Immigration reforms at the heart of the Queen’s Speech

File photo dated 18/11/2009 of members of the House of Lords, as it's been announced in the Queen's Speech that proposals...

File photo dated 18/11/2009 of members of the House of Lords, as it's been announced in the Queen's Speech that proposals will be brought forward for a reformed second House that is wholly or mainly elected on the basis of proportional representation. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date:Tuesday May 25, 2010. See PA story POLITICS Speech. Photo credit should read: PA Wire - Credit: PA

Reforms to the immigration system were at the heart of the Queen's speech which was delivered in the House of Lords this morning.

At the State Opening of Parliament today, the Queen set out the government's Immigration Bill, which includes measures to make it easier to deport foreign criminals and those who enter the UK illegally.

She told peers: 'The bill will ensure that this country attracts people who will contribute and deters those who will not.'

The Prince of Wales also attended the State Opening of Parliament for the first time in 17 years, in a move indicating his growing role supporting the Queen in her official duties.

He had previously accompanied the Queen to the occasion at the Palace of Westminster 11 times but not since 1996.

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The speech, which set out the government's plans for its penultimate parliamentary session before the next general election, also included plans to change the way that long term care is paid for, capping social care costs in England, as recommended by the Dilnot Commission.

A new flat rate pension designed to encourage saving and make the system fairer was also at the heart of sweeping government reforms of state retirement funds unveiled in the speech.

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The Pensions Bill promises to create a simpler state pension by scrapping the two-tier system of basic pension and earnings-related additional pension from 2016.

The Queen said: 'My government's legislative programme will continue to focus on building a stronger economy so that the United Kingdom can compete and succeed in the world. It will also work to promote a fairer society that rewards people who work hard.'

The speech also set out plans to cut the cost of employing people, with the National Insurance Contributions Bill set out.

It also announced a Deregulation Bill, which could see the self employed exempt from health and safety laws 'whose work activities pose not potential risk of harm to others'.

But Unions attacked the Queen's Speech for lacking new measures to help boost the economy and create new jobs, saying more important announcements will be made in next month's spending review.

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