News In Focus
Pensions head Queen's speech measures
Changes to pension rights lead the coalition Government's final legislative programme, outlined in the Queen's speech today.
The 11 bills announced include measures to the reforms to annuities announced in the Budget in March, which will allow those who have accrued pensions rights more freedom in how they use their money.
A separate bill will allow the creation of collective pension funds, which it is hoped will pool risk between members, cut costs and potentially allow for greater stability around pension outcomes.
Separately, a National Insurance Contributions Bill will protect public revenues by tackling avoidance and simplifying the collection of class 2 contributions paid by the self-employed; and a Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill will contain a package of provisions to cut red tape, improve access to finance and to Government procurement contracts, and clamp down on abuse of zero hours contracts and avoidance of the national minimum wage.
Other headline measures include a Recall of MPs Bill, conferring limited powers on voters to free themselves of misbehaving MPs, and (not applicable to Scotland) a Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism bill, offering extra legal protection for people being sued for negligence or breach of duty if they acted heroically or in the public interest.
Childcare subsidies, infrastructure projects including shale gas fracking schemes, "excessive redundancy payments" for public servants, and human trafficking also feature, along with plans for a 5p charge for plastic bags in England (the Scottish Government is bringing in a similar charge).
Click here for Government papers related to the Queen's speech.