New coalition hits the ground running

THE NEW government hit the ground running yesterday, announcing a flurry of legislation in its inaugural Queen’s Speech.

Financial services took centre stage, with chancellor George Osborne responsible for steering five of the 22 bills through parliament – more than any other cabinet minister.

The legislation will usher in sweeping changes to the way the City is regulated, with greater powers for the Bank of England and a new economic crime watchdog. The FSA will survive, but with a much smaller remit.

An Office for Budget Responsibility that will set independent growth and borrowing forecasts is to get statutory powers, in a bid to deflect criticism of tough spending cuts.

And banks will be hit with a new levy, curbs on bonuses and an investigation into the break-up of big banks.

Meanwhile, plans to privatise the Royal Mail have been resurrected, setting the stage for confrontation with the postal unions.