Queen's Speech: What it means for IT

The Queen's Speech this morning set out the new coalition Government's legislative plans for the current parliament. But what do they mean for IT?

The speech, marking the State Opening of Parliament, was delivered this morning to a traditional grumbling heckle from Labour's Dennis Skinner.

The 22 bills announced included a number of measures affecting IT.

The roll-out of high-speed broadband was named as a major priority, along with the already-announced abolition of national ID cards, and the scrapping of next-generation biometric passports.

Broadband roll-out is the responsibility of new Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey. The Government wants BT and other next-gen network owners to open their underground fibre optic cable ducts to other operators - and the coalition's joint policy document, issued last week, hinted that a portion of the BBC's TV licence fee may be hived off to fund the project.

In an interview with the Sunday Times last weekend, Vaizey made conciliatory noises towards BBC bosses, indicating that the Government was dropping its plan to freeze the licence fee – and may even save digital radio station 6Music from the axe.

Elsewhere in the Queen's Speech, the proposed Identity Documents Bill will "scrap ID cards, and require the destruction of all personal information gathered from existing cardholders and currently held in the National Identity Register", according to an accompanying statement from the Home Office.

The Freedom or "Great Repeal" Bill announced today will reduce the length of time suspects' DNA can be held on the national DNA database once cleared of any charges. It will also place limits of email and Internet surveillance, and promises greater regulation of CCTV use.

The Freedom Bill also promises to extend the Freedom of Information Act. The ContactPoint database, which holds details of every school-age child in the UK, is headed for the axe.

Crucially, no mention was made of the reform or repeal of the Digital Economy Act, enacted during Labour's last month in office and heavily criticised by the Liberal Democrat Party, which makes up part of the ruling coalition.

Details are still emerging of the Government's spending plans, following the Treasury's pledge to cut £6.2 billion in spending over the current financial year.