Blog: Queen’s Speech: From protesters to a new football regulator – what is in Boris Johnson’s legislative agenda for the next year – Sky News

The government has set out its legislative agenda for the new parliamentary session in the Queen’s Speech.

Laying out what new laws will shape people’s lives over the next year, it contains 38 pieces of legislation.

For the first time in 59 years the Queen was forced to defer to her son Prince Charles and grandson Prince William to deliver the speech in Parliament.

Charles standing in for Queen as Boris Johnson’s priorities revealed – follow live updates

Here Sky News takes a closer look at what is in the speech this year and how it could affect our lives.

Public order

This bill focuses mainly on protests. It creates a new criminal offence against people ‘locking-on’ to buildings, objects or other people and causing serious disruption to people’s lives, businesses and the emergency services.

Another offence makes it a crime to disrupt key infrastructure, including airports, railways and printing presses.

It also specifically makes it illegal to obstruct major transport works, such as HS2.

The police will have wider stop and search powers for protesters and a new Serious Disruption Prevention Orders will also help crackdown on what the government describes as a “selfish minority of protesters”.

National security

This bill will overhaul current laws on espionage, including the Official Secrets Act.

It will create a new offence for state-backed sabotage, foreign interference, theft of trade secrets and assisting a foreign intelligence service.

A new US-style Foreign Influence Registration Scheme will require individuals to declare themselves as working for a foreign government or agency in the UK.

It will also stop convicted terrorists from using legal aid or civil damage payments to fund terrorism.

Independent football regulator

This bill will create a new independent regulator of English football, instead of the FA.

It will protect clubs’ long-term financial sustainability in the interests of clubs and fans.

The regulator would also make sure stewards are fit to practice and protect changes to logos, branding, kits and emblems to protect clubs’ heritage.

Levelling up and regeneration

This bill will “empower local leaders to regenerate their areas”, giving local mayors and council leaders the power to let out empty High Street retail buildings for residential use.

It will also see reforms to the planning system, give residents more say over changing street names, and make sure communities can benefit from alfresco dining in town and city centres.

Transport

The transport bill will establish a new body, Great British Railways, to manage the rail network.

According to the government this will “modernise service and improve reliability for passengers”.

It will also legalise self-driving and remotely-operated vehicles and support the roll-out of more electric vehicle charging points.

Energy security

This will “build on the success” of last year’s COP26 environment summit in Glasgow with a pledge to build up to eight nuclear power stations and increase wind and solar energy production in the UK.

Media Bill

This bill will privatise Channel 4 and give it a “new corporate structure that could be sold” – something that has been heavily criticised across the media industry.

It would also give regulator Ofcom greater powers over video-on-demand services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

The Media Bill also repeals Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, which would force publishers to pay court costs in any case they are involved in if they are not signed up to the appropriate regulator – regardless of the outcome.

Brexit freedoms

Aimed at “seizing the opportunities of the UK’s departure from the EU”, the Brexit Freedoms Bill will make it easier to amend EU laws without it “taking decades of parliamentary time”.

It will also cut £1bn of “burdensome EU red tape for business”.

Procurement

Also on Brexit, the government wants to “take back control of the rules that govern how public money is spent”.

New arrangements will help the government buy in products and services – such as PPE and vaccines during the pandemic – needed to “protect life, health and order”.

The bill will also make it easier for small-to-medium businesses to bid for public sector contracts.

Financial services and markets

This bill will replace EU financial regulation with a UK one, reform the rules that currently regulate UK capital markets in order to promote investment, and ensure people across the UK “continue to be able to access their own cash with ease”.

It will also offer better protection for those investing in financial products against scams.

Bill of rights

This bill will reform UK human rights law, “reducing reliance” on the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The government says it will “end the abuse of the human rights framework and restore some common sense to our justice system”.

It claims it will help stop the deportation of criminals on a human rights basis, giving greater weight to the security and safety of the public.

The bill will also stop human rights claims where an individual’s behaviour may influence the court by offering them damages.

Data reform

Reforming the way data is handled in the UK after Brexit, the bill will create a “world-class data rights regime”, modernise the Information Commissioner’s Office to crack down on data breaches, and promote ‘smart data schemes’ that help citizens and small businesses take better control of their data.

Australia and New Zealand trade

This bill will put into law the ‘from scratch’ free trade agreements already negotiated with Australia and New Zealand after Brexit.

They will remove tariffs on all UK goods exports to the two countries, which will help financial services in Scotland, distillers in Northern Ireland, aerospace manufacturers in the West Midlands and fintech businesses in Wales, according to the government.

Genetic technology and precision breeding

Designed to “encourage agricultural and scientific innovation” across England, this bill will remove EU regulation on precision-bred plants and animals.

