Today’s King’s speech, which opened parliament for what will be the last parliamentary session before the next general election, delivered the government’s priorities and covered key elements of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s legislative agenda for the coming year.

King Charles’ opening speech — which is written by the government for the King to read — included 21 policies, such as proposals to introduce tougher sentencing laws, a ban on the sale of cigarettes, and measures to bolster oil production in the North Sea.

Given the speech was the longest by a monarch at a State Opening of Parliament since 2005, here is a quick snapshot of some of the key policies…

1. Crime and justice

New legislation around sentencing will force defendants to attend their hearings, and allow for prisoners (within England and Wales) to serve their sentences abroad, in order to address the major issues around prison overcrowding.

2. Energy security

The King’s speech also referenced the controversial Offshore Petroleum and Licensing Bill, confirming Rishi Sunak’s intention to grant new oil and gas licenses in order to “help the country to transition to net zero by 2050 without adding undue burdens on households.”

3. Inflation

The King reaffirmed the prime minister’s pledge to bring down inflation, which currently stands at 6.7%. He said the government would support the Bank of England by taking “responsible decisions on spending and borrowing.”

4. Education

The King spoke of the Prime Minister’s plans to introduce an Advanced British Standard, a new qualification for 16 to 19 year-olds that will combine and replace A-Levels and T-Levels.

5. Housing

The government plans to bring forward the Leasehold and Freehold Bill to make it easier for leaseholders to purchase their freehold and address the issue of punitive service charges.


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