The government’s legislative programme for the next year will focus on areas such as energy, adult education, cybersecurity and making it easier for SMEs to bid for public sector contracts.
The Queen’s Speech, which marks the annual State Opening of Parliament, sets out the legislation the government will bring before Parliament in the months ahead. Highlights for 2022 include:
- Energy Bill: Designed to support the transition to cheaper, cleaner and more secure energy. This includes delivering on the commitments in the recently announced Energy Security Strategy – the government’s response to the ongoing energy price crisis and the reliance on Russia for energy.
- UK Infrastructure Bank Bill: The UK Infrastructure Bank, a new state-owned investment bank, will be established in law. The bank will use its £22 billion financial capacity to invest in infrastructure projects that support economic growth and the UK’s transition to net zero emissions.
- Non-Domestic Rating Bill: Reform of the business rates system to enable more frequent revaluations and incentivise businesses to invest in their property. This includes the recently-announced rates relief for renewable energy generation and storage systems.
- Procurement Bill: Reform of the UK’s public procurement regime to create a simpler and more transparent system for smaller businesses, such as a single digital platform for supplier registration. It will also enable smaller contracts to be restricted to UK suppliers.
- Higher Education Bill: This will introduce a ‘Lifelong Loan Entitlement’ – a new way of providing loan support for adults at any stage in their career. It will provide every adult with a loan entitlement equivalent to four years of post-18 education that they can use flexibly for a wide range of studies, including shorter and technical courses.
- Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill: Includes plans to improve cybersecurity by introducing minimum security standards for smart connected devices. The aim is to give consumers and businesses, including manufacturers, more confidence in Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.
Elsewhere, the Queen’s Speech confirmed plans to cement the UK’s new free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand into law. The government also stated that the UK is on track to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) – a free trade area of over 500 million people covering 11 Pacific nations – later this year.