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2014 Queen’s Speech: coalition heralds ‘bold measures’

The Coalition Government has unveiled its final Queen’s Speech before next year’s General Election, highlighting ‘bold measures’ on pension reform and introducing a new bill for small businesses.

Keen to quash Labour’s accusations that it was offering ‘more of the same’, the Government heralded the Speech as ‘unashamedly pro-work, pro-business and pro-aspiration’.

Landmark reform of the pension system was central to the Speech, with the Pension Tax Bill paving the way for individuals to withdraw cash from their retirement funds without having to buy an annuity. In addition, separate laws are set to allow workers to contribute to Dutch-style collective pension schemes shared with their co-workers.

Meanwhile, a new Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill contains measures aimed at creating a fairer marketplace for small businesses, including tackling the issues of late payment, access to finance, regulation and procurement.

Another key measure included in the Speech relates to previously announced plans to offer working parents with children under the age of 12 a state-funded tax-free childcare subsidy worth up to £2,000 a year, under the Childcare Payments Bill.

Other legislation outlined in the Speech includes a Modern Slavery Bill for England and Wales, new powers for fracking firms, and the right to trigger by-elections for disgraced MPs.