The Queen's speech: bill-by-bill

The 19 coalition bills announced today in the Queen's speech.

There were 19 bills announced in the Queen's seven-minute speech to parliament, here they are for Staggers readers.

Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill

Legislation to repeal unnecessary laws and to limit state inspection of businesses.

Banking Reform Bill

Measures to strengthen regulation of the financial services sector.

Implementation of the recommendations of the Independent Commission on Banking (otherwise known as the Vickers report).

Groceries Adjudicator Bill

The establishment of an independent adjudicator to ensure supermarkets deal fairly and lawfully with suppliers.

Small Donations Bill

A bill to allow charities to claim additional payments on small donations.

Energy Bill

Reform of the electricity market to deliver "secure, clean and affordable electricity" and ensure prices are fair.

Draft Water Bill

Reform of the water industry in England and Wales.

Public Service Pensions Bill

Public service pensions will be reformed in line with the recommendations of the independent commission on public service pensions (otherwise known as the Hutton report).

Draft Local Audit Bill

Abolishes the Audit Commission and establishes new arrangements for the audit of local public bodies.

Children and Families Bill

Includes measures to improve provision for disabled children and children with special educational needs, reform of family courts and more flexible parental leave for parents.

Draft Care and Support Bill

A bill to modernise adult care and support in England.

Electoral registration and Administration Bill

Introduces individual registration of voters.

House of Lords reform bill

A bill to reform "the composition" of the House of Lords. This was more tightly-worded than expected.

Crime and Courts Bill

Establishes a National Crime Agency to tackle the most serious and organised crime and strengthen border security.

Defamation Bill

New measures to protect freedom of speech and reform defamation law.

Justice and Security Bill

Will allow secret courts to hear a greater range of evidence in national security cases.

Draft Communications Bill

Legislation to allow the police and intelligence agencies to collect data on communications, such as texts and emails.

European Union (Approval of Treaty Amendment Decision) Bill

Approves the creation of the financial stability mechanism within the euro area.

Croatia Accession Bill

The government will seek parliamentary approval on the anticipated accession of Croatia to the EU.

International Aid

There was no international development bill in the speech (as Richard Darlington predicted on The Staggers last month) but the government reaffirmed its commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of gross national income on international aid from 2013.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, proceed through the Royal Gallery in the Palace of Westminster, home to the Houses of Parliament. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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BHS is Theresa May’s big chance to reform capitalism – she’d better take it

Almost everyone is disgusted by the tale of BHS. 

Back in 2013, Theresa May gave a speech that might yet prove significant. In it, she declared: “Believing in free markets doesn’t mean we believe that anything goes.”

Capitalism wasn’t perfect, she continued: 

“Where it’s manifestly failing, where it’s losing public support, where it’s not helping to provide opportunity for all, we have to reform it.”

Three years on and just days into her premiership, May has the chance to be a reformist, thanks to one hell of an example of failing capitalism – BHS. 

The report from the Work and Pensions select committee was damning. Philip Green, the business tycoon, bought BHS and took more out than he put in. In a difficult environment, and without new investment, it began to bleed money. Green’s prize became a liability, and by 2014 he was desperate to get rid of it. He found a willing buyer, Paul Sutton, but the buyer had previously been convicted of fraud. So he sold it to Sutton’s former driver instead, for a quid. Yes, you read that right. He sold it to a crook’s driver for a quid.

This might all sound like a ludicrous but entertaining deal, if it wasn’t for the thousands of hapless BHS workers involved. One year later, the business collapsed, along with their job prospects. Not only that, but Green’s lack of attention to the pension fund meant their dreams of a comfortable retirement were now in jeopardy. 

The report called BHS “the unacceptable face of capitalism”. It concluded: 

"The truth is that a large proportion of those who have got rich or richer off the back of BHS are to blame. Sir Philip Green, Dominic Chappell and their respective directors, advisers and hangers-on are all culpable. 

“The tragedy is that those who have lost out are the ordinary employees and pensioners.”

May appears to agree. Her spokeswoman told journalists the PM would “look carefully” at policies to tackle “corporate irresponsibility”. 

She should take the opportunity.

Attempts to reshape capitalism are almost always blunted in practice. Corporations can make threats of their own. Think of Google’s sweetheart tax deals, banks’ excessive pay. Each time politicians tried to clamp down, there were threats of moving overseas. If the economy weakens in response to Brexit, the power to call the shots should tip more towards these companies. 

But this time, there will be few defenders of the BHS approach.

Firstly, the report's revelations about corporate governance damage many well-known brands, which are tarnished by association. Financial services firms will be just as keen as the public to avoid another BHS. Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors, said that the circumstances of the collapse of BHS were “a blight on the reputation of British business”.

Secondly, the pensions issue will not go away. Neglected by Green until it was too late, the £571m hole in the BHS pension finances is extreme. But Tom McPhail from pensions firm Hargreaves Lansdown has warned there are thousands of other defined benefit schemes struggling with deficits. In the light of BHS, May has an opportunity to take an otherwise dusty issue – protections for workplace pensions - and place it top of the agenda. 

Thirdly, the BHS scandal is wreathed in the kind of opaque company structures loathed by voters on the left and right alike. The report found the Green family used private, offshore companies to direct the flow of money away from BHS, which made it in turn hard to investigate. The report stated: “These arrangements were designed to reduce tax bills. They have also had the effect of reducing levels of corporate transparency.”

BHS may have failed as a company, but its demise has succeeded in uniting the left and right. Trade unionists want more protection for workers; City boys are worried about their reputation; patriots mourn the death of a proud British company. May has a mandate to clean up capitalism - she should seize it.