This week, HRH Queen Elizabeth had her annual speech. In the speech, she laid out her and the governments plans for the next year. Some of these will go unnoticed, but some will have a national impact that’ll even affect students. So which bills from The Queen’s Speech will affect the students?
What was addressed in the speech?
1. More 5G
Under the title of the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill, the government will extend 5G mobile services across the country.
2. More scientific discoveries
There will be a new UK agency set up to search for ground-breaking discoveries, and it will be set up by the Advanced Research and Invention Agency Bill.
3. Less protests
After much controversy, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will be going ahead this year. It will see more powers to the police when it comes to handling protests and sentencing.
4. Safer internet
The implementation of an Online Safety Bill will set up new requirements for tech companies to tackle harmful and illegal content.
5. More support to victims
A Victims Bill will be drawn up to create new rights for victims of crime. It will also introduce new standards of support that must be offered to sexual and domestic victims.
6. More elections
The Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill will get rid of the fixed five-year gap between general elections. This will bring around the return of the power to call early elections.
7. Changes to voting
The new highly controversial Electoral Integrity Bill will be introduced that will force voters in Great Britain to prove their identity when they vote in general elections.
8. Free speech
A Higher Education Bill will introduce new legal duties on students’ unions and universities in England to ensure free speech on campus.
9. A focus on the environment
The government will be finally implementing The Environment Bill. The bill has been repeatedly delayed, but will introduce new rules on protecting nature.
10. Animal welfare
The Queen finally mentioned a trio of unnamed bills which will ban the export of live animals for fattening and slaughter, as well as introduce mandatory microchipping for cats.
11. Efforts to reduce racial and ethnic disparities
Whilst not addressed with a formal bill, HRH said that the government would ‘introduce measures’ to reduce racial and ethnic disparities.
12. Banning LGBT conversion therapy
The speech also set out plans for introducing a legal ban on conversion therapy in England and Wales.
What will all of these mean for students?
As one of the groups who protest the most, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will see a radical decrease in social justice efforts at universities. With intense sentencing promised to those involved, it is likely that protests will be less organised, also.
The introduction of the Victims Bill speaks to those at university who are subjected to crime and will aim to help victims more than before. With shocking statistics appearing this year, this bill will undoubtedly comfort students worrying about reporting assault and crime at university.
Perhaps the most important change is that of the changes to voting. Needing a photographic ID to vote disenfranchised a large percentage of people in order to stop voter fraud. This has angered many people online, with claims that it is a move against the latter claim of removing ‘racial and ethnic disparities’, as large percentages of POC in Great Britain do not have photographic ID. The LGBT community are also upset by this bill, as it alienates trans people from voting too.