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What was in (and out) of the 2017 Queen's Speech

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

 

The pomp and ceremony of the State Opening of Parliament was somewhat lacking today. Due to the change in date, there was no golden state carriage but a very nice heavily armour-plated car, with a separate one for the crown of course. Prince Philip was also absent and Prince Charles took his place beside his mother who was devoid of the usual ermine and jewels; sensible in this heatwave some may say.

Meanwhile in the House of Commons, everyone waited not for Black Rod but with bated breath for the utterance of veteran Labour MP, Dennis Skinner. He gave his customary quip as MPs paraded into the House of Lords saying get your skates on the first race (meaning Ascot) starts at 2:30pm.

Unusually this Queen's Speech will cover two years, due to Brexit, so the media were quick to point out that a State Visit by President Donald Trump was not seemingly on the cards. We now take a look at what made the cut and, after the shambles that was the Conservative Party manifesto, what didn't?

Missing...

  • A vote to repeal the fox hunting ban
  • Means-testing Winter Fuel payments
  • Scrapping free school meals
  • The so-called Dementia tax
  • Energy price cap
  • Expansion of Grammar Schools

Bills in the 2017 Queen's Speech

 

Repeal Bill

  • This measure will repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and convert EU law into UK law
  • The UK Parliament (and where appropriate, the devolved legislatures) will be free to make any future changes to its laws

Customs Bill

The bill will ensure:
  • the UK has a standalone UK customs regime on exit
  • flexibility to accommodate future trade agreements with the EU and others
  • changes can be made to the UK's VAT and excise regimes on exit from the EU, whatever the outcome of negotiations
  • the government can collect payments of customs duties, administer the customs regime and tackle duty evasion
  • control over the import and export of goods

Trade Bill

  • puts in place a legal framework to allow Britain to strike free trade deals with countries around the world while ensuring domestic businesses are protected from unfair trading practices
  • Immigration Bill
  • enables the government to end the free movement of EU nationals into the UK, but still allows the country to attract "the brightest and the best".
  • EU nationals and their families will be "subject to relevant UK law"

Fisheries Bill

  • enables the UK to control access to its waters and set UK fishing quotas once it has left the EU

Agriculture Bill

  • This measure will ensure an effective system is in place to support UK farmers and protect the natural environment after the UK leaves the EU and therefore the Common Agricultural Policy

Nuclear Safeguards Bill

  • establishes a UK nuclear safeguards regime as the UK leaves the EU and Euratom
  • ensures the UK continues to meet its international obligations for nuclear safeguards, as applies to civil nuclear material through the International Atomic Energy Agency
  • to support international nuclear non-proliferation and protect UK electricity supplied by nuclear power

International Sanctions Bill

  • ensures that as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, the UK continues to play a central role in negotiating global sanctions to counter threats of terrorism, conflict and the proliferation of nuclear weapons, as well as bringing about changes in behaviour
  • returns decision-making powers on non-UN sanctions to the UK
  • enables the UK's continued compliance with international law after the UK's exit from the EU
  • allows the UK to impose sanctions to ensure compliance with obligations under international law, including asset freezes, travel bans and trade and market restrictions
  • ensures individuals and organisations can challenge or request a review of sanctions imposed on them
  • exempts or licenses certain types of activity, such as payments for food and medicine that would otherwise be restricted by sanctions
  • amends regulations for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing and to pass new ones

Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill

  • extends compulsory motor vehicle insurance to cover the use of automated vehicles, to ensure compensation claims continue to be paid quickly, fairly and easily, in line with longstanding insurance practice
  • allows the government to require the installation of charge points for electric vehicles at motorway service areas and large fuel retailers, and to require a set of common technical and operational standards. This will ensure charge points are convenient to access and work seamlessly right across the UK
  • These provisions would apply to England, Wales and Scotland

Space Industry Bill

  • new powers to license a wide range of new commercial spaceflight, including vertically launched rockets, space planes, satellite operation, spaceports and other technologies
  • a comprehensive and proportionate regulatory framework to manage risk, ensuring commercial spaceflight in the UK remains safe
  • measures to regulate unauthorised access and interference with spacecraft, spaceports and associated infrastructure, particularly in aviation security
  • promote public safety by providing a regulatory framework to cover operational insurance, indemnity and liability

High Speed 2 Phase 2A Bill

  • allows cities in the north of England and Scotland to enjoy increased capacity, improved connections, economic benefits and reduced journey times of HS2 sooner by accelerating the building of a connection to Crewe
  • powers to compulsorily acquire the land needed for the railway, construct the railway and operate it
  • deemed planning permission to deliver the scheme. Details of planning will be developed on a site-by-site basis in coordination with the local planning authority
  • set out the way railway regulation will apply to the railway

Smart Meter Bill

  • puts consumers in control of their energy use, helping them understand their energy and bills, bringing an end to estimated billing and transforming the experience of pre-paying customers
  • protects the operation of the national data and communication service to safeguard smart services at all times
  • ensures smart meters will be offered to every household and business by the end of 2020
  • introduces a Special Administrative Regime, which will provide insurance for the national smart meter infrastructure in the unlikely event that the company responsible for it becomes insolvent