It will create a simpler regulation system for them, which will help meet the ambitions of the government’s 25-year environment plan.

Digital markets, competition and consumer

This will include new competition rules for the “largest digital firms” such as Facebook, Twitter and Google, as well as measures that “strengthen consumer rights and protect households and businesses”.

UK infrastructure bill

This bill will establish a UK Infrastructure Bank in law, which will help support economic growth, while still keeping to net zero climate targets.

Schools and higher education

Education measures will include encouraging schools to be part of larger trusts to “level up standards” and to help achieve the goal of 90% of primary school children obtaining the required reading, writing and maths levels.

It will also reform funding between schools and crackdown on attendance through ‘children not in school registers’.

Mental health reform

A £2.3bn real terms funding increase in mental health services will mean a further two million people can access NHS mental health care.

The bill also funds 33 new maternal health services across England by 2024 that combine psychological therapy and maternity services for those who have experienced trauma during pregnancy.

There will also be 399 dedicated health teams in schools across England by the end of 2023.

Economic crime and corporate transparency

This is aimed at cracking down on “kleptocrats, including [Russian President] Vladimir Putin’s cronies, criminals and terrorists” who abuse the UK economy.

It includes new identity verification requirements for people who manage, own and control companies and UK-registered entities so people cannot do so fraudulently.

Companies House will also be able to cross-check data with other public and private sector bodies to weed out criminal activity.

And there will be more powers to quickly seize and recover cryptocurrency assets, which are often used for ransomware.

Northern Ireland Troubles – legacy and reconciliation

This bill will “address the legacy of Northern Ireland’s past” by better supporting victims, survivors and their families, and protecting veterans from prosecution.

A new Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery will allow individuals to access information about any Troubles-related death or injury and create a record of all Troubles-related fatalities.

It will build on previous efforts to provide veterans with immunity from Troubles-related offences, but still “leave open the route of prosecution if individuals are not deemed to have earned immunity”.

The bill will also aim to memorialise the Troubles with a new oral history scheme.

Boycotts, divestment and sanctions

This bill will “stop public bodies from adopting their own approach to international relations” and stop them from imposing their own boycotts, divestment and sanctions.

According to the government there are “concerns such boycotts may legitimise anti-Semitism” as they are often used overwhelmingly against Israel.

Public bodies will also have to carry out procurement and investment in line with UK foreign policy.

Social housing regulation

This bill will allow housing regulators to intervene when landlords are failing their tenants and carry out inspections to find out if they are.

A new Tenants Satisfaction Measures scheme will allow renters to see how their landlords are performing and new rules will ensure housing associations can request information about their landlords.

There will also now be no cap on fines given to landlords who fail to meet standards.

Conversion therapy

This bill will ban conversion therapy practices intended to change sexual orientation – but it will not cover those carried out on transgender people.

New Conversion Therapy Orders will protect vulnerable people by removing their passports if they are at risk of being taken abroad.

Non-domestic rating

This will overhaul the business rates system to make sure firms “have confidence they are paying the right tax”.

The government will introduce more frequent revaluations, which will make bills “more responsive to economic changes”.

There will also be 12-month rates reliefs where companies have made improvements to a property and 100% rates reliefs for low-carbon heat networks.

Product security and telecommunications infrastructure

Designed to ensure smart devices, such as the Amazon Alexa, are protected against cyber-attacks, this bill will ensure they comply to minimum security standards.

The bill will also reform the Electronic Communications Code to ensure better broadband connectivity across the UK.

Electronic Trade Documents

This will allow businesses to use digital forms instead of traditional paper documents in key legal transactions, which the government says will “remove the need for wasteful paperwork and needless bureaucracy”.

High-speed rail (Crewe to Manchester)

This bill sets out in law the building of the next phase of the HS2 rail link.

It will offer a high-speed service from Crewe to Manchester to “tackle regional disparity”.

Audit reform

The Draft Audit Reform bill will establish a new statutory regulator called the Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority.

The government says this will “rebuild trust” in the system and the insolvency regulatory framework.

Higher Education

Adding to the Schools Bill, this one is designed to increase social mobility in over-18s by helping them access financial support for higher education.

It will ensure university fee limits are applied more flexibly.

And subject to a consultation, it will also mean pupils in England will have to get certain grades to access student finance and will allow a crackdown on the “uncontrolled growth of low-quality courses”.

Renters reform

This bill will abolish ‘no fault’ evictions, giving renters better rights when they are told to leave despite complying with the terms of their tenancy.

It will also reform landlords’ grounds for possession and give them greater powers to tackle repeated rent arrears or anti-social behaviour among tenants.

A new ombudsman for private rented landlords will ensure disputes can be easily resolved without going to court.

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