Pensions Changes At Centre Of Queen's Speech
Sweeping reforms to boost pensions for millions of people will be the centrepiece of a Queen's Speech outlining new laws for the final year of the Coalition Government.
Changes in George Osborne's Budget will end the requirement for pensioners to buy an annuity to provide a guaranteed income and legislation is also expected on collective workplace pension schemes.
Stung by allegations of a "zombie Parliament" and claims that the coalition has run out of steam, David Cameron and Nick Clegg claim the programme will be "unashamedly pro-work, pro-business and pro-aspiration".
But there are likely to be only around a dozen major Bills, with the bulk of the 2010 Coalition Agreement now enacted and the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats keen to differentiate themselves from each other.
In a coalition bid to rebuild trust with voters after a battering at the polls last month, the Queen's Speech will include a Bill giving voters the power of recall of MPs, with a by-election being triggered if 10% of voters sign a petition.
Another pledge with far-reaching implications for millions will be a 5p charge on plastic bags in supermarkets, pledged by Mr Clegg in his 2013 Liberal Democrat party conference speech.
This will not require primary legislation, because it is already provided for in the 2008 Climate Change Act and therefore will only need the passing of regulations in Parliament to enforce it.
The major Bills expected to feature are:
:: "Tax-free childcare" worth up to £2,000 per child each year, another move championed by the Liberal Democrats
:: Extra legal protection for people carrying out good deeds against liability for health and safety risks
:: A so-called "Cinderella law", outlawing emotional neglect of children by their parents
:: A hugely controversial Bill to authorise fracking, the exploitation of shale gas
:: Regulation of pubs, highlighted by Mr Clegg and Vince Cable in their pub photocall on the eve of the Queen's Speech.
In their joint statement, Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg said the speech marks "the next big step in our long-term plan for Britain. Its aim: to secure the recovery for our country".
They added: "Its guiding principle: to back everyone who wants to get on in life.
"We may be two parties, with two different philosophies, but we understand one thing: countries rise when their people rise. So this Queen's Speech is unashamedly pro-work, pro-business and pro-aspiration."
On the pensions legislation, they said: "By no longer forcing people to buy an annuity, we are giving them total control over the money they have put aside over their lifetime and greater financial security in their old age."
And on the coalition's future in the final year before the election, they said: "Four years on, our parties are still governing together and still taking bold steps."
But Labour leader Ed Miliband said: "We would have a Queen's Speech with legislation which would make work pay, reform our banks, freeze energy bills and build homes again in Britain."