Boris Johnson says adult education reforms set out in Queen's Speech will be 'rocket fuel' for his levelling-up agenda

New legislation aimed at reforming education for older teenagers and adults will be unveiled in what Boris Johnson pledges will be "rocket fuel" for his levelling-up agenda.

The Prime Minister said he was "revolutionising" the adult education and training system as the Government prepared to set out its legislative agenda in the Queen's Speech today (May 11).

Downing Street said the promise of a "lifetime skills guarantee" will be central to plans for the new parliamentary session as the Government seeks to rebuild the nation after the coronavirus pandemic.

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No 10 said new laws will create a post-16 and adult education and training system that is "fit for the future".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was "revolutionising" the adult education and training system

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Fresh legislation will seek to transform the student loan system to give every adult access to a flexible loan for higher-level education and training at university or college.

Ahead of the speech, Mr 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"I'm revolutionising the system so we can move past the outdated notion that there is only one route up the career ladder, and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to retrain or upskill at any point in their lives."

Other proposals include giving employers a statutory role in planning publicly funded training programmes through a "skills accelerator" programme.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson will also be given greater powers to intervene in colleges seen as failing to meet local needs.

The Queen's Speech will feature a planning bill targetting home ownership in the Midlands and north in a bid to further strengthen the Tory position in traditional Labour heartlands, it has been reported.

Conservative leaders believe the number of people who owned their homes was the key to the party's gains in last week's local elections, according to the Times.

Labour received a drubbing in some parts of the country, losing control of a host of councils and suffering defeat at the hands of Boris Johnson s Conservatives in Hartlepool, with the North East constituency electing a Tory MP for the first time since 1959.

The party also lost control of Durham council for the first time in a century, saw its local leader deposed by the Greens in Sheffield and witnessed heavy losses in Rotherham and Sunderland authorities.

According to the paper, the planning bill is aimed at expanding the rates of home ownership across small cities and towns in areas which have historically voted Labour.

The reforms will reportedly simplify the planning process to make it more difficult for existing homeowners to block new housing schemes, with the country to be divided into "growth" or "protection" zones.

It is believed automatic planning approval will be given to homes, hospitals, schools, shops and offices in growth areas, while development in protected areas will be restricted but not ruled out.

The Times also reported the Government is set to trial a "first homes scheme" in the former Labour bastion of Bolsover, Derbyshire, which will give discounts of at least 30 per cent to first-time buyers in their local area.

The Queen's Speech may also feature a long-awaited overhaul of the social care sector, with Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove's prediction of having the reforms passing through Parliament within the next seven months a possible indication the proposals could make it into Tuesday's announcement.

Mr Gove, asked whether the social care overhaul would form part of the Queen's Speech, told Times Radio: "We're working to make sure that we have an effective social care plan at the moment. That work is going on.

"So, by the end of the year you will have a specific social care plan that is heading for the statute books at the very least.

"We want to make sure that we can get cross-party support for it. That is critical.

"That's the point the Prime Minister has always made. The more support we can get for it across parties, and I hope we do, the quicker we can be."

Labour shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: "The test of whether this Queen's Speech genuinely delivers for the people of Britain is if it brings forward a proper rescue plan for the NHS and delivers a social care solution as Boris Johnson promised on the steps of Downing Street almost two years ago."

Downing Street has signalled that the Queen's Speech on May 11 - when the monarch sets out the Government's legislative agenda - will place renewed emphasis on Mr Johnson's ambitions to "level up".

Officials said as well as supporting the nation's recovery from Covid-19 and backing the NHS, the speech will include draft laws designed to "spread opportunity across the UK".

Downing Street has confirmed its programme, due to be revealed during the State Opening of Parliament, will see the return of both the controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill and the Environment Bill, which they said will set legally binding environmental targets in the run-up to the international Cop26 summit in Glasgow later this year.

The former Bill was shelved during the last parliamentary session after it sparked violent protests in some places across the UK.

If approved, it would hand greater power to police in England and Wales to shut down protests deemed overly noisy or disruptive, with those convicted liable to fines or jail terms.

Usually one of the most colourful events of the parliamentary year, the Queen's Speech this year will be a scaled-back affair due to coronavirus restrictions.

The visit of the Queen to the Palace of Westminster will see significantly fewer MPs and peers, a reduced royal procession into the House of Lords where the speech is given from and no diplomatic or non-parliamentary guests to be permitted.