Queen's Speech: David Cameron says plans will rebuild Britain

 

The Queen sets out the government's plans for the year ahead

David Cameron has hailed the coalition's plans for the year ahead as a "Queen's Speech to rebuild Britain".

They include flexible parental leave, breaking up the banks and exempting the UK from euro bailouts.

Lords reform is the most controversial measure in a slimmed down programme but the PM said boosting growth and cutting the deficit were his top priorities.

He denied Labour claims the plans include nothing to get young people into work or kick start the economy.

The prime minister told MPs: "Let me say exactly what this Queen's Speech is about. It is about a government taking the tough, long-term decisions to restore our country to strength.

"Dealing with the deficit, rebalancing the economy and building a society that rewards people who work hard and do the right thing."

Labour leader Ed Miliband said his party would support measures such as parental leave and a Green Investment Bank - but the Queen's Speech contained nothing for the young unemployed, working families and "millions of people who don't think the government is on their side".

David Cameron say the government is "taking tough decisions to help families who work hard and do the right thing"

"No change, no hope - that is the real message of this Queen's Speech," Mr Miliband told MPs.

The legislative programme - unveiled by the Queen in a speech to MPs and peers - contained 15 bills and four draft bills, a much slimmer programme than in previous years.

It had been billed as a fightback for the coalition after the Conservatives and their Lib Dem partners suffered heavy losses at last week's local elections.

BBC Political Correspondent Norman Smith said it was a "hotch potch" of bills with "no over-arching theme", explicitly designed to prevent the government from becoming "bogged down" with difficult legislation when it should be focusing on the economy.

But some fear that the inclusion of House of Lords reform in the legislative programme will stoke tensions between the two governing parties, with some Tory MPs strongly opposed to the plans.

Key legislation in the Queen's Speech includes:

  • Children and Families Bill: Mothers in England, Scotland and Wales will be able to transfer maternity leave to their partners. There will be better support for special needs pupils and improved access arrangements for divorced fathers in England. The adoption process in England will also be reformed to end delays and making inter-racial adoption easier
  • Banking Reform Bill: Splitting banks into separate retail and investment arms
  • Draft Communications Bill: Making it easier for police and intelligence agencies to access, store and share data on private phone calls and email communications
  • Crime and Courts Bill: Moving towards televised court proceedings and creating a specific offence of driving under the influence of drugs. Establishing a National Crime Agency
  • Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill: Curbing the power of large supermarkets and ensuring suppliers are "treated fairly and lawfully" through a new independent adjudicator
  • Electoral Registration and Administration Bill: Introducing individual voter registration to cut down on fraud

There is also a bill to establish a Green Investment Bank, make it easier for firms to sack workers by reforming the employment tribunal system and to strengthen shareholders' ability to curb directors' pay.

More detail on measures

But Lords reform is likely to prove the most hotly-contested measure, with some Conservative MPs likely to fight plans for a smaller and mostly-elected second chamber.

In a joint statement, Mr Cameron and his Lib Dem deputy Nick Clegg said: "The primary task of the government remains ensuring that we deal with the deficit and stretch every sinew to return growth to the economy, providing jobs and opportunities to hard-working people across Britain who want to get on."

But they insisted pushing ahead with Lords reform was in the best interests of the country.

"We believe that power should be passed from the politicians at Westminster back to the people of Britain, which is why we will keep the promise in our parties' manifestos and reform the House of Lords, because those who make laws for the people should answer to the people."

Labour's Sadiq Khan said it was "not clear" how ministers planned to reform the House of Lords, or whether it remained a priority for the government. He also noted it made no mention of a referendum.

'Snooper's charter'

Proposals to give parents the right to request flexible working, such as fewer hours and job sharing, throughout their working lives also appear to have been dropped.

And there was no mention of legalising gay marriage, which will please some Conservative backbenchers who have criticised it as a distraction from fixing the economy, but the Home Office said it remained committed to introducing same-sex civil marriage "by the end of this Parliament" and a consultation was "still ongoing".

Planned reforms to adult social care in England also look a way off after the much-delayed publication of a government White Paper, which is now expected in the summer.

A bill to make it easier for the police and security services to intercept personal data has been published in draft form only, allowing for greater scrutiny before it becomes law, will please Lib Dem and Tory backbenchers angry at what they saw as plans for a "snooper's charter".

There is also a measure to deal with negative headlines generated by Chancellor George Osborne's decision to increase tax on charitable donations from the super rich, announced in last month's Budget.

When Black Rod summoned MPs, Dennis Skinner said: "Jubilee year, double-dip recession, what a start"

A Small Donations Bill will provide a top up payment similar to Gift Aid to charities that receive small cash donations of £20 or less, enabling them to claim 25p for every £1 collected in the UK, on up to £5,000 of small donations.

In his Commons response to the speech Labour leader Ed Miliband also questioned why Lords reform was in the speech when senior ministers had said it was not a big priority.

He contrasted it with the absence of other coalition pledges, such as reforming adult social care, enshrining in law a commitment to spend 0.7% of national income on foreign aid and reform of lobbying rules.

