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On 18 May 2016, the Queen commenced the State Opening of Parliament with the Queen’s Speech. The Speech details the Governments legislative plans for the forthcoming parliamentary term and is a tradition that can be traced back to 1536.
A cross-range of policy Bills were announced during the Speech, although a number of these had been detailed in the Chancellor’s Budget Statement earlier this year. It was positive to see that some Bills were directed towards benefiting businesses, notably in areas of reducing redtape and more specifically, developing the future of the automotive industry.
The RMI has provided a summary of these key policies and legislative announcements below:
Modern Transport Bill
Local Growth and Jobs Bill
Better Markets Bill
Digital Economy Bill
Higher Education and Research Bill
Notable Bills continuing from 2015/16 parliament:
Finance Bill 2017
High Speed Rails (London-Midlands) Bill
“My Ministers will ensure the United Kingdom is at the forefront of technology for new forms of transport, including autonomous and electric vehicles.”
The purpose of the Bill is to:
The main benefits of the Bill would be:
The main elements of the Bill are:
“Legislation will also allow local authorities to retain business rates, giving them more freedom to invest in local communities.”
The main elements of the Bill are:
Business Rates Retention system
Local Tax Flexibilities
“Legislation will be introduced to improve Britain’s competitiveness”
The purpose of the Bill is to:
Main elements of the Bill:
Environment for competition
The Bill’s substantive provisions would apply to all regulation made by UK ministers where Westminster has legislative competence, and to all regulatory functions except where functions are devolved.
National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA)
“The NFDA is encouraged by the government’s continued commitment to ensuring economic growth and stability throughout the UK; enabling innovations and new technologies to flourish, notably in the automotive sector and providing strong jobs growth and employment” said Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), commenting on the Queen’s Speech delivered earlier today (18.05.2016).
Robinson continued, “Cutting red tape, speeding up decision making processes and creating jobs are all positive steps that our members will be pleased to see delivered in today’s speech”.
The Queen stated: “My Ministers will ensure the United Kingdom is at the forefront of technology for new forms of transport, including autonomous and electric vehicles”. One of the Government’s main goals in this area is to develop the right infrastructure to allow modern transportation to flourish.
Robinson concluded: “The NFDA is pleased to see that the government is aware of the changes taking place in the transport sector and that it will continue to support the introduction of autonomous and electric vehicles. We are looking forward to seeing how the Government’s commitments will enhance the industry’s growth further and enable the automotive sector to continue thriving”.
Other notable Bills announced today:
Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)
In the Queen’s Speech today, government announced a commitment to support connected and autonomous vehicle development.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “SMMT welcomes government’s commitment to accelerate the development of connected and autonomous vehicles in the UK. This is a huge opportunity for Britain, with the potential to deliver significant road safety improvements, create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and generate £51 billion for the economy by 2030. Today’s announcement will help the UK position itself as a global leader in innovation and building the cars of the future.”
Institute of Directors: Queen’s Speech 2016
Queen’s Speech: “Don’t just do something, stand there!”
Lack of big announcements is no bad thing, say business leaders
Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors:
“The Government was right to resist the temptation to announce lots of eye-catching initiatives in the Queen’s speech. Once the referendum hiatus is over, the focus for ministers must be on following through on several worthwhile programmes already in train to boost innovative companies.
“The most exciting area of the Government’s agenda for us is the Modern Transport Bill, which continues the work on developing the UK’s first spaceport and encouraging job-creation in the industry. The Bill also contains encouragement for firms working on driverless cars, and the lays a framework for the commercial use of drones. Properly supervised, both are exciting growth areas for business.
“We are concerned, however, that the commitment to enable all households to access broadband speeds of 10 megabits per second is not ambitious enough. Several cities around the world are pushing ahead with networks of 10 gigabits per second – a thousand times faster. If the UK is going to continue to be a world leader in the digital economy, the Government needs to look further ahead than their basic universal service obligation.”
The IoD has long supported the development of a UK space industry, first calling for a spaceport in 2012, and published a report on broadband in February, calling for the Government to adopt an new target of 10 gpbs by 2030.
The British Chambers of Commerce said the commitment to a legal right to high-speed broadband was welcome, but said the bigger decisions were yet to come:
“Businesses want decisive action to boost aviation capacity, help companies plug skills gaps, and stop the steady drip of new taxes and costs piled on their bottom lines at a time of significant uncertainty. Firms want to see bold and decisive steps from government after the EU referendum – whatever the outcome – to help Britain get back to business.”
The Federation of Small Businesses said there were a number of Bills that could have a “big impact on small businesses and their ability to grow”.
Helping to rebalance the economy and deliver growth in all parts of the country will be a fundamental test of this Parliament, and we are pleased this appears to be another core theme of the coming legislative programme.
“Given the focus on the European Union referendum in this political cycle, it’s particularly encouraging to see the Government’s clear commitment to locking in growth, creating jobs and boosting investment to create a more prosperous society.
“This year’s speech feels like a missed opportunity. Instead of announcing much-need investment in core industries, like manufacturing and construction, ministers are trying to push through damaging changes to our schools and universities.
Institution of Engineering and Technology
Queen’s Speech 2016: IET response to Queen’s Speech: driverless vehicles will need software MoT
New laws announced in today’s Queen’s Speech will allow fully autonomous vehicles to be insured under normal policies in the UK. This announcement, according to the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), is an important step forward which will ultimately improve road safety and reduce congestion, but the Government also needs to introduce legislation to improve cyber security in autonomous vehicles.
Hugh Boyes, the IET’s cyber security expert, said: “Driverless vehicles have huge potential to transform the UK’s transport network and are a great opportunity to test the technology so that the UK can remain at the forefront of research and development.
“However, we must ensure that cyber security is carefully considered. It is not just about the threat of a car being hacked, it also relates to the overall security and safety of the vehicle’s operation.
“For that reason it will be crucial that the Government introduces proper regulations for autonomous vehicles, which should include the need for a software MoT to be performed on a regular basis. This should help to assure the ongoing trustworthiness of the vehicle software and systems.
Queen’s Speech 2016: insurance in a digital age….and with driverless cars
Mohammad Khan, PwC’s insurance leader, welcomes the inclusion of insurance within the raft of measures on driverless cars contained in today’s Queen’s Speech, saying:
“As technology continues to advance, and people’s lives adapt to this emerging digital landscape, it is vital that insurers continue to focus on how they can best meet these evolving consumer needs, from the introduction of driverless cars to homeowners renting out properties via digital apps.
“As well as considering what needs insured, another aspect is when and how long this is required, for example, for customers who only want insurance when they drive their car rather than all year round.
“Traditional insurers need to keep pace with the changes in people’s lives otherwise new entrants and other providers may end up disrupting the insurance model and relegating insurers to just being manufacturers of insurance – or perhaps even making their roles redundant.”