Queens Speech and State Opening of Parliament 2012

Queen delivering speech at State Opening of Parliament 2012.
Queen delivering speech at State Opening of Parliament.

Today at the State Opening of Parliament the Queen delivered her address outlining the legislative agenda of the Coalition Government for the forthcoming parliamentary session.

The State Opening takes place on the first day of a new parliamentary session, or shortly after a general election, and is the main ceremonial event of the parliamentary calendar.

You can watch the full speech on the UKParliament YouTube channel.

In total there are 15 bills and 4 draft bills proposed. These include:-

  • House of Lords Reform Bill – to modernise and reduce the membership of the House of Lords
  • Pension Bill – to raise the state pension age to 67 between 2026 and 2028 and make it more sustainable as average lifespan increases
  • Banking Reform Bill – to split banks into retail and investment arms and reduce taxpayer risk in the event of a bank going bust
  • Draft Communications Bill – could allow police and intelligence agencies to more easily collect data on texts and emails
An at-a-glance guide to the content of the Queen’s speech is available on the BBC website.

Following the Queen’s speech the House of Commons returns to its Chambers, the House of Lords is cleared, and the Debate of the Address begins: five days of debate on the content of the speech.

You can find out more about the State Opening of Parliament from this House of Lords Briefing Paper or from the UK Parliament website.

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Results from UK Government Consultation on Scottish Independence

In January this year the UK Government published a consultation document to gather public opinion on the proposal by the Scottish National Party (SNP) to hold a referendum on Scottish independence. The consultation was open until Friday 9th March and gathered views from all members of the UK public.

On the 4th of April the UK Government published a command paper (Cm. 8326) summarising the 2,857 responses to the consultation. This document is available on-line from the Scotland Office by clicking the following link:-

Scotland’s Constitutional Future: Responses to the Consultation

Some notable results from the UK Government consultation are as follows:-

  • 75% of respondents agreed with the position of the UK Government that there should be a single question on Scotland’s constitutional status
  • 70% of respondents agreed with the UK Government that the referendum should take place sooner rather than later
  • 44% of respondents were in favour of the Scottish Government proposal that 16-17 year-olds be allowed to vote in the referendum, with 47% against

The ongoing Scottish Government consultation on the question of Scottish independence will run until Friday 11th May and can found at the following link:-

Your Scotland, Your Referendum

Budget 2012

Budget boxThe Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP, presented his Budget to Parliament today, 21 March 2012. This is the third Budget of the Coalition Government. In his Budget speech the Chancellor outlined how the Government plans to raise and spend money in the coming year. Some key points of the Budget include:-

  • From April 2013, the 50p top rate of tax will be cut to 45p
  • Automatic review of state pension age to ensure it keeps pace with increasing lifespans
  • Personal income tax allowance raised to £9,205 from April 2013

You can find all of the Budget documents online on the HM Treasury website.

The House of Commons Library has produced a briefing paper on the Background to the 2012 Budget, and a Research Paper on economic indicators.

The full text of the Chancellor’s statement is available from the HM Treasury website.

Budget 2011

Budget boxThe Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP, presented his Budget to Parliament on 23 March 2011. This is the second Budget of the Coalition Government. In his Budget speech the Chancellor outlined how the Government plans to raise and spend money in the coming year. Some key points of the Budget include:-

  • £250m to help first-time buyers purchase newly-built homes
  • Treasury to raise £1bn by tackling tax avoidance
  • Personal tax allowance to rise by £630 to £8,105 in April 2012

You can find all of the Budget documents online on the HM Treasury website.

The House of Commons Library has produced a briefing paper on the Background to the 2011 Budget, and a Research Paper on economic indicators.

The full text of the Chancellor’s speech is available from the UK Parliament website.