King Charles III set out the government’s legislative agenda as he opened Parliament on 7th November. This is the nation’s first King’s Speech in 70 years.
To address the long-term challenges created by Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine, the government will focus on increasing economic growth and safeguarding health and security ‘for generations to come’. This will be achieved by bringing down inflation to ease the cost of living, and legislation will be introduced to reduce reliance on ‘volatile international energy markets and hostile regimes.’ The bill will support the future licensing of new oil and gas fields in order to help the country reach net zero by 2050. There are also plans to attract ‘record levels of investment’ in renewable energy sources, with hopes of the UK decarbonising faster than any other G7 economies.
The government will focus on increasing economic growth and safeguarding health and security ‘for generations to come’
Green organisations, such as The Association for Renewable Energy & Clean Technology (REA), have criticised the governments’ advance in oil and gas exploration, stating that it is ‘not compatible’ with energy security and net zero.
On infrastructure, the government will invest in Network North, a £36 billion plan, to deliver faster and more reliable journeys between and within the North and Midlands. There will also be a long-term plan to regenerate towns to put local people in control of their future, with new legislation being brought forward to safeguard the future of football clubs for the benefit of communities and fans.
On education, the Advanced British Standard, which will bring technical and academic routes into a single qualification, will be introduced. Controversially, proposals will be implemented to reduce the number of people studying ‘poor quality university degrees’ and increase the number undertaking high quality apprenticeships.
Controversially, proposals will be implemented to reduce the number of people studying ‘poor quality university degrees’ and increase the number undertaking high quality apprenticeships
Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has previously stated that students are ‘being taken advantage of with low-quality courses that don’t lead to a job that makes [the degree] worth it’ and that this leaves them financially worse-off. Both Labour and the Lib Dems are critical against this, since they believe it will restrict choice for young people.
New laws include new legal frameworks to support self-driving vehicles, new competition rules for digital markets, and legislation to create a smokefree generation by restricting the sale of tobacco and e-cigarettes.
On healthcare, the government will deliver on the NHS workforce plan to cut waiting lists with the first long-term plan to train the medical workforce. This aims to prevent strikes from undermining patient safety. Record levels of investment towards mental health services will expand to increase support and access.
On an international level, the government strives to work closely with international partners to support Ukraine, strengthen NATO, and address the most pressing security challenges, including ‘the consequences of the barbaric acts of terrorism against the people of Israel.’ A bill will progress the construction of a national Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in Victoria Tower Gardens to tackle antisemitism.
On an international level, the government strives to work closely with international partners to support Ukraine, strengthen NATO, and address the most pressing security challenges
The key emphasis in the King’s Speech is the government’s commitment to making long-term decisions in the interests of future generations through policies in education, the economy, and the environment.