Rogue firms who rent homes and give jobs to illegal immigrants face tougher fines in an immigration crackdown unveiled today in the Queen’s Speech.

Deterring people from coming to Britain formed a central plank of the government’s agenda, designed in part to woo voters who have switched to back the UK Independence Party. Landlords will be made responsible for checking tenants are living in the UK legally, employers will face tougher fines for hiring illegal workers and limits will be put access to the NHS, housing and benefits.

Amid the pomp and ceremony of the State Opening of Parliament – a tradition which dates back to the 16th century – the Queen unveiled 20 Bills which the coalition hopes to pass into law in the next year.

Prince Charles attended for the first time in 17 years. This year with his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. It comes as the Queen plans to scale back her public duties and give her son and heir a bigger role as ‘co-head’ of the royal family.

Peers and dignitaries gathered for the event, which was preceded by the traditional search of the vaults under Parliament by the Queen’s royal bodyguards, the Yeoman of the Guard. This started after the 1605 Gunpowder Plot, and has happened every year since.

SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH THE QUEEN’S SPEECH LIVE

 
Support: Prince Charles stands next to the Queen in the Lords as she announces 20 bills which her Government hopes to pass in the coming year

Support: Prince Charles stands next to the Queen in the Lords as she announces 20 bills which her Government hopes to pass in the coming year

 
Historic: The Queen unveiled 20 bills which the Coalition hopes to pass into law this year

Historic: The Queen’s key announcement was a major crackdown on those who rent homes and give jobs to illegal immigrants

 
 

But David Cameron and Nick Clegg have shelved unpopular policies like minimum alcohol pricing and plain cigarette packaging, vowing instead to focus on backing people who ‘work hard and want to get on’. They promised measures to boost ‘fire up’ the private sector, increase pensions and protect consumers.

The Prime Minister and his deputy promised an Immigration Bill will ‘clamp down on those from overseas who abuse our public services’.

In a foreword to the Queen’s Speech, they added: ‘We want this country to attract people who will add to our national life – but those who will not should be deterred.’

Extra focus has fallen on plans to deal with the impact of immigration in the wake of the rise of the UKIP, which took almost one in four votes in last week’s local elections. The Immigration Bill aims to build on the coalition’s success, which has already seen the number of migrants fall by a third since 2010.

Other flagship bills will cut red-tape to boost business, create a new flat-rate pension worth around £140-a-week, cap the costs of social care to stop families having to sell their homes to pay for elderly relatives to be looked after.

But plans to impose a minimum alcohol price, insist cigarettes be sold in plain packets and create a register of lobbyists have been shelved to focus on the core concerns of voters.

The Queen told MPs and peers that the government’s first priority is to strengthen Britain’s economic competitiveness.’

This includes building a stronger economy, rewarding people who work hard and tackling the deficit to keep interest rates low.

The controversial High Speed Rail line linking London to Birmingham, and then Leeds and Manchester, will move a step closer with two Bills which will ‘provide further opportunities for economic growth in many of Britain’s cities’, the Queen said.

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall ride in a carriage to the Palace of Westminster for the State Opening of Parliament
Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall ride in a carriage to the Palace of Westminster for the State Opening of Parliament
 

On their way: Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall ride in a carriage to the Palace of Westminster for the State Opening of Parliament

 
Queen Elizabeth rides in a carriage to the Palace of Westminster. She has only missed two State Openings since 1952, because she was pregnant

Queen Elizabeth rides in a carriage to the Palace of Westminster. She has only missed two State Openings since 1952, because she was pregnant

 
The Queen
The Imperial State Crown
 

Event: The Queen starts her trip from Buckingham Palace this morning, accompanied by The Imperial State Crown

 

 
Ceremonial: The Queen's bodyguards, the Yeoman of the Guard, crouch down to pick up their lanterns at the start of the ceremonial search that begins the annual State opening of Parliament

Ceremonial: The Queen’s bodyguards, the Yeoman of the Guard, crouch down to pick up their lanterns at the start of the ceremonial search that begins the annual State opening of Parliament

 

 
Event: Armed with lanterns, they search the cellars of the Palace of Westminster, a practice which dates back to the Gunpowder Plot of November 5, 1605

Event: Armed with lanterns, they search the cellars of the Palace of Westminster, a practice which dates back to the Gunpowder Plot of November 5, 1605

