There were no surprises in the Queen’s speech.
The notes to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill state that the government will “Overhaul the employment tribunal system, and transform the dispute resolution landscape”.
This rather vague aspiration will give the government substantial wiggle room to move ahead with the some of the following:
- Compensated no fault dismissal (The consultation is now open until 8 June 2012),
- Fundamental change the employment tribunal rules of procedure – which are being reviewed by Mr. Justice Underhill; and
- Push for mediation (http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/employment-matters/docs/e/12-p136-employment-law-review-2012.pdf)
The Children and Families Bill aspires to give parents access to flexible parental leave. We await the detail, but this is expected to usher in the much-anticipated shared family leave regime.
It is worth having a read through the background document – http://bit.ly/ITMGqs.
The Full list of Bills
“Measures will be brought forward to further strengthen regulation of the financial services sector and implement the recommendations of the Independent Commission on Banking.”
The main elements of the draft Bill are:
- modernising the legal framework for care and support, to support the vision of the forthcoming White Paper on care and support
- responding to the recommendations of the Law Commission, which conducted a three-year review into social care law
- establishing Health Education England as a non-departmental public body
- establishing the Health Research Authority as a non-departmental public body
- creating a London Health Improvement Board
- carrying out engagement and pre-legislative scrutiny on the draft Bill, as many in the social care sector have called for, to enable government to listen to people with experience and expertise, to make the most of this unique opportunity to reform the law
- Children and Families Bill
The main benefits of the Bill would be:
- Cutting red tape and delays in giving early specialist support for children and young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and/or disabilities – the biggest reforms for 30 years.
- Cutting the time ethnic minority children wait to be adopted.
- Reforming the family justice system to speed up care proceedings.
- Giving parents access to flexible parental leave.
- Strengthening the law so more children have a relationship with both parents, if families break up – if that is in their best interests.
- Communications Data Bill (draft)
- Crime and Courts Bill
- Croatia Accession Bill
- Defamation Bill
- Electoral Registration and Administration Bill
- Energy Bill
- Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill
The Bill will:
- Overhaul the employment tribunal system, and transform the dispute resolution landscape.
- Improve the effectiveness and efficiency of competition enforcement and the competitiveness of markets, by strengthening the regime and improving the speed and predictability for business.
- Set the purpose of the UK Green Investment Bank and ensure its independence.
- Strengthen the framework for setting directors’ pay by introducing binding votes.
- Extend the Primary Authority scheme, reduce inspection burdens on business and strengthen the legal framework for sunset clauses on regulation.
- Repeal unnecessary legislation, cutting the burden on business and citizens.
- European Union (Approval of Treaty Amendment Decision)
- Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill
- This Bill will create a Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) to uphold the Groceries Code. It will address the market dominance of the large retailers and ensure suppliers are treated fairly and lawfully.
- The GCA would address these competition issues by arbitrating disputes between retailers and suppliers, investigating anonymous complaints, and taking sanctions against retailers who break the rules.
My Government will introduce a Bill to reform public service pensions in line with the recommendations of the report prepared by the Independent Public Service Pensions Commission.
- Small Donations Bill
- Charities will be able to claim top-up payments on up to £5,000 of small donations without needing Gift Aid declarations, under changes announced today in The Queen’s Speech.
- The Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme will boost the income of charities and reduce their administrative burdens as they will not have to collect Gift Aid declarations on all small donations.
- From April 2013, charities will be able to claim the Gift Aid-style top-up payments from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) without needing to get a Gift Aid declaration from donors.
- The top-up payment will be 25p for every pound collected in the United Kingdom, on up to £5,000 of donations, where the individual donations are £20 or less.
HMRC is consulting on the final policy until 25 May.
- Water Bill (draft)
Other priorities included in the Queen’s Speech
- Reducing the deficit and restoring economic stability
- Reforming the rules governing succession to the Crown
- Working cooperatively with the devolved administrations
- Reducing the threat of nuclear proliferation and Iran
- Horn of Africa
- Middle East and North Africa
- International development spending from 2013
- Building strategic partnerships with the emerging powers
- The United Kingdom’s assumption of the Presidency of the G8 in 2013
- The Diamond Jubilee
- The London Olympic and Paralympic Games
- Queen’s Speech 2012: the main points (telegraph.co.uk)
- Queen’s Speech 2012: Bill-by-bill (bbc.co.uk)
- An alternative Queen’s speech (newstatesman.com)