The Queen’s Speech 2015: the one-nation approach
We look at the bills that were outlined in the first fully Conservative Queen’s speech in two decades.
Marking the official state opening of the new parliamentary session, the Queen’s speech set out the incoming government’s proposed legislation for the next five years. Written by the government of the day and delivered by the monarch in tone that passes no judgement over the bills, the Queen’s speech was packed full of economy-boosting proposals.
Prime Minister David Cameron said it will be a speech for “working people from a one nation government” and that it would “bring our country together”.
So what in the 26-bill package is he referring to?
This includes the measures that seek to cut red tape for British businesses by £10 billion, while creating an unprecedented independent regulator to help deliver the target. We wrote about Sajid Javid’s plans on how this will happen earlier in the month.
National insurance contributions and finance bill
The heart of this bill seeks to freeze income tax rates, VAT and national insurance for the next five years. Furthermore, there will be no income tax for those working 30 hours on minimum wage and it will look to raise the income tax threshold to £12,500. The government says this will "reward those who work hard and do the right thing”.
Cities and local government devolution bill
This looks to further devolve powers over housing, transport, planning and policing to regions of cities with elected mayors. It follows on from George Osborne’s promise in his speech following the General Election, and will also aid in creating the promised Northern Powerhouse.
These proposals will give parents of three and four-year-olds in England 30 hours a week of free childcare for 38 weeks of the year. That’s around double the allowance of that already provided by the government.
Other important bills include:
The EU referendum bill, which will put Britain’s membership of the European Union to a public vote. Full employment and welfare benefits bill, that aims to create two million new jobs and three million apprenticeships while reducing the welfare cap to £23,000.
Housing bill, where plans to support home ownership are being drafted. Trade unions bill, in which the government will apply stricter rules for calling strikes. Bank of England bill that should strengthen the governance and accountability of the central bank.
Other plans will set out to devolve more powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; creating 500 more free schools and turning failing schools into Academies; a “truly seven day” NHS by 2020; and plans to scrap the 15-year time limit on the eligibility of UK citizens living abroad to vote in elections.
"We have a mandate from the British people, a clear manifesto and the instruction to deliver,” said Prime Minister David Cameron. “We will not waste a single moment in getting on with the task.”