 

 
 
March: The men head for the vaults to search for explosives, after the event was targeted by Guy Fawkes, who tried to kill James I

March: The men head for the vaults to search for explosives, after the event was targeted by Guy Fawkes, who tried to kill James I

 

 
Search: Yeomen of the Guard file through the Lords as they continue their traditional journey through Parliament

Search: Yeomen of the Guard file through the Lords as they continue their traditional journey through Parliament

CHARLES ATTENDS STATE OPENING WITH CAMILLA AS HE TAKES SOME PRESSURE OFF HIS MOTHER

Prince Charles and Camilla attended the State Opening of Parliament today for the first time, as the Queen continued to hand over duties to her son and heir.

It is the first time the Prince of Wales has attended since 1996 and will fuel speculation that he is taking a more active interest in the role of monarch.

Charles and Camilla travelled in their own procession ahead of the Queen.

It follows the surprise announcement by Buckingham Palace yesterday that, in a 40-year first, the Queen will not attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference. Instead, Charles will take her place at the two-day event in Sri Lanka in November.

Aides reluctantly admitted what has been suspected for some time: that the monarch, who reached the age of 87 last month, was not up to making frequent long-haul trips.

But Charles’ presence at Parliament today suggests it is also part of the carefully-choreographed plan to share the burden of responsibility.

In addition, she is understood to be concerned not to put too much strain on her husband, Prince Philip, who will be 92 next month and still accompanies her on most trips.

It is not long since he received hospital treatment for a heart condition and a recurring bladder infection.

The National Insurance costs for every company will be cut by £2,000, under plans first announced by George Osborne in the Budget. The move will mean 450,000 employers will pay no NI contributions at all. The government also promises to cut the burden of red tape, helping companies to grow and take on more staff.

A pensions bill will create a flat-rate pension of around £140-a-week from 2016. Under the plan, years spent away from work looking after children or

On crime and justice, there will be tougher action against anti-social behaviour, including scrapping the Asbo whole offender rehabilitation and new rules on controlling dangerous dogs. On defence there will be reform of the way the Ministry of Defence agrees multi-billion pound equipment deals.

Shoppers will be given more protection under tighter rules on unfair contract terms covering goods, services and digital content. More than 60 different laws will be combined into one.

Other bills will make it easier for business to protect their intellectual property, close the Audit Commission, simplify energy prices, offer compensation to sufferers of some asbestos-related cancers and reform the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland and Wales.

Plans to tackle childcare costs and improve the quality of nurseries and childminders will be drawn up, but legislation is not promised.

On schools, a new National Curriculum is planned this year, along with reforms of the exams system and teachers’ pay. Ministers also want it to become the norm that all school leavers start an apprenticeship, traineeship or go to university.

Mr Cameron made clear the coalition’s priorities. Writing on Twitter the Prime Minister said: ‘Bills on growth, immigration, pensions, consumer rights & social care- today’s Queen’s Speech is for people who work hard and want to get on.’

Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg restate their determination to press ahead with the coalition, amid claims that they have run out of big ideas with two years to go before the general election.

In the joint statement they said: ‘In May 2010 we came together to govern in the national interest. We knew the road ahead would be tough and so it has proved to be.

‘But three years on, our resolve to turn our country around has never been stronger. We know that Britain can be great again because we’ve got the people to do it.

‘Today’s Queen’s Speech shows that we will back them every step of the way. It is all about backing people who work hard and want to get on in life.’

The Northern Ireland Bill makes technical changes to the way politics and institutions work in Northern Ireland, including greater transparency for donations to political parties and stopping people sitting in the NI Assembly, the House of Commons or Ireland’s Dail Eireann at the same time.

The Draft Wales Bill also stop assembly members sitting as MPs and moves the assembly from a four to a five-year fixed term.

 

Watch: State Opening of Parliament. Queen’s Speech Live

 

Crackdown on 2million people who rent out homes and give jobs to illegal immigrants entering Britain

Almost 2 million people who rent out homes will be made responsible for checking the immigration status of tenants and face fines of thousands of pounds if they fail to do so.

Businesses which use ‘illegal labour’ will face tougher action including more ‘substantial fines’. Illegal immigrants will also be banned from getting a UK driving licence.

