channel 4, as well as the regulation of on-demand streaming services by Ofcom.
- A Data Reform Act will replace EU data protection regulations.
The Electronic Trade Documents Act will promote the digitization of trade-related documentation.
- The Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill would expand 5G mobile coverage and implement new digital device safety regulations.
- A proposed Digital Markets, Competition and Customer Bill will seek to combat bogus consumer reviews and increase competition among social media companies.
- A Social Housing Regulation Bill will improve social housing sector regulation and grant renters greater information rights.
- The Renters Reform Bill would fulfil a Conservative election pledge to prohibit so-called “no fault” evictions at the end of tenancies.
Security and justice
- A Public Order Bill will introduce new police powers regarding disruptive protests, which were previously blocked by the House of Lords.
- The National Security Bill will grant the security agencies greater powers and alter the laws protecting official secrets in the United Kingdom.
- A draft Victims’ Bill will implement a promise to grant victims of crime additional rights.
- A draft of the Protect Duty Bill will establish legal requirements to evaluate the risk of terrorist attacks in public areas.
- A Brexit Freedoms Bill will provide ministers new authority to reform EU laws that were copied in the UK after Brexit.
- A new Bill of Rights will fulfil a longstanding Tory commitment to replace Human Rights Act provisions.
- Protection of the Good Friday Agreement, although there is no mention of specific legislation giving ministers powers to ‘rip up’ the Northern Ireland Protocol.
- A new Schools Bill will grant the English schools regulator the authority to tackle unregistered schools and implement attendance records.
- The Higher Education Bill will contain a commitment to make loans available to students at any stage of life.
- The Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) B ill will impose new legal obligations on English universities to protect free speech on campus.
- A Conversion Therapy Bill will prohibit activities that aim to alter an individual’s sexual orientation.
Climate & Energy
- The Energy Security Bill will include new authorities targeted at growing renewable energy and will support the electric heat pump business.
- An Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill will establish new animal welfare standards and powers to combat puppy smuggling.
- The Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Act will loosen restrictions on gene-edited crops.
Levelling up and infrastructure
- A Levelling up and Regeneration Bill will grant local governments unprecedented planning powers, including the ability to compel landlords in England to rent out vacant shop premises in order to revitalise main streets.
- Following the P&O Ferries fiasco, the Harbours (Seafarers’ Remuneration) Bill will give British ports the ability to prohibit ferry services that do not pay their personnel the national minimum wage.
- A new state-run body, Great British Railways, would be founded to control railway services across the UK. Bill on Transportation
- A Non-Domestic Rating System will be used to implement changes to business rates, the property tax paid by businesses.
- New legislation will be introduced to establish the UK Infrastructure Bank, a body tasked with increasing infrastructure project financing.
- The High Speed Rail (Crewe-Manchester) Bill gives new authority to develop and run the second stage of the HS2 high-speed rail route.