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Queen’s Speech 2022: The Key New Laws Announced By The Government

today10 May 2022

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Boris Johnson, fresh from heavy losses at last week’s local elections, has unveiled his legislative agenda for the forthcoming parliamentary session.

The government wants to focus on economic growth in the wake of the pandemic, as voters grapple with the cost of living crisis.

The Queen’s Speech, this year delivered by Prince Charles, revealed 38 Bills in total. Here is a run down of some of the key pieces of legislation being proposed.

Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill

The prime minister has tried to put reducing regional inequality at the centre of his leadership. This legislation, being led by Michael Gove, requires an annual report on progress to be published.

The planning system will be reformed to give residents more involvement in local development. And it will help towns force landlords to rent out empty shops to regenerate high streets.

Local residents will also be given more of a say over changing street names. The government says it will also ensure “everyone can continue to benefit from al fresco dining”.

Bill of Rights

Dominic Raab’s Bill will replace the Human Rights Act, which put the European Convention on Human Rights into UK domestic law.

Many Conservatives have complained that it expanded human rights protections too far, including limiting the government’s ability to deport foreign criminals.

The new legislation, the government says, will curb the “incremental expansion of a rights culture”.

A key part of the Bill is also “defending freedom of speech”. This will be done by “promoting greater confidence in society to express views freely”, according to the government.

Public Order Bill

This is a plan to crack down on what the government says are disruptive “guerrilla protests”.

It will outlaw tactics such as protesters “locking on” to public transport infrastructure or gluing themselves to roads, which have been adopted by campaign groups such as Insulate Britain.

Stop and search powers for police will also be extended to search for and seize articles related to protest-related offences.

It represents a bid to revive measures which were previously put forward under the now-passed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill but had to be scrapped after being knocked back by the House of Lords.

Schools Bill

The education package is also being sold as an attempt at levelling up, helping every child fulfil their potential “wherever they live”.

It creates new regulations for academies and introduces a direct National Funding Formula, so that each mainstream school will be allocated funding on the same basis.

Schools will also be required to publish an attendance policy and creates a “children not in school” register.

The current teacher misconduct regime will be strengthened, with new powers to investigate teachers who accused of misconduct.

Brexit Freedoms Bill

The government wants to “seize the opportunities” of the UK leaving the EU to “enable economic growth”.

The main purpose of the legislation is to allow the government to amend, repeal or replace the large amounts of retained EU law without having to propose new primary legislation each time.

It will also assert the sovereignty of parliament by removing the supremacy of retained EU law over UK law in the legal system.

Conversion Therapy Bill

This will ban the practise of so-called conversion therapy, which seeks to suppress or change a person’s sexual orientation.

But it will not ban conversion therapy targeted at trans people, a decision which triggered a significant backlash from many Tory MPs, as well as opposition parties and LGBT groups, when the plan was leaked last month.

Media Bill

This legislation is designed to allow the government to privatise Channel 4, which the government says will enable it to “continue to thrive and grow”.

But the plan faces significant opposition. Many Tory MPs are unhappy with the idea and Labour has warned it could lead to the channel being “gobbled up” by US media companies.

Harbours (Seafarers’ Remuneration) Bill

This is about P&O. The ferry company caused outrage in March when it sacked 800 staff and replaced them with cheaper agency workers.

This legislation will allow ports to refuse access to ferry services that do not pay an equivalent to the National Minimum Wage.

Other Bills include:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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