In the Queen’s 65th annual speech, which outlines Government’s plans for new legislation, she also said changes would aim to create more jobs and apprentices to support businesses.
“In England, further powers will be devolved to directly elected mayors,” Her Majesty explained.
“Legislation will also allow local authorities to retain business rates, giving them more freedom to invest in local communities.”
The Local Growth & Jobs Bill, which affects England only, will create a framework to allow local authorities to retain 100% of business rates levied.
Mayors will also have the authority to levy business rate supplements to fund infrastructure projects.
The changes to business rates were first announced by George Osborne in October, and were met with caution from trade leaders, with some fearing councils would use pubs as ‘cash cows’.
New powers to be devolved to local authorities will also be set out in law in the bill.
The Queen also spoke of a soft-drinks industry levy to help tackle childhood obesity, which has been met with anger by some suppliers.
The speech was overshadowed by the impending EU referendum, which will take place on 23 June, the Queen confirmed.
She also said ministers have plans to move Britain to a ‘higher wage, lower welfare economy’.
“To support the economic recovery and to create more jobs and apprentices, legislation will be introduced to ensure Britain has the infrastructure businesses need to grow,” she said.
Other announcements made in the speech are listed below:
- Support for the creation of autonomous electric vehicles
- Support for the right of every household to have high-speed broadband
- Introduction of legislation to tackle money laundering corruption and tax evasion
- Move to ensure children can be adopted without delay
- Reform public services so they help the hardest to reach, tackle poverty and deprivation
- Support the establishment of new universities
- Create a lifetime ISA to help young people save
- Replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights
- Ensure that overseas visitors pay for health treatment they receive at taxpayers’ expense
- Meet the NATO commitment to spend 2% of income on defence by securing long-term future of nuclear deterrent and investing in Britain’s armed forces
- Tackle climate change, major international security and humanitarian challenges
- Commit to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, continue the fight against Daesh, aim for peace in Syria through lasting political settlement
- Reform prisons and courts to give offenders a second chance
- Create better education, work schedule and mental health for prisoners
- Close old and inefficient prisons