The Queen has opened the new session of Parliament with a speech outlining the Coalition Government’s legislative agenda.
With Liberal Democrats in Government this Queen’s Speech sets out the Coalition’s determination to build a stronger economy in a fairer society, enabling everyone to get on in life. It shows that Liberal Democrats are making a real difference in Government, with bills focused on jobs, growth and fairness, and an agenda that shows the Liberal Democrats are keeping the Government anchored firmly in the centre ground.
Liberal Democrats understand that building a stronger economy is about more than just the important work of cutting the deficit. We need to invest to help businesses grow and create jobs. And we are building a fairer society, helping parents and pensioners, protecting communities and protecting our environment.
- That’s why we are introducing a bill cutting National Insurance Contributions for small businesses.
- Our Energy Bill will create green jobs and growth, supporting as many as 250,000 jobs in the private sector.
- Legislation for High Speed 2 will bring in the first main line to be built north of London for almost 120 years, creating another 100,000 jobs.
- Our bill modernising intellectual property rights will save millions of pounds for some of our most innovative companies.
- Liberal Democrat pensions minister Steve Webb’s Pensions Bill will make saving for retirement simpler and fairer.
- We are introducing a Care Bill to cap social care costs so that pensioners do not have to sell their homes to fund their long-term care. These are the kind of important long-term reforms that Labour always ducked.
- We are helping families with the cost of childcare, supporting people who want to get back to work but feel they cannot afford to.
- The Queen’s Speech includes measures to reward companies that play by the rules. We will be expanding the General Anti Abuse Rule to cover big firms that try to get out of paying National Insurance, and our Consumer Rights Bill will make it easier for people to ensure they get good value for money.
- And because we want Britain to be a place that attracts people who will play by the rules and make a contribution, an Immigration Bill will be brought forward to clamp down on people from overseas who abuse our public services.
- We will make sure people feel safer in their own communities. In this session we will introduce a new Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill that will do more to keep our neighbourhoods safe and secure. Our Offender Rehabilitation Bill will also transform the way offenders are dealt with once they leave prison, tackling persistent reoffending.
FULL BILL SUMMARY
- Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill: will introduce new powers to tackling anti-social behaviour, giving victims a say in the way their complaints are dealt with; strengthen powers to tackle irresponsible dog ownership; establish the powers of the College of Policing in statute; extend the powers of the Independent Police Complaints Commission; establish an independent review body on police pay and conditions; criminalised forced marriage; and target the use of illegal firearms
- Care Bill: will simplify and modernise the framework for care and support; implement the cap on care costs that people will spend in their lifetime; introduce a number of measures in response to the Francis Inquiry, including a ratings system for hospitals and care homes, a single failure regime and a statutory duty of candour.
- Consumer Rights Bill (draft): will set out a simple, modern framework of consumer rights to promote growth through competitive markets.
- Defence Reform Bill: will improve the way we procure and support defence equipment and enhance the use of the Reserve Forces.
- Deregulation Bill (draft): will reduce the burden of excessive or unnecessary regulation on businesses, organisations and individuals
- Energy Bill (carry over): reforms the energy market to ensure secure, clean and affordable energy. The Bill was introduced in November 2012 and will continue its passage in the third session
- European Union (Approvals) Bill: will provide Parliamentary approval under the European Union Act 2011 for ministers to vote in favour of various proposals in Brussels: Pericles (anti-euro counterfeiting); Europe for Citizens (EU civic integration); and EU Archives (formalising the depositing of EU documents in an archive).
- Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill: will extend the scope of the regulatory regime currently governing remote gambling, providing greater consumer protection for people in Great Britain.
- High Speed Two Preparation Bill: will provide Parliamentary approval to incur expenditure on preparatory works for HS2 in advance of the planned Hybrid Bill.
- High Speed Two Hybrid Bill: will provide powers to construct and operate the London to West Midlands leg of the national High Speed 2 network (known as phase 1)
- Immigration Bill: will reform immigration law, including provisions to strengthen our enforcement powers and protect public services.
- Intellectual Property Bill: will simplify and strengthen design protection; make the IP system more accessible to SMEs and increase legal certainty and reduce risks in IP intensive markets.
- Local Audit and Accountability Bill: will close the Audit Commission, make new arrangements for the audit of local public bodies and increase local accountability by extending the Council Tax referendum lock to other levying bodies and putting the local government publicity code on a statutory footing.
- Mesothelioma Bill: will establish a Diffuse Mesothelioma payment Scheme and make related provision; and to make provision about the resolution of certain insurance disputes.
- National Insurance Contributions Bill: will extend the General Anti-Abuse Rule to National Insurance Contributions; introduce a National Insurance employment allowance of £2,000, reducing the cost of employment; prevent the use of offshore employment payroll companies to avoid employer National Insurance Contributions; and remove the presumption for self-employment for limited liability partnerships in some circumstances.
- Northern Ireland Bill: will give effect to a number of changes which will improve the operation of institutions and politics in Northern Ireland.
- Offenders Rehabilitation Bill: will ensure offenders will all be supervised after release and all offenders serving short sentences will have 12 months supervision; create a new rehabilitation requirement for community sentences; and provide incentives to offender management providers to innovate to reduce reoffending.
- Pensions Bill: will introduce a single-tier pension system, bring forward the increase in State Pension age to 67 and lay the framework for its regular review. It will also introduce a system for the automatic transfer of small pension pots.
- Water Bill: will reform the water industry in England and Wales and will also ensure flood insurance remains available and affordable in areas of high flood risk throughout the United Kingdom.
- Welsh Assembly Bill (draft): will move the National Assembly for Wales from four to five year fixed terms; remove the ban on candidates at an Assembly election standing in both a constituency and a region; and ensure that members of the Assembly cannot at the same time be members of the House of Commons.
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