UK: Queen´s Speech Draft Legislative Programme

Last Updated: 16 May 2008
Article by James Libson and Max Cole

Originally published May 2008

On Wednesday 14 May the Government announced its Draft Legislative Programme (DLP), a preview of the legislation which the Government intends to include in the Queen's Speech in November.

The DLP was introduced last year under the name "Draft Queen's Speech". It was one of very the first steps taken by Gordon Brown when he took over as Prime Minister. Its purpose, as Brown told the House of Commons, was to reinforce accountability and to expose "initial thinking, previously private, to widespread and informed public debate". The principle was widely welcomed, thought the content was dismissed as "more of the same".

This year's DLP includes 18 measures presented under four themes: Economic stability, Making the most of your potential, Personalisation and improvement of public services and Handing back power to the people. The full list of bills and a summary of each is attached to this note.

Some measures stand out more than others, of course:

  • The Banking Reform Bill is a direct response to the collapse of Northern Rock and the liquidity problems which caused it. A major cause of the run on Northern Rock was not that it went cap-in-hand to the Bank of England but that it did so publicly. This bill will allow the Bank to lend anonymously on a short-term basis.

  • It also provides for greater cooperation between the Treasury, the Bank of England and the FSA when a financial institution gets into trouble. The co-ordination between the three arms of the banking system was a key criticism of the response to the Northern Rock affair.

  • The Equality Bill introduces a single "equality duty"; a positive duty on public bodies to consider the diversity needs of the workforce when developing employment policies.

  • Most significantly, this may signal the Government's intention to do away with individual duties based on race, sex and so on, replacing them with an over-arching duty not to discriminate.

  • The Citizenship, immigration and borders Bill looks like a major piece of legislation consolidating the existing law on immigration. It introduces the concept of earned citizenship a staged approach to the gaining of citizenship including a probationary period outlined by the Home Secretary earlier this year.

It may require migrants to show that they are "active citizens" and, more controversially, to pay a levy to assist with the impact of migrants on established communities.

The DLP invites consultation on the DLP itself and each of the measures it contains. In one sense, then, the DLP is an extended and wide focus group, allowing the Government to test proposed legislation before committing to it in the Queen's Speech. However it presents a positive opportunity for individuals, companies and interest groups to comment on and influence policy. Robust and well-argued responses to the proposed measures can be expected to have real impact.

Whatever your goal, Mishcon de Reya's Public Advocacy Group can assist you in making sure that your interests are clearly and cogently advanced to the right part for Government.

Notes:

The Government's Draft Legislative Programme 2008/2009

Banking Reform Bill

A bill to improve the resilience of the financial system and support financial stability.

Saving Gateway Bill

A bill to provide a financial incentive to saving among the poorest in society.

Business Rates Supplemental Bill

A bill to give upper tier local authorities the power to levy a local supplement on the business rate and retain the proceeds for economic development.

Marine and Coastal Access Bill

A bill to improve and simplify arrangements for managing marine development and protecting the marine environment and biodiversity.

Heritage Protection Bill

A bill to create a transparent heritage protection system and to safeguard the cultural property of the United Kingdom and other nations during armed conflict. Education and Skills Bill A bill to promote excellence in schools and to create a new regulator for qualifications.

Equality Bill

A bill to eradicate discrimination and make Britain a fairer place.

Welfare Reform Bill

A bill to further reform the welfare and benefit systems by providing support and incentives for individuals moving from benefits into work and to provide greater control for disabled individuals.

Policing and Crime Reduction Bill

A bill to reduce bureaucracy and increase accountability in the Police Force and help reduce crime further.

Transport Security Bill

A bill to establish new arrangements for airport security and implement the UK's international obligations to combat terrorist acts at sea.

Communications Data Bill

A bill to allow communications data capabilities for the prevention and detection of crime and protection of national security.

Law Reform, Victims and Witnesses Bill

A bill to deliver a more effective, transparent and responsive justice system for victims, witnesses and the wider public.

Citizenship, Immigration and Borders Bill

A bill to replace all existing immigration legislation with a simplified, clear and coherent legal framework.

Coroners and Death Certification Bill

A bill to deliver an improved system of death investigation for families. National Health Service Reform Bill A bill to take forward those proposals arising from Lord Darzi's 'NHS Next Stage Review' of the NHS in England.

Constitutional Renewal Bill

A bill to redistribute power away from the centralised state by improving civil liberties, strengthening Parliament and making the executive more accountable to the people it serves.

Community Empowerment, Housing and Economic Regeneration Bill

A bill to reform local and regional governance arrangements and to promote economic regeneration.

Geneva Conventions and United Nations Personnel Bill

A bill to fulfil the commitment to provide protection for the new humanitarian symbol (a red crystal) and to extend the legislative protection afforded to United Nations and Associated Personnel.

www.mishcon.com

This article is only intended as a general statement and no action should be taken in reliance on it without specific legal advice.

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