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Queen’s Speech 2022: Priority to ease cost of living

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Prince Charles delivered the Queen’s Speech, setting out the agenda for the next parliamentary session, including measures to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

For the first time in nearly six decades, the Queen missed the state opening of parliament due to mobility issues. Instead, the Queen’s Speech was delivered by Prince Charles, with Prince William in support.

The speech referred to “Her Majesty’s government” and “Her Majesty’s ministers”, as it referenced 38 bills from Brexit, to housing, to economic crime and consumer rights.

Below, we outline the key areas of the Queen’s Speech:

The Conservative government’s priority is to “grow and strengthen the economy and help ease the cost of living for families”.

As part of its levelling up plans, it wants to create opportunities in all parts of the country and support more people into work.

In its bid to drive economic growth to improve living standards and fund sustainable investment in public services, the government will take a “responsible approach to the public finances, reducing debt while reforming and cutting taxes”.

Her Majesty’s government will “support the Bank of England to return inflation to its target”. The target is 2% but stood at 7% for March, with forecasts inflation will breach 10% by the end of this year.

A bill will be brought forward to “drive local growth, empowering local leaders to regenerate their areas and ensuring everyone can share in the UK’s success”. As such, the planning system is set for reform “to give residents more involvement in local development”.

Legislation will be put forward to modernise rail services and improve reliability for passengers.

Meanwhile in energy, a bill will deliver the transition to cheaper, cleaner and more secure energy.

Draft legislation to promote competition, strengthen consumer rights and protect households and businesses will be published.

Measures will also be published to create new competition rules for digital markets and the largest digital firms.

Turning to Brexit, Prince Charles, read: “Her Majesty’s government will continue to seize the opportunities of the UK’s departure from the EU. To support economic growth, regulation on businesses will be repealed and reformed. A bill will enable law inherited from the EU to be more easily amended. Public sector procurement will be simplified to provide new opportunities for small businesses”.

Further, new legislation will strengthen the UK financial services industry, ensuring it “continues to act in the interests of all people and businesses”.

The UK data protection regime will be reformed, and the government is set to bring in legislation to improve the regulation of social housing, to strengthen the rights of tenants and ensure better quality and safer homes.

Right that cost-of-living prioritised

Becky O’Connor, head of pensions and savings at Interactive Investor, said: “Tackling the cost-of-living crisis was rightly among the first priorities laid out in the Queen’s Speech – the number of people struggling with covering their essentials, a large proportion of whom are pensioners, grows by the day.

“As well as making it harder to afford the cost of living, inflation is eating away at the pension pot valuations of millions of retired people. Efforts to bring inflation down as soon as possible are vital for this group, who may be worried that the current market conditions mean their pension pots will not last.

“The plan to reform and cut taxes will give those workers currently paying the highest tax rates some hope that this extra burden from taxation will not last forever. Reducing the tax burden and tackling inflation could mean that people building up a pension feel able to start thinking about their future financial security a bit more, and maybe increase their contributions, rather than continuing to put the future on the backburner, in order to deal with the day to day.”

Alicia Kennedy, director of Generation Rent, said: “We can’t level up without dramatic improvements to the quality of rented homes. Reforming tenancies and raising standards in the private rented sector are essential first steps towards this so the government’s recommitment to a Renters Reform Bill is hugely important.

“Renters have been waiting three years for the government to abolish these insidious Section 21 evictions. Finally, legislation looks to be on its way.

“But we can’t rest until the changes are passed into law. Now it’s the details that matter.”

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