The Queen's Speech today outlined government policy, including free social care for vulnerable members of society, and revealed plans to reduce the budget deficit and introduce reforms to protect savers and taxpayers.
This will be the last speech delivered by the Queen before the 2010 election. Marking the State opening of Parliament, the Queen’s Speech takes place once a year and sets out the government’s policies and proposed legislative programme for the new parliamentary session. The speech is delivered by the Queen but is drawn up by the government and must be approved by the Cabinet.
During her speech, the Queen said the government's overriding priority is to achieve “sustainable growth” and a “fair and prosperous economy” for households and businesses.
She added that the government would reduce its budget deficits and ensure national debt is on a sustainable path - including bringing forward legislation to halve the deficit.
In addition, she said: "My government will introduce a bill to enable the wider provision of free social care to those in highest need."
Other measures on the table include reforming and strengthening the regulation of the financial services industry to protect savers and taxpayers.
The government will seek “effective global collaboration through G20 and the European Union to sustain economic recovery and to combat climate change”, the Queen said.
Other measures include:
* Enhance the governance of financial security and control awards such as bonuses
* Guarantees to pupils and parents to raise education standards
* Introduce bill to ensure the communication infrastructure is fit for the digital age
* Help more vulnerable households with energy bills
* Protect communities from flooding
* Introduce legislation to promote equality and narrow the gap between the rich and the poor
* Tackle discrimination in the workplace to help address the difference in pay between men and women
* Agency workers will be given the right to be treated equally with other workers, in pay, holidays and other basic conditions.
As the next general election has to take place before 3 June (with 6 May the most likely date), the Queen’s Speech essentially draws up the battle lines between Labour and the Conservative Party. However, any proposals outlined today are unlikely to see the light of day ahead of the election.
Chancellor Alistair Darling, meanwhile, will deliver his pre-Budget report on 9 December.