Queen's Speech: the roundup

9 May 2012

Measures to boost business and restore economic stability have been outlined in the Queen's Speech.

The enterprise and regulatory reform bill will cut unnecessary business regulation around businesses, to "create the right conditions for economic recovery".

Banking reform

Meanwhile, measures will be put in place to strength regulation of financial services, and implement the recommendations of the Independent Commission on Banking, which included ringfencing the retail arm of banks from the riskier investment divisions.

Savers in ordinary savings accounts will be repaid first if a bank goes under thanks to the new depositor preference rule. In addition, there are other proposals to make the current account switching process easier by September 2013.

In light of the recent shareholder spring, the Bill aims to strengthen shareholder power to reject big remuneration deals.

The government will also create a Green Investment Bank for investment in environmentally-friendly projects, which Louise Hutchins, senior energy campaigner for Greenpeace, believes could be a "key vehicle" to help through the tough economic times.

She adds: "But it will struggle to do these important things if the Bank is little more than a poorly funded quango. It's got to have the borrowing powers that will see it succeed, and that will bring success to the British renewable energy industry."

On the speech, business secretary Vince Cable comments: "Securing economic growth through business investment and trade is absolutely essential to recovery.

"The government's plans to cut red tape, boost green investment, reform the competition landscape and reform the banks are vital moves that would help strengthen the business environment and boost consumer and business confidence."

Kevin Mountford, head of banking at MoneySupermarket.com, says the banking reform will make the financial services industry less risky and easier to police.

"However, these proposals could come with a sting in the tail, as it may be retail banking customers that will end up footing the bill for these changes.

Under the new rules, banks will have to hold a higher proportion in capital as protection against potential future losses and the burden of raising these funds will most likely fall on ordinary customers," he says.

"I would also expect to see further competition for customer's savings as banks try to entice consumers to increase their fund inflows."


The pensions bill will reform and simplify the state pension system and replace the current system with a new single-tier pension. The government will bring forward an increase in the state pension age to 67 between 2026 and 2028, and keep the state pension age in line with longevity.

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