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UK gears up for Queen’s Speech aimed at ‘levelling up’

Out-Law News | 06 May 2022 | 9:31 am | 2 min. read

A focus on ‘levelling up’, the cost of living crisis and continuing the transition towards net zero carbon emissions are likely to headline the Queen’s Speech next week.

The Queen’s Speech and the state opening of parliament, scheduled for 10 May, will set out the UK government’s policy and legislative agenda for the year ahead.

This year’s speech is likely to bring forward legislation aimed at addressing key issues such as energy stability, centralising the railway system, establishing an Infrastructure Bank, and easing the transition from EU retained law after Brexit.

Legislation is also expected to reform Companies House and limited companies law, to refresh the financial services regulatory framework, and to reform EU data laws and evolve the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regime.

Public policy expert Scott Wright of Pinsent Masons said: “Taking place shortly after the local elections, where the Conservative Party is projected to lose seats as a result of the fall-out from ‘party-gate’, and the fast-growing cost of living crisis, this year’s Queen’s Speech offers the government a welcome opportunity to reclaim the narrative and evidence that it is getting on with the day job despite the crises which continue to rage both domestically and internationally.”

Wright Scott

Scott Wright

Scottish Affairs and Devolved Nations Lead

Once businesses have clarity on what the legislative agenda for the year ahead will look like they can begin to determine what impact legislation or policy may have

Around 20 pieces of legislation are anticipated in this year’s Queen’s Speech, including some items initially announced last year such as the Procurement Bill and the Counter-State Threats Bill.

While bills which have not completed their passage through parliament in the previous session would normally fall, the government has this year lodged carry-over motions to enable some legislation to continue its progress. These bills include the Online Safety Bill, the Higher Education Bill and the High-Speed Rail (Crewe-Manchester) Bill.

“Once businesses have clarity on what the legislative agenda for the year ahead will look like they can begin to determine what impact legislation or policy may have on their business and assess how they would like to engage with and influence the legislative process,” Wright said.

Anticipated legislation

Bills anticipated in this year’s Queen’s Speech include:

  • Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill to give effect to a White Paper which contains measures aimed at tackling geographical inequality across the UK
  • Energy Bill to facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy and deliver measures contained within the recently published Energy Security Strategy
  • Infrastructure Bank Bill to establish the Infrastructure Bank as a statutory body
  • Brexit Freedoms Bill to improve the ease with which EU retained law can be changed following Brexit
  • Economic Crime Bill to strengthen regulators’ economic crime powers, and reform Companies House and limited companies legislation
  • Financial Services Bill to refresh the financial services regulatory framework post-Brexit
  • Data Bill to reform EU data laws and evolve the UK GDPR regime
  • Railways Bill to bring the country’s train networks under the operation of a new centralised body
  • Media Bill to enable changes to the ownership model and remit of Channel 4
  • Northern Ireland Bill to give ministers powers to override and deactivate aspects of the Northern Ireland Protocol
  • Renters’ Reform Bill to establish a national landlord register and end the practice of ‘no fault evictions’
  • Social Housing Bill to enhance the powers of the Social Housing Regulator and the actions it can take to regulate standards in social housing
  • Bill of Rights to supersede the Human Rights Act and strengthen protections for free speech
  • Legislation to update and reform the Mental Health Act
  • Modern Slavery Bill to implement some of the recommendations of the independent review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015
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