|Queen Elizabeth II reads the Queen's Speech from the throne at the State Opening of|
Parliament this year.
The much-awaited Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament unveiled the plans of Her Majesty’s Conservative government headed by Prime Minister David Cameron for the upcoming Parliamentary year.
The Queen’s Speech, the first for a Conservative majority since John Major, contained 26 bills, including laws to tax cuts that would benefit 30 million people, reduction of benefits cap from £26,000 a year to £23,000, and a pledge to increase free childcare for working families. On the other hand, the speech also contained provisions for the “incentives” cut for foreign migrant workers in the UK.
The two most profound contents of the Queen’s Speech, however, was the in-out referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union and the bill that would cut funding for political parties.
In the upcoming referendum, which the Prime Minister wants to happen the soonest possible, Britons would be asked if they wish to “remain a member of the European Union”.
Then, there’s the legislation that would see donations to Labour Party cut by tens of millions of pounds annually. The bill would give union members the opportunity to opt-in to paying an annual amount to Labour, instead of opting out as at present.
|Queen Elizabeth II is escorted by Prince Philip as they entered the House of Lords.|
|Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip arrive at the State Opening of Parliament.|
|Queen Elizabeth II.|
|Prime Minister David Cameron|
Here are other highlights of the Queen's Speech:
- A ban on income tax, VAT and national insurance increases for five years
- A freeze on working age benefits, tax credits and child benefit for two years from 2016/17
- 30 hours free childcare a week for three and four-year-olds by 2017
- More devolution for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and "English votes for English laws" at Westminster
- 500 more free schools and more failing and "coasting" schools turned into Academies
- A ban on so-called legal highs
- A "truly seven day" NHS by 2020