Welcome to our guide to the Queen’s Speech and the new Government.
Please find a link below to download an organogram of the new Government, analysis of the Queen’s Speech by George Pascoe-Watson and a Bill-by-Bill guide.
THE NEW GOVERNMENT
Download our guide to the new government
The Spice Girls were at number one the last time The Queen read out a Conservative Government’s policies.
When the PM took over as Leader in 2005, he set out to lead Britain in a more moral direction. But his modernising crusade became diluted when the realities of trying to win the 2010 General Election hit home.
David Cameron’s mission now is to deliver a “one nation” government that delivers “something for everyone” over the next five years – and to make sure he cements another five year term for his successor.
Today’s Queen’s Speech is the framework for Cameron’s strategy to deliver security at every stage of life – to be born into a fully-funded NHS, given a decent schooling, help to buy a home, and to keep more of your income rather than hand it over in tax.
The PM knows he has a golden chance to shape the country with little or no opposition.
He must seize it now or squander his opportunity.
Top of the list is an EU Referendum Bill.
It is almost certain the Premier will recommend Britain stays in the EU in a national vote by next summer – May 2016 is being pencilled in.
The PM wants to nip this issue in the bud and settle the question for generations to come.
He cannot afford for it to dominate the early years of his second term in Number 10 and so is keen to hold the referendum as soon as possible.
Mr Cameron is a much shrewder steward of his party than in previous years.
There was little point in charging at his own opponents on the Human Rights Act repeal.
So he put forward a consultation to avoid a punch-up with his backbenchers and with Tory lawyers.
But the PM is determined to deliver on this manifesto pledge. He first made the pledge to me in an interview for The Sun back in 2009 but Coalition prevented him from doing so.
Many of the measures in the Queen’s Speech will be radical by the standards of the last Parliament.
A freeze on taxes for the next five years should be cheered by most people in Britain and particularly Conservatives.
But the PM knows his biggest challenge is to begin to detoxify the Conservative Party brand so he hands another five year term to whoever succeeds him.
George Osborne looks the likely candidate at this early stage in a race which hasn’t even begun.
The Chancellor is building an impressive arsenal of advisers in his team, some of the brightest big guns around town.
But Boris Johnson is already busying himself around the coffee tables of Portcullis House where he is still on first name terms with political editors, advisers and the like.
Until then, David Cameron must continue to balance his priorities with his backbenchers’ – a task easier said than done.
National Insurance Bill & Finance Bill – “tax lock commitments”
- Will legislate for no rises in Income Tax, VAT or National Insurance over the next five years.
- Individuals working 30 hours a week on the minimum wage will pay no income tax.
- Cut red tape to boost SMEs, saving businesses at least £10 billion over the Parliament.
- Establish the Small Business Conciliation Service to tackle business-to-business disputes.
Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill
- Freeze the majority of benefits and tax credits for two years from 2016-17 and reduce the benefit cap to £23,000. Pensioners and disability benefits are protected from the freeze.
- 18-21 year olds on a new Youth Allowance for more than 6 months will be required to go on an apprenticeship, training or community work placement.
Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill
- Will devolve powers on transport, regeneration and budgets to boost local growth in England, and begin to establish the Northern Powerhouse.
- Will give existing elected mayors more powers, such as the option to take on the powers of Police and Crime Commissioners.
- Working parents will be entitled to 30 hours of free childcare a week for their three and four year olds for 38 weeks of the year.
EU Referendum Bill
- The electorate will have an in-out vote on the UK’s membership of the EU before the end of 2017.
- Like a General Election, British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens over 18 who reside in the UK will be able to vote.
- UK nationals who have resided overseas for less than 15 years will also be entitled to vote.
- The Bill will deliver the commitments for further devolution set out by the Smith Commission.
- Allows Holyrood to set the thresholds and rates of income tax in Scotland and keep all money raised by the nation as well as new powers on VAT, Air Passenger Duty and Aggregates duty.
- Gives the National Assembly new powers, including control over ports, taxi regulation, bus services, speed limits and sewage.
- Te non-fiscal Smith Commission proposals that are appropriate for Wales will be implemented.
Northern Ireland Bill
- The Bill will implement the provisions of the Stormont House Agreement.
- A new independent body will oversee outstanding investigations into deaths that took place during the Troubles.
- Police will gain powers to seize the wages of illegal workers and all foreign offenders released on bail will be electronically tagged.
- Recruiting solely from abroad without advertising jobs in Britain will be illegal.
- The principle of ‘deport first, appeal later’, will apply to immigration appeals and judicial reviews.
Trade Unions Bill
- Introduce a new 50% minimum voting threshold for union ballot turnout, and a mandatory 40% of all eligible voters must vote in favour to allow strikes for certain essential services.
- Move to an opt-in process for the political funding of trade unions subscriptions which could have a significant impact on Labour’s trade union funding.
- The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) will become an independent regulator.
- Powers to approve large onshore wind farms in England and Wales will be devolved to local planning authorities.
- Home secretary given the power to distribute Banning Orders on extremist groups.
- Extremism Disruption Orders will be introduced to prevent extremist behaviour.
- Closure Orders will enable the closure of premises used to support extremism.
Investigatory Powers Bill
- This is the re-introduction of the failed Communications Data Bill or “Snooper’s Charter” to allow security services to monitor communications and other data.
Policing and Criminal Justice Bill
- Pre-charge bail law, as well as reform to the police disciplinary and complaints system.
- Reforms in relation to the detention of people under the Mental Health Act.
- Child protection will also aim to be improved by either the introduction of the new offence of wilful neglect or through a mandatory reporting scheme.
Education and Adoption Bill
- The process of converting schools to academies will be sped up and ‘inadequate’ rated schools will become academies.
- Regional adoption agencies will be introduced, working across local authority boundaries.
- Extending the Right to Buy to housing association tenants, whilst requiring local authorities to sell high-value council houses once vacant to fund this.
- Supporting the delivery of 200,000 Starter Homes for young first-time buyers at a 20 per cent discount.
European Union (Finance) Bill
- Give approval to the financing of the seven year EU budget deal and preserves the UK’s rebate
- Will allow the completion of Phase 1 of HS2.
- Combined authorities, with directly-elected Mayors, will have the option to control local bus services.
Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill
- Will seek to strengthen the powers of the Charity Commission for England and Wales.
Votes for Life Bill
- Will scrap the 15 year time limit on British citizens who live abroad voting in UK parliamentary and European elections and make it easier for British citizens overseas to register and vote.
Psychoactive Substance Bill
- There will be a blanket ban on distribution, sale and supply of psychoactive substances, aimed at ‘legal highs’.
Bank of England Bill
- The Bill will build on measures to strengthen the governance and accountability of the Bank of England.
Armed Forces Bill
- The Bill will replace the expiring Armed Forces Act 2006, providing the legal basis for recruitment and discipline.