UK Politics

Queen's Speech 2013: What's expected - Bill-by-bill

The Queen, pictured delivering the speech in 2010

The Queen's Speech on Wednesday will set out the government's legislative plans for the next year. What is expected to be in it?

Immigration Bill

Following the government's latest setback in deporting Abu Qatada, Home Secretary Theresa May told MPs she would bring forward an Immigration Bill. This is expected to allow foreign criminals to be deported more easily. Mrs May has also indicated the bill could encompass plans to tighten the laws relating to the UK Border Agency to make it more effective at deporting people who are in this country illegally. In a speech on immigration at the end of March, Prime Minister David Cameron said he would legislate to make sure illegal immigrants can't get driving licences and also change the rules so private landlords have to check their tenants' immigration status. Both these measures could be included in the Immigration Bill.

Co-operatives Bill

In January, Prime Minister David Cameron announced his plan to bring forward a Co-operatives Bill to "help build a fairer economy" before the next election. He said the bill would cut red tape and consolidate more than a dozen outdated pieces of legislation governing co-operatives and mutuals.

Pensions Bill

The Department of Work and Pensions intends to put forward legislation to introduce a single weekly state pension of £144 per week, which will replace the current pension of £107 plus means-tested top-ups. The move could benefit 750,000 women who reach pension age between 2016 and 2026 by around £9 a week.

Consumer rights

The government intends to introduce measures which simplify the currently complex laws which protect consumers from unsatisfactory service. A consultation paper last year set out proposals to overhaul and strengthen core consumer rights and remedies in relation to faulty goods and poor services, and update and clarify consumer rights and remedies in relation to 'digital content' and other things bought online.

Health and Social Care Bill.

The government wants to introduce a cap on the cost of social care, as recommended by the Dilnot Commission. This is going to be a complex piece of legislation, as it will involve setting up the assessment process which decides what counts towards the total cost of a person's social care, and which costs will be covered free by the NHS. People who look after elderly or vulnerable relatives could gain the legal right to ask for financial support, professional assistance or home adaptations from their local council. The government intends to allocate around £150 million to help fund the move, although councils may still struggle to implement the proposals at a time of budget cuts.

Dangerous Dogs Bill

The government wants to make it an offence for a dog to be dangerously out of control in any place, including all private property. If a dog attacks a guide dog it will be an aggravated offence, and when courts are deciding if a dog needs to be destroyed the character of the owner will be taken in to account.

Freedom of information and data protection

There could be a slight overhaul of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This would most likely involve extending rights of access to data which has been released, including rights of re-use. It could also involve limiting the use of freedom of information requests by extending the government's ability to refuse them on the basis of cost.

Wild Animals in Circuses Bill

The government is expected to formally introduce a law banning the use of wild animals in circuses. Circus owners have already been given notification of this, and they have been told they will probably have until December 2015 to comply.

HS2 bill

There is likely to be a bill paving the way for the second phase of the high speed rail link between Birmingham and Leeds, and Birmingham and Manchester. This is a piece of legislation which allows funding to be made available for the early design stages of a big project, before the whole project is given the go-ahead.

Police complaints

Home Secretary Theresa May announced in the Commons last year that she intended to legislate to allow the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to investigate private companies which were employed by the police. It is possible that this could be in the Queen's Speech this year, along with other powers to strengthen the IPCC.

Recall of MPs Bill

The commitment to set up a mechanism for constituents to recall their MPs if they've engaged in "serious wrongdoing" was set out in the coalition agreement nearly three years ago, but the government has yet to bring in a bill. On one of his recent weekly phone-in shows, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg assured Tory MP Zac Goldsmith, a strong supporter of recall, that he wanted "recall provisions on the statute book in this parliament".

What's unlikely to make the Queen's Speech...

Communications Data Bill

This is the controversial so-called "snoopers charter". It refers to legislation which allows for the monitoring of UK citizens' online and mobile communications. Draft proposals have been described as unworkable by MPs, and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said the plans will not happen while the Lib Dem are in government. All this makes it unlikely the bill will make it into the Queen's Speech without a fundamental rewrite, which would be seen as a setback for Home Secretary Theresa May.

Minimum alcohol pricing

David Cameron supports minimum alcohol pricing and the government has been consulting on a price of 45p per unit. But several cabinet ministers, including Theresa May, Michael Gove and Andrew Lansley, are said to be against the plan, meaning it is now unlikely to feature in the Queen's Speech.

Standardised cigarette packaging

Ministers consulted last year on bringing in plain cigarette packets. Campaigners say it will help discourage young people from taking up smoking, but tobacco companies have said plain packs could easily be illicitly copied and the move could lead to job losses. Recent reports have suggested David Cameron has withdrawn support for the plan because it could damage the packaging industry.

International aid

Plans to set a legally defined target of 0.7% of GDP for the amount of financial aid Britain provides to other countries are now unlikely to make it in to the Queen's speech, according to the Guardian. The plans had proved unpopular among many Conservative MPs.

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