Queen's Speech decoded: What does it mean for the region?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (far right) and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (behind) walk through th

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer after listening to the Queen's Speech - Credit: PA

The Queen has revealed the government's post-Brexit, post-Covid legislative programme - but what does it mean for Norfolk and Waveney?

At the start of each parliament the Queen delivers a speech which outlines the plans of the government in the coming months and years.

But the success of these proposals is by no means set in stone.

Any new legislation still needs to pass through both houses of parliament before receiving assent and being passed into law. 

Here are the stand out bills planned and how they might impact the region:


You may also want to watch:


Levelling up 

The government fought the last election on a plan to bridge the equality gap between the wealthiest and poorest in society. 

Most Read

And the plan worked. The Conservatives captured a swathe of traditional Labour seats in the 2019 general election and the trend continued at the ballot box last week. 

But the general view is that the levelling up agenda is aimed squarely at the North. 

East Anglia has often been overlooked when it comes to similar government schemes - both Tory and Labour. 

But Norfolk and Waveney are far from immune to poverty and social mobility remains a huge problem. 

Queen Elizabeth II delivers a speech from the throne in House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster

Queen Elizabeth II delivers a speech from the throne in House of Lords - Credit: PA

As this newspaper's Fightback East campaign has highlighted, the East needs investment. As the government moves forward with these plans pressure must grow on government not to overlook the region.

Andrew Proctor, leader of the controlling Conservative group at Norfolk County Council, said: “The government’s agenda, outlined in the Queen’s Speech, promises to support Norfolk’s recovery drive.

“The focus on improving skills and opportunities, from early years up to adults, is very welcome. 

“Levelling up is not just an issue for the North. I want Norfolk to get its fair share of resources and powers, so that our communities and economy can build back better.

“I stand ready to work with ministers to ensure Norfolk plays its full part in the national recovery.”

Planning

The government aims to build an extra 300,000 homes a year nationwide in an ambitious plan to ease the pressure in the housing market.

For many first-time buyers in the region a proposed relaxation of rules governing where homes can be built will be welcomed. But for many - including a lot of our rural MPs - there could be bitter rows ahead. 

Norfolk and Waveney boast some of the most beautiful countryside in the UK. How the government will balance the protection of the incredible natural assets alongside building homes will come under close scrutiny. 

Social care 

There is widespread disappointment that social care did not get a bigger mention in the speech. The government has repeatedly promised to publish a detailed plan on tackling the issue and many hoped this would be the opportunity. 

Instead there was a cursory one line. 

Brenda Jones, Labour lead on adult services at Norfolk County Council, said it was "really disappointing" there was not more in the speech after the prime minister had said he had a plan ready in 2019.

"I'm not at all surprised, we hoped that there would be something but there doesn't seem to be any action," she said.

"I think everyone is equally frustrated by what seems to be the failure of the government to address the problem.

"We keep hearing that the NHS might get more money, but there are a lot of people out there in dire straits - it needs to be addressed."

Ms Jones called for a cross-party approach to social care and the NHS so that it can stop being treated "like a political football". 

Environment

Plans for a vast expansion of off-shore windfarms off the Norfolk coast definitely got a boost in the speech as the government reiterated its plans to be carbon neutral by 2050. 

Permission was granted last year but a high court battle found problems with the government's approval process. This has delayed the progress but Vattenfall - the Swedish energy giant behind the proposal - is hopeful the Environment Bill will spell a quickening of the process. 

Vattenfall's UK country manager Danielle Lane said: “Tackling climate change is one of the most critical challenges of our time, and as a consequence the UK has very ambitious goals for the delivery of offshore wind.

"But to meet those targets and reap the huge economic benefits this will bring to communities across the UK projects need to be able to happen quicker, which requires a smoother and simpler planning process.

"Offshore wind projects like these are essential in the UK's green recovery."




Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter