Boris Johnson promises post-Covid skills overhaul – Queen’s Speech

Boris Johnson is promising a skills “revolution” for England, with loans for adults wanting to retrain and more powers to deal with failing colleges.

After the economy shrank by 9.9 percent last year, the government says its primary focus is on assisting the country’s recovery from the pandemic. This includes the provision of a “flexible loan” to assist adults seeking to retrain in paying for university or college courses.

The Queen’s Speech, which sets out the government’s plan for the next year, will outline loans for adults to retrain as well as more powers to deal with failing colleges. It is also expected to include 30 bills with promises to overhaul the asylum system and reform planning laws in England. 

In the speech, which is written by ministers but delivered by the Queen, it will pledge a “lifetime skills guarantee”. All adults will be entitled to access a loan for higher-level education and training at university or college. This will provide the equivalent of up to four years’ study and can be used at any point for full-time or part-time courses.

The Queen’s Speech is part of the State Opening of Parliament, normally the grandest of Westminster occasions.

But it was pared back this year because of Covid, with fewer MPs and peers than normal gathering in the House of Lords to hear it – and the Queen arriving by car rather than the usual carriage. It is the monarch’s first major public engagement since the death of her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.

Businesses and trainers will also be encouraged to form partnerships to meet “local needs in sectors including construction, digital, clean energy and manufacturing”.

Among a raft of other proposals, the speech is also set to include a commitment to introducing voter ID for future general elections — a move that has raised concerns among MPs and civil rights groups.

In a statement ahead of the speech Boris Johnson said: “These new laws are the rocket fuel that we need to level up this country and ensure equal opportunities for all. We know that having the right skills and training is the route to better, well-paid jobs.

“I’m revolutionizing the system so we can move past the outdated notion that there is only one route up the career ladder, and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to retrain or upskill at any point in their lives.”


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