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Janet Jack CEO Blog – The State Opening of Parliament, Queen’s Speech

In a much more low-key ceremony than normal due to Covid restrictions, the Queen has set out the government’s priorities for the next year at the State Opening of Parliament.
The speech included 30 bills in all – although some of them have been carried over from the previous parliamentary session. She began by setting out the government’s priority, after a turbulent year in which the economy shrank by 9.9 per cent, which is to “deliver a national recovery from the pandemic that makes the United Kingdom stronger, healthier and more prosperous than before” As part of this the government pledged to “strengthen the economic ties across the union, investing in and improving national infrastructure” in a bid to spread opportunity more evenly across the UK.
Of course, all of this costs money but the government also promised to “ensure that the public finances are returned to a sustainable path once the economic recovery is secure”.
The main focus was on what the government likes to call “levelling up” — with a pledge to boost skills and jobs. The government will introduce the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill – detailing the plans – next week. As part of Boris Johnson’s “lifetime skills guarantee” to enable access to high quality education and training adults will be able to apply for up to four years’ worth of student loans at any time in their life in order to study at college or university.
She also announced the government’s commitment to build on the success of the vaccination programme to lead the world in life sciences, pioneering new treatments against diseases like cancer.
Some of the other key bills announced today include:
Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill which will extend 5G mobile coverage and introduce new safety standards for digital devices.
Subsidy Control Bill will set out post-Brexit regulations on how the government can support private companies, now the UK has left the EU.
National Insurance Contributions Bill which will offer tax breaks for employers based in eight freeports to be set up in England later this year.
MPs will now have the opportunity to debate the proposed new laws.
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