State Opening of Parliament highlights government priorities

Today (Tuesday 11 May) the Queen officially reopened Parliament. She highlighted 30 laws that ministers intend to pass in the coming year.

The government aims to deliver a national recovery from the pandemic by supporting jobs, businesses and economic growth and addressing the impact of the pandemic on public services.

There were several laws announced that will be of particular interest to the business community.

  • Advanced Research and Invention Agency Bill – a new UK agency will be established to search for ground-breaking scientific discoveries
  • Armed Forces Bill – Government support for veterans will be outlined, putting the Armed Forces Covenant into law
  • Building Safety Bill – a new system for regulating the safety of high-rise buildings, and inspecting construction sites
  • Charities Bill – legislation will support the voluntary sector by reducing unnecessary bureaucracy and releasing additional funds for good causes
  • National Insurance Contributions Bill – tax breaks for employers based in eight freeports to be set up in England later this year
  • Environment Bill – will introduce targets, plans and policies for improving the natural environment
  • Planning Bill – will introduce changes to the planning system in England, including a controversial zoning system
  • Procurement Bill – replacing EU rules on how the government buys services from the private sector
  • Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill – will extend 5G mobile coverage and introduce new safety standards for digital devices
  • Skills and Post-16 Education Bill – will introduce a new “flexible loan” system designed to promote wider participation in further education in England
  • Subsidy Control Bill – setting out post EU Exit regulations on how the government can support private companies, now the UK has left the EU’s “state aid” regime

Responding to the details of the Government’s legislative plan set out in today’s Queen’s Speech, Claire Walker, Co-Executive Director of the BCC, said: 

“Businesses will welcome the clear direction in today’s Queen’s Speech as the Government looks to boost the economy and place all parts of the UK on an equal footing. 

“As companies begin the slow process of rebuilding following the pandemic it is vital that they are given the support they need to kick start their recovery. 

“A strong focus on improving digital and technical skills that match the needs of local business will be a key driver in making that happen. 

“Improving rail and bus services, maximising the national coverage of 5G mobile services and superfast broadband, while simplifying the planning system are important enablers to ensuring companies can rebuild and grow. 

“These are all challenges that have existed for a long time, and we are now at a critical juncture where they must be addressed. This opportunity cannot be wasted, and the Chamber network will have a laser focus to ensure the Government delivers on its promises. 

“It is disappointing that new employment legislation that could address the flexibility of working practices did not feature. The pandemic has changed the way we work forever, and employers need clear guidance on how to provide long-term flexible working arrangements that will make jobs more accessible for everyone.” 



  • A full transcript of the Queen’s speech can be found here
  • For a full list of the priority bills, visit the BBC News website.