He said Mr Cameron's proposals showed the government "just don't get it".

 

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  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 670.

    @655 Centres
    Cut's to jobs, services and pay leads to lower disposable income in the economy, which contracts the economy, which leads to higher unemployment as more businesses fail. Which leads to lower tax returns and a higher welfare bill, which leads to more BORROWING. Don't take my word for it, the data released in the last 2 months is their for all to see. Austerity is not working.

  • rate this
    -10

    Comment number 669.

    the royals must go. the hidden wealth (property - every art object in every palace is worth 1000's and up) must be used to repay the victims of colonialism and slavery. whats left can be used to start a people's bank that looks after the tax paying public and not for money market manipulation. the house of lords and whitehall must go. undemocratic and unelected.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 668.

    " Edward Heath was a "Tory Toff", but wait - Dad was a builder."

    Heath was deeply despised by the Right. Also MacMillan with his sentimental nonsense about the working classes formed from - er - having fought in the trenches with the working classes

    The Asset Strippers now rule. Cameron has a constituency of about 70 donors who have their eyes on the trough - they do not give a tiny damn for us

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 667.

    637.Billythefirst - ".......In 2006/2007 both Brown and Cameron were lavishing praise on the banking sector...Cameron going as far as to claim credit on behalf of tories for work done by tories in laying foundations of deregulation......."

    Let us not forget that in opposition the boy Gideon couldn't sing the praises of Ireland's economy highly enough........

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 666.

    With all the things in the Queens Speech I don't see one mention of job creation when DC & NC told us in recent days that they would not be distracted from getting the country on its feet again. Why does the ConDem coalition keep feeding us these lies. They have no plan B, no new ideas and no clue either leaving the 99% with no hope, no jobs and no future for themselves and their kids.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 665.

    The house of Lords works well and represents the people of this country often better than the commons precisely because it is NOT elected and therefore can take an independent stance. The elected chamber has primacy which is right and proper but the unelected chamber does its job well reviewing legislation and occasionally telling the commons to think again. Please leave it alone.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 664.

    656.Dancin Pagan The Mad Kiltie

    I don't think that's quite fair unless you are trying to stir up some "anti-rich" comments.
    Rioters threathens everyone walking the street, the image of the country as a whole and hence everyone in the country.
    I was there, I couldn't even get food during those days.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 663.

    Divorced fathers are to have easier access to their children. Will they be made to pay maintenance or even be penalised for NOT keeping up the contact already agreed??

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 662.

    Elected House of Lords will just let career politicians to do what their masters pay them for, it has little to do with the best interests of the people. Hereditary peers are about the only good thing in the political system as they do not work for the interests of the parties.

    Think of the money and jobs gay marriage could make. There is no sense, only prejudice, in not allowing it.

  • Comment number 661.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 660.

    billscroc@609, sounds almost utopian, A land run by the people 4 the people. Where it's easy for all to have there say.
    Much as I'd love it, unfortunately reading some of the posts on here, there's many people I wouldn't trust to decide which foot to put their shoes on!
    Although managed properly, probably is some merit in using internet for people to get involved with the running of the country.

  • rate this
    +26

    Comment number 659.

    First priority is to "reduce the deficit"... give them just three words and they're still incoherent. Growth should be our main priority, reducing the deficit etc. merely follows from that. I mean, how difficult is it to construct three meaningful words that convey a priority? Very, apparently.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 658.

    Where is the Bill for accountability, social responsibility and recourse for the minority few, wealthy decision-makers in Banks,Corporations and in our Government?

    Not one mention. Not one step taken to prevent another public fraud and to hold those accountable and responsible.

    The next great public rip-off is already in the making, aided by our Government.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 657.

    No Chance the legislative program will get in the way of MP's recesses then.

    Go for growth. If the Millionaires have time to concentrate on their private empires so then we are going for growth. Worried about sharing the trickle down with the rest of the 99% though

    Soup anyone

  • Comment number 656.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 655.

    625. MrJimMorrison

    My point was that the coalition has considered all the proposals you made (and more) and decided on courses of action. The fact you disagree with those courses of action and wish they'd announced what you want in the Queen's Speech is sort of irrelevant as you weren't given a mandate to govern. They were.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 654.

    this government needs to be reformed before they start on the House of Lords. Better still, this sham of a government should call a national election.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 653.

    Although the House of Lords needs reform it is of negligent importance compared with getting the economy moving. This was an insignificant speech giving us nothing new. Action for jobs should be the leading consideration which would help the economy to improve and therefore also reduce the debt caused by Labour's frivolous spending. DC can't go on just blaming Labour he has to change policies.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 652.

    The thing that really annoys me about Clegg's HoL reforms is that it's the perfect opportunity to remove guaranteed seats for CofE officials and he's not taking it up!

  • rate this
    +43

    Comment number 651.

    What is all this drivel about ?? where is the lets get millions back to work ; immigration ; tough on crime more prisons etc etc ; not interested in hours of wrangling about the House of Lords !! where is listening to the people bit ? 3 years to go and counting .

 

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