Queens Speech 2012 - The Key Bills In Full

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QUEENS SPEECH KEY BILLS
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There are 19 Bills in the 2012 Queen's Speech - some of them are new revelations but many of them press ahead with things the government has already announced. Here's a run-down of the major Bills and what's in them.

House of Lords Reform Bill

  • Would slowly phase out 80% of the appointed peers in the upper chamber and replace them with elected members. These would serve 15-year terms and wouldn't be allowed to stand for election again afterward.
  • The elections would take place at the same time as general elections (which will now be fixed every five years). But the Lords will serve much larger constituencies, and be elected under a proportional representation system
  • The number of peers would be reduced "substantially" - at the moment there are more than 800 peers. Ministers originally wanted it to be reduced to 300. There is likely to be a concession here, with the final number in the Bill expected to be 400 or 450.

Enterprise And Regulatory Reform Bill

  • The Bill would cut red tape for businesses, particularly on employment tribunals. Ministers say the measures will "give employers more confidence to hire new staff, supporting growth"
  • Sets up the Green Investment Bank - stimiluating growth in low-carbon technoliogies.
  • Sets up a framework for directors' pay and gives shareholders more powers to hold senior executives of big corporations to account

Children and Families Bill

Cutting red tape on the grants and services for kids with special needs, reducing the number of assessments they have to go through in order to qualify for extra support

More flexibility for parental leave - ministers say it will allow mums and dads to "share caring responsibilities in a way which best suits their needs"

Speeds up the adoption process, particularly for children from ethnic minorities. Their ethnicity will no longer be a key factor when choosing adoptive parents.

Crime and Courts Bill

  • The creation of a National Crime Agency - merging various existing bodies to tackle child sex offences, cyber crime, border security and other serious organised crime under one roof.
  • Improving road safety - with a clause to toughen up the penalties for driving under the influence of drugs.
  • Allowing courts to be televised "in limited circumstances"
  • Shifting the costs for late-payment of fines further onto the offender, rather than the taxpayer

Defamation Bill

  • Would mean that those suing for libel must have experienced "serious harm". The government says this will reduce the number of "trivial claims"
  • Enshrining into law the right for people to make potentially defamatory comments if their views are honestly held - the "fair comment" clause. It also protects people making defamatory comments if they were genuinely in the public interest (known by journalists as the "Reynolds Defence". These get-out clauses already exist due to case law. Ministers will now put them into statute.
  • Reducing "libel tourism" whereby non-UK citizens or residents will find it harder to sue someone in Britain

Justice and Security Bill

  • Would allow courts to consider "all material relating to a case, even where national security prevents that information from being made public"
  • Would modernise Parliament's ability to scrutinise the work of the intelligence and security services

Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill

  • Would set up an ombudsman to regulate the way supermarkets treat their suppliers - ruling against them where it's thought the big firms have been using strong-arm tactics.
  • Ministers say this would "act in the long-term interest of the consumer"

Banking Reform Bill

  • Would ring-fence the high-street and investment arms of the big banks - creating a "firewall" which would guarantee people's deposits in the event of another financial crisis or crash
  • Ministers say it would "curtail the implicit government guarantee of the banking sector" - in some way making it clear that the banks are not "too big to fail"

Also on The Huffington Post

State Opening Of Parliament 2012
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