Yesterday, the Queen announced forthcoming legislation for the year ahead at the state opening of Parliament. Redwood Consulting examines the key points of interest.
As the main parties grapple with internal divisions ahead of the EU referendum on 23rd June, Prime Minister David Cameron described the speech as a “One Nation Queen’s speech from a One Nation Government”.
The government has been keen to point to a legislative agenda packed with social reforms. The prominence of moves to increase housebuilding, improve infrastructure and devolve power stands as a reminder that the housing crisis remains at the forefront of government thinking.
Planning, infrastructure, transport and business rates measures all featured among the 21 bills listed and will be of interest to the property industry, although steps to tackle extremism and reform the criminal justice system will undoubtedly gain wider attention.
Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill
The government has ambitious plans for the delivery of one million new homes, while protecting the Green Belt. This Bill promises to transform the way homes and infrastructure projects are planned by further empowering local communities.
On Neighbourhood Planning, further legislation is being introduced to give more powers to local people.
Pre-commencement planning conditions look set to receive a shake-up and the government will introduce measures to tackle the overuse of conditions in order to speed up the delivery of new homes.
Compulsory purchase orders will be made “clearer, fairer and faster” in new legislation.
The National Infrastructure Commission, which the government established last year to provide a “strategic vision on the future of infrastructure” to 2050, will have a statutory footing.
The future of the Land Registry will also be the subject of consultation and it seems set to be privatised, in a move the government hopes will support the delivery of a “digitally-based land registration service”.
A briefing note published today reveals more on this and the other forthcoming legislation.
Local Growth and Jobs Bill
The Local Growth and Jobs Bill will change the way local authorities are funded. Local authorities are set to be able to retain 100 per cent of their business rates and will have the power to cut rates for local firms, in a move intended to boost economic growth.
Around £26 billion is raised from business rates throughout England and this Bill promises to continue the Chancellor’s ‘devolution revolution’.
Combined Authority Mayors will have the power to raise additional funding from Business Rates and this is set to be used to fund infrastructure where it supports local businesses.
Notably, the Local Growth and Jobs Bill will only apply to England, rather than the devolved authorities.
Elsewhere in the Queens Speech
A Modern Transport Bill will be introduced to speed up the adoption of driverless cars and tighten the laws around drones. The UK is also set to get a spaceport in a move designed to attract high-skill jobs.
Other steps will give directly-elected Mayors more power to control bus services and transport data will be made freely available to developers of computer and mobile phone apps.
The Better Markets Bill promises to encourage competition and deliver on the government’s promises to help slash household bills.
A swathe of other measures will be implemented around the NHS, schools, universities and pensions. This coming year is also likely to see the implementation of the promised soft drinks levy and Lifetime ISA.
Following an eventful few weeks, with the local elections and passing of the Housing & Planning Bill, Redwood Consulting will keep you up-to-date on the new legislation as it makes its way through Parliament. Click here for a bill-by-bill summary.