A Pocket Guide to the Queen's Speech

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), November 24, 2004 | Go to article overview

A Pocket Guide to the Queen's Speech


Terrorism, asylum and crime

Identity Cards Bill: Identity cards for all with fingerprint or iris scan by 2010, to combat terrorism and illegal asylum (UK)

Serious Organised Crime And Police Bill: Setting up an agency to combat crime bosses; prevent animal rights extremists from protesting outside homes; introducing a new offence of incitement to religious hatred; and giving more powers to Community Support Officers (UK/Wales and England)

Management Of Offenders Bill: Extend electronic tagging and day release programmes to ease prison overcrowding (Wales and England)

Draft Youth Justice Bill: New community supervision schemes for young offenders rather than jail time (Wales and England)

Clean Neighbourhoods And Environment Bill: Tackling graffiti, litter and abandoned cars with new powers for councils to issue spot fines (Wales and England)

Criminal Defence Service Bill: Reduce the legal aid bill with means testing for criminal cases in magistrates courts (Wales and England)

Draft Courts And Tribunals Bill: Streamlines civil claims (Wales and England)

Drugs Bill: Drug offenders to be tested on arrest and mandatory drugs tests (Wales and England)

Draft Corporate Manslaughter Bill: Cause of much Cabinet debate - heavier fines for company bosses if their firm is found guilty of negligence resulting in deaths (Wales and England)

Road Safety Bill: Crackdown on drink drivers with mandatory re-testing for worst offenders; motorway rest areas to tackle the problem of tired driving; and more fines for mobile phone users (Wales, England and Scotland)

Education

Child Benefit Bill: Extends payments to teenagers aged between 16 and 19 in training and education (Wales and England)

Education Bill: More spot checks for badly performing schools in England; greater financial freedoms for the best schools; and creation of three-year ring-fenced budgets

Equality

Disability Discrimination Bill: Improve access to public transport and make HIV, cancer and MS disabilities (Wales and England)

Equality Bill: Will outlaw discrimination not just by gender, race and disability but age, religion and sexual orientation; creating a single Commission for Equality and Human Rights (Wales and England)

Transport

Railways Bill: Abolish the Strategic Rail Authority and transfer its powers to Government; give National Assembly new powers over passenger services; improve powers for the Rail Passengers Council (Wales, England, Scotland)

Transport (Wales) Bill: Devolves more strategic powers over public transport to National Assembly not included in the Railways Bill (Wales)

Crossrail Bill: Authorises the building of a multi-million-pound London to home counties rail route (England)

School Transport Bill: Gives local authorities the rights to charge parents who can afford to pay (England and Wales)

Health

Draft Mental Health Bill: Revived but controversial measure to lock up and treat those thought to be a threat to others before they have committed any crime (Wales and England)

Mental Capacity Bill: Carried over, will create living wills but has led to concerns of euthanasia by back door (Wales and England)

Constitution and Government

Constitutional Reform Bill: Carried over after a Commons clash with the Lords over the independent appointment of judges and the abolition of Lord Chancellor and the creation of a Supreme Court (Wales and England)

European Union Bill: Paves the way for a referendum on the European Constitution (UK)

Integration Of The Inland Revenue And Customs And Excise Bill: To improve tax administration and collection (Wales and England)

Public Services (Wales) Bill: Bring three public sector watchdog bodies in Wales into one office (Wales)

International Organisations Bill: Technical legislation to allow the UK to transfer privileges and immunities to international bodies

Inquiries Bill: Overhaul the legislation under which Ministers can set up inquiries to reduce their length and cost (Wales and England)

Judicial Pensions Bill: Update pensions law for judges

Flora and fauna

Animal Welfare Bill : Improve regulations for dog and cat homes; strengthen laws on animal fighting; more sentences for courts (Wales and England)

Draft Commons Bill: Update records on common land and grazing rights (Wales and England)

Draft Modernising Rural Delivery Bill: Creates a new agency bringing together work of English Nature, Countryside Agency and Rural Development Service (England)

Others

Consumer Credit Bill: Likely to be a populist crackdown on loan sharks and high charges with more powers for the Office of Fair Trading to licence and fine consumer credit businesses (UK)

Gambling Bill: Revised plans for eight Las Vegas style casinos and rules to govern internet gambling (Wales, England and Scotland)

Charities Bill: For the first time defines charities and set public benefit tests for organisations to qualify (Wales and England)

National Lottery Bill: Improve application process for good causes funds (UK)

Draft Child Contact And Inter-Country Adoption Bill: New powers to send parents to counselling or parenting programmes (Wales and England)

Draft Company Law Reform Bill: Clarify duties for directors; improve shareholders' information (Wales and England)

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