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Queen’s Speech: plans for a hard Brexit but at what expense?

Posted by: Lauren Cox 21 Jun 17  | Government

The Queen’s Speech this morning came in the wake of the snap election that left the Conservative party short of a majority.

Whilst it’s unsurprising that Brexit bills ruled the roost when it came to the government’s plans, there have been a number of key policies in the original Tory manifesto that have not made the cut in light of the party’s inability to strike a deal with the DUP prior to the speech.


The first pledge on Theresa May’s manifesto was to deliver a smooth and orderly
departure from the EU.  

Staying true to her word, the Queen’s Speech proposed a host of new laws in the preparation for Brexit.

Here’s the
BBC’s bill-by-bill guide:

  • Repeal Bill – repealing the European Communities Act and converting EU law into UK law
  • Customs Bill – ensuring that the UK has a customs regime on exit, flexibility to accommodate future trade agreements with the EU and maintaining control over the import and export of goods
  • Trade Bill – implementing legal framework which will allow Britain to strike free trade deals, worldwide
  • Immigration Bill – enabling the end of the free movement of EU nationals into the UK
  • Fisheries Bill – allowing the UK to control access to its waters
  • Agriculture Bill – supporting UK farmers and protect the natural environment
  • Nuclear Safeguards Bill – establishing a UK nuclear safeguards regime in the wake of Brexit
  • International Sanctions Bill – returning decision-making powers on non-UN sanctions to the UK and enabling compliance with international law after Brexit


Housing was high on every party’s agenda and has become especially apparent over the past week. With many expecting a bold initiative for a
housing reform, the pledge to provide new council housing deals to local authorities to build new social housing was absent from the Queen’s Speech today.

Instead, we saw the implementation of the
Draft Tenants' Fees Bill, which will see the end to letting fees. As well as this, the Good Mortgages Bill was proposed which is aimed at protecting homeowners.

So what didn’t make the cut?

The Tories did promise to increase the NHS budget in England by £8billion a year by 2022. While this was not confirmed in the Queen’s Speech, we were assured on mental health legislation reforms in the NHS.

This has gone down well with a number of mental health related charities.
Sarah Brennan, Chief Executive of Young Minds states, "At the moment, too many young people and parents don’t feel they have a say in crucial decisions about treatment and medication, and don’t know how to find the advice and support they need."

"This will require sustainable funding for services, and a rebalancing of the education system so that schools can make wellbeing a priority.”

What may come as a relief to many is the absence of the “dementia tax” with the promise of a fresh consultation of the subject of social care funding. 

Dan Poulter, Conservative MP, believes that the manifesto was "clearly a big mistake" and that he is "pleased that there's been a rethink".

However, he does believe that the government will need to provide more funding for local governments to help them with the current social care crisis. 

When it comes to education and the original promise of £4billion over the next 5 years, the Queen’s Speech did not include any grammar school plans; instead suggesting that the government will “look at their options” over opening new schools. In addition to this, the free school lunch ban was also non-existent, ultimately diminishing the biggest source of funding promised for schools in the Conservative manifesto.

 As we await the decision from the negotiations that are currently taking place in parliament, we can’t help wondering whether the controversy surrounding a hung parliament and the potential coalition will be once bitten, twice shy. Is another election inevitable, and will it be by choice or by default? 

Each of these bills will ultimately ‘replenish’ local governments, but at what cost?


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