27 / 5 / 2015 3.17pm
Following today’s State Opening of Parliament I thought it would be helpful to provide a summary of the Queen’s Speech 2015 and the Government’s legislative plans that relate to the NHS or wider workforce issues.
Whilst there wasn’t an announcement about a specific NHS Bill in this year’s speech, The Government announced that in their words they will “Secure the future of the National Health Service’s own five year plan, by increasing the health budget, integrating healthcare and social care, ensuring the National Health Service works on a seven day basis. Measures will also be introduced to improve access to general practitioners and to mental healthcare.”
A reform of the European Human Rights provisions did not feature in the speech.
We will of course update you once the Department of Health makes some further announcements on these areas, and we anticipate further discussion with Charlie Massey and Ian Cumming at the Workforce Summit next week.
Turning to wider workforce matters, the proposed legislation includes:
Trade Unions Bill
- A reform on trade unions with the ‘Trade Unions Bill’ to help protect public services against strikes.
- Imposing a 50 per cent turnout threshold on strike ballot.
- A further requirement in essential public services for strikes to be supported by 40 per cent of those entitled to vote.
- Introduction of time limits on a mandate following the ballot.
- Introduction of a new approach to the political elements of trade union subscription.
- Improving protections for non-striking workers and changes to the role of the certification officer.
Employment and Welfare
- Measures will be made to help working people by increasing the provision of free childcare where both adults work, to 30 hours free childcare.
- Cutting the total amount one household can claim in benefits from £26,000 to £23,000.
- Statutory requirements for the government to report annually on progress towards achieving full employment.
- Support for the creation of three million apprenticeships.
National Insurance and finance
- Legislation will be brought forward to ensure people working 30 hours per week on the National Minimum Wage do not pay income tax.
- A bill which commits to no increase on income tax, VAT and national insurance for five years.
- Cities and local government devolution Bill - extension of existing powers under Localism Act to enable town and cities to be given new primary legislative powers (building on the Growth Deal).
- Local Authorities will publish provision of childcare in their area.
- Introduction of new measures for immigration controls.
You can access the full Queen’s Speech via the Government website.
We will of course update our website pages as we get more information on consultations and legislation, and will provide further details in our NHS Workforce Bulletin.
I look forward to seeing those of you who are joining us at the NHS Workforce Summit in Liverpool next week.
With best wishes