Plastic bags, transport and have-a-go-heroes - Your five minute guide to the Queen’s Speech

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh proceed through the Royal Gallery during the State Opening of Parliament, in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London. Picture: Yui Mok / PA Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh proceed through the Royal Gallery during the State Opening of Parliament, in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London. Picture: Yui Mok / PA

Wednesday, June 4, 2014
12:15 PM

Shoppers will be charged 5p for plastic bags as part of a host of new measures announced in the Queen’s Speech today. Here’s your guide to what was said.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

The new carriage carrying Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh leaves Buckingham Palace, London, ahead of the State Opening of Parliament. Photo: Jonathan Brady / PAThe new carriage carrying Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh leaves Buckingham Palace, London, ahead of the State Opening of Parliament. Photo: Jonathan Brady / PA

Voters are to be given powers to boot misbehaving MPs out of Parliament under new legislation included in the Queen’s Speech.

The new power of recall - promised in the coalition agreement in 2010 - will be triggered only if MPs are given jail sentences of less than 12 months or if the House of Commons resolves that they have engaged in “serious wrongdoing”. Voters would then have to collect the signatures of 10% of constituents to force a by-election.

The provision is included in a relatively light legislative programme of just 11 new bills for the last year of the coalition Government before the 2015 general election, unveiled by the Queen amid traditional pomp and ceremony at the state opening of Parliament.

In a statement issued alongside the Speech, David Cameron and Nick Clegg insisted it showed the coalition was “still taking bold steps” to “take Britain forward to a brighter future”. But Labour’s Ed Miliband said that it failed to live up to the scale of the challenges faced by Britain.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh proceed through the Royal Gallery during the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London. Photo: Yui Mok / PAQueen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh proceed through the Royal Gallery during the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London. Photo: Yui Mok / PA

Centrepiece of the programme are pension reforms which Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg promised will deliver “the biggest transformation in our pensions system since its inception”, abolishing the requirement for pensioners to buy an annuity to provide a dependable income during retirement and allowing workers to join Dutch-style collective pension schemes.

Describing the changes as a “revolution” in pension provision, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister said that the changes will give people “both freedom and security in retirement”.

Here are some of the key points:

New anti-litter measures will extend the 5p charge for single-use plastic bags already in operation in Wales and Northern Ireland to England from October 2015. Scotland is expected to introduce a similar charge later this year.

It follows initiatives such as one in Aylsham, which banned plastic bags six years ago. The town became the first in the country to go plastic-bag free, in 2008, as part of its Cittaslow status, which works to make it a greener, happier slower place to live.

Legislation to enable tax-saving changes to the way England’s major roads are managed has been announced in the Queen’s Speech.

Part of the Infrastructure Bill, the changes will see the Highways Agency (HA) transformed into a Government-owned company.

The Government reckons the move, covering England’s motorways and major A-roads, will save taxpayers at least £2.6 billion over the next 10 years

It is also designed to make the new company more accountable to Parliament and to road users.

The plan is for the new company to come into being by April 2015.

The Government has committed more than £24 billion to upgrade England’s strategic road network between 2010 and 2021 - part of a £56 billion investment in the country’s transport infrastructure designed to keep the economy moving.

Her Majesty also unveiled a bill designed to protect people who find themselves in court after acting heroically, responsibly or for the benefit of others - for instance if they are sued for negligence or breach of duty after intervening in an emergency or volunteering to help others.

Direct elections could be introduced to the authorities which run England’s national parks, as well as the Broads, under a bill published in draft form as part of the Queen’s Speech.

Ministers said the move would improve local accountability and address a “democratic deficit” in the areas protected by national park status.

Under the Draft Governance of National Parks (England) and the Broads Bill, the Environment Secretary would be given the power to order direct elections, enabling local residents to votefor the first time for some of the authority members who have responsibility for running parks and taking planning decisions.

A Small Business Bill will set a deregulation target to be met by every future Parliament, provide measures to help companies get credit from banks and crack down on expensive delays in the employment tribunals. Measures will also be brought forward to end the “revolving door” culture of big pay-offs for senior public servants taking redundancy and to tackle abuse of zero-hours contracts and failure to pay the minimum wage.

An Infrastructure Bill will support the development of shale gas by the controversial “fracking” process and maximise the exploitation of North Sea reserves in the hope of making the UK “energy independent and in control of its own future and not reliant on foreign countries for oil and gas”. The Bill also seeks to boost house-building by selling off unused public land for development and to guarantee long-term investment in the road network.

Planning reforms will enable the construction of new garden cities and support small building firms in a bid to ease the housing crisis.

Legislation will be brought forward to make good on promises of tax-free childcare worth £2,000 a year per child and free school meals for all infant pupils.

A Serious Crimes Bill will extend the definition of child cruelty to ensure it covers the most serious cases of emotional neglect and psychological harm, in a so-called “Cinderella law”. The Bill will also outlaw written paedophile material. Members of the armed forces will enjoy a strengthened complaints procedure, overseen by a new Service Complaints Ombudsman.

A Slavery Bill will make the reporting of human trafficking a legal duty, introduce an Anti-Slavery Commissioner and increase sentences for those found guilty of trafficking people into the country, often for prostitution or illicit work.

7 comments

  • I am more interested in the direct elections to the Broads authority and wondering who will get a vote. Without checking the map just now, I have an idea that not that many people live within the boundaries of the BA but a lot more communities are affected by some of its activities because they live on the "doorstep".

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

  • The queens speech? What a load old archaic nonsense, "me and my government" Get rid of the lot of them, both her and her government.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

  • One or two things to keep the MPs busy for a little while but I cannot help feel that the plastic bag issue is because the coalition government has run out of steam,perhaps an indication of a zombie government.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

  • I reuse all my carrier bags as pedal bin liners. Will need to calculate whether more cost-effective to buy said carrier bags or change to purpose-made (probably less-environment friendly) bin bags. Benefit to the environment = none or negative

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    AE

    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

  • When I was a kid supermarkets (much smaller then) used to charge for bags, but had a big pile of boxes that you could use to carry your goods. I wonder if they will do the same again or if they will try to get more money out of us?

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    KeithS

    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

  • Although now of 'riper years' I still remember an old string bag my mother kept for the potatoes as they were always encrusted with mud, a basket for other veg and a black oil-skinned bag for meat which was usually wrapped in greaseproof.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    kettram

    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

  • All I ask is that raw meat is still put in a free bag. It must be unhygienic to reuse such bags and everyone knows that raw meat is not put next to other goods.Even with todays packaging there are leaks. Before someone says put it separate in the car boot I and many others still walk to do our shopping!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    jennifer jane

    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Norfolk Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 12°C

Five-day forecast

loading...

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT