11 May 2022
What does the Queen's Speech mean for our Industry?
The Queen's Speech is the annual opportunity for the Government to set out their work plan for the coming year. Today's event took place with levels of pomp and circumstance back to their pre-pandemic glory, and with the Prince of Wales delivering the speech itself in the absence of the Queen.
The Speech itself provides a useful insight to what we can expect Parliament's legislative agenda to be focused on over the next twelve months. The clear priority was easing the cost of living, not by directly helping consumers or businesses, but by growing the economy generally.
Almost 40 new pieces of legislation were announced. Here are the ones which may affect our industry:
- Non-Domestic Rating Bill - as announced in the Spring Statement, this bill will shorten the cycle of business rates revaluation, from five to three years. Assuming the Bill passes as intended, this will kick in from 2023.
- Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill - it will require an annual report to be published on the Government's progress to level up regional inequalities. It will reform the planning system to give residents more say over local developments and will include measures to ensure landlords let out high streets' empty shops.
- Electronic Trade Documents Bill - the bill will put electronic trade documents on the same legal footing as paper ones. Disappointingly, there's some signs that the Government has fallen for greenwashing here, as it says this bill is intended to cut down on "wasteful paperwork."
- Procurement - a bill will overhaul public procurement processes, and supposedly make it easier for small businesses to compete for public sector contracts (watch this space).
- Data Reform Bill - this piece of legislation will reform the UK's data protection regime, (the GDPR and Data Protection Act) with a system "focused on privacy outcomes rather than box-ticking."
- Brexit Freedoms Bill - this one's intended to make the most of the UK's leaving the EU by allowing the Government to amend, repeal or replace EU law (which was transferred into UK law as part of Brexit). Under this bill, they'll be able to do that without needing new primary legislation - it'll be quicker to get things done, but generally mean less scrutiny.
The full Queen's Speech transcript can be read here on the UK Government website.