Coalition offers ‘pro work’ plan

THE COALITION will try to use today’s Queen’s Speech to shift the political debate back to the economy with David Cameron and Nick Clegg insisting they are united when it comes to securing the recovery.

An early morning rehearsal for the State Opening of Parliament in Westminster

Both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are keen to focus on the economy after weeks dominated by Europe, immigration and the fortunes of the UK Independence Party.

The Conservatives will be particularly keen to get their economic message over to voters the day before the Newark by-election where the party wants a decisive victory to slow Ukip’s momentum.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

And the Liberal Democrats are anxious to move on from the attempt to unseat Mr Clegg in the aftermath of the party’s poor showing in the local and European elections.

In a joint statement, Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg said the “guiding principle” running through today’s Queen’s Speech is “to back everyone who wants to get on in life”.

“We may be two parties, with two different philosophies, but we understand one thing: countries rise when their people rise. So this Queen’s Speech is unashamedly pro-work, pro-business and pro-aspiration,” they said.

“Of course, there is still a long way to go. But this Queen’s Speech marks a significant step. It builds on the foundations we have laid in the past four years, will help us make progress and continue to take Britain forward to a brighter future.”

It will include significant pension reforms which will allow workers to pool money into collective pensions which are supposed to offer more certainty over retirement income.

There will also be measures to put into practice the Chancellor’s Budget pledge to end the obligation on pensioners to buy an annuity.

The Coalition will describe the pension changes as a “revolution” that give workers “opportunities they were previously denied”.

Childcare, planning and rights for pub owners are among the other areas expected to feature.

However, the Coalition’s critics are likely to focus on what is expected to be a comparitively small number of measures that are included in today’s Queen’s Speech.

With most of the main items of the Government’s programme, agreed in the days after the last General Election, already implemented its opponents will argue that the Coalition will be marking time before voters go to the polls again in May 2015.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “The local and European elections show the depths of discontent with the direction of our country which people increasingly feel does not work for them.

“We need action, we need answers, we need a programme for government equal to the scale of the challenge our country faces.

“We would have a Queen’s Speech with legislation which would make work pay, reform our banks, freeze energy bills and build homes again in Britain.”