On Monday 14 October, the Queen delivered her speech which set out Prime Minister’s policies on a number of key issues including Brexit, the environment and immigration.
Delivering Brexit – European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill
The Government’s “priority has always been to secure the United Kingdom’s
departure from the European Union on 31 October”. The purpose of the Bill is to “implement any Withdrawal Agreement which may be agreed between the UK”.
The main benefits of the Bill would be:
- Ensuring that the UK leaves the EU with a deal on the 31 October.
- Implementing a transition period to give businesses time to prepare, during
which the Government will negotiate a future relationship with the EU based
on a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.
- Protecting the rights of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens in UK law so they can
continue to live, work and study in the UK.
The Queen outlined the Government’s commitment to ‘protecting and improving the environment’.
One of the main purposes of the Bill is to:
- “Transform our domestic environmental governance based on environmental principles; codify a comprehensive framework for legally binding targets; and the establishment of a new Office for Environmental Protection.”
The main elements of the Bill are:
- “Establishing new long term domestic environmental governance based on: environmental principles; a comprehensive framework for legally-binding targets, a long term plan to deliver environmental improvements; and, a new Office for Environmental Protection.”
- “Improving air quality by increasing local powers to address sources of air pollution, enabling local authorities to tackle emissions from burning coal and wood, and bringing forward powers for Government to mandate recalls of vehicles when they do not meet relevant legal emission standards.”
“An immigration bill, ending free movement, will lay the foundation for a fair, modern and global immigration system”. The Government remains committed to “ensuring that resident European citizens, who have built their lives in, and contributed so much to, the United Kingdom, have the right to remain”.
On 4 September, the Government set out its policy on post-exit immigration arrangements in a no deal scenario. Free movement as it currently stands will end on 31 October. Should the UK leave the EU without a deal then EU citizens moving to the UK after Brexit will be able to apply for a temporary immigration status, called European Temporary Leave to Remain, which will carry them into the new skills-based immigration system from 2021.
The purpose of the Bill is to:
- Bring an end to free movement in UK law, to ensure that the Government can deliver a new points-based immigration system from 2021.
- Make EU citizens arriving after January 2021 subject to the same UK immigration controls as non-EU citizens, to enable the Government to deliver a single global immigration system based on people’s skills.
- Maintain the treatment of EU citizens resident in the UK before exit day.
The Government “will ensure that all young people have access to an excellent education, unlocking their full potential and preparing them for the world of work”.
The Government wants to bring “renewed focus to further and technical education” and “will ensure our post-16 education system is well funded and organised in a way that enables young people and adults to gain the skills required for success and to help the economy.”