After listening to the King’s Speech this week, the overriding feeling was “is that it?”
The purpose of the speech is to set out the legislative calendar for the next 12 months, and to outline the priorities of what a government wishes to do with its time in office. The speech on Tuesday (7 November) held a clear indication that this government is running out of steam, with very few new announcements.
The main component of the speech focused on law and order, with commitments to tougher penalties for serious violations such as knife crime and other violent offences. There was also the inclusion of a new Victims Bill, and the legislation required to ban the ownership of XL Bully dogs.
In terms of policies affecting rural communities the speech was incredibly slim. There was reference to the returning Renters Reform Bill, which intends to remove no fault evictions with reform to Section 21. After significant CLA lobbying, it was announced a few weeks ago that Section 21 would not be removed until the court system would be able to facilitate housing cases in a prompt manner.
Plans were also announced for a new Leasehold and Freehold Bill. This would make it easier and cheaper for leaseholders to extend their lease or buy their freehold, and the removal of freeholds on new properties built by development companies.
More to come
The speech is to be debated at length in Parliament over the coming weeks and months, and it will be interesting to see how the government responds to criticism that it did not contain a year’s worth of policy.
The next test for the Prime Minister and the Chancellor will be the Autumn Statement at the end of the month. They will need to display a distinct policy platform as voters will be starting to look ahead to the next general election.