Pension reforms announced in Queen's Speech 2014

Plans for giant "pooled" pension schemes with the potential to boost people's chances of getting a better retirement outcome have been unveiled in the Queen's Speech. The legislation will enable "collective schemes" that spreads risk between members.

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Miliband: Politicians must address widespread apathy

Ed Miliband and David Cameron seen walking through the Central Lobby following the State Opening of Parliament. Credit: PA

Parliament must address the deep cynicism in the public reflected by the mass of voters who turned to Ukip or did not vote at all, Ed Miliband has said as he replied to the Queen's Speech.

The Leader of the Opposition claimed apathy and discontent were challenges faced by all parties and governments, risking the undermining of Britain's democracy.

He said: "What the recent elections show is that more than at any time for generations, this House faces a contemporary battle of its own - a battle for relevance, legitimacy, and standing in the eyes of the public."

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Unite: Queen's Speech 'skirts around big issues'

The Unite union has accused the Government of "skirting around the big issues facing the UK" in the coalition's legislative programme announced in the Queen’s Speech.

It welcomed initiatives to crackdown on bosses that don’t pay the national minimum wage, pensions, tax-free childcare, tackling ‘modern slavery’ and infrastructure.

However, it said that "the devil was in the detail" and there was no guarantee they would be implemented before next May’s election.

With 11 months to go, the people of this country, impoverished by policies that have seen the greatest fall in living standards since the 1870s, can look forward to a legislative programme tinkering around the edges of the big issues, such as charging for plastic bags and elections to national parks’ authorities.

There are no initiatives to tackle the cost of living crisis, bring work to the jobless and embark on a massive house building programme – ministers are skirting around the things that matter to millions of British citizens.

The financial meltdown of the NHS did not merit one word from this government.

– Unite general secretary Len McCluskey

Nick Clegg: Queen's Speech about securing the recovery

Nick Clegg has said the Queen's Speech was about securing the economic recovery and giving everyone in the UK the opportunity to "get on in life".

In a video message, the Deputy Prime Minister pointed to policies such as subsidised childcare, pension reforms and building more energy-efficient homes as examples of how the Government is helping ordinary families.

Read; Pension reforms announced in Queen's Speech 2014

Stronger laws to protect vulnerable children promised

Stronger laws to protect vulnerable children and people at risk of child cruelty, sexual exploitation and female genital mutilation have been promised in the Queen's Speech.

It falls under the Serious Crime Bill, which aims to tackle child neglect, disrupt serious organised crime and strengthen powers to seize proceeds of crime.

File photo of a girl crying in with cuddly toy.
File photo of a girl crying in with cuddly toy. Credit: PA Wire

A new offence of possessing paedophilic manuals is to be created along with ensuring the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 - which deals with cruelty to under 16 year olds - clearly states that cruelty to a child that is likely to cause psychological harm is a crime.

The Bill will also extend the reach of the offences in the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 so that they apply to habitual as well as permanent UK residents.

Queen's Speech 2014: Latest updates

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Law changes to make it easier to frack under homes

Changes to laws will make it easier for companies to frack under people's homes without their permission.

Greenpeace protesters demonstrating against fracking outside David Cameron's country home.
Greenpeace protesters demonstrating against fracking outside David Cameron's country home today. Credit: PA

A controversial new Infrastructure Bill could include measures that allow shale developers to drill under houses and land for shale oil and gas.

The developers are currently facing a "legal block" of thousands of people across the country denying them permission under trespass laws to drill under their properties .

Announcing the bill in her speech to Parliament today, the Queen said: "My Government will introduce a bill to bolster investment in infrastructure and reform planning law to improve economic competitiveness.

"The bill will enhance the United Kingdom's energy independence and security by opening up access to shale and geothermal site and maximising North Sea resources."

New protection for have-a-go heroes revealed

Have-a-go heroes and Good Samaritans are to be given new legal protections if they are sued for neglect or breach of duty after they intervene in an emergency.

A new Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill, unveiled in the Queen's Speech and applicable to England and Wales, will aim to give "peace of mind" to volunteers after research showed that many people are put off by the fear that they may risk legal liabilities.

The Queen unveiled the measures during her speech to the State Opening of Parliament.
The Queen unveiled the measures during her speech to the State Opening of Parliament. Credit: Pool

New provisions will require courts adjudicating claims to consider whether the defendant was acting "for the benefit of society or any of its members" and had demonstrated a generally responsible approach towards protecting safety when the alleged incident took place.

The courts will have to take account of evidence that the individual "took heroic action by intervening in an emergency to assist an individual in danger and without regard to his own safety or other interests".

Read: Pension reforms announced in Queen's Speech

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