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
    0

    Comment number 1590.

    Under Labour, it was 'open the flood-gates for the immigrants, let the PC-brigade flock in and give anyone with no motivation to find a job every benefit under the sun.'

    Under this new ridiculous regime, it's 'capitalism reigns supreme, tax the poor already in debt and remove the extra tax band for the rich so they still have yachts and second homes to go to.'

    And they wonder why we're angry.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1589.

    BigJohnTheRed

    What percent of the population do you think have done your list, a very small number, you are an elitist snob, sorry we aren't all as well off as you and can afford to go on public transport in the rush hour!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1588.

    Four regulators set-up to protect our interests:
    FSA inept
    OFWAT inept
    OFGEM inept
    OFSTED inept

    Big offices, big salaries, big mistakes.

    Another little gem waiting in the wings £32 BILLION railway line wrapped up in HS2 Ltd.

    And all because the government wants to outsource its responsibility.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1587.

    @ 1577

    You have to blame yourself for that. If people would watch more programs about politics, you would find the information you seek

    Just watching a 2 minute insert on a news broadcast before every mumpet changes channels as some brain dead program like Britains Got Talent is on, doesnt really cut it

    Proof with this is more people are likely to vote on a game show than on UK politics

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1586.

    1513

    Cromwell was not called a 'king' merely because he didn't want to be known by that name.In all other regards he was just as greedy and inhuman as one.

    Maybe if the Levellers had had more say we wouldn't have been raped asunder by the parasitic family cartels that have infestested this land for far too long.

    Ah well, back to the grass.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1585.

    1578.Doughnut
    5 Minutes ago
    It's a shame on this site that people mark things negatively simply because they want to close their eyes to reality.
    ++++++
    People want a scapegoat and easy answers, but there are non.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1584.

     1577. jim 
    >"Dealing with the deficit, rebalancing the economy and building a
    society that rewards people who work hard and do the right thing."

    >...David Cameron vomit out this same line for two years... I wish
    >someone would just ask him, "What exactly is the right thing?"

    Simples...
    go to Eton,
    be a millionaire,
    sacrifice the plebs to keep them in their place and teach them a lesson.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 1583.

    Oi - Can we pleeze get Labour backin power so dat I get more benefits and so dat I can sit around watching da X-Factor all day init.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 1582.

    1577.jim
    "What exactly is the right thing?"

    Good question, & an easy one. Now answer it yourself whilst understanding that anything you propose will have ripple effects, benefitting 1 area means depriving another. If you try & traget specific things there will be exceptions that are hurt by the rule.
    The public at times can ask for things so fast god could not do them.

  • Comment number 1581.

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

  • Comment number 1580.

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

  • Comment number 1579.

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

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 1578.

    It's a shame on this site that people mark things negatively simply because they want to close their eyes to reality.

    Someone writes that debt doubled under Thatcher and doubled again under Major and it gets lots of positive votes.

    Then exact figures of debt to GDP are displayed proving debt to GDP fell under Thatcher and Major and increased 50% under Labour, and it gets negative votes.

    ?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1577.

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

    I have been listening to David Cameron vomit out this same line for two years now, and I wish someone would just ask him, "What exactly is the right thing?"

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1576.

    Why would you add another HoC when we have a good bicameral system in place now: a body of experts who can scrutinise the HoC effectively. Take a look at the Health and Social Care Bill, the HoC guillotined it after just 4 days or analysing whereas the HoL took 19 days on the final draft. We have appointed experts in the HoL who know what they're talking about, they were appointed for a reason.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 1575.

    1554.leftrightleftright
    http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/psf.pdf
    It would seem HM treasury might have a somewhat different view, try checking page 6 in 2003/4 debt as % of GDP was 32.10% in fact it was lower for virtually the whole Labour period compared to the previous Conservative one. The banking crisis put paid to everyone in the west not just us. Europe and the USA inc.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1574.

    1535.insert_name_here " 'false flag' attack by his own agents to a climate of fear in which the population would look to him for protection." If you hand over your freedoms in return for security, you will receive neither. Hand over our freedoms and the terrorists (government) have won.

  • Comment number 1573.

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

  • rate this
    -10

    Comment number 1572.

    This country has been messed up by Labours Manifesto : Decline in general discipline, manufactoring has ended, no proper education, britishness sold to europe, national security scrapped ... This coalition needs to clear the mess Labour left behind : Britain got 1st steal industry back, Britain is back on the world stage, change of the welfare system for lazy people,

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 1571.

    1560. mrsalerman

    The reason they started to rush things through is because how quickly things can spiral out of control

    Just look at Greece. In 2010, Greece and GB were virtually sitting on the same timebomb. One government acted, the other ignored the obvious

    2 years later, Greece has to answer to the EU and the IMF rather than its own citizens with austerity that would make your eyes water

 

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