Financial News

  • 5 June 2014, 18:31

Queen's Speech: Government's Agenda Set Out

The Queen's Speech has placed a house building drive, tackling pensions and a commitment to EU reform on the agenda for the coalition in its last year.

The speech to parliament put the economic recovery at its centre, opening with a pledge to continue bringing down the deficit and cutting taxes "to increase people's financial security".

With the threat that the Bank of England will increase the base rate before the General Election, there is also a pledge to keep mortgage and interest rates low and to continue to promote the Help to Buy scheme.

David Cameron had suggested he could amend the scheme after Bank of England Governor Mark Carney warned in an interview with Sky News that rising house prices were the biggest threat to economic recovery in the UK.

In an attempt to tackle the housing shortage, the Government announced plans to give developers powers to push through applications without council approval and allowing the Government to sell off unused land for development.

A new garden city will also be built in the Thames estuary at Ebbsfleet in Kent to tackle the housing shortage.

The Prime Minister and his Deputy Nick Clegg claimed the measures laid out in the Queen's Speech were "unashamedly pro-work, pro-business and pro-aspiration".

Just 11 new bills were introduced by the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament, which will bolster Labour's claims the coalition is now a "zombie government" which has run out of steam. Last year there were 19 new bills.

Mr Cameron hit back at claims there was "not enough" in the speech.

He told the House of Commons: "We're creating new laws on producing shale gas... new laws to help build high speed rail... new laws to reform planning to build more homes... we're outlawing modern slavery; confiscating assets from criminals; protecting people who volunteer; cutting red tape and curbing the abuse of zero-hour contracts.

"This is a packed programme of a busy and radical government."

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. A Queen's Speech which signals a new direction for Britain, not one which offers more of the same."

Pension reforms set out in George Osborne's Budget, which would mean pensioners will no longer be forced to buy annuities with their savings, were also included along with a Recall Bill which could see voters given the power to sack MPs guilty of serious misconduct.

Other measures include:

:: 5p charge for plastic bags

::Powers to allow fracking firms to dig under private property without asking

:: Parents to face jail for emotional cruelty to children in new Cinderella Law

::Pledge to fight to keep Scotland in the union

::Limit to excessive redundancy payouts for public sector workers

:: Tougher sentences for people traffickers

:: Free school meals for infants

:: Fines for employers who do not pay the minimum wage

:: 2,000 childcare vouchers for working parents

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