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Queens Speech summary of Bills and measures

Following today’s Queen’s Speech the ABI has provided a summary of the Bills and measures announced.

More details on these Bills and measures will be made available in the comings days and weeks. Click on the headings below to read more information about the relevant Bill.

Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill

  • Deliver commitments to freeze the main rates of the majority of working age benefits, tax credits and child benefits from 2016 / 17 for two more years
  • Pensioners would be protected, as would benefits relating to the additional cost of disability
  • Statutory payments such as Statutory Maternity, Paternity and Adoption pay would also be exempted
  • Lower the benefits cap so that the total amount a non-working family can claim is £23,000 annually with exemptions relating to disability and war widow’s and widower’s pension
  • Put in place a new Youth Allowance for 18 – 21 year olds with stronger work related conditionality from Day 1. After six months they will be required to go on an apprenticeship, training or community work placement
  • Remove automatic entitlement to housing for 18 – 21 year olds
  • Create statutory duties to report on progress to increasing employment rate to highest in the G7, meeting target on 3 million new apprenticeships and progress of the Troubled Families Programme

Enterprise Bill

  • Create a Small Business Reconciliation Service
  • Improve the business rates system ahead of 2017 revaluation including by modernising the appeals system
  • Extending Government’s deregulation target to cover the activities of more regulators, require regulators to be more transparent by reporting against their compliance with existing statutory and better regulation requirements
  • Introduce a cap on exit payments made to public sector workers

Finance Bill and other legislation

  • Individuals working 30 hours a week on the National minimum Wage will not pay income tax
  • Ensure there are no rises above current levels in income tax rates, value-added tax or national insurance for the next five years
  • Ensure that the NICs upper earnings limit (the point at which the Employee NICs rate reduces to 2%) is no higher than the income tax higher rate threshold (the point at which income tax increases to 40%)

Childcare Bill

  • Increase entitlement of free childcare to 30 hours a week for working parents of three and four year olds for 38 weeks of the year

Housing Bill

  • Enable extension of Right to Buy levels of discount to housing association tenants 
  • Take forward the Right to Build, requiring local planning authorities to support custom and self-builders registered in their area in identifying suitable plots of land to build or commission their own home
  • Introduce a statutory register of brownfield land to help achieve the target of getting Local Development Orders in place for 90% of suitable brownfield sites by 2020
  • To simplify and speed up the neighbourhood planning system
  • To give effects to other planning and housing legislation that would support housing growth

Energy Bill

  • Formally establish the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) as an independent regulator which would take the form of a government company
  • The Bill will give the OGA additional powers and increase the scope of fees and charges to target the costs of the OGA more closely to those who benefit from its services and functions

Immigration Bill

  • Reform immigration and labour market rules, so the demand for skilled migrant labour is reduced and the exploitation of low-skilled workers is cracked down upon
  • Introduce an offence of illegal working, providing a legal foundation for wages paid to illegal migrants to be seized as proceeds of crime
  • Set up a consultation on funding apprenticeship schemes for British and EU workers by implementing a new levy on businesses that use foreign labour

Trade Unions Bill

  • Pursue the Government’s ambition to become the world’s most prosperous developed economy by 2030
  • Introduce a 50% voting threshold for union ballots turnouts, alongside the introduction that 40% of those entitled to vote must vote in favour of industrial action
  • Tackle intimidation of non-striking workers
  • Introduce a transparent opt-in process for the political fund element of trade union subscriptions

Education and Adoption Bill

  • Remove barriers to converting schools to academy status, make schools categorised as coasting (definition to be set) with prolonged period of mediocre progress eligible for academisation
  • Give the secretary of state new powers to direct local authorities to make arrangements for adoption functions, creating regional adoption agencies

Measures will be introduced to improve access to general practitioners and to mental healthcare

  • Increase investment into the NHS by £8 billion a year by 2020. GP access at evenings and weekends for 18 million patients by the end of the year, to be expanded later and with consideration for seven day hospital access too

Measures will also be brought forward to secure the real value of the basic State Pension

  • Continue the triple lock to give pensioners financial security
  • Continue to protect pensioner benefits such as Winter Fuel Payments, free bus passes, TV licences and free prescription

Measures will be brought forward to increase the rights of victims of crime

  • Support and protect victims, by putting entitlements of the Victims Code in primary legislation, with right to make a victim personal statement and read it out in court at sentencing and at the parole board

Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill

  • Fulfil the Government’s commitments on devolving powers and budgets to boost local growth in England
  • Provide new primary legislative powers to fulfil the Governments manifesto commitments
  • Enable an elected mayor for an authority’s area to undertake functions of Police and Crime Commissioner for the area and enable local authority governance to be streamlined as agreed by councils

HS2 Bill

  • Provide the government with powers to construct and operate phase 1 of the HS2 railway, with the intention that HS2 would bring prosperity to the midlands and the north, whilst freeing up the existing rail network
  • Would give the Government powers to acquire or temporarily take possession of land required for the scheme, and to construct and operate the railway

Scotland Bill

  • Increase the power, responsibility and accountability of the devolved government, whilst retaining benefits of being part of the United Kingdom (economy, pensions, currency, military)
  • Make the Scottish government responsible for raising around 40% of Scotland’s taxes and deciding around 60% of its public spending. New tax powers would include setting thresholds and rates of income tax, keeping money raised, and the first 10% of vat revenue raised in Scotland
  • Devolve responsibility for Air Passenger Duty and the Aggregates Levy to the Scottish Parliament
  • Scottish Parliament will receive around £2.5 billion worth of new welfare powers, power to vary the frequency of Universal Credit payments in Scotland and to set rules over a range of benefits that would affect carers, disabled people, elderly and job seekers
  • A new fiscal framework will be negotiated alongside the Bill. The Barnett formula would be retained but would account for a smaller share of the Scottish Parliaments revenues due to more than half of it relying on tax decisions made at Holyrood

Wales Bill

  • Clarify devolution with a reserved powers model for Welsh devolution including a list of policies reserved for the UK Parliament
  • Devolve powers over energy, transport and local government elections
  • Give National Assembly control over its own affairs including its name, size, electoral system, elections and voting age

Northern Ireland Bill

  • New independent body, Historical Investigations Unit, responsible for outstanding investigations into Troubles-related deaths
  • Establish cross-border body Independent Commission for Information Retrieval, enabling victims and survivors to privately receive information about Troubles-related deaths of family members
  • Create new independent Oral History Archive, as a central place to share and produce historical information on the Troubles

Changes to the Standing Orders of the House of Commons

  • Ensure that decisions affecting only England, or England and Wales can only be taken with the consent of a majority of MPs representing constituencies in England, or England and Wales
  • Maintain integrity of UK Parliament deliberating and voting together, including to set overall spending levels

EU Referendum Bill

The Government intends to renegotiate its relationship with the European Union.  Alongside this stated aim, this Bill will:

  • Enable a referendum to allow the electorate to have an in-out vote on the UK’s membership of the European Union before the end of 2017.
  • Make clear that the franchise for the Referendum will be based on the General Election franchise

Extremism Bill

  • Bring forward measures to promote social cohesion and protect people by tackling extremists
  • Strengthen Government and law enforcement powers to stop extremists promoting views and behaviour that undermines British values
  • Address the gap in Government and law enforcement’s powers to deal with extremism that falls below the thresholds in counter-terrorism legislation

Investigatory Powers Bill

  • Maintain the ability of intelligence agencies to target the online communications of terrorists
  • Provide for appropriate oversight arrangements and safeguards

Policing and Criminal Justice Bill

  • Put a stop to people remaining on bail for long periods of time with no independent oversight of the police’s investigation
  • Create legislatively consistency within the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) to ensure that 17 years olds are treated as children under all its provisions
  • Reform the Mental Health Act 1983 to ensure better outcomes for those experiencing a mental health crisis
  • Continue to reform the criminal justice system to protect better the public, build confidence and improve efficiency
  • Reform the police’s disciplinary and complaints procedures to ensure public confidence
  • Make the Police Federating subject to the Freedom of Information Act and enshrining its core purpose in legislation to improve its transparency and accountability

Psychoactive Substance Bill

  • Protect UK citizens from the risks posed by untested, unknown and potentially harmful New Psychoactive Substances (NPS)
  • Complement the existing UK drug legislative framework in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971
  • Provide a proportionate but robust response to the availability of NPS and the problems they cause

Bring forward proposals for a British Bill of Rights

  • Reform and modernise our human rights legal framework
  • Protect our existing human rights, which are an essential part of a modern democracy

Last updated 01/07/2016