As I write this column my case is packed in the hall and will be setting off very shortly to London for the start of a new Parliament which will see some great new bills coming to the House.
Higher education bill
The centrepiece of this bill will be the introduction of a “lifelong loan entitlement”, allowing people a loan equivalent to four years of university education (£37,000) that they can use over their lifetime to fund technical training. The government claims this will amount to a “seismic shift” for post-18 education.
Levelling up and regeneration bill
Designed to stop high streets being blighted by empty shops, this bill will give councils in England the power to force landlords to rent out commercial properties. It will also give local authorities new powers to take control of empty buildings through beefed-up compulsory purchase orders.
The bill will also reportedly allow councils to double council tax on second homes that are not occupied.
British Bill of Rights
Dominic Raab, the justice secretary, said in an interview with the Sun on Sunday that this long-promised Tory bill, which is designed to limit some of the influence of Labour’s Human Rights Act and give UK judges more freedom to diverge from European court of human rights rulings, would ensure “public safety gets more priority than the rights of offenders”.
There is plenty to get excited about and as many readers will know I have a passion for law and order which is why I want to see tougher action on these protest groups who are damaging property whilst protesting. I support people’s right to protest but when they start damaging property then they need to face tougher consequences. During the lockdowns some people received fines up to £10,000 for breaking the rules, it bit harsh on some occasions but nevertheless they received fines. Why should these public nuisances be any different? I suggest a minimum of a £10,000 fine for anyone destroying property and throw in a criminal record to add to their CV which might just make them think twice in the future.
The Brexit freedoms bill will facilitate the removal of EU regulations retained after our departure from the EU. Be in no doubt the opposition will fight this all the way, but I believe in a truly sovereign independent nation and with every EU shackle we throw off then then the better we will prosper on the world stage.
The Queens’ Speech debate tales around three days and I hope to be called to speak up on behalf of the people of Ashfield and Eastwood because as you know I always say it’s a real honour to do the job I do. It feels like we are getting back to normal at work, but the real challenge now is the cost-of-living crisis. Yes, we know that it is a world problem, and no single country can sort it out but we must make sure that the most vulnerable in society are protected and the way we do that is making sure we have a vibrant economy that pays for great public services. Nothing in this life is for free – my dad told me that.