The Queen’s Speech, delivered at the State Opening of Parliament last week, outlines the Government’s aims for the coming year.
Briefly, these are: boosting the economy, and helping hardworking people with the cost of living; further reforms to border control and reducing immigration - deterring those who would abuse our system; supporting those who have worked hard and contributed all their lives; and putting the criminal justice system on your side. To boost growth we are reducing or removing burdens on businesses and reducing National Insurance bills each year by entitling every business and charity to a £2,000 Employment Allowance from April 2014.
We are fixing benefits so that it always pays to be in work. We’re making income tax fairer, cutting it for 24 million people and taking two million out of it altogether.
We are also supporting those who have worked hard and contributed all their lives by creating a new flat-rate pension to be implemented from April 2016.
This will help women who have taken time out of work to care for their families. Pensioners will be protected by capping care costs and extending the means test threshold for financial assistance to ensure that no-one has to sell their home in their lifetime to pay for residential care.
Immigration is already down by a third and now we are stopping migrants accessing public services they are not entitled to and compelling landlords of private housing to check the immigration status of tenants, facing fines if they don’t. We are making it easier to remove people from the UK by legislating to ensure that Article 8 (the right to family life) is not abused. Courts will balance the crime committed against the right to remain in the country.
The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill will do more to keep our neighbourhoods safe by ensuring a quick, effective response to anti-social behaviour focused on the rights of victims and giving people powers to make sure action is taken.
There will be new measures to encourage responsible dog ownership, tackle the use of illegal firearms by gangs, and strengthen protection of the victims of forced marriage.
I think these are wise and sensible policies that will help people in Meriden constituency and throughout the country.