The Conservative Government announced its upcoming agenda for the next year in the Queen’s Speech yesterday. We will not of course know the detail of these for some time, but I thought that you would be interested to see what is in the pipeline.
§ Digital Economy Bill – legal right to fast broadband connection.
§ Modern Transport Bill - encourage investment in driverless cars and drones.
§ Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill – planning conditions streamlined; probable privatisation of Land Registry.
§ Local Growth and Jobs Bill – local authorities to retain 100% of business rates.
§ Better Markets Bill – encouraging customers to switch banks and energy providers.
§ Bus Services Bill – elected mayors can franchise local services. I have asked Ministers to mandate that new buses have talking “next stop” technology to help the visually impaired.
§ NHS Overseas Visitors Charging Bill – to charge migrants and visitors for NHS services.
§ Pensions Bill – new rules around multi-employer pension schemes called Master Trusts.
§ Children and Social Work Bill – speed up adoption procedures.
§ Education for All Bill - to convert under-performing schools in "unviable" local authorities to academies.
§ Higher Education and Research Bill – removing barriers for new universities to be set up.
§ Prison and Courts Reform Bill – new "reform" prisons to be opened, emphasising training, rehabilitation and education; Governors of new prisons to have more freedom.
§ National Citizen Service Bill - to deliver the National Citizen Service, promoted in schools.
§ Lifetime Savings Bill – a Help to Save scheme and Lifetime ISA for under-40s.
§ Small Charitable Donations Bill – changing the Gift Aid Small Donations scheme.
§ Counter-Extremism and Safeguarding Bill - to restrict extremist activity including new powers of intervention to tackle radicalisation of children.
§ Criminal Finances Bill – addresses tax evasion, proceeds of crime & money laundering.
§ Cultural Property Bill – ratifies the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the event of armed conflict.
§ Wales Bill – new powers for the Welsh Assembly.
§ Intellectual Property Bill – addresses civil disputes over patents, trademarks & design rights.
§ Draft Law of Property Bill – on simplifying land ownership.
The Government also announced a Bill of Rights to replace the Human Rights Act and a Soft Drinks Industry Levy to increase taxes on producers of drinks with added sugar content.
As you can see, this list includes some measures that may be welcome, depending on the details, as well as some that we will certainly be opposing. As always, I welcome the views and concerns of members.