18 December 2019 saw the delivery of the Queen’s Speech to Parliament, setting out the new Government’s agenda. Here, we take a look at some of the elements of proposed legislation that are of most relevance to BiP Solutions’ customers.
The UK’s departure from the European Union on 31 January was a priority, with a total of seven separate points of legislation covering different aspects of Brexit discussed. The proposed legislation covers areas agriculture, fisheries, combating “unfair trading practices” and aiming for stability in financial services. The Department for Exiting the EU itself will be dissolved on 31 January, with some of its functions rolled into the Department for International Trade.
Healthcare is another key area of focus, with legislation being introduced to enshrine a £33.9bn increase in NHS funding by 2023/4. The Mental Health Act will also be reformed, and a Medicines and Medical Devices Bill aims to deliver faster patient access to medical innovations, simultaneously supporting the growth of this area in the UK.
Sustainability and environmental damage are also mentioned, with an Environment Bill establishing a new Office for Environmental Protection, introducing charges for specific single-use plastics, and banning exports of plastic waste to non-OECD countries. This will necessitate the development of capacity to process this waste in the UK, meaning there will need to be investment and development of the relevant infrastructure.
Infrastructure was much discussed during the campaign for the recent election, and it receives specific attention in the Queen’s Speech too, with commitment to a National Infrastructure Strategy that will outline how investiture in public services and infrastructure will be achieved while keeping government borrowing and debt under control. There will also be a move to improve broadband provision, with legislation facilitating the installation of digital infrastructure. You can read more about the implications of the Speech for the construction industry at Construction Online.
Finally, there were many announcements made in defence and security, ranging from new legislation covering espionage to prisoner sentencing. Possibly the major announcement in this area for businesses is the commitment to spend a minimum of 2% of GDP on defence. Defence Online has covered this in more detail.
The text of the Queen’s Speech is available here while the Government’s briefing notes covering the proposed bills are here.