The Queen unveils Government plans for the year

Queen's Speech 2012
The Queen has outlined the Government's plans for legislation for the year. Photo: Reuters

The Queen has outlined the Government's plans for the year at the State Opening of Parliament. To read the full text of the speech visit the Cabinet Office's website.

She opened the speech by saying: "My Government’s legislative programme will focus on economic growth, justice and constitutional reform."

Nick Clegg and David Cameron
Nick Clegg and David Cameron Credit: Reuters

The key points of the speech were:

Deficit and Economy

Red tape will be cut and state inspection of business will be limited.

Legislation will be introduced to reform competition law to promote enterprise and fair markets.

Measures will be brought forward to strengthen regulation of the financial services sector.

Government will introduce legislation to establish an independent adjudicator to ensure supermarkets deal fairly and lawfully with suppliers.

A Bill will be introduced to reduce burdens on charities, enabling them to claim additional payments on small donations.

Government will propose reform of the electricity market to deliver secure, clean and affordable electricity and ensure prices are fair.

A draft Bill will be published to reform the water industry in England and Wales.

Pensions

Government will bring forward measures to modernise the pension system and reform the state pension, creating a fair, simple and sustainable foundation for private saving.

Legislation will be introduced to reform public service pensions in line with the recommendations of the independent commission on public service pensions.

A draft Bill will be published setting out measures to close the Audit Commission and establish new arrangements for the audit of local public bodies.

Families

Provision for disabled children and children with special educational needs will be improved.

New arrangements will be proposed to support children involved in family law cases, reform court processes for children in care and strengthen the role of the Children’s Commissioner.

Measures will be proposed to make parental leave more flexible so both parents may share parenting responsibilities and balance work and family commitments.

Black Rod's summoning of MPs to attend the Queen prompted a cheeky quip from Labour MP Dennis Skinner - which has become a tradition from him on the day of the Queen's Speech.

Constitution

Government will continue to work with the fifteen other Commonwealth Realms to take forward reform of the rules governing succession to the Crown.

Legislation will be brought forward which will introduce individual registration of electors and improve the administration of elections.

A Bill will be brought forward to reform the composition of the House of Lords.

Crime and Security

The National Crime Agency is to be established.

The courts and tribunals service will be reformed to increase efficiency, transparency and judicial diversity, which includes the introduction of cameras into courts.

Government intends to bring forward measures to maintain the ability of the law enforcement and intelligence agencies to access vital communications data under strict safeguards to protect the public, subject to scrutiny of draft clauses.

To read what the unions and business leaders made of the Government's proposals, click here.