ARTICLES


  • Legislative Agenda for 2020

    The Moorlander
    21 January 2020

    On Thursday debate concluded on the Government’s legislative agenda (as set out in the Queen’s Speech). 7 bills will focus on our post EU future, including a Fisheries Bill which will end the automatic right of foreign boats to fish in UK waters and an Agriculture Bill which will set out the replacement for the EU Common Agricultural Policy. Last week I spoke in the House of Commons on this issue, highlighting the need to support our hill farmers. An Immigration Bill will introduce a new points-based system (like Australia).
     
    14 new bills will focus on policing, counter-terrorism, our justice system and our prison system. These include a Counter Terrorism Bill which will bring in tougher sentences (and end early release) for the most serious terrorist offenders and a Sentencing Bill which will increase sentences for serious violent and sex offenders. Judges will be given greater scope to give whole life sentences where the criminal would never be eligible for parole. A Foreign National Offenders Bill will increase sentences for the most serious foreign criminals who breach deportation orders and return to the UK. A Prisoners Bill will deny parole to murderers who fail to disclose where they left their victims and to paedophiles who fail to disclose the identities of children they have abused. A Domestic Abuse Bill will define domestic abuse as emotional, coercive or economic abuse as well as physical abuse and victims will be given more support in criminal courts. An Online Harms Bill will place a duty of care on social media companies to keep children safe online and to tackle illegal content and activity.
     
    There will be a major focus on healthcare and education, with an NHS Funding Bill delivering an extra £34billion for our NHS by 2023-24 and a Medicines and Medical Devices Bill giving more healthcare professionals the power to prescribe some medications (to alleviate pressure on our doctors and nurses). Education spending will increase by £14 billion over the next three years.
     
    Other legislation will include an Environment Bill targeted at reducing air pollution and tackling plastic waste and an Employment Bill which will ban firms from taking a share of the tips intended for their staff. It will also extend redundancy protections for pregnant women. Broadband legislation will roll out superfast broadband across the UK by 2025 and the Government has pledged rates help for high street businesses.
     
    In local news, I am very pleased that the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority has taken the decision not to pursue the closure of Ashburton Fire Station. I was very actively involved in the local campaign to keep it open and I am delighted for crew manager Don Distin and the hard-working, dedicated team at the station. Public consultations are only worthwhile if the organisations conducting them truly listen to the arguments and local opinion and I’m very pleased that the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority have done just that in the case of Ashburton.

    For more from Mel follow him on twitter @MelJStride or visit www.melstridemp.com.







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