Economy  

Queen's Speech 2022 vs what it said in 2021

Queen's Speech 2022 vs what it said in 2021
Photo: HRH the Prince of Wales 2022 montage by FT

As the Prince of Wales stood in for HM the Queen for the 2022 state opening of parliament, what other major financial announcements differed from the pledges made in 2021?

First among many was the need to recalibrate the mood of the nation, which has deteriorated significantly over the past 12 months as rising energy bills and rampant inflation has affected the UK.

Cost of living

In 2021, as the nation was undergoing the biggest vaccination exercise in living history, HM the Queen focused on the government's priority to "deliver a national recovery from the pandemic that makes the UK stronger, healthier and more prosperous than before."

But a series of events, including Russia's war on Ukraine, has helped to push living costs exponentially high for Britons.

Most do not feel more prosperous than before - certainly they feel poorer than in 2021, especially with CPI inflation set to peak at 10 per cent this year.

According to the LV Wealth and Wellbeing Monitor ­- a quarterly survey of 4,000 UK adults – 42 per cent of respondents said they expected their finances to worsen over the next three months.

As reported by FTAdviser, the March 2022 figures are the worst seen since June 2020 when LV started surveying consumers.

Some 44 per cent said their finances had deteriorated over the past three months, while 58 per cent said their total monthly outgoings had increased in the last three months.

So when HRH the Prince of Wales stood to deliver the speech in his mother's stead, he naturally had to address the nation's financial mood amid these "challenging times".

He said: "Her Majesty's government's priority is to grow and strengthen the economy and ease the cost of living for families... to improve living standards ... reducing debt while cutting taxes and to [support] the Bank of England to return inflation to its target."

Financial services professionals were quick to welcome this change of tone.

Becky O’Connor, head of pensions and savings for Interactive Investor, said: “Tackling the cost-of-living crisis was rightly among the first priorities laid out in the Queen’s Speech – the number of people struggling with covering their essentials, a large proportion of whom are pensioners, grows by the day."

Cost of Care

In 2021, the Queen made mention of the health and care bill, which would include measures to "support the health and wellbeing of the nation" and mentioning that "proposals on social care reform will be brought forward".

In April 2022, the 1.25 percentage point increase to national Insurance hit pay packets across the nation, which will form the new social care tax from 2023 onwards as outlined in the health and social care levy bill.

In his speech, Prince Charles said: "Her Majesty's ministers will continue to...fund the National Health Service to reduce the Covid backlogs."

Housing

In 2021, the Queen's speech pledged the government would bring forth a planning bill, to help "more people to own their own home, while enhancing the right of those who rent.