The Queen’s Speech – Key Policy Announcements

By December 19, 2019 Press Releases

The Queen today addressed the State Opening of Parliament, marking the beginning of a new session. It involved proposals on Brexit, immigration, education, online harms, broadband. MP’s will now spend the first few days of the new session of Parliament debating the Queen’s speech. The Rt Hon Sajid Javid, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, will deliver his first budget in February 2020.

TIGA has identified the key elements of the Queen’s Speech and provided a briefing below:

Online Harms (Key Elements)

  • The Government will continue to develop an Online Harms Bill in order to make the UK the safest place to be online.
  • The Government will prepare legislation to implement the final policy in response to the consultation.
  • Ahead of this legislation, the Government will publish interim codes of practice on tackling the use of the internet by terrorists and those engaged in child sexual abuse and exploitation. This will ensure companies take action now to tackle content that threatens our national security and the physical safety of children.
  • The Government will publish a media literacy strategy to empower users to stay safe online.
  • The Government will help start-ups and businesses to embed safety from the earliest stages of developing or updating their products and services, by publishing a Safety by Design framework.
  • The Government will carry out a review of the Gambling Act, with a particular focus on tackling issues around online loot boxes and credit card misuse.

Education Funding (Key Elements)

  • The Government will increase levels of funding per pupil to ensure all children can access a high quality education.
  • The Government wants to bring renewed focus to further and technical education and will ensure the post-16 education system 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.
  • There will also be additional investment in T Levels, supporting continued preparation for these courses with the first three starting from September 2020.
  • The Government will invest an additional £3 billion over the course of this Parliament to support the creation of a ‘National Skills Fund’.
  • The Government will invest £1.8 billion over five years in a rebuilding programme to upgrade the entire further education college estate.
  • The Government are also planning to establish 20 Institutes of Technology across England- unique collaborations between further education colleges, universities, and employers –– offering higher technical education and training in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects, to give people the skills they need for key sectors such as digital, construction, advanced manufacturing and engineering.

Immigration Bill (Key Elements)

  • A modern, fair, points-based immigration system will welcome skilled workers from across the world to contribute to the United Kingdom’s economy, communities and public services will be introduced.
  • The Government will bring an end to free movement in UK law, to ensure that the Government can deliver a new Australian-style points-based immigration system from 2021.
  • EU citizens arriving from 2021 will be subject to the same UK immigration controls as non-EU citizens, to enable the Government to deliver a single global immigration system based on people’s skills.
  • In addition to the Immigration Bill, the Government will create visa schemes for new migrants who will fill shortages in our public services.
  • The changes to the immigration system will:
    • Abolish the cap on numbers under the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visas;
    • Expand the pool of UK research institutes and universities able to endorse candidates; and
    • Create criteria that confer automatic endorsement, subject to immigration checks.

Broadband (Key Elements)

  • The Government will accelerate the delivery of fast, reliable and secure broadband networks to millions of homes, with legislation to make it easier for telecoms companies to install digital infrastructure and to ensure all new homes are built with reliable and fast internet.
  • To ensure that no part of the country is left without next-generation broadband, the Government has recently pledged £5 billion to support the roll-out of gigabit-capable broadband in the hardest to reach 20 per cent of the country.
  • In the two years to 2021 the Government have already committed £650 million to stimulate the market to deploy gigabit-capable connections in urban and rural areas through:
    • The £400 million Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund.
    • The £200 million Local Full Fibre Networks Programme which funds locally-led full fibre projects.
    • The £200 million Rural Gigabit Connectivity Programme which will deploy gigabit capable broadband to local hubs in rural areas, starting with primary schools.
    • The £67 million Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme.
  • To further support the commercial environment for investment, the Government laid its Statement of Strategic Priorities for Ofcom in Parliament, formally confirming the regulation needed to maximise the deployment of gigabit-capable broadband.
  • The Government has committed to spend £1.8 billion to bring superfast broadband to over 96 per cent of the country, with thousands of homes and businesses connected each week.
  • Not all areas of the country have decent broadband. To tackle this the Government has introduced the Universal Service Obligation of 10 megabits per second. This is due to come into force in March next year and will give every home and business the legal right to request a decent connection up to a Reasonable Cost Threshold of £3,400 per premise.

 Trade Bill (Key Elements)

  • The Government will create powers so that the UK can transition trade agreements we are party to through our membership of the EU, ensuring continuity for businesses.
  • The Government will establish a new independent UK body, to protect UK firms against injury caused by unfair trade practices and unforeseen surges in imports.
  • The Government will give UK businesses continued access to £1.3 trillion per annum of procurement opportunities in 47 countries, by creating the powers for the UK to implement the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement.

 EU (Withdrawal Agreement Bill) (Key Elements)

  • Implementing the Withdrawal Agreement, Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement and EEA EFTA Separation Agreement in UK law.
  • Implementing the new Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.
  • Protecting the rights of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens in UK law.
  • Providing for the implementation period until 31 December 2020.

The full briefing of the Queen’s Speech can be found here.

Dr Richard Wilson OBE, CEO of TIGA, commented on the Queen’s Speech:

“It is crucially important to support those industries where the UK already has a competitive advantage, which provide high skilled employment and which are export focused. TIGA welcomes the proposals to invest in education in order to create a skilled workforce and to accelerate the delivery of fast, reliable and secure broadband networks. It is important that the UK’s new immigration system enables businesses to recruit highly skilled people from overseas.”

“TIGA looks forward to the implementation of Parliament’s proposals and will continue to engage with the Government in order to advance our vision.”

 

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