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Queen’s Speech 2015

27 May 2015

Here is a summary of key bills announced in the Queen’s speech

For more information see the background briefing notes on the announcements in the Queen’s Speech 2015

See our statement on the Queen's speech

Incentives to Work

Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill

The aim of the Bill is to ensure it pays to work rather than rely on benefits.

Main provisions are:

  • Creating duties to provide progress reports on achieving full employment, meeting the target of three million new apprenticeships and Troubled Families Initiative.
  • Freezing the main rates of working-age benefits, tax credits and Child Benefit for two years from 2016-17. Pensioners and benefits relating to disability costs (DLA and PIP) will be protected, as well as statutory payments such as Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Pay.
  • Reducing the benefit cap to £23,000. Households receiving Working Tax Credit or War Widow’s/Widower’s Pension, or in receipt of benefits relating to disability costs (DLA and PIP) will be exempt.
  • Require 18-21-year-olds who are out of work for longer than six months to participate in an apprenticeship, training or community work placement. Automatic entitlement to housing support will be removed for this age group.

National Insurance Contributions/Finance Bill

Main provisions are:

  • Sets a ceiling on Income Tax rates, Value-Added Tax (VAT) or National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for the next five years.

[Note] Legislation will be introduced to ensure those working 30 hours a week on the Minimum Wage do not pay Income Tax.

Childcare Bill

Main provisions are:

  • 30 hours a week free childcare for three and four year olds for 38 weeks of the year where all parents are working
  • Local authorities will be required to publish information about the provision of free childcare in the local authority area, as well as other local services or facilities that might be of benefit to parents or prospective parents, or children or young people.


Education and Adoption Bill

The aim of the Bill is to speed up intervention in failing schools (and turn them into Academies) and introduce regional adoption agencies.


Buses Bill

There is little detail on the Bill but it aims to make bus services more “passenger centred” and allow for the development of integrated transport systems reflecting the London model. How this will affect disabled passengers is uncertain.

Appeal procedures

Draft Public Service Ombudsman Bill

Not explicitly mentioned in this year’s Speech but due to be issued following scrutiny. A consultation into this legislation was opened on 25 March 2015 and will close on 16 June 2015

Main provisions are:

  • The creation of a single Public Service Ombudsman absorbing the functions of the Parliamentary Ombudsman, the Health Ombudsman, the Local Government Ombudsman and possibly the Housing Ombudsman.

Strike prevention

Trade Unions Bill

Main provisions are:

  • A 50% voting threshold required for unions ballot turnouts.
  • The requirement that 40% of those entitled to vote must vote in favour of industrial action in essential public services such as health, education, fire and transport.


European Union Referendum Bill

This Bill enables the electorate to have an in-out vote on the UK’s membership of the EU before the end of 2017.


Scotland Bill

Main provisions are:

  • Allows Scotland to set the thresholds and rates of income tax on earnings in Scotland and keep all money raised in the nation. Additional borrowing can be agreed between Westminster and Holyrood as part of a new fiscal framework.
  • Scottish Parliament will gain control of £2.5bn in welfare powers, including the ability to vary the frequency of Universal Credit payments. It will also set the rules over a range of benefits affecting carers, disabled people and elderly, as well as controlling programmes to help people find work.
  • A new fiscal framework for Scotland will be negotiated alongside the Bill.
  • The Barnett Formula will be retained, but will account for a smaller share of Holyrood’s revenues, less than half once tax powers are devolved.

Complete list of legislation announced in the Queen’s Speech

  • Enterprise Bill
  • Energy Bill
  • Housing Bill
  • Investigatory Powers Bill
  • European Union Referendum Bill
  • Extremism Bill
  • Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill
  • Childcare Bill
  • Immigration Bill
  • Trade Unions Bill
  • Education and Adoption Bill
  • Policing and Criminal Justice Bill
  • Buses Bill
  • Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill
  • High Speed Rail (London to West Midlands) Bill
  • Scotland Bill
  • Wales Bill
  • Northern Ireland Bill
  • Psychoactive Substances Bill
  • Armed Forces Bill
  • Bank of England Bill
  • Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill
  • Votes for Life Bill
  • European Union (Finance) Bill
  • National Insurance Contributions/Finance Bill
  • Draft Public Service Ombudsman Bill