What's missing from the Queen's Speech?
Some legislation expected to be announced today failed to make the final draft of the Queen's Speech. Senior Political Consultants Freya Pascall and Rob Micklewright examine what didn't make the cut, and what we can expect to see return.
Amongst the excitement in some areas there are a number of noticeable, or at least interesting gaps in the legislation announced today.
Having featured strongly in this year’s Budget, a number of key stakeholders were hoping for a Homelessness Bill. An expert group comprising representatives from the National Housing Federation, Shelter, Homeless Link, Crisis and others published proposals for a new English law, which would require councils to prevent more people from becoming homeless in the first instance. However, Local Government Minister Marcus Jones recently said his department was “exploring options to improve the evidence base regarding what works in tackling homelessness, and to help local areas target their interventions more smartly” so we may still see further action this year.
Following the establishment of the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) in April both the Expert Advisory Group on the workings of the Branch and the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee have called for the Branch to be established statutorily as an independent body. This may resurface next year following the start of its operations in early 2017.
Originally announced in last year’s Queen’s Speech both a Public Service Ombudsman Bill. This would have combined the Parliamentary, Health, Local Government and Housing Ombudsmen. However, neither have been included so we will have to wait and see whether proposals have been abandoned or just delayed.
There was also no Wildlife Bill included in the speech. Under the Coalition Government the Law Commission was tasked with drafting a Wildlife Bill, which it duly published in its final report in November. Despite Leader of the House of Commons Chris Grayling recently hinting that a draft Bill would be included in the Queen’s Speech it may be that it is included next year as the Government is aiming to respond to the report later in 2016.
One final thing to note is that whilst there are provisions on responding to the Strathclyde Review, the Government has not brought forward specific legislation as many had believed it could.
“Other measures will be laid before you” always forms one of the Queen’s last lines of the speech however, so plenty more will surely develop before her next.