Coalition’s ‘bold’ finale unveiled

David Cameron and Nick Clegg have sought to present a united front as they set out their plans for the coalition’s final year in power, reports The BBC.

Voters will also get limited powers to boot out misbehaving MPs and fracking firms will get new drilling rights.

Labour sources said it was “staggering” that the NHS and immigration were not mentioned in the Queen’s Speech.

Among the measures announced were:

  • A bill implementing reforms to annuities announced in March’s Budget. In future, people will not be required to buy an annuity with their pension savings and will be able to draw their retirement income in one go if they choose
  • A separate bill to allow employees to pay into collective pension funds shared with other workers, a move it is hoped will cut costs and encourage saving
  • A new state-funded childcare subsidy worth up to £2,000 a year, replacing the existing employer-funded scheme
  • A Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism bill offering extra legal protection for people being sued for negligence or breach of duty if they acted heroically or in the public interest
  • Curbs on “excessive redundancy payments” for highly-paid public servants
  • Tougher penalties for employers who fail to pay the minimum wage and a crackdown on the abuse of zero hours contracts
  • Reforms to speed up infrastructure projects, including new freedoms for the Highways Agency and allowing fracking firms to run shale gas pipelines deep under private land without getting prior permission
  • Help for pub landlords including a statutory code and a body to adjudicate disputes
  • Giving voters the power to trigger by-elections where MPs have committed serious wrong-doing
  • The Queen presided over the state opening of Parliament for the 63rd time, amid the traditional pomp and ceremony.

“My government’s legislative programme will continue to deliver on its long-term plan to build a stronger economy and a fairer society,” she said in a speech written for her by ministers.

“To strengthen the economy and provide stability and security, my ministers will continue to reduce the country’s deficit, helping to ensure that mortgage and interest rates remain low.”

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