Today’s Queen’s Speech outlines the government’s legislative programme for the next two years (the 2018 Speech has been cancelled to give MPs more time to debate Brexit legislation).
In the 27 bills, there are 8 important implications for the personal finances of your people. In addition, there are some notable omissions as key manifesto plans were either axed or delayed after the Conservatives lost their majority.
Key Announcements Impacting Personal Finances
1. Financial Guidance
The establishment of a new statutory body, accountable to Parliament, with responsibility for coordinating the provision of debt advice, money guidance and pension guidance funded through existing levies on pension schemes and the financial services industry.
A new power that will allow the Financial Conduct Authority to cap the fees that claims management companies charge consumers.
3. Travel Protection Bill
Improves protection for holidaymakers by updating the UK’s financial protection scheme for holidays to ensure appropriate protection is in place regardless of whether consumers book online or the High Street.
4. Draft Tenants’ Fees Bill
Bans landlords and agents charging letting fees as a condition of their tenancy in England.
5. Good Mortgages Bill
Increases protection for borrowers who get into financial difficulties, by introducing a new requirement for a lender to obtain a court order before seizing goods where a borrower has made significant repayments.
6. Smart Meter Bill
Ensures smart meters will be offered to every household by the end of 2020, ending estimated billing.
7. Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill
Extends compulsory motor vehicle insurance to cover the use of automated vehicles.
8. National Insurance Contributions Bill
Legislates for the National Insurance contribution (NICs) changes announced in the 2016 Budget and 2016 Autumn Statement. The U-turn on plans to increase NICs for self-employed people remains.
As of much interest were the things missing from today’s speech. There was no mention of:
- Scrapping the triple-lock on state pensions.
- Social care changes (the so-called dementia tax).
- Scrapping free school meals.
- Scrapping the winter fuel allowance for better off pensioners.
In addition, there was a watering down of the energy price cap. The government is now promising only to ‘closely examine’ markets and says it’s ‘prepared to act where necessary’.
Theresa May now faces a tense wait to see whether the Queen’s Speech can “command the confidence” of the House of Commons in a vote next week. We’ll keep you posted!