With the dust barely settled from the General Election, today the Government outlined its legislative agenda for the coming year. So what does it mean for consumers?
In some ways, it felt like a case of deja vu given the last Queen’s Speech took place just a few months ago.
However, with a General Election, protocol dictates the new (or returned, in this case) Government needs to set out its agenda afresh and there were some new proposals to spot as well.
Brexit and beyond
The least surprising announcement was the return of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement Bill to approve the deal struck with the EU.
This was accompanied by Bills on the UK’s future agriculture, trade, environment and financial services policy.
These are all really key for consumers as they set the path for the country’s future. Food and trade policy have both been making headlines with consumers worried that standards could slip.
We’ll be working to ensure a future trade strategy is underpinned by world-leading consumer standards, consumer rights and enhanced choice. We’ll be doing this whilst pushing for the other Bills to deliver the best for consumers too.
Other themes from the election campaign also made a central appearance; focus on the NHS, the justice system and the climate crisis.
The Government reaffirmed its commitment to address broadband connectivity with a Bill to ‘accelerate the delivery of gigabit capable broadband’ and remove barriers to roll out.
Mobile and broadband have been key campaigning areas for Which? and there’s certainly a lot to be done.
We’ll be pushing to ensure this new infrastructure meets the needs of people to be connected at home, at work and on the move.
Wider consumer issues
A key reflection of events from the last year was seen with the announcement of an Airlines Insolvency Bill to protect passengers in the event an airline goes bust, as well as a Thomas Cook Compensation Bill for customers to whom Thomas Cook companies would have been liable.
These will require a clear focus to ensure they deliver the help consumers need.
Beyond this, our long term call to help people understand their entire pension savings will be boosted through the introduction of pension dashboards in the Pensions Schemes Bill.
What wasn’t there?
There were some notable consumer omissions from the Queen’s Speech, including measures to address the ongoing crisis with free to use ATMs, as well as plans to improve the product safety and enforcement system.
So, there’s lots for Which? to be working on in the coming year to ensure positive change is delivered for consumers. As well as areas where we need to ensure future action is committed to.
What did you make of today’s Queen’s Speech? Do you think the proposals will make a difference? Was there anything you wanted to see included?