Queen's Speech: What are the new measures?

Radical reforms to prisons, adoption and the care system and the controversial ditching of the Human Rights Act form the heart of this year's Queen's speech to Parliament.

Changes to universities, new powers to tackle extremism and the establishment of a British spaceport are also among the Government's agenda for the coming year.

Here's a rundown of the key measures from the 21 new bills being announced by Her Majesty on behalf of the Government in the House of Lords:


A Prisons and Courts Reform Bill will establish the first six semi-autonomous prisons at HMP Coldingley, HMP High Down, HMP Holme House, HMP Kirklevington Grange, HMP Ranby and HMP Wandsworth which the government said will dramatically shake up jail and rehabilitation services.

Prison governors will get new financial and legal powers over all key areas of management, including budgets, contracts, education and family visits and partnerships to provide prison work and rehabilitation services.

Ahead of the speech, Prime Minister David Cameron said: "No longer will (the prisons) be warehouses for criminals; they will now be places where lives are changed."

Satellite tracking tags could also see prisoners elsewhere become weekend inmates and spend the rest of the week at home as they hold down jobs.

The GPS technology will be piloted in eight police areas - Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire, West Midlands, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northampton - from September.

One of Europe's largest jails, HMP Wandsworth is among six prisons to be awarded semi-autonomous powers. Credit: PA Wire


A Children and Social Work Bill will speed up adoptions and offer guarantees of more support for children leaving care. Court guidelines will be altered in favour of permanent adoptions, while children will be given a new "covenant" setting out local authorities' duties to help them with housing, jobs and healthcare after they leave care.


The Human Rights Act will be repealed and replaced with a British Bill of Rights.

The politically charged move has already drawn some criticism from lawyers who fear Northern Ireland's Good Friday Agreement could be put at risk amid widespread opposition from more than 130 groups as disparate as Amnesty International and the Football Supporters' Federation.


A Higher Education and Research Bill will make it easier to open new universities, while the academy schools programme will be expanded by an Education for All Bill.

However after well-publicised resistance from teaching unions, it will not be extended to every school in England as the Government had initially planned.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has accepted critics have raised 'important issues' over the Government's plans to force every state school to become an academy. Credit: PA Wire


Stronger powers to disrupt radicals' activities and to intervene in unregulated schools which are "teaching hate" are among a raft of measures in a Counter-Extremism and Safeguarding Bill designed to tackle extremism.

Ministers will also consult on a new civil order regime to restrict extremist activity.

The Bill has been critised by the Evangelical Alliance which accused the Government of trying to "fight extremism with extremism".


A Modern Transport Bill has cleared the way for the incorporation of new technology. The legislation will enable commercial spaceports to be developed - a move endorsed by the Institute of Directors - while supporting a pioneering of driverless cars and the increasing use of drones by people and businesses.

Driverless cars are being piloted ahead of a planned release by 2020. Credit: PA Wire


A legal right to fast broadband connections for every household will be established as part of a Digital Economy Bill.

The legislation aims to make it easier and cheaper for telecommunications providers to establish quicker broadband lines and more comprehensive mobile networks across the country.


The Government's intention to renew the UK's Trident nuclear deterrent system was confirmed.

A vote on new submarines will take place before the next general election but it was not confirmed if it will take place during the coming year.

Opposition to Trident has been led by SNP and the Green Party along with the leadership of the Labour Party despite internal division.


Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill aims to speed up the planning process while giving new powers for people to shape developments in their home areas.

A Local Growth and Jobs Bill will allow councils to keep and invest 100% of business rates raised, while also varying their level.


Legislation will establish the Help to Save scheme and Lifetime ISA to encourage saving.


  • Leglisation making it easier for utility customers to switch providers (Better Markets Bill)

  • Giving elected mayors powers over buses (Bus Services Bill)

  • Introduction of a new tax on sugar-rich fizzy drinks from April 2018 (Soft Drinks Industry Levy)

  • Recovering the cost of NHS treatment from non-UK residents (NHS - Overseas Visitors Charging - Bill)

  • Removing barriers to accessing pension savings (Pension Bill)

A new tax on sugar-rich fizzy drinks will be established by April 2018 according to new legislation. Credit: PA Wire
  • Companies which fail to stop staff facilitating tax evasion will be committing a criminal offence under new legislation (Criminal Finances Bill)

  • A volunteering scheme for young people will be expanded (National Citizen Service Bill)

  • Charities and community groups will be given more help to increase their fundraising abilities (Small Charitable Donations Bill)

  • Wales will receive a new devolution settlement (Wales Bill)

  • The UK will be able to sign up to an international convention protecting cultural artefacts in war zones (Armed Conflicts Bill)

The Queen left Buckingham Palace to deliver her annual speech detailing the Government's planned agenda following the State Opening of Parliament. Credit: PA Wire