Wales

Child cruelty law could be in Queen's Speech

  • 4 June 2014
  • From the section Wales
Media captionMark Williams has campaigned for a "Cinderella's law"

Ceredigion MP Mark Williams is to find out whether his bid to tighten the law on child cruelty has won UK government backing.

An offence of emotional cruelty to children could be in the Queen's Speech at the state opening of parliament.

The MP has campaigned for a "Cinderella's law" that could see parents in Wales and England prosecuted.

The Wales Bill is also expected to continue its passage though parliament.

Mr Williams introduced his own private member's Bill to change the law but it failed due to lack of parliamentary time.

He hopes the coalition government will change the law, possibly as part of a wider Serious Crime Bill.

Health and education

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Justice confirmed it was "considering ways the law can support" protecting children from emotional cruelty.

Children's charities say that although social workers do use a definition of child cruelty, because it is not written into law it is difficult for the police to gather evidence.

The Queen is also expected to confirm the Wales Bill, which will give the Welsh government some taxation and borrowing powers, will continue its parliamentary passage.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Most of the legislation unveiled will also apply in Wales

The Welsh assembly may be able to make laws in areas such as health and education, but most of the legislation to be unveiled will also apply in Wales.

Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg say the speech "is unashamedly pro-work, pro-business and pro-aspiration".

In a joint statement they highlighted what they see as ground-breaking pensions changes.

Pension pots

"The reforms we plan will be the biggest transformation in our pensions system since its inception," they said.

The key changes, announced in chancellor George Osborne's Budget, will allow the over 55s to access their pension pots without having to buy an annuity - an income for life.

Other proposed new laws may include tougher sentences for people traffickers, new rights for pub landlords, tax breaks for parents, moves to claw back pay-offs to public sector workers who return to similar roles a short time later and a Heroism Bill that would see people who commit good deeds protected from prosecution and negligence claims.

A Small Business Bill may ban exclusivity in controversial "zero-hours" contracts.

Welsh Secretary David Jones will brief assembly members on the contents of the speech in Cardiff Bay next week.

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