Visitors to Britain from outside Europe also face paying an ‘NHS bond’ before they can get a visa, to curb abuse of taxpayer-funded public services.

They will have to prove they have private medical insurance or pay a bond of several thousand pounds, to cover any costs they incur through the National Health Service.

The law will also be changed to stop criminals and terrorist from abusing human rights laws to avoid deportation.

The legislation will add legal weight to guidance for judges introduced last July by Theresa May that foreign criminals should be able to use Article 8 of the Human Rights Act in exceptional circumstances only. Judges have continued to ignore the Home Secretary’s guidance because it was not backed up by primary legislation.

Other measures which do not require new legislation include only paying jobless benefits to migrants for six months if they have no chance of getting a job, limiting access to social housing to people who have lived in the UK for between two and five years and only giving civil legal aid to people who have been in Britain for 123 months.

Payment by results plan to stop criminals reoffending and a crackdown on dangerous dogs

The probation service will be opened up to private firms who will be paid on their success at stopping criminals reoffending.

The Offender Rehabilitation Bill clears the way for companies and charities to reverse the trend which last year saw 200,000 offences committed by someone who had already served lengthy terms in jail.

There will be a new licence period and the supervision order last for a year for offenders who spend less than 12 months in prison.

For those jailed for one to two years, they will be subject to a licence period for 12 months instead of six.

Drug addict offenders will for before to attend treatment appointments, with testing covering Class B as well as Class A drugs.

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill  will aim to cut crime and reform the police.

Dog laws will be strengthened, but owners could face having to tie their pet up at home to stop them attacking burglars. The Association of Chief Police Officers say planned amendments to the Dangerous Dogs Act could leave householders ‘liable to prosecution’ if their dog bites a burglar while they are out.

The Bill will also give residents more of a say how those responsible for anti-social behaviour are punished.

Fines for the illegal importing or exporting guns will be increased, making a forced marriage will be criminalised, prosecutions for shoplifting will be accelareated and offenders sent to prison will not be able to avoid paying a Victims Surcharge by spending more time behind bars.

 
Waiting: Judges sit in the House of Lords as they wait for the start of the State opening of Parliament

Waiting: Judges sit in the House of Lords as they wait for the start of the State opening of Parliament

 
Cheerful: Ladies sit in the House of Lords before the State Opening

Cheerful: Ladies sit in the House of Lords before the State Opening

 
Route: Members of The Guards march on The Mall as the Queen heads to Westminster

Route: Members of The Guards march on The Mall as the Queen heads to Westminster

Cutting bills and tearing up health and safety laws to help businesses grow

With the economy still not out of the woods, the government promised a fresh raft of measures designed to encourage businesses to expand.

The Deregulation Bill will curb the impact of regulators and watchdogs, stopping them from interfering if their actions will hamper growth.

Self-employed workers will be exempt from health and safety laws, provided their work poseses no harm to others.

It will also allow tenants to qualify for Right To Buy after three years instead of five, scrap rules forcing councils to carry out assessments of air quality zones and reduce the remit of employment tribunals.

Paper certificates to prove drivers have car insurance will also be scrapped and replaced with an online system, saving business around £33 million a year.

Every firm will have the bill for their national insurance employers contributions cut by £2,000, meaning 450,000 – one in three companies – pay nothing in ‘jobs tax’. The change will be passed in the National Insurance Contributions Bill.

The Intellectual Property Bill will make it easier for companies to stop their ideas being stolen. A single patent system covering the whole of the EU will allow firms to protect their inventions across the continent.

The Defence Reform Bill aims to improve the way the Ministry of Defence agrees multi-billion pound deals for equipment. It also aims to increase the size of the reserve forces, so that by 2020 they play a greater role in defence and national security.

Rogue traders face court fines as shoppers get new protections from faulty digital downloads

A complex web of more than 60 different laws will be combined to stop shoppers getting ripped off.

It includes up-dating rules to protect people when buying e-books and software from being sold sub-standard goods.

There will be new powers to make it easier for victims of rogue businesses to get compensation.

Trading Standards will have more powers to take traders to court to ensure they make amends.

The Draft Consumer Rights Bill will help people unhappy with home improvements and make it easier to seek refunds for faulty goods.

