The Queens Speech, Immigration and High Speed Train
The address by Queen Elizabeth II for the ceremonial state opening was read recently in which the Queen outlined parliament plans and proposed bills for the coming year. In this speech a varied number of topics were discussed covering education, economy, privatisation and employment. One notable topic which has become more of a focal point, which was highlighted by the recent UKIP surge, is immigration.
Outlined in the speech were the intentions of the government to “attract those who will contribute and deter those who don’t”. The government intends to
- Regulate migrant access to the NHS
- Force landlords to check immigration status of tenants
- Allow foreign criminals to be deported more easily
Forcing landlords to check the immigration status of tenants is already being scrutinised as increasing red tape to the letting process. Should this become the responsibility of the landlord and agent there are questions on where this additional charge will be placed on a system already being criticised and under review for expensive and unregulated administration costs. Another issue which could stem from this idea is the danger of ‘amateur’ landlords operating without proper training or guidance, putting themselves and their tenants at risk. It is estimated that there are around two million buy-to-let property owners who will be responsible for checking the immigration status of tenants, but it is as yet unclear what they will have to do.
Another relevant topic was the mention of the High Speed bill which will give parliamentary authorisation for the government to spend the money necessary to build the new rail link between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. It will allow the government to pay for the preparatory work needed before construction begins, for example for ecological surveys and ground investigations. More importantly, this bill was followed by the second High Speed bill which will give the government the legal power to compulsorily buy the land needed to construct the proposed High Speed rail line linking Britain’s biggest cities.
Those affected by the bill will have the opportunity to petition Parliament and have their case heard by the bill select committee. With a proposed route from London through North Oxfordshire, this will mean that any property lying on the proposed route will be sold even if the owners do not wish to move.