Laws to sack badly behaved MPs, protect unloved children and charge shoppers 5p for plastic bags will be introduced over the next year, the Queen has announced at today's state opening of Parliament.
David Cameron and Nick Clegg say the coalition's final programme before the May 2015 general election is "unashamedly pro-work and pro-business" and will include the "biggest transformation in our pensions system since its inception".
Anticipating Labour allegations of a "zombie" government lacking energy or ideas, the Prime Minister and his deputy had earlier insist that they are "still taking bold steps", and this afternoon Cameron said that it would "take the rest of this Parliament and the next to finish the task of turning the country around", the BBC reported.
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Ed Miliband said that if he had been in power he would have delivered a Queen's speech that would "make work pay, reform our banks, freeze energy bills and build homes again in Britain".
Here are some of the main bills announced:
- Pensions overhaul: employees will be able to pay into collection pension funds shared with other workers and will no longer be required to buy an annuity with their pension savings. Pensioners will have more freedom to choose whether they access their defined contribution pension savings as a lump sum or draw them down over time.
- Power to recall MPs: voters will be able to sack MPs found guilty of serious wrongdoing and trigger a by-election.
- Plastic bag charge: shoppers will have to pay 5p for plastic bags in England.
- Cinderella law: crackdown on parents who starve their children of love and affection.
- Anti-slavery bill: maximum custodial sentences for offenders will increase from 14 years to life and a new anti-slavery commissioner will be appointed to hold authorities to account.
- More protection for volunteers: extra legal protection will be introduced for people who face liability claims as a result of carrying out good deeds, volunteering or planning local events.
- State-funded childcare subsidy: new subsidy worth up to £2,000 a year will replace the current employer-funded scheme.
- Curbs on 'revolving door' policy: public sector employees will face curbs on claiming redundancy and then taking a job within the same sector.
- Infrastructure and competitiveness bill: shale gas exploration firms will be allowed to drill under private land without requiring the permission of the owner.
- Crackdown on terror: new laws will enable the prosecution of Britons who prepare for terrorist acts while they are abroad.
- Anti-bullying in the military: a new military ombudsman will combat bullying and discrimination in the armed forces.
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