Queen's Speech: Tiaras, pubs, pensions & plastic bags

Westminster is abuzz with anticipation. The patch of grass opposite the House of Lords known as College Green has taken on the look of a festival campsite. Broadcasters have erected temporary structures the area known as College Green from where to share the state opening of Parliament with viewers and listeners.

There will be plenty of pomp and ceremony, robes and tiaras, but for political anoraks the focus will be on what the Queen has to say in a speech written for her by ministers.

The speech outlines the coalition government's plans for new laws in the last year before the 2015 general election. The Queen is expected to confirm the Wales Bill, which will give the Welsh government some taxation and borrowing powers, will continue its parliamentary passage.

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

Ceredigion Liberal Democrat MP Mark Williams will be watching to see if the coalition promises to enact a government version of a law he proposed to introduce a new offence of emotional cruelty to children.

The proposed change to neglect laws in Wales and England would see parents who deny their children affection face prosecution for the first time. Campaigners say that although social workers have a definition of child cruelty they work on because it is not written into law, this makes it difficult for the police to gather evidence.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Justice confirmed it was "considering ways the law can support" protecting children from emotional cruelty. The new offence could be added to another criminal justice bill rather than form a new law of its own.

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

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

Other proposed new laws to look out for 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.

There's talk of a ban on exclusive zero hours contracts - an issue Labour has campaigned on. The five pence charge for disposable plastic bags, pioneered in Wales, will also be introduced in England from the autumn of 2015.

I'll have more on the details here later. In the meantime, here's an article on the Queen's new coach.