Queens speech calls for national crime agency
- Published on Wednesday, 09 May 2012 16:07
- Posted by Scott Buckler
The Queen has today set out the government's legislative plans for 2013 with banking and social care high on the agenda.
Here is a break-down of the bill:
Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill
A wide-ranging Bill covering competition, employment disputes, director's pay and regulatory reform. Competition enforcement will be strengthened by merging the Competition Commission and parts of the Office of Fair Trading. A Green Investment Bank will be established to promote private sector investment in a greener economy. Reforms the employment tribunal system by providing more options for the early resolution of disputes through Acas. On Director's pay, shareholders will be allowed a binding vote on the remuneration of directors. This Bill applies to the whole of the UK, but with some parts relevant to England, Wales or Scotland only.
Banking Reform Bill
Will ensure that banks which want to provide retail banking services will only be able to do so if these services are ring-fenced from the investment activities of the bank. Reduces the risk to the taxpayer of a bank going bust by making sure those who have money deposited in bank accounts are given priority over other creditors. This Bill will apply to the whole of the UK.
Groceries Adjudicator Bill
Will establish a Groceries Code Adjudicator to enforce the Groceries Code. This makes sure the largest retailers, such as the big name supermarkets, treat their suppliers fairly. This will be a UK wide Bill.
Small Donations Bill
Provides a new system of top-up payments similar to Gift Aid for small cash donations to charities. For donations of less than £20, charities will be able to claim back 25p for every £1 collected in the UK, up to a limit of £5,000. This Bill will apply to the whole of the UK.
Reforms the electricity market to encourage more investment in low carbon generation and clean energy. Puts more restrictions on the emissions of new coal plants and creates a new independent regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation, funded by the industry. The Bill will affect England and Wales with the majority of proposals also applying to Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Draft Water Bill
Allows for greater freedom of public bodies and business to choose their water supplier and will make water companies more responsive to the needs of customers. Reforms will mainly apply to England and Wales but will also allow for a joint water and sewerage retail market with Scotland.
Brings forward the state pension age to 67 between 2026 and 2028 and reforms the state pension system to make it simpler and more sustainable as people live longer. This legislation will be for England, Scotland and Wales only.
Public Service Pensions Bill
Implements controversial reforms to public sector pensions. Moves public sector pensions over to a career average scheme and extends the age at which members can draw their pensions. The Government says this will make them sustainable, with costs shared between employers, workers and taxpayers 'more fairly'.
Draft Local Audit Bill
Aims to save money and increase local accountability and transparency in England. Abolishes the Audit Commission and sets out new arrangements for the audit of local public bodies.
Children and Families Bill
Covers lots of areas including adoption, family law and parental leave. Changes to the rules on adoption will make race considerations less important than finding a child a permanent home quickly. Families will get more choice on education for pupils with special educational needs. Parents will be given access to flexible leave to allowing greater sharing of caring responsibilities. On family law, there will be a six month deadline to complete care cases and if families break up, the law will be strengthened to make sure children continue to have a relationship with both parents if it's in their best interests. All the changes will apply to England, but some such as flexible working will also apply to Scotland and Wales. On adoption, the government says it will discuss with the Welsh government about extending the reforms into Wales.
Draft Care and Support Bill
An England-only Bill that aims to modernise adult care and make access to support clearer and more equal. This will include giving people greater choice and making councils adapt the services they offer to people's needs and experiences.
Electoral Registration and Administration Bill
Introduces individual voter registration and makes it easier for people to register to vote. This legislation will apply primarily to England, Scotland and Wales.
House of Lords Reform Bill
Bringing democracy to the House of Lords to ensure the majority of its members are elected. The size of the chamber will be substantially cut.
Crime and Courts Bill
Establishes a National Crime Agency to take the lead on organised crime, enhance border security and fight cyber crime. Allows TV cameras into courtrooms "in limited circumstances". Driving under the influence of drugs will be made a specific offence. Judicial appointments will be reformed to increase transparency and diversity. The Bill mostly applies to the whole of the UK with a few exceptions.
Will introduce changes to defamation law which will rebalance freedom of expression with a person's ability to protect their reputation. Defamation will only have occurred if "serious harm" has been caused. This is meant to discourage trivial claims. Rules will also be tightened to avoid 'libel tourism'. Changes will be made in England and Wales only.
Justice and Security Bill
Strengthens oversight of MI5 and MI6 and allows courts to consider sensitive information with national security implications through the limited use of closed proceedings. These changes will impact across the whole of the UK.
Draft Communications Bill
Will allow the police and intelligence agencies to collect data on communications, like texts and emails, flexible to changes in technology, such as the internet. This will apply UK wide.
European Union (Approval of Treaty Amendment Decision) Bill
Approves the creation of the European Stability Mechanism, a permanent means to support Eurozone countries in trouble. Exempts the UK from a new European bailout agreement between eurozone countries.
Croatia Accession Bill
Parliamentary approval for Croatia to join the EU and allows for immigration to the UK from the new member to be controlled.
Source: ©BBC News