Queen’s Speech 2021: summary of key bills and legislation announced - from planning to electoral integrity
and live on Freeview channel 276
The government’s legislative agenda for the new session of Parliament has been unveiled in today’s Queen’s Speech.
Proposals to introduce a requirement to show ID in order to vote in elections as well as push through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill have been met with fierce criticism from opposition parties and campaigners.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson billed the agenda as a plan for “unleashing our nation’s full potential” during the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
What did the Queen’s Speech include?
While focus will in part fall on what the plan lacks – such as measures to address the social care funding crisis – here is a brief look at the legislation announced by No 10:
A Health and Care Bill seeks to lay the foundations for a more integrated, efficient and accountable health and care system while delivering the NHS’s Long Term Plan.
Dominic Cummings may be out of Downing Street and embroiled in a feud with the Prime Minister but one of his pet projects remains. The Advanced Research and Invention Agency Bill will support the funding of high-risk research projects.
The High Speed Rail (Crewe – Manchester) Bill would give the powers to build and operate the next stage of the HS2 project in the North West.
Extending 5G mobile coverage and high-speed broadband, as well as protecting against cyber attacks, are the focus of the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill.
Central to the Government’s plans to recover from the pandemic is the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill seeking to offer a lifetime skills guarantee for access to education and training.
The European Union’s state aid rules no longer apply in the wake of Brexit, so the Subsidy Control Bill would implement the UK’s own regime.
The Procurement Bill aims to ensure public procurement is quicker, simper and more transparent, while enshrining in law the principle of value for money.
Freeports would be established and relief for employers provided under the National Insurance Contributions Bill.
One area of contention with backbench Conservative MPs, the Planning Bill seeks to overhaul the planning system as a means to build homes and infrastructure, such as schools and hospitals.
The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill aims to address inconsistency surrounding ground rents for future leaseholders.
In the wake of the Grenfell Tower atrocity, the Building Safety Bill will implement recommendations to improve safety and establish a new regulator.
Around £800 million is expected to be unlocked for social and environmental initiatives by the Dormant Assets Bill.
The Charities Bill proposes to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy to boost the voluntary sector.
New legally-binding targets to tackle the climate crisis would be enshrined in the Environment Bill.
Animal sentience would be recognised in law with the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill.
The Kept Animals Bill also seeks to tackle cruelty while improving standards in zoos, cracking down on puppy smuggling and ending the practice of keeping primates as pets.
The import of hunting trophies from endangered animals would be banned under the Animals Abroad Bill.
Controversial plans to require voters to have identification before casting ballots in a polling station would be introduced with the Electoral Integrity Bill.
The Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill seeks to ensure equal treatment for all members within the main public service pension schemes.
Freedom of speech on university campuses and academic freedom will be addressed in the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill.
Subject to consultation, the Judicial Review Bill states its intention as preventing the judiciary from being drawn into political questions.
The Fixed-term Parliaments Act will be repealed and the Prime Minister given back the power to call general elections under the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill.
The New Decade, New Approach deal would be implemented with the Northern Ireland (Ministers, Elections and Petitions of Concerns) Bill.
Having been shelved as demonstrations took place over concerns it would curtail the right to protest, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill has returned to the agenda.
In further legislation to address the EU exit, the Professional Qualifications Bill would give powers to UK regulators to enter agreements with their overseas counterparts to recognise qualifications.
A Draft Victims Bill seeks to enshrine in law the rights set out in the new victims’ code.
Controversial measures to overhaul the asylum system would be introduced under the New Plan for Immigration Legislation, in a bid to deter migrants making perilous journeys to the UK.
Legislation to protect internet users and make Ofcom the online safety regulator would be introduced in the Draft Online Safety Bill.
Service personnel, veterans and their families would get greater protection under the Armed Forces Bill.
Threats to the security of fuel supply would be addressed with a Draft Downstream Oil Resilience Bill.
The security services and law enforcement agencies would be given tools to tackle hostile activity from states under the Counter-State Threats Bill.
High risk communication vendors such as Huawei would face controls on services and equipment under the Telecommunications (Security) Bill.