UK government sets out its post-Brexit plans

The UK government reaffirmed its commitment on Thursday to leave the EU at the end of January and to introduce a new points-based immigration system in 2020.

The UK government reaffirmed its commitment on Thursday to leave the EU at the end of January and to introduce a new points-based immigration system in 2020.
Queen Elizabeth delivered the newly-elected government's legislative agenda in a speech to both houses of parliament, stressing that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's priority was to deliver Brexit in just over a month's time and "to make the most of the opportunities that this brings for all the people of the United Kingdom".The monarch added, "Thereafter, my ministers will seek a future relationship with the European Union [EU] based on a free trade agreement that benefits the whole of the United Kingdom. They will also begin trade negotiations with other leading global economies.”

‘A modern, fair, point-based immigration system’

With free movement from the EU27 due to stop at the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, the queen said the government would introduce "a modern, fair, points-based immigration system". She said such a system would "welcome skilled workers from across the world to contribute to the United Kingdom’s economy, communities and public services".The speech, which promised that additional investment in the National Health Service (NHS) would be enshrined in law, also contained an undertaking that the new visa system would ensure overseas doctors, nurses and health professionals enjoyed fast-track entry to the UK.Described by Mr Johnson as the "most radical Queen's Speech in a generation", other measures among the 25 bills outlined were seven devoted to Brexit covering trade, agriculture, fisheries, immigration, financial services and private international law.The speech also confirmed plans for the "deepest review" of Britain's security and foreign policy since the end of the Cold War, covering the armed forces, the intelligence agencies and counter-terrorism, and the future development of foreign policy.

Business rates overhaul

There was also a pledge to overhaul business rates with small undertakings promised a 50 per cent discount. The monarch added, "To support business, my government will increase tax credits for research and development, establish a National Skills Fund, and bring forward changes to business rates. New laws will accelerate the delivery of gigabit-capable broadband. To ensure people can depend on the transport network, measures will be developed to provide for minimum levels of service during transport strikes."My government will continue to take steps to meet the world-leading target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It will continue to lead the way in tackling global climate change, hosting the COP26 Summit in 2020."To protect and improve the environment for future generations, a bill will enshrine in law environmental principles and legally-binding targets, including for air quality. It will also ban the export of polluting plastic waste to countries outside the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and establish a new, world-leading independent regulator in statute."
Read more about UK business reactions to the Government’s immigration plans:
In a written statement, Mr Johnson said, "Last week's seismic election not only changed the political landscape, it has broken the parliamentary deadlock of the last three years and allowed the country to go forward."Millions of people, many of them who have never voted Conservative before, put their faith in this Government and voted overwhelmingly for us to move this country on and deliver change."We have no time to waste, and we begin immediately with the most radical Queen's Speech in a generation to deliver on the priorities of the British people."

Read more news and views from David Sapsted

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