The Queen’s Speech at a glance: Which bills were announced by the Government?
Boris Johnson sought to turn over a new leaf with a fresh legislative agenda in the wake of heated rows over Covid parties and stinging local election results for the Tories.
The Queen’s Speech, which is written by the Government, was delivered by the Prince of Wales for the first time.
In all, the package featured 38 bills or draft bills, including some that had been carried over from the last parliamentary session.
Here is a whistle-stop tour of each one:
– Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill
This will give local leaders new powers to help rejuvenate high streets by forcing landlords to rent out empty shop units.
It will also place a duty on the Government to produce an annual report updating the country on its progress to deliver its missions for levelling up.
– Schools Bill
Cracks down on truancy, beefs up the powers of education watchdogs and shakes up the funding system.
– Transport Bill
Provides the new “Great British Railways” body with the powers it needs to take control of the railway system.
– Energy Security Bill
Focused on paving the way for new, low-carbon technologies and growing the consumer market for electric heat pumps.
Will also appoint Ofgem as the new regulator for heat networks and extend the energy price cap.
– Draft Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill
Cracks down on “subscription traps” and fake reviews, strengthens protections for consumers using Christmas savings clubs.
Also gives the Competition and Markets Authority the ability to decide for itself when consumer law has been broken, and to issue penalties for those breaches.
– UK Infrastructure Bank Bill
Establishes the bank in law, with clear objectives to support regional and local economic growth and deliver net zero.
– Non-Domestic Rating Bill
This will shorten the business rates revaluation cycle from five to three years from 2023.
– Media Bill
Legislates for Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries’ plans to privatise Channel 4.
– Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill
Requires manufacturers, importers and distributors of smart devices to comply with minimum security standards.
– Electronic Trade Documents Bill
This will put electronic trade documents on the same legal footing as their paper equivalents, which the Government says will cut down on “wasteful paperwork” and “needless bureaucracy”.
– High Speed Rail (Crewe – Manchester) Bill
Provides the powers to build and operate the next stage of the High Speed Two (HS2) network between Crewe and Manchester.
– Draft Audit Reform Bill
This will establish a new statutory regulator, the Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority, and empower it to enforce directors’ financial reporting duties.
– Brexit Freedoms Bill
Creates new powers to strengthen the ability to amend, repeal or replace retained EU law by reducing reliance on primary legislation.
– Procurement Bill
This will enshrine in law the objectives of public procurement including: delivering value for money, maximising public benefit, treating suppliers equally and without discrimination, and acting, and being seen to act, with integrity.
– Financial Services and Markets Bill
Revokes retained EU law on financial services and updates regulators’ objectives to bring about a greater focus on growth and international competitiveness.
– Data Reform Bill
The legislation will reform the UK’s data protection regime, replacing the regulations inherited from the European Union with a system “focused on privacy outcomes rather than box-ticking”.
– Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Bill
The legislation will ensure the UK can comply with the obligations set out in the free trade deals struck with Australia and New Zealand.
– Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill
The new laws will remove EU measures which prevent the development and marketing of “precision bred” plants and animals using techniques such as gene editing.
– Higher Education Bill
Could be used to set minimum qualification requirements for a person in England to be eligible for student loans to go to university, effectively restricting access.
Will also create a lifelong loan entitlement to support people to retrain.
– Social Housing Regulation Bill
Aimed at improving tenants’ rights in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, with beefed-up powers for the regulator.
– Renters Reform Bill
This will seek to abolish so-called “no fault” evictions by removing Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 but also seek to reform possession grounds for landlords, strengthening them for repeated cases of rent arrears.
– Harbours (Seafarers’ Remuneration) Bill
In the wake of the mass sacking of P&O Ferries workers, this will seek to crack down on ferry operators who do not pay National Minimum Wage by giving ports new powers to surcharge them and ultimately suspend them from accessing the port.
It will also force operators to ensure all seafarers receive a fair wage while in UK territory and provide legal sanctions for cases of non-compliance or supplying of false information.
– Social Security (Special Rules for End of Life) Bill
This will aim to allow more people nearing the end of their life to access three disability benefits: Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance.
– Public Order Bill
This includes a new crackdown on “guerrilla protests” with harsher sentences as well as making new criminal offences for those who glue themselves to roads or “lock on” to public transport infrastructure.
– National Security Bill
This will reform existing espionage laws in a bid to tackle modern threats and bring in new offences to target state-backed sabotage, foreign interference, stealing trade secrets and assisting a foreign intelligence service.
– Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill
This will seek to crack down on illicit finance, including by creating new powers to seize crypto assets more quickly and increasing powers to check information on the Company Register.
– Modern Slavery Bill
This will aim to increase support for victims of human trafficking and modern slavery, including by toughening sanctions for breaches of Slavery and Trafficking Prevention and Risk Orders.
– Online Safety Bill
Carried over from the previous parliamentary session, the legislation includes measures aimed at forcing online giants to take responsibility for protecting users and removing illegal content.
– Draft Victims Bill
The legislation will enshrine the Victims’ Code in law and improve the support they receive – particularly for victims of sexual violence, domestic abuse and serious violence.
– Draft Protect Duty Bill
In the wake of the Manchester Arena bombing the legislation will introduce new requirements for certain public locations and venues to draw up plans to respond to terrorism.
– Draft Mental Health Act Reform Bill
Overhauls existing powers to protect patient liberty and prevent those with learning difficulties from being detained without their consent.
– Bill of Rights
Reforms affecting the Human Rights Act will be introduced, with officials saying it would replace the legislation.
– Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill
Creates a system for immunity from prosecution for Troubles-related offences and sets up a new Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery to enable individuals and family members to seek and receive information about what happened to their loved ones.
– Identity and Language (Northern Ireland) Bill
The legislation will enhance and develop the Ulster Scots/Ulster British tradition in Northern Ireland while recognising and protecting the Irish language, based on measures in the New Decade, New Approach Deal.
– Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill
The law will ban live exports, tackle puppy smuggling and prohibit keeping primates as pets without a licence.
– Conversion Therapy Bill
Bans the controversial practice for attempting to change sexual orientation, but not gender identity.
– Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill
Seen as part of the Government’s culture war agenda, the legislation will introducing new freedom of speech and academic duties on higher education providers, their constituent colleges and students’ unions.
– Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Bill
Prevents public bodies effectively running their own foreign policies by pursuing campaigns to boycott goods from certain countries. The move comes in the wake of efforts by councils to boycott goods from Israel.