Queen delivers muted speech in wake of hung parliament general election

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Today's State Opening of Parliament was not expected to contain any big changes or shocking announcements, as ministers - and the UK - settle into the uncertainty that has been inherent post-election.

While the Queen's Speech focused on Brexit negotiations, little was said around key areas of the Conservative manifesto.

Speaking this morning, the Queen told her ministers: 'My government will be working on getting the best possible deal as the UK exits the European Union...with the widest possible consensus.'

In line with the Brexit negotiations, the government will 'repeal the Communities Act and support UK businesses' - promising new trade and customs bills aimed at helping British business to export and perform globally.

There will also be a new digital charter aimed at enhancing data protection and online security: something that businesses will no doubt watch with interest as more employee data than ever is stored online.

Closer to home, the intentions haven't altered greatly, if at all - creation of jobs and therefore increased tax revenues to reinvest in the NHS, the increase of the National Living Wage, and a focus on the gender pay gap, among other workplace discriminations.

As per Theresa May's announcement in February, there was also a reiteration of the reformation of mental health legislation and promotion of mental health in the NHS.

But what of the controversial changes to social care of Mrs May's manifesto? 'Proposals to improve social care to come', said the Queen - in other words, watch this space.

Commenting, Royal London’s director of policy Steve Webb said: “The inconclusive election outcome means that difficult issues like the funding of social care have once again been kicked into the long grass. Individuals hoping to plan ahead how best to meet their care costs have been left in limbo. No-one can know with any certainty how much they might have to pay for their care, how much the government will contribute and whether they will have to sell their home.   

'But the lack of a government majority could be an opportunity to seek cross party consensus on social care funding, so that a system can be put in place which will resolve these issues once and for all and give clarity to families wrestling with these complex issues.”

As for pensions legislation and the changes to the triple lock - well, they weren't mentioned at all.

Darren Philp, director of policy and market engagement at The People’s Pension said: “This was a Queen’s Speech that steered clear of pensions policy almost entirely with issues such as the state pension triple lock seemingly kicked into the long grass. We remain hopeful that there will be no reversals on important pensions pledges such as to widen the scope of auto-enrolment to include the self-employed.  

 

“We also think that the Government will have to look again at pensions tax relief sooner rather than later. This is in desperate need of reform to make it fairer, equitable and more sustainable.”