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Government targets six-figure public sector payoffs

The Government will announce plans to curb public sector payouts in the Queen's Speech. Credit: REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

The Government is ready to act to end six-figure "golden parachutes" for high-earning public sector bosses who are made redundant.

The Queen's Speech next week will include legislation to enact the Conservatives' general election manifesto pledge to cap the amount public sector employees can receive if they lose their jobs.

Chancellor George Osborne said "it was not fair that hard-working people see taxes used for these massive payouts for people who leave the public sector."

According to officials, more than 1,800 public sector employees received pay-offs of more than £100,000 in 2013.

The Government will consult on the detail - including whether it will cover the BBC - but ministers are said to be "minded" to set the cap at £95,000.

Queen's Speech: Fracking, childcare and redundancy pay

As pension reforms are set to be unveiled in the Queen's Speech this week, other legislation expected to be addressed includes:

  • A crackdown on highly paid civil servants and NHS executives receiving large redundancy pay-offs before taking similar jobs within a year.
  • Tax free childcare for families where both parents work, worth up to up to £2,000 per child.
  • An infrastructure and competitiveness Bill will change trespass laws to allow shale gas exploration firms to drill beneath private property without needing the owners' permission.
  • A "Recall Bill" allowing voters to sack their elected MPs if they are not up to the job is expected to be included, although it has been subject to disagreements inside the coalition.


Ministers prepare Dutch-style 'collective pension' funds

Pensions minister Steve Webb has described collective pension schemes as "some of the best in the world", as radical reforms are expected to be addressed in the Queen's Speech this week.

Pensions minister Steve Webb Credit: PA

He told The Sunday Telegraph that the key advantage was "pooling risk" of investments performing less well than expected across large numbers of people of different ages, "just like car insurance or the NHS".

"It gives people greater certainty and probably better value," he said. "There are some quite strong claims made for how much better it is. People say, you will get a 30% bigger pension.

"You might, you might not, but clearly it is pretty unambiguous that you will get a more certain outcome and potentially a better one."

Pension reforms to be addressed in Queen's Speech

A radical shake-up of workplace pensions is set to be unveiled in the Queen's Speech this week, with supporters saying retirement incomes could be boosted by thousands of pounds.

Pensions reforms to be addressed in Queen's Speech Credit: PA

For the first time, staff will be able to put their money into Dutch-style "collective pensions", shared with thousands of other members.

The so-called "mega funds" are regarded by many as a better investment because they are less vulnerable to variations in the stock market. The controversial changes, which could be introduced as early as 2016, are intended to deliver better value for pensioners.

The Queen's Speech scheduled for June 3

The Queen's Speech will be on Tuesday June 3, Commons Leader Andrew Lansley said today.

In a written ministerial statement to MPs, Mr Lansley said: "Her Majesty the Queen will open a new session of this Parliament on Tuesday June 3 2014."

The Queen will outline the Government's programme of business for the forthcoming session of Parliament.


Miliband: Government has a 'reality problem'

Labour leader Ed Miliband said the Government has a "reality problem" and today's Queen's Speech will do nothing to help people facing real problems.

The Leader of the Opposition said he was prepared to work with the Prime Minister on alternatives - insisting David Cameron did not need to be beholden to right-wingers on his own benches.

Mr Miliband said Labour was willing to assist with issues such as plain cigarette packaging, a communications bill on media monopolies and a lobbying bill.

Labour leader Ed Miliband. Credit: ITV News

He said youth unemployment was up, the cost of living was rising and wages were falling.

Mr Miliband said, "You can't provide the answers the country needs because he is not in control of his party - as someone once said, you are in office but not in power".

"You are not dealing with the problems of the country. No wonder this Queen's Speech has no answers", he added.

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