The Queen delivered a One Nation Queen’s Speech from a One Nation Government. With the strengthening economy moving in the right direction, we can be ambitious in our plans to deliver for the hardworking people of Britain.
Increasing life chances for the most disadvantaged is at the heart of this Queen’s Speech. We will carry out bold reforms that tackle some of the deepest social problems in our country and remove all barriers to opportunity. Giving children in care the best possible start in life by tackling state failure, so children in care are not doomed to a life of poverty. There are reforms to schools, so excellence that comes with more teacher freedom is spread to every community. There is an expansion of higher education, so just as we uncapped the number of student places we now encourage the new universities that will help educate the next generation. And because this Government sees the potential in everyone, we will finally undertake the long-overdue change that our prisons need. No longer will they be warehouses for criminals; we want them to be incubators of changed and reformed lives. This is a Queen’s speech aimed at giving everyone in our country the chance to get on.
Children and Social Work Bill
This Bill aims to tackle state failure and transform the outcomes of children in care, so that we give all of them the hope of a better life. It will include:
- Changes to the considerations that courts must take into account in adoption decisions, tipping the balance in favour of permanent adoption where that is the right thing for the child - helping to give children stability.
- A new system of regulating social workers by setting up a specialist regulator for the profession with a clear focus on driving improvement and introducing more demanding professional standards.
- A new statutory ‘care leavers covenant’ to make sure local authorities set out clearly their entitlements – including housing, jobs and healthcare.
Education for All Bill
This Bill is the next phase of our transformation of education, extending the principles of freedom and accountability across the country so that we encourage excellence everywhere and give every child the best start in life. It will include:
- New laws to expand the academies programme in the poorest performing local authority areas.
- A new funding formula to deliver fair funding for every school and pupil in the country.
- Measures to make schools accountable for the provision and progress of excluded pupils so that those currently let down by the system are given an excellent education.
Higher Education and Research Bill
This Bill introduces the biggest supply-side reforms to the higher education sector for a quarter of a century, so that we open more universities and give more young people - from all backgrounds – the opportunity to go to university. It will include:
- Measures to make it easier for new high quality universities to open, boosting competition to improve teaching quality.
- Reform of university funding that will link funding for universities to the quality of teaching rather than student numbers, with graduate employment prospects tracked so students can be sure they are getting value for money.
- New requirements on all universities to publish detailed information about application, offer and progression rates, broken down by ethnicity, gender and socio-economic background. This will shine a spotlight on universities that need to go further and faster on social mobility and spur further action to ensure all institutions reach out to reach out to disadvantaged groups.
Prisons and Courts Reform Bill
This Bill represents the biggest reform of our prisons since Victorian times, ensuring they are not just a place of punishment but also rehabilitation, so everyone has the chance to get on the right track and we show as a society we believe in the best in everyone. It will include:
- New powers for Prison Governors to allow them unprecedented levels of control over all aspects of prison management.
- A complete overhaul of education, health and training to improve the life chances of every offender.
- New performance measures to assess prisons’ current performance, long-term direction and progress.
Lifetime Savings Bill
This Bill helps people to save and make plans for the future, so we build the financial resilience and security of people across the country – especially the young and those on low incomes. It will include:
- The new Help to Save scheme, which will help those from low incomes build up their savings. Workers in receipt of working tax credits or Universal Credit who save up to £50 a month receiving a Government bonus of 50% - to a maximum of £600 – after two years.
- A new Lifetime ISA for young people, with a Government top up bonus of 25% on all savings up to £4,000 a year.
National Citizen Service Bill
This Bill will see the expansion of the Government’s hugely successful National Citizen Service so more young people can mix with people of other backgrounds, and learn what it means to serve their community. It will include:
- A new statutory framework to deliver the programme, which will benefit from a £1.2 billion cash injection.
- A new duty on schools and local authorities to promote the scheme to all young people and their parents.
This is our legislative programme: to give working people security in their personal and professional lives; to increase the live chances for the most disadvantaged in our society; and to strengthen our national security to keep us all safer. We’ve set challenging, but achievable goals, using the strong foundations of our economy to make a series of bold choices that will improve lives across the country. It is a One Nation Queen’s speech from a progressive, One Nation, Conservative Government.