National Insurance Contributions Bill

  • legislates for the National Insurance contribution (NICs) changes announced in the 2016 Budget and 2016 Autumn Statement
  • makes the NICs system fairer and simpler
  • does not relate to the discussion of Class 4 contributions at the time of the Spring Budget 2017

Travel Protection Bill

  • improves protection for holidaymakers by updating the UK's financial protection scheme for holidays
  • ensures the Air Travel Organisers' Licence (Atol) travel protection scheme for holidaymakers keeps pace with innovation in the online travel market, and appropriate protection is in place regardless of whether consumers book online or the High Street
  • updates the Atol scheme and aligns it with enhancements to the EU and the UK package travel regulations that predate people booking holidays on the internet

Draft Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill

  • protects victims of domestic violence and abuse
  • establishes a domestic violence and abuse commissioner, to stand up for victims and survivors, raise public awareness, monitor the response of statutory agencies and local authorities and hold the justice system to account in tackling domestic abuse
  • defines domestic abuse in law to underpin all other measures in the bill
  • creates a consolidated new domestic abuse civil prevention and protection order regime
  • ensures if abusive behaviour involves a child, the court can hand down a sentence that reflects the devastating life-long impact that abuse can have on the child
  • applies to England and Wales only

Civil Liability Bill

  • cracks down on fraudulent whiplash claims and is expected to reduce motor insurance premiums by about £35 per year
  • ensures a fair, transparent and proportionate system of compensation is in place for damages paid to genuinely injured personal injury claimants
  • ensures full and fair compensation is paid to genuinely injured claimants
  • applies to England and Wales

Courts Bill

  • ends direct cross-examination of domestic violence victims by their alleged perpetrators in the family courts and allows more victims to participate in trials without having to meet their alleged assailant face to face
  • enables those charged with some less serious criminal offences to opt to plead guilty, accept a conviction and pay a statutory fixed penalty online, to free up court time for more serious cases. An example would be a first offender who admits travelling on a train without purchasing a ticket
  • introduces digital services that will allow businesses to pursue their cases quickly, enabling them to recover debts more easily
  • provides better working environment for judges, allowing more leadership positions in the judiciary to be offered on a fixed term, enabling judges to be deployed more flexibly to improve opportunities for career progression
  • applies to England and Wales and in part to Northern Ireland and Scotland

Financial Guidance and Claims Bill

  • establishes a new statutory body, accountable to Parliament, with responsibility for coordinating the provision of debt advice, money guidance and pension guidance
  • enables the body's activities to be funded through existing levies on pension schemes and the financial services industry
  • transfers the regulation of claims management services to the Financial Conduct Authority, and transfers complaints-handling responsibility to the Financial Ombudsman Service
  • ensures the Financial Conduct Authority has the necessary powers to implement a claims management regulatory regime. This will include a new power that will allow the Financial Conduct Authority to cap the fees that claims management companies charge consumers, as well as ensuring a more robust authorisation process for new companies who wish to enter the market

Data Protection Bill

  • gives people new rights to "require major social media platforms to delete information held about them at the age of 18"
  • allows police and judicial authorities to continue to exchange information quickly and easily with the UK's international partners in the fight against terrorism and other serious crimes
  • modernises and updates the regime for data processing by law enforcement agencies. The regime will cover both domestic processing and cross-border transfers of personal data
  • updates the powers and sanctions available to the information commissioner

Draft Patient Protection Bill

  • improves how the NHS investigates and learns from mistakes by establishing an independent Health Service Safety Investigation Body
  • ensures serious incidents can be investigated without the need for expensive, lawyer-led inquiries
  • applies to England and Wales

Armed Forces Bill

  • provides service personnel with "modern, flexible" opportunities to serve their country in a way that allows them to balance their family responsibilities and that better suits their lifestyle aspirations and circumstances, including forms of part-time service

Draft Tenants' Fees Bill

  • bans landlords and agents charging letting fees as a condition of their tenancy
  • enforces the ban with provision for tenants to be able to recover unlawfully charged fees
  • applies to England only - some minor amendments to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 may apply to England and Wales

Good Mortgages Bill

  • repeals the Victorian-era Bills of Sale Acts and replaces them with a Good Mortgages Act that enables individuals to use their existing goods (such as a vehicle) as security for a loan, while retaining possession of the goods
  • increases protection for borrowers who get into financial difficulties, by introducing a new requirement for a lender to obtain a court order before seizing goods where a borrower has made significant repayments
  • helps borrowers in financial difficulties by giving borrowers the right to voluntary termination by handing over their vehicle or other goods to the lender
  • provides protection for innocent third parties who buy a vehicle subject to a logbook loan that may be at risk of repossession, and makes clearer that borrowers who knowingly sell goods with a logbook loan attached could be committing fraud

Other measures

The legislative programme will also include three finance bills to implement Budget decisions, a technical bill to ratify several "minor EU agreements" and further bills to affect the UK's exit from the bloc.

List courtesy of the BBC News

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