Our quick guide to the Queen's Speech

Houses of ParliamentWe've had a look at the Bills announced in the Queen's Speech that have an impact on farming and the rural economy.


Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill

The purpose of the Bill is to build a stronger economy by supporting small businesses as they compete, and ensure they aren’t disadvantaged by those that don’t play by the rules.

The main elements of the Bill are to:

  • Stock of pound coins_275_294make it easier for small businesses to access finance; improve payment practices between small businesses and their customers; provide small firms with fair access to the £230 billion spent each year in the form of public procurement contracts and increase the availability and sources of finance for businesses that want to invest
  • ensure that the red tape that affects small businesses is frequently reviewed to ensure regulations are either cut or remain effective, and to place that requirement into law
  • strengthen the reputation of the UK as a trusted and fair place to do business, by increasing transparency around who owns and controls UK companies with a register of beneficial ownership, strengthen rules on director disqualifications and remove unnecessary costs from insolvency law
  • strengthen UK employment law by tackling National Minimum Wage abuses and cracking down on abuse in zero hours contracts
  • make it easier for small businesses to expand overseas
  • make some childcare regulations more flexible to meet the needs of working families

Infrastructure Bill

The purpose of the Bill is to bolster investment in infrastructure by allowing stable long-term funding, delivering better value for money and relieving unnecessary administrative pressures. The Bill would increase transparency of information provision and improve planning processes, allowing us to get Britain building for our future and compete in the global race.

Invasive non-native species
The Bill would allow for Species Control Orders to control the invasive, non-native species that pose serious threats to biodiversity, the water environment and infrastructure.

Planning_275_184Nationally significant infrastructure projects
The Bill would:

  • simplify the process for making changes to Development Consent Orders (DCO) by speeding up non-material changes to aDCO, and allowing simplified processes for material changes
  • allow the Examining Authority to be appointed immediately after an application has been accepted and for the panel to comprise 2 inspectors, speeding up the process and saving money


Deemed discharge for certain planning conditions
The Bill would allow certain types of planning conditions to be discharged upon application if a local planning authority has not notified the developer of their decision within a prescribed time period, reducing unnecessary delay and costs.

Land Registry
The Bill would transfer statutory responsibility for the local land charges register and delivery of local land charges searches to the Land Registry, supporting the delivery of digital services, and extend Land Registry’s powers to enable it to provide information and register services relating to land and other property.

Fracking farm, Bradford County, Pennsylvania_275_2The Bill would enable the Secretary of State to give communities the right to buy a stake in their local renewable electricity scheme so that they can gain a greater share in the associated financial benefits.

Subject to consultation, this Bill would support the development of gas and oil from shale and geothermal energy by clarifying and streamlining the underground access regime. The government is currently running a full consultation on this policy and the legislation is entirely dependent on the outcome of that consultation.

Sir Ian Wood’s independent report estimates that full and rapid implementation will deliver at least 3 to 4 billion barrels of oil equivalent more than would otherwise be recovered over the next 20 years, bringing over £200 billion additional value to the UK economy. The government accepted Wood’s recommendations in full in February 2014, and is introducing measures in this Bill to put the principle of maximising economic recovery of petroleum in the UK into statute.

The government will also introduce a levy, making power so that the costs of funding a larger, better resourced regulator can be paid for by industry rather than by the taxpayer as is currently the case.

Wales Bill

In November 2013 the government accepted almost all of the recommendations made by the Commission on Devolution in Wales in its first report. The Wales Bill provides the legislative framework to implement these new financial powers.

It also includes changes to the electoral arrangements for the Assembly, following a government consultation in 2012. The Bill was introduced in the last session following pre-legislative scrutiny by the Welsh Affairs Committee.

The Wales Bill:

  • devolves stamp duty land tax and landfill tax to Wales, enabling the Assembly to replace them with new taxes specific to Wales
  • allows further taxes to be devolved, with the agreement of Parliament and the Assembly
  • provides for a referendum in Wales on whether an element of income tax should be devolved
  • allows the Assembly, subject to a vote in favour in a referendum, to set a Welsh rate for the purpose of calculating the rates of income tax to be paid by Welsh taxpayers
  • grants new powers for Welsh ministers to borrow to fund capital expenditure, and extends the circumstances in which they can borrow in the short term to manage fluctuations in tax revenues
  • gives the Assembly the power to decide the procedure for scrutinising and authorising the Welsh government’s tax and spending plans

This Bill devolves a significant package of tax and borrowing powers to Wales, giving the National Assembly of Wales and the Welsh government more levers and incentives to boost economic growth.

Governance of National Parks (England) and the Broads draft Bill

The purpose of the Bill is to enable the composition of National Parks’ authorities and the Broads Authority to be broadened in the future, by an order of the Secretary of State. The main purpose of the draft Bill would be to provide for the holding of local elections to the authorities.

Direct elections
Lake district landscapeThe draft Bill would enable direct elections to be held in English National Parks and the Broads, by an order of the Secretary of State.

The draft Bill would, for the first time, and when the Secretary of State so provides, enable eligible residents of the Parks to directly elect some of the Authority members responsible for running their Park and taking planning decisions. The same would apply in the Broads.

Amending the political balance requirement on local authority appointees
The draft Bill would also allow local authorities to depart from the political balance rule if they appoint 3 or more members to the Park (or Broads) Authority, where doing so would allow them to appoint a representative of a ward within the Park/Broads.

Allowing a wider range of parish representation
The draft Bill would also allow parish councils to select their representatives to a Park Authority more widely. Currently they must select a parish councillor or Meeting Chairperson. They would be enabled to include anyone eligible to stand as a parish councillor, if the Park Authority requests it, and the Secretary of State so provides.

Last edited on: 06:06:2014

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