Monday, 14 May 2012

The Queen's Speech

Last week a new session of parliament started with the Queen’s Speech and while a bill to reform of the House of Lords grabbed the headlines - I have selected some bills that will be important to you and your family.

Banking Reform Bill – will improve our banking system in line with the recommendations of the Independent Commission on Banking.

Crime and Courts Bill – will establish the National Crime Agency to tackle serious, organised and complex crime and strengthen border security. Measures will further reform and modernise the courts and tribunal service to increase efficiency, transparency and judicial diversity.

Energy Bill – will reform the electricity market. This will include powers to establish long-term contracts for low-carbon energy generation and to guarantee generating capacity, as well as other measures which together will deliver affordable electricity for consumers and help meet security of supply and decarbonisation goals. The Bill will also establish an independent nuclear regulator.

Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill – will promote enterprise and fair markets, including provisions on a Green Investment Bank, a new Competition and Markets Authority, and reforming employment tribunals.

Children and Families Bill – will improve the lives of children, young people and families, especially those coping with special educational needs. It will reform the assessment, planning and provision for children and young people with special educational needs and those who are disabled, reduce delay in the adoption system, introduce new arrangements for children of parents who apply to court and reform court processes for children in care so cases progress more rapidly. The Bill will also strengthen the role of the Children’s Commissioner, enable both mothers and fathers to take flexible parental leave to share early years parenting and make it possible for all employees to balance their work and family commitments.

Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill – will establish an independent Groceries Code Adjudicator to ensure supermarkets deal fairly and lawfully with suppliers.

Justice and Security Bill – will provide for strengthened oversight of the security and intelligence agencies; and will prevent disclosure contrary to the public interest of certain material in judicial proceedings, including material shared with us by our allies.

Local Audit Bill (draft) – will set out measures to close the Audit Commission and to make new arrangements for the audit of local public bodies.

Pensions Bill – will reform the state pensions system, creating a fair, simple and sustainable foundation for private saving.

Public Service Pensions Bill – will reform public service pensions in line with the recommendations of the report prepared by the Independent Public Service Pensions Commission.

I will be closely scrutinising these bills as they come before Parliament, to ensure that the good intentions they contain are carried into effective legislation  that will work for my constituents. I am particularly pleased that the Government will also be introducing a bill and other actions to reform the care of adults with disabilities, and elderly people. This is long over due and requires all-party support to make sure it delivers lasting change.

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