The Queen’s Speech is written by the Government of the day and presented to the opening of Parliament with usually a long list of proposed Bills that the government intends to make law i.e., an Act of Parliament in the next year.
The Queen’s Speech was different this year (2022) in that it was delivered by Prince Charles as the Queen sadly has mobility issues. The speech set out proposals for 38 new Bills in the coming year and we have covered below the ones that we believe are relevant to your financial planning.
How does a Bill become an Act of Parliament?
The Bill is first read in the House of Commons (MPs) and then in the House of Lords (Lords), it passes between the two Houses for two readings with suggested amendments, additions, removals, and wording changes. It then goes through the Committee stages in both Houses before a reporting stage and then final readings before both Houses before being passed, usually immediately, before the Parliamentary session ends for Royal Assent (allegedly the Queen approves it – although she has little choice) and becomes law i.e., an Act of Parliament.
Bill starts in the House of Commons
Bill in the House of Lords
1st reading – essentially an order to Print the Bill to be read
2nd reading – drafted and nitty gritty presented
Committee stage – This is the Public Bill Committee
1st reading - amendments
2nd reading - amendments
Consideration of amendments
Audit Reform Bill
To tighten up accountancy, audit, coporate reporting and insolncy standards for accountants and auditors in the UK. To make those people accountable for errors or mis-reporting. The aim being to bring even greater confidence in company reporting both from a shareholder, investor and doing business in the UK position.
Financial Services and Markets Bill
This Bill will revoke all EU financial services laws that the UK mirrored when leaving Europe. In fact, most of EU financial services laws were based upon UK regulations. The new Bill will form the rules and regulations for the UK “designed for the UK” financial markets and make the UK an even more competitive centre for international finance. It also intends to simplify rules for advisers and firms offering financial guidance rather than formal advice that they become liabile for without needing to recoommend actual financial products. This should mean better access for those to financial guidance that cannot afford regulated financial advice. It is also hoped this will allow the development of fintech to better serve all with financial guidance for us all to better manage our money.
Levelling up and Regeneration Bill
The aim is to continue with plans to level up the North/South economic divide. Extra funding will be supplied to keep council taxes low for local residents but in turn, local authorities will be allowed to increase council taxes up to double for unoccupied second homes. In addition, high street commercial premises empty for more than 1 year may be forced into local ‘rent auctions’ to force a tenancy to the highest local bidder, this may mean many commercial landlords are forced to accept lower rental terms than perhaps they are currently asking for. That said, it will hopefully inject life not just ino the high street but also give local start-ups a chance.
Online Safety Bill Will Continue To Proceed Through Parliament
Online and smartphone Apps, search engines, social media and websites will be forced to protect children and bock illegal activity. Freedom of speech must be maintaioned but companies failing to make provision for all of the above could face fines of up to 10% of global turnover.
Renters Reform Bill
Landlords will face more restrictions on evicting tenants from buy-to-let properties as well as making easier for ladlords to have shorter notice periods to evict difficult tenants e.g. persistent anti-social behavour or those with regular rental arrears. In short, if you are a good tenant then you will not face short-notice evictions just because the landlord wishes to sell push to out to charge an ever higher rent. The bill will also introduce a first ever legal requirement for the landlord to provide a ‘Decent Standard Home’. In the leasehold market, changes with be made to allow the Competition and Markets Authority to prevent excessive ground rents on leashold property.
Social Housing Regulation Bill
Much the same as private landlords, social housing tenants will get rights to better quality homes with local authorities and social housing groups being required to upgrade and ensure better quality housing. This will also include safety aspects such as cladding. It will enable tenants to make their landlords accountable for poor quality housing.
Social Security (Special Rules For End Of Life) Bill
The aim of this Bill is to instill much better cohesiveness between involved parties dealing with endf of life care e.g. terminal illness to be defined as having 12 months or shorter to live with target areas being forced, by law to work together on 3 mains points: Fasttrack access to ill-health/end of life benefits earlier without the need for face to face assessment, the NHS to be involved in all decisions to ensure relavent health managaement for those near end of life and thirdly, care support offered by care homes, supprt groups, charties and medical teams to be involved in all those same decisions.