'Slimline' Queen's Speech to push financial reform

Election-year legislative programme to prioritise public debt and social care

Measures to improve social care for the elderly, create jobs, curb bankers' bonuses and cut the huge public deficit will be included in next Wednesday's final Queen's Speech before the general election.

A Financial Services Bill to learn lessons from the financial crisis will be introduced on Thursday and pushed through Parliament quickly. It will give the Financial Services Authority new powers to limit bankers' remuneration when it judges the economy is being put at risk and will include new powers for individuals or firms to be suspended for misconduct and directors to be disqualified for being negligent in managing risks.

The Treasury will also rush through a Fiscal Responsibility Bill which will commit Labour to halving the deficit in the public finances in four years. Ministers hope the ground-breaking move will reassure the City and put the Tories on the spot. They will challenge David Cameron to say whether he supports the Bill or would cut public spending further and faster.

Unveiling the package, Gordon Brown will present an upbeat picture of an economy moving from recession into recovery. He will argue that Labour's "go for growth" strategy would be put at risk by Tory spending cuts. Close allies said last night that the challenge would be to show the party had not run out of steam after 12 years in power.

Another top priority will be a Social Care Bill to provide free care in their own homes for all elderly people with high needs and abolish means-testing for 350,000 people who currently have to pay for it. Many people with high needs, including those with serious dementia and Alzheimer's, will no longer have to sell their home to pay for care home bills.

The Queen's Speech will include a new wave of public service reforms to give more power to "patients and parents". Entitlements such having an operation within 18 weeks of seeing a GP will be converted into legal rights. There will be parallel moves on education. A Crime and Policing Bill will bring in tougher penalties for knife crime, enable the police to crack down on gangs and target crime "hotspots".

With Parliament likely to sit for about 40 days before an election next May, ministers admit the Queen's Speech will be a "slimline" one and there will not be time to get all the measures on to the statute book before polling day. They say this is normal in an election year and that a re-elected government always brings back unfinished Bills in the next parliament. Some of the proposals will not be formally introduced but will be included in Labour's manifesto. They include a fully elected House of Lords. Draft clauses for a Lords Reform Bill, to be published before the election, will envisage 80 per cent of the second chamber being elected initially, rising to 100 per cent.

Labour's manifesto will also contain a pledge to scrap the first-past-the-post voting system for Westminster with the Australian-style alternative vote, in which people can rank candidates in order of preference. Other measures include a Digital Economy Bill, which will bring in tough penalties for illegal file-sharers. "Internet pirates" could have download caps imposed or have their bandwidth restricted. If that did not prove effective, the Government would consider disconnecting them.

Bills which did not become law in the parliamentary session which ended yesterday will be carried forward. They include the Equality Bill, which will force public bodies with more than 150 workers to report on their "gender pay gap" and contain a power to require companies with 250 or more employees to do so after 2013.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan stars as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie
filmFirst look at Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey trailor
News
Lars Ulrich of Metallica performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
music
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Service Charge Accountant

£20,000 - £22,000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Property Management Grou...

Head of Sales, London

£70 - 95K OTE £125K. Plus Car,Private Healthcare and Pension: Charter Selectio...

Head of Sales, Milton Keynes

£70 - 90K OTE £125K. Plus Car,Private Healthcare and Pension: Charter Selectio...

Head of Sales, Bristol

£70 - 90K OTE £125K. Plus Car,Private Healthcare and Pension: Charter Selectio...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game