Consumer Minister Jo Swinson said: ‘Stronger consumer protection and clearer consumer rights will help create a fairer and stronger marketplace. We are fully aware that this area of law over the years has become unnecessarily complicated and too confusing, with many people not sure where to turn if they have a problem.

‘We are hoping to bring in a number of changes to improve consumer confidence and make sure the law is fit for the 21st century.’

The Energy Bill, carried over from the last session, will make it easier for customers to get the best deal by giving clearer information on bills.

It will also seek to secure £100billion in private investment in a new generation of power plants.

The Water Bill aims to make it easier for firms to buy and sell water to each other to deal with droughts and address problems for homeowners who cannot get insurance because of flood risks.

Full steam ahead for High Speed Rail line linking London to the Midlands and North

The High Speed Rail line linking London to Birmingham, and Leeds and Manchester will move a step closer as ministers act to buy land along the route.

The HS2 Hybrid Bill will mark a major legal step in the construction of the line which will cut journey times between the capital and Birmingham by half an hour to just 49 minutes.

Once passed into law, the government will have the legal power to compulsorily purchase land and homes which sit on the route.
It will also give the state the right to build and maintain the new railway.

Opponents of the project who will be forced to leave their homes will have the right to petition Parliament and have their case heard by a cross-party committee of MPs in Westminster. The line connecting London to Birmingham is expected to open by 2026.

A separate High Speed (Preparation) Bill will parliamentary authority to press ahead with the project, allowing public money to be spent on design, wildlife studies and ‘essential preparatory work’.

Families told homes will not need to be sold to pay for elderly care bills

Elderly care costs will be capped at £75,000 to stop pensioners having to sell their homes to pay for care in their final years.

The Care Bill will end the uncertainty for millions of people who face the prospect of never-ending charges for care.

The Queen told MPs and peers the legislation will ‘ensure the elderly do not have to sell their homes to meet their care bills’.

The Government says the move will ‘give everyone peace of mind by protecting them from catastrophic costs’.

More focus will be put on preventing or delaying care needs, instead of intervening only at ‘crisis point’. Millions of people caring for elderly and disabled relatives in England will also be given the right to receive support from their local councils.

In response to the Mid-Staffordshire health scandal, the Bill will introduce Ofsted-style ratings for hospitals and care homes and given the new Chief Inspector of Hospitals more powers to identify problems with the quality of care and ensure action is taken more swiftly.

Pensioners are promised a new flat-rate pension to help people plan for their future

The Pensions Bill will introduce a single-tier pension, worth around £144 a week at today’s prices. The retirement age will rise to 67 from 2026, eight years earlier than planned.

Years spent away from work looking after children or caring for elderly relatives will count towards the value of a person’s final pension.

It is seen as a boost for stay-at-home mothers who have felt penalised by other government measures to help parents who work.

The plans, which will be put in place by 2016, will see people receive a pension worth about £7,000 a year provided they can show a record of at least 35 years working in Britain or caring for children or elderly relatives.

Small pension pots will also be more easily transferred to help people who change jobs. There will be a new single benefit to support people after a bereavement.

The Mesothelioma Bill will provide financial support to around 3,500 people who have contracted asbestos-related cancer who cannot claim compensation from their former employer or insurer because they cannot be traced.

They would be eligible to receive around £355million in payments in the first decade.

Minimum alcohol pricing and plain cigarette packets have been shelved

Public health reforms which would have pushed up the price of alcohol and forced cigarettes to be sold in plain packets were missing from the Queen’s Speech.

David Cameron championed the idea of a minimum unit price for alcohol, arguing it would curb problem drinking.
But it was opposed by the George Osborne’s Treasury, Home Secretary Theresa May, Education Secretary Michael Gove and former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.

Just weeks ago it was reported that the government would also press ahead with laws forcing tobacco firms to sell cigarettes in plan packets, copying rules introduced in Australia last year.

But neither featured in today’s list of Bills, which contained no public health legislation at all.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt insisted the ideas had not been dropped altogether. ‘We haven’t made a decision,’ he told BBC Radio 4.

He said plans in Scotland for minimum alcohol pricing had been challenged in the courts, while Australia’s cigarette laws only came into force in January.

Mr Hunt added: ‘It’s a much harder job to assess the evidence as to how effective it will be and that takes time. And I want to make sure we do the job properly so I’m going to take the time that I need to.’

