New immigration bill at heart of coalition fightback against Ukip

Pensions Minister Steve Webb
Pensions Minister Steve Webb
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DAVID Cameron will begin the Government fightback after last week’s dismal local elections showing by making a new immigration bill a key piece of legislation in today’s Queen’s Speech.

Whitehall sources insist a raft of ‘growth’ measures will be central to the coming year’s legislative programme after widespread criticism the 2012 Queen’s Speech did not focus sufficiently on the economy.

As reported in Monday’s Yorkshire Post, two HS2 bills will be included in this morning’s speech at the official state opening of Parliament, so paving the way for the new £33bn high-speed rail link between London and regional cities including Leeds and Sheffield.

A deregulation bill designed to cut red tape for small businesses is also widely expected.

But with Ukip continuing to surge in the polls and taking votes from both coalition parties, immigration will also be at the centre of the Government’s focus.

The new bill could make it easier to deport foreign nationals following the Abu Qatada debacle, and seek to restrict the access of some immigrants to benefits, healthcare and social housing.

A new social care bill will also be unveiled, bringing in the Government’s new system of limiting the cost of adult social care from 2017 and offering extra help for carers.

New crackdowns are also expected on dangerous dogs and anti-social behaviour, along with extra support for consumers who shop online.

Angela Eagle, Labour’s Shadow Leader of the House, said her party would “look at” the proposed new measures on immigration.

But she added: “The truth is over the last three years the (coalition) have failed on immigration as they have in so many other areas.”

Attention will also focus upon measures which do not make it into this morning’s Queen’s Speech. It is widely expected the Lib Dems will veto any attempt to include early legislation for a referendum on Britain’s entry to the EU, or the so-called ‘snooper’s charter’ Communications Bill.