Queen's Speech 2022: Three things you may have missed

Queen's Speech 2022: Three things you may have missed
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The focus of most coverage of the Queen's Speech 2022 has been on housing, unravelling regulations post-Brexit and the creation of a draft bill to protect consumers of financial services online.

But what other draft legislation has been put on the cards for the new parliament that may catch financial services companies up in its long tail? 

Here are three things that may have been missed amid the noise:

1) The draft audit reform bill 

On page 49 of the 140-page document accompanying the Queen's Speech today (May 10) the government outlined measures to reform the auditing framework.

The aim of the draft bill is to rebuild trust in the UK’s audit, corporate reporting and corporate governance system and the insolvency regulatory framework, ensure accountability for those with key roles in that system and increase resilience and choice in the statutory audit market.

This is much-needed, given that, in 2021, the Financial Reporting Council found nearly a third of the major company audits that it inspected required improvement.

FTAdviser has reported on the horrendous impact on pensions as a result of the collapse of companies such as BHS, which put 11,000 jobs at risk, and Carillion, which affected 7,000 suppliers and contractors.

The government documents stated a benefit of the bill would be: "Improving protection for the UK against risks to jobs, pensions, and suppliers from unexpected company collapses, by improving scrutiny of the largest non-listed companies and strengthening the insolvency framework to increase confidence in the system."

2) Social housing regulation bill

This bill aims to increase social housing tenants' rights to better homes, and enhance their ability to hold their landlords to account. 

This will also address concerns over safety, such as the concerns over cladding that were raised by the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017.

The government said: "Strengthening the economic regulation of the social housing sector, increasing protections for tenants’ homes and supporting continued investment in the new supply of social housing."

The social housing sector provides accommodation for more than 4mn households in England, and 40 per cent of all existing housing stock in the sector is owned by local authority landlords. 

But whether this and the other policies around housing and planning come into effect is still a matter for debate, according to James Forrester, managing director of property developer, StripeHomes.

He commented: "Reforming and improving the slow and cumbersome planning process would be welcome if it were not for the fact that successive governments have had several stabs at doing so - usually via big punchy headlines that rarely come to fruition. 

"The graveyard of Westminster housing policy announcements is full to bursting with discarded headlines and the likelihood is that many of today’s will end up there as well.”

3) Social security (special rules for end of life) bill

This bill aims to help people needing later-life and end-of-life care. The objective of the bill is to help more people nearing the end of their life to get fast-tracked to three key benefits.