Tax freezes, the devolution of power and an EU referendum were all on the agenda as the Queen’s Speech marked the first day of the new parliamentary year.
The speech was the Queen’s 64th and the first all Conservative Speech she has given in parliament since 1996, following the party’s majority election victory at the beginning of the month.
In the speech written and given to her by Conservative ministers, the Queen outlined the government’s plans in an 9-minute speech.
The Queen’s big announcements included the news that there would be a referendum on Britain’s membership to the European Union in 2017, and the government’s “tax lock commitment” that would see a freezing of income tax, value added tax and national insurance for the next five years.
Among the other plans announced were a National Health Service "five-year plan" that would see a boost in funding and a move towards a seven-day service, an increase in free childcare and a cutting of the benefits cap from £26,000 to £23,000.
The speech also touched on Conservative plans to go ahead with devolution of powers to Scotland and Wales, and give more autonomy to Britain’s major cities, handing them power over housing, transport and policing.
Following the speech, the parliamentary officially started with the house’s members debating the legislation mentioned in the speech, with a symbolic vote also taking place.