Staffordshire Chambers’ Policy Advisor, Rhouda Elalfy offers a comprehensive insight into what the new bill aims to do, and outlines the key impacts and benefits for business.
Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill
- This bill was brought forward to drive local growth and ensure that everyone can share in the United Kingdom’s success. The Bill aims to level up the UK, grow the economy in places that need it most and regenerate towns and cities.
- Under the new bill a duty will be placed on the Government to set Levelling Up missions and produce an annual report updating the country on these missions.
- The bill will also unlock new powers for local authorities to help them bring empty premises back into use.
- The Government has promised to improve economic dynamism and innovation beyond the progress already made, which include a transport settlement for the West Midlands exceeding £1 billion, £46.3 million from the Towns Fund for two areas in the region, and almost £400 million from the Levelling Up Fund to improve local infrastructure across the Midlands.
- The bill will lay the foundations for all of England to have the opportunity to benefit from a devolution deal by 2030 and will simplify and standardise the process for local plans.
Energy and Security Bill
At the Global Investment Summit in October 2021, the Prime Minister announced a package of 18 deals to support green growth worth over £9.7 billion.
- The Government has stated its commitments in the British Energy Security Strategy and the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution
- The Bill will introduce state-of-the-art business models for Carbon Capture Usage and Storage, creating new low-carbon technologies.
- The Bill will also support industry to step up investment in growing the consumer market for electric heat pumps by providing for a new market standard and trading scheme. This will support innovation and help to lower the costs of heat pumps over time.
- The new Bill will reduce the risk of fuel supply disruption by giving Government the power to give directions and require information from fuel sector businesses, ensuring resilience and continuity of fuel supply.
- The Bill will extend the energy price cap, preventing supplies from overcharging consumers and will introduce competition in Britain’s onshore electricity networks, encouraging more investment and innovation.
Draft Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill
Weak competition in the UK’s digital advertising market is leading to higher prices for consumers. The Competition and Markets Authority estimates that consumers lose £2.4 billion per year from Facebook and Google’s high advertising prices alone.
This legislation will strengthen consumer rights and protect households and businesses, creating new competition rules for digital markets and the largest digital firms.
- This Bill will provide more choice and better quality services for consumers and businesses.
- The Bill will also create opportunities for UK tech companies to flourish and offer new products and services which will drive innovation and a more dynamic digital economy.
- The new Bill will empower the Digital Markets Unit to designate a small number of firms who are very powerful in particular digital activities, such as social media and online search with Strategic Market Status.
- The Digital Markets Unit powers to proactively address the root causes of competition issues in digital martes will impose interventions to inject competition into the market.
- The Bill ensures that businesses across the economy that rely on very powerful tech firms, are treated fairly, and can succeed without having to comply with unfair terms.
By improving the way public procurement is regulated, the Government can not only save the taxpayer money but drive social, environmental, and economic benefits across every part of the UK.
- The Procurement Bill expanded on plans to enshrine in law the core objectives of public procurement which focuses on maximising public benefit, treating suppliers without discrimination, and ultimately delivering value for money on all projects.
- The bill will give public sector buyers more freedom and flexibility by allowing them to better negotiate with suppliers and to design the buying process to meet the needs of their specific procurement.
- The Bill will also make it easier, specifically for small and medium-sized businesses to bid for public sector contracts.
- Through the procurement Bill buyers will be able to disqualify suppliers who are unfit to bid for public contracts because of past misconduct, corruption or poor performance.
This Bill will create Great British Railways, which will deliver a better experience for passengers and freight customers with more punctual and reliable services. Legislation will be introduced to modernise rail services and improve reliability for passengers.
- The Bill will enable innovation in transport, improving safety and providing new choices for the public, whilst attracting investment to the UK.
- The Bill will also simplify the railways to ensure a better and more reliable service for passengers, to support economic growth across the country and ensure the survival of the railways.
- As part of the Transport Bill, legislation will enable the installation of more electric vehicle charge points throughout the UK as part of the transition away from new petrol and diesel car and van sales by 2030 as well as building public confidence to switch to zero emission vehicles.
- The Bill will keep the UK at the forefront of transport innovation and will deliver the reforms that the Government have promised to decarbonise transport, transform the way people travel and better connect communities.
Higher Education Bill and Skills
The Skills system has been very efficient at producing graduates but there is still a need to ensure that people get the quality technical skills that employers want.
- The introduction of the Lifelong Loan Entitlement will provide individuals with a flexible means of providing loan support equivalent to four years of post-18 study for a wide range of study opportunities, including shorter and technical courses.
- Total Government investment in skills planned to reach £3.8 billion in England by 2024/25.
- The new Schools Bill intends to support schools to be part of strong trusts, improving school standards and ensuring that funding is allocated to schools on a fair and consistent basis.
Financial Services and Markets Bill
The new legislation will strengthen the United Kingdom’s financial services industry and will ensure that it continues to act in the interest of all people and communities.
Financial and related professional services are vital to the UK economy, employing more than 2.3 million people across the UK, and contributing more than £193 billion to the economy.
- The new Bill will maintain and enhance the UK’s position as a global leader in financial services, ensuring the sector continues to deliver for individuals and businesses across the country.
- The Bill will create a competitive marketplace for the effective use of capital, supporting economic growth.
- The Bill will support individuals’ confidence in financial services by ensuring continued access to cash across the UK and protecting people from scams.
- The objectives of the financial services regulators will be updated to ensure a greater focus on growth and international competitiveness.
- The Bill will introduce additional protections for those investing or using financial products, to make it safer and support the victims of scams.