Speech at a glance

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Indy Politics

New Labour's fourth legislative programme, as set out in today's Queen's Speech, is intended to concentrate on improving public services and combating crime.

New Labour's fourth legislative programme, as set out in today's Queen's Speech, is intended to concentrate on improving public services and combating crime.

Other significant initiatives outlined in the Speech, which contains 15 Bills and 4 draft Bills, include measures on health and education.

The principal measures in the Speech are:

* A Finance Bill. To be published after the Budget.

* Criminal Justice and Police Bill. It would give police additional powers to tackle disorder in public places by, for example, closing licensed premises where disorder is occurring; raising the age of child curfew schemes to 16; and issuing fixed penalty notices for a range of offences. Police would also get the power of immediate arrest over kerb crawlers and hit-and-run drivers.

* Private Security Industry Bill. This would establish a new Security Industry Authority, designed to eliminate criminality from jobs such as guarding, door supervising, wheelclamping, private investigation, security consultancy and keyholding through a range of measures including licensing individuals to work in specified sectors of the industry.

* Vehicles (Crime) Bill. In a bid to reduce the opportunities to dispose of stolen vehicles, this measure would regulate the motor salvage industry, requiring salvage operators to register with local authorities and keep records, and give police the right of entry to registered premises without warrant. The Bill would also allow the use of fixed penalties received in respect of offences recorded by speed cameras to fund more such cameras.

* Proceeds of Crime Bill (Draft). Establishing a National Confiscation Agency, with powers to sue for the recovery of criminal assets in the High Court, and assess the tax liability of people in possession of suspected criminal assets.

* Criminal Justice (Mode of Trial) Bill. In a bid to cut down on delays in the justice system, this would remove the ability of defendants to elect Crown Court trial in either-way cases in England and Wales.

* Social Security Fraud Bill. It would create powers to obtain information about suspected fraudsters from public and private sector organisations such as banks. It would also allow for the withdrawal or reduction of benefit where a person is convicted twice of committing a benefit offence within the space of three years.

* Health and Social Care Bill. From April 2001, the Government will introduce a National Health Performance Fund worth up to £500 million a year by 2003/4. The Bill will also allow the Secretary of State to make payments direct to NHS Trusts and Primary Care Trusts, and if necessary to replace the management teams of NHS bodies. Provides for a programme of public-private partnerships in primary care. Allows for the creation of Care Trusts, integrating health services and social care. Allows for a wider range of health professionals, including nurses, to prescribe drugs. Would also improve the system for funding long term care of the elderly.

* Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill. Implementing the Government's commitment to ban tobacco advertising.

* Special Educational Needs and Disability Bill. Strengthening the rights of children with special educational needs to be educated in mainstream schools.

* Children's Commissioner for Wales Bill. Extending the powers of the Children's Commissioner for Wales to review and monitor complaints.

* Regulatory Reform Bill. Designed to ensure that proposed legislation imposes as few regulatory burdens as possible.

* Homes Bill. Introducing a statutory requirement that before putting a home on the market, the seller should be required to put together a pack of standard, essential information for prospective buyers.

* Hunting Bill. An options Bill on the future of hunting with dogs - offering an almost total ban on hunting with dogs; a compulsory regulatory system; or a voluntary system of self-regulation.

* Safety Bill (Draft). A range of measures to improve rail, air, maritime, and road safety.

* Export Control Bill and Non-proliferation (draft). Introducing controls on trafficking and brokering in weapons.

* Criminal Justice System in Northern Ireland (draft). Taking forward into law the conclusions of the review of Ulster's criminal justice system.

* Armed Forces Bill. Such a Bill is introduced every five years to re-establish the legislative framework of the armed services.

* International Criminal Court Bill. To allow for the ratification of the International Criminal Court.

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