Commenting on the King’s Speech today (Tuesday), the first delivered by a male monarch in over 70 years, British Safety Council’s Chairman, Peter McGettrick said:
“This speech showed a Government seeking to create secure and safe conditions for the nation and its communities, as well as looking to the future in terms of how the UK can become a global leader in new forms of technology, such as autonomous vehicles.
“It was therefore disappointing not to see a Modern Slavery Act in the list of proposed legislation, given that our country has led the world in tackling this pernicious international issue. Likewise, there was no mention of legislation on mental health, as many had hoped, to ensure more equal treatment of people with learning disabilities and mental health conditions. However, the move to phase out smoking over time should be welcomed.
“Energy security was clearly a priority, but we will need to see more detail on the Government’s plans to achieve Net Zero by 2050, given changes announced today and previously by the Prime Minister. There was nothing in this King’s Speech on electric vehicles or the expansion of charging points, which was disappointing given the UK should be leading Europe on this while we remain in the top five countries globally for transitioning to EVs.
“The legislation announced by the King on autonomous vehicles should help to position the UK as a global leader in a technology which looks to revolutionise how we travel, deliver our goods and farm. It will be vital that the Government addresses issues of liability, and wider questions about public health and safety of autonomous vehicles and how they work alongside other road users and pedestrians.”