HM The Queen sets out the Government's plan for the year

James Brokenshire has welcomed the Government’s programme for the year ahead, including changes to private pensions, help for businesses and measures to tackle serious crime and modern slavery.

Measures contained in the Queen’s Speech setting out the Government’s legislative programme for the year ahead included two bills to give people greater control over their pensions, by freeing them to choose between purchasing an annuity or taking a lump sum and contributing to ‘collective’ pensions.

Measures also included greater fines for businesses that undercut competitors by flouting National Minimum Wage laws and a ban on zero hours exclusivity contracts. The Small Business, Entreprise and Employment Bill will aim to make the UK the most attractive place to start, finance and grow a business and the Infrastructure Bill will help bolster investment and reform planning law to allow us to make the most of North Sea Oil and shale gas, helping to cut energy bills.

Working parents will also benefit from the changes announced in the speech, with the Government announcing plans to offer a 20% rebate, up to the value of £2,000 for each child, on childcare costs, helping people get back to work and keep more of the money they earn.

In addition, Bills will be introduced to Parliament to prevent modern slavery and human trafficking, cut down on organised crime improve the complaints process in the Armed Forces, help prevent child neglect and female genital mutilation and to introduce a mechanism to recall Members of Parliament who are convicted whilst in office.

Commenting after the speech, James said:

“This year’s Queen’s Speech promises a programme of bold legislation to help sustain our economic recovery and our small businesses, tackle organised crime and give people more freedom over their pensions.”

“The Government has achieved a great deal over the course of the last four years, but this speech makes clear that there is still more to be done. The Queen’s Speech sets out the next steps in our long term economic plan to secure a stronger economy and give hardworking people greater peace of mind for the future.”