Queen's Speech 2015: Here's everything that was said about the EU referendum, employment, tax, the Human Rights Act and Scottish devolution

Queen's speech
The Queen's speech happens at the start of every parliamentary session (Source: Getty)

The EU referendum is on; taxes will be locked in at current levels and strike laws are being reformed. The Queen's Speech has come to an end, and we have been presented with the legislation the government intends to pursue over the coming parliamentary session.

While global cooperation, reducing the deficit and sticking to the current economic plan all featured, there were certain topics that dominated the 10 minute event.

Here are the most important takeaways from this year's speech.

EU membership

Just as David Cameron promised, early legislation has been put forward to pave the way for a referendum on EU membership before the end of 2017.

But first of all, the Prime Minister will try and renegotiate our relationship with the bloc, for the “benefit of all member states”.

Adjustment to strike laws

Legislation is being brought forward to reform the trade union strike laws, requiring more votes for a strike to go ahead – there will be a minimum 50 per cent voting threshold for union ballot turnouts, and a minimum support of 40 per cent for action to go ahead.

The Trades Union bill aims to make sure hard-working people are not disrupted by little-supported strike action. It will require strikes to be the result of “clear positive and recent decisions” by union members.

Education and Employment

New legislation will be introduced to help achieve full employment and provide more people with jobs, with ministers reporting annually on job creation and apprenticeships.

Regulation will also be changed on small businesses in order to make it easier for them to employ people.

The government wants young people to “earn or learn”, and as such is capping benefits. It is also introducing measures to encourage the provision of free childcare.

New powers to take over failing schools and create more academy are intended to improve schools.

Tax cuts

People working 30 hours a week on the national minimum wage will no longer have to pay income tax, while there will be a block on rises in income tax, VAT and National Insurance for the next five years.

This increase in personal tax allowance will benefit an estimated 30m individuals, and the rules will ensure that future increases in income tax personal allowance reflect changes to the national minimum wage.

The aim is to “reward those who work hard and do the right thing”.

Devolving power in the UK

The government is going to devolve wide-ranging powers to Scotland and Wales, and is also introducing legislation giving effect to the Stormont House Agreement in Northern Ireland. The government will work alongside these on “the basis of mutual respect”.

The government will work alongside with the devolved administrations to agree a revised Memorandum of Understanding, which will govern relations between the UK Government and the devolved administrations.

With the Scottish government, it will come to an agreement on a new financial settlement for Scotland, reflecting its powers to raise its own taxes.

English devolution

Changes will be made to how decision are made in the UK, so that decisions affecting England or England and Wales can only be made with the approval of a majority Parliament representing constituencies in those parts of our United Kingdom.

To bring different parts of countries together, cities outside London will have more individual powers devolved to them, and each will be able to elect its own Mayor. The hope is that this will make the north of England more powerful in its own right.

Home ownership

The government will encourage home ownership by giving housing association tenants the chance to buy the houses they live in, and by taking forward Right to Build.

It will also increase the supply of new Starter Homes for young first-time buyers, and at a 20 per cent discount below open market value.

Human Rights Act

Rather than having the European Convention on Human Rights, the government is hoping to introduce a British Bill of Rights.

This would reform and our human rights legal framework and restore add what the government describes as “common sense” to the application of human rights laws, which it claims has been undermined by the damaging effects of Labour’s Human Rights Act.

It also aims to safeguard existing rights and better protect against abuse of the system.

Defence and security

A new defence and security review will be undertaken to “ensure armed forces in Britain are safe”. The intention is to reduce the threat from nuclear weapons, cyber attacks and terrorism.

International relations

The government will maintain pressure on Russia to allow Ukraine's sovereignty, while it will continue to tackle terrorism in the Middle East. It will also remain “at the forefront” of Nato.

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