This morning, the Queen led the State Opening of Parliament, marking the new session of Parliament. The Queen’s Speech outlined proposed legislation and included announcements on the NHS, infrastructure, immigration, education and Brexit. MPs will now debate the Queen’s Speech for four days before voting on it. The Government has also announced its intention to hold a Budget on 6 November 2019.
TIGA has identified the key elements of the Queen’s Speech and has provided a briefing below.
Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill
The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill is dedicated to putting a new immigration system in place within the EU. It sets out the following:
- Ending the free movement of EU citizens under UK law.
- The power to align the treatment of EU citizens arriving after January 2021 with non-EU citizens, and to maintain the treatment of EU citizens resident in the UK before exit day.
- Confirming the deadline for applications to be made under the EU Settlement Scheme.
The Queen’s Speech has set out a commitment to the proposals set out in the Online Harms White Paper. Key announcements include:
- A new duty of care on companies towards their users, with an independent regulator to oversee this framework.
- The Government is seeking to do this by ensuring that companies have the right processes and systems in place to fulfil their obligations, rather than penalising them for individual instances of unacceptable content.
- The Government’s public consultation on this has closed and the Government is analysing the responses and considering the issues raised. It says it is working closely with a variety of stakeholders, including technology companies and civil society groups, to understand their views.
- The Government will publish draft legislation for pre-legislative scrutiny.
- Ahead of this legislation, the Government will publish work on tackling the use of the internet by terrorists and those engaged in child sexual abuse and exploitation, to ensure companies take action now to tackle content that threatens our national security and the physical safety of children.
- The Government is also taking forward additional measures, including a media literacy strategy, to empower users to stay safe online. A Safety by Design framework will help start-ups and small businesses to embed safety during the development or update of their products and services.
A commitment to 16-19 year old education (including T-Levels) and technical education has been included. It outlines:
- The Government wants to bring renewed focus to further and technical education, and will ensure the post-16 education system is well funded and organised in a way that enables young people and adults to gain the skills required for success and to help the economy.
- This means an extra £400 million for 16-19 year-old education next year, an increase of 7 per cent overall in 16-19 year-old funding and the biggest injection of new money in a single year since 2010.
- The Government says this will enable further education colleges and school sixth forms to strengthen their provision. It will also include additional investment in T-Levels, supporting continued preparation for these courses and the initial delivery from September 2020.
The Government has committed to increasing digital connectivity and accessibility throughout the UK. This includes:
- Creating a cheaper and faster light-touch tribunal process for telecoms companies to obtain interim code rights (or access rights) for a period of up to 18 months. This will mean that they can install broadband connections where the landlord has failed to respond to repeated requests for access.
- Amending the Building Act 1984 so that Building Regulations require all new build developments to have the infrastructure to support gigabit-capable connections.
- Requiring for developers to work with broadband companies to install gigabit-capable connections in virtually all new build developments, up to a cost cap.
The Queen’s Speech puts proposals in place to protect trade across the UK after leaving the EU. This includes:
- Creating powers so the UK can transition trade agreements the UK is party to through its membership of the EU, ensuring continuity for businesses.
- Establishing a new independent UK body, to protect UK firms against unfair trade practices.
- Giving UK businesses continued access to £1.3 trillion per year of procurement opportunities in 47 countries, by creating the powers for the UK to implement the Agreement on Government Procurement.
- Ensuring the UK Government has legal powers to gather and share trade information as evidence to support UK firms against surges in imports and unfair practices.
Background briefing notes on the Queen’s Speech 2019 can be accessed here.
Dr Richard Wilson OBE, TIGA CEO, commented on the Queen’s Speech:
“If the UK video games industry is to remain world leading after Brexit, it is crucial that the Government’s new migration system enables businesses to recruit talented individuals from overseas. TIGA research indicates that 20 per cent of people working in the UK video games industry are EU nationals, with 5 per cent coming from the rest of the world.
“TIGA welcomes the proposals to invest in education and skills and to increase digital connectivity and accessibility throughout the UK.
“TIGA also supports the Government’s plan to establish a new statutory ‘duty of care’, enforced by an independent regulator, to make companies take more responsibility for the safety of their users. TIGA strongly supports the Government’s intention that the regulator should take a proportionate approach by making clear that companies must do what is ‘reasonably practicable’. The UK’s video games development and digital publishing sector overwhelmingly consists of SMEs. 98 per cent of our studios employ 149 or fewer people. It is critically important that the new regulatory framework protects online users whilst ensuring that the UK is the best place to start and grow a digital business.”
TIGA is the trade association representing the UK’s games industry. The majority of our members are either independent games developers or in-house publisher owned developers. We also have games publishers, outsourcing companies, technology businesses and universities amongst our membership. TIGA is an Investors in People organisation.
TIGA’s vision is to make the UK the best place in the world to do games business. We focus on four sets of activities: political representation, profile raising, enhancing education and developing services that enhance the competitiveness of our members. This means that TIGA members are effectively represented in the corridors of power, their voice is heard in the media and they receive benefits that make a material difference to their businesses.
For further information, please contact Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO on 07875939643: or email firstname.lastname@example.org; or contact David Hodges on 02070911653