Rural Lens Review of the Queen’s Speech 2022
On Tuesday last week Prince Charles outlined the Government’s priorities for the year ahead by delivering the Queen’s Speech. In response the RSN has conducted a Rural Lens Review of the Speech, identifying the following proposed bills of relevance to rural areas:
- Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill
- Schools Bill
- Transport Bill
- Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill
- Energy Security Bill
- Procurement Bill
- Higher Education Bill
- Draft Mental Health Act Reform Bill
- Financial Services and Markets Bill
At a glance our key observations are as follows:
- Overall, across the 38 Bills referred to, there is little in the Queen’s Speech that appears to directly address issues of concern to rural people and communities, as opposed to urban ones.
- There are a number of proposals which will impact on Local Government generally. These include a Non-Domestic Rating Bill (cutting the revaluation cycle from five to three years from 2023); the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill; Housing Bills on Tenants Rights and Improving the Private Rented Sector; Support to Home-Schooling Families an Energy Bill and a Procurement Bill.
- No sign of any real commitment from Government towards rural public transport furthering the anger of non-approval of Bus Service Improvement Plans across many rural areas.
- In terms of “accelerating the rollout of broadband in the coming years, to enable faster and more reliable connectivity for more of the population. By 2025 the Government is aiming for a minimum of 85 per cent gigabit-capable coverage” this is not new.
- There is nothing mentioned to address the need to improve the resilience of the rural electrical distribution system ahead of net-zero targets, but it may be helpful to have in place a new ‘Future System Operator’ that could. There is no mention of improving insulation of ‘hard to treat’ properties.
You can read the full Rural Lens Review by clicking on the image below: