This week’s Queen’s Speech was a bit dull. A bit beige and instantly forgotten. But the Bills it included are now slowly revealing their secrets. What has emerged since Her Majesty’s addressed both Houses of Parliament?
Labour spotted that Tory attempts to truly create a market in Higher Education means higher tuition fees. Mobilising students is a Corbyn specialty but will the increasingly consumerist student body politic get exercised about fees going up by inflation each year? Let’s see.
After a failed attempt to privatise the successful Land Registry under the Coalition, the Tories want a second bite at the cherry and the excitingly titled Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill, will seek to sell it off. The Small Charitable Donations Bill also extends Gift Aid to bucket collections. Still awake? Glad you are because you would have missed enshrining the existing National Citizens Service in law in a needless act of ‘needing to look busy’ legislation drafting.
After the yawn fest that was this year’s Queen’s Speech it is worth looking at what wasn’t included as much as what was. Despite protestations to the contrary, measures to force every school in England to become an academy have been ditched – but check the wording. The Government still aims to achieve this and is seeking to target schools in the “worst performing local authorities” first. Mostly Labour Councils and mostly the hardest hit by Government cuts. This might be a sop to the right wing but still no mention of their cause celeb of the return of free for all Fox Hunting.
The truth is the Government is effectively on pause until the EU Referendum and Westminster watchers expect a very different approach from Ministers after the Brexit poll. In the meantime, this is all the excitement you get. Don’t go celebrating with fizzy drinks mind, you’ll be paying 24p more for a can of Coke with new ‘Soft Drinks Industry Levy’.