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QueensSpeechOn 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

Pensions Bill

Higher Education and Research Bill
Notable Bills continuing from 2015/16 parliament:

Finance Bill 2017

Wales Bill

High Speed Rails (London-Midlands) Bill

Modern Transport 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:

  • Cut red tape and put the right framework in place to allow innovation to flourish.
  • Create the conditions that drives innovation and puts the UK at the forefront of modern global transport developments as part of the country’s long term economic plan.
  • Maintain and extend the UK’s role as a world-leading transport manufacturing base.
  • Ensure new technology delivers better, safer journeys, while keeping Britain at the cutting edge of international transport technology.

The main benefits of the Bill would be:

  • Reducing congestion, which has been estimated to cost the UK economy £20 billion every year.
  • Modern transportation can make much more efficient use of our roads, railways and airspace, cutting congestions, speeding up journeys for people and goods and boosting the UK’s economy.
  • The UK exported 1.2 million cars last year. This Bill would put the UK at the forefront of autonomous and driverless vehicles ownership and use.
  • Setting the framework for the UK’s first spaceport and autonomous vehicles, paving the way for commercial spaceflight and drone operations in the UK and boosting our world-leading satellite industry.

The main elements of the Bill are:

  • Encouraging potential investors in autonomous vehicles, spaceplane operations and spaceports, creating highly skilled jobs and spurring innovation across the economy.
  • Legislation that will put the UK at the forefront of safe technology in the autonomous vehicles industry, such as drones, and spaceplanes.
  • Ensuring appropriate insurance is available to support the use of autonomous and driverless vehicles.

Key facts:

  • Trials of automated and driverless cars are currently taking place in Bristol, Greenwich, Milton Keynes and Coventry (The 4 Cities Driverless Car Trials), and we expect to see vehicles (cars and/ or pods) driving themselves later this year)
  • Since the launch of the Plug-In Car Grant in January 2011, there have been 60,755 eligible electric cars registered.
  • The Teals Group’s market study estimates that drone production will soar from current worldwide production of $4 billion annually to $414 billion, totalling $93 billion in the next ten years. With addition of military drone research spending this would rise to $123 billion over the decade. 

Local Growth and Jobs Bill

“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

  • The Bill will put in place the framework for the delivery of the scheme, and legislate for the set of responsibilities that will be devolved to local authorities as a result of the reforms.

Local Tax Flexibilities

  • The Bill aims to strengthen local areas’ ability to reduce the business rates tax rate.
  • The Bill would give the ability to combined authority mayors to levy a supplement on business rates bills to fund new infrastructure projects, provided they have the support of the business community through the Local Enterprise Partnership.


  • The Local Growth and Jobs Bill would apply only to England.

Key facts

  • Local government would retain 100% of local taxes, including all £26billion of revenue from business rates, to spend on local government services.
  • Since 2013, local government has retained 50% of the business rates it raises.
  • 10 Devolution Deals have been agreed so far.

Better Markets Bill

“Legislation will be introduced to improve Britain’s competitiveness”

The purpose of the Bill is to:

  • Open up markets, boost competition, give consumers more power and choice and make economic regulators work better.

Main elements of the Bill:

Consumer Power

  • To encourage consumers to switch providers and get a better deal, supporting the manifesto commitment to help keep bills as low as possible.

Environment for competition

  • To speed up the decision making process for competition investigations and make the whole process easier for businesses and better for consumers.
  • To give the competition authorities more powers to take on anti-competitive behaviour.
  • To improve the landscape for economic regulation.

Open Markets

  • To take steps to ensure open and competitive markets which keep costs low and deliver for bill payers, including delivering the manifesto commitment to act quickly on the Competition and Market Authority’s final recommendations to promote competition in the energy market.
  • To help businesses by simplifying regulatory processes and removing unnecessary requirements.


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.

Key facts

  • Opening up markets to new entrants leads to new and innovative products and services at lower costs, which benefits consumers across the UK
  • Building on the commitment to cut £10 billion of red tape over this Parliament, the Government established the principle that, where appropriate, enforcement action is a last resort and regulators should start by helping businesses do the right thing.

Stakeholder comments

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:

  • Local Growth and Jobs Bill
  • Better Markets Bill

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

  • Institute of Directors welcomes Modern transport Bill, which unlocks potential for space industry and driverless cars
  • But says Government lacks ambition on broadband

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.”


Posted by Sue Robinson on 20/05/2016