Summary: Queen’s speech

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The Queen unveiled the legislative programme for the government’s third term with plans for a new corporate manslaughter law one of the surprise inclusions. Education, health, law and order and reform of government bureaucracy were at the heart of a programme which is expected to present the government with many challenges.

Education

The government will introduce a bill to reform the education system to improve quality and choice in the provision of schooling.

Health

Measures will be brought forward to introduce more choice and diversity in healthcare provision and to continue to improve the quality of health services and hospital hygiene. Legislation to restrict smoking in enclosed public places and workplaces will also be introduced.

A bill will also be brought forward to support patients who wish to seek redress should they experience problems with their healthcare. The government will continue with legislation to provide a new framework for the provision of compulsory treatment of those with mental disorders.

Employment

A bill will be introduced to establish benefits which will facilitate a return to employment, while offering long-term support for those unable to work.

Pensions

A bill will be introduced to improve protection of consumers by bringing home reversion plans within the scope of the Financial Services Authority.

Law and order

Legislation will be taken forward to introduce an identity cards scheme. A bill will be introduced to give police and local communities new powers to tackle knives, guns and alcohol-related violence. Further legislation will be introduced to tighten the immigration and asylum system.

The government will take forward proposals to introduce an offence of corporate manslaughter. It will also bring forward measures to tackle those who incite religious hatred.

The government will bring forward legislation to reduce re-offending by improving the management of offenders. Legislation will be introduced to reform the criminal defence service, making better use of legal aid resources.

Finance

Legislation will be introduced to streamline regulatory structures and make it simpler to remove outdated or unnecessary legislation. Consumer credit law will be updated to provide greater protection for consumers and to create a fairer, more competitive credit market. Company law will be reformed to encourage greater levels of investment and enterprise.

Environment

Legislation will be brought forward to ensure the better management and protection of the natural environment and to provide support for rural communities. A bill to modernise the management of common land will also be introduced. Legislation will be brought forward to help reduce casualties on the roads.

Electoral reform

The government will continue to work closely with the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales, and will work to bring about the conditions necessary for the restoration of political institutions in Northern Ireland.

Legislation will be brought forward to encourage greater voter participation in elections while introducing further measures to combat fraud and increase security. Legislation will also be introduced to reform the National Assembly for Wales.

The government will also bring forward proposals to continue the reform of the House of Lords.

Europe

The government will bring forward a Bill to give effect to the Constitutional Treaty for the European Union, subject to a referendum. Legislation will be introduced to ratify the treaty of accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the European Union.

Defence

The government will establish a single system of service law for the Armed Forces.

Child protection

A bill will be introduced to establish a barring and vetting scheme, and other measures to provide better protection for children and vulnerable adults. Legislation will be introduced to safeguard the welfare of children in circumstances of parental separation and to improve the process of inter-country adoption.

Family

Maternity benefit to be extended and childcare provision improved.

International affairs

The government will continue to push for a resolution of the conflict in Darfur and make peace in the Middle East its highest priorities.

Olympics

If London is selected to host the 2012 Olympic Games, legislation will be introduced as soon as possible to establish the necessary powers to ensure the delivery of the Games, and that the requirements of the International Olympic Committee are met.

Charities

Charity law will be modernised.

Equality

Legislation will be introduced to combat discrimination and to establish the Commission for Equality and Human Rights.

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