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

POMP, TRADITION, HOSTAGES AND A HUNT FOR A GUNPOWDER PLOT UNDER PARLIAMENT: THE CUSTOM AND TRADITIONS OF THE QUEEN’S SPEECH

Tradition: Black Rod hammers the door of the House of Commons to invite MPs to proceed to the House of Lords to listen to the Queen's Speech

Tradition: Black Rod hammers the door of the House of Commons to invite MPs to proceed to the House of Lords to listen to the Queen’s Speech

The Queen’s Speech is delivered at the State Opening of Parliament and forms the most colourful event of the parliamentary year.

As Head of State, it is the Queen’s duty to formally to open each new session of Parliament.

Before the Queen travels to Parliament from Buckingham Palace, certain historical ‘precautions’ are observed.

The Yeomen of the Guard, the oldest of the royal bodyguards, armed with lanterns, searches the cellars of the Palace of Westminster, a practice which dates back to the Gunpowder Plot of November 5, 1605.

This is followed by a more scientific police search. Another tradition sees a government whip held ‘hostage’ at the Palace to ensure the Queen’s safe return.

The custom dates back to centuries when the monarch and Parliament were on less cordial terms.

On arrival, the Queen puts on the Imperial State Crown and her parliamentary robe ready for the ceremony itself in the House of Lords.

She is escorted by the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and street liners guard the whole route and present arms as the royal party passes.

The Regalia – the Imperial State Crown, the Cap of Maintenance and Sword of State travel in their own carriage, ahead of the monarch, escorted by Members of the Royal Household.

The Queen is met at the Palace of Westminster’s Sovereign’s Entrance by the Earl Marshal and the Lord Great Chamberlain, who, as Keeper of the Royal Palace, wears scarlet court dress and has hanging at his hip, the golden key to the Palace.

As the Queen moves up the Sovereign’s Staircase to the Robing Chamber she passes between two lines of dismounted Household Cavalry soldiers in full dress with drawn swords.

They are the only troops allowed to bear arms within the Royal Palaces.

 
Historic: In a tradition dating back to the Gunpowder Plot of November 5, 1605, the Yeomen of the Guard, the monarch's bodyguards, take lanterns and search the vaults below Westminster

Historic: In a tradition dating back to the Gunpowder Plot of November 5, 1605, the Yeomen of the Guard, the monarch’s bodyguards, take lanterns and search the vaults below Westminster for explosives

 

After putting on the Imperial State Crown and parliamentary robe, the Queen leads a procession through the Royal Gallery, packed with more than 600 guests, to the Chamber of the House of Lords, where she takes the throne.

The Sovereign’s Procession is led by senior parliamentary and government officers, including the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Speaker of the House of Lords and the Lord Privy Seal.

The Great Sword of State and the Cap of Maintenance, symbols of the Sovereign’s power and authority, are carried in front of the Monarch.

When the Queen sits down the Lord Great Chamberlain signals to an official, known as The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod in his capacity as the Sovereign’s Messenger to summon the House of Commons and demand their presence.

As he approaches the Commons, the door of the Chamber is slammed in Black Rod’s face to demonstrate the supremacy of the Lower House over the Lords.

He knocks three times with his Black Rod, from which he derives his name, and is finally admitted.

He says: ‘Mr Speaker. The Queen commands this Honourable House’ – bowing to the left and to the right as he does so – ‘to attend Her Majesty immediately in the House of Peers.’

 
First: The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh walking through the Royal Gallery of the House of Lords on her way to the 1952 State Opening of Parliament - her first as monarch

First: The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh walking through the Royal Gallery of the House of Lords on her way to the 1952 State Opening of Parliament – her first as monarch

 

This tradition is a reminder of the right of the Commons to exclude everyone but the Sovereign’s messengers.

The Serjeant-at-Arms, carrying the Mace, leads the procession to the Lords followed by the Commons Speaker and Black Rod.

The Prime Minister, the leader of the opposition and MPs follow them, and when they reach the Lords chamber they stand at the opposite end to the throne, known as the Bar.

The Queen’s Speech is delivered to the throne by the Lord Chancellor in a special silk bag.

Although the Queen reads the Speech, the content is entirely drawn up by the Government and approved by the cabinet.

The final words, ‘other measures will be laid before you’, give the Government flexibility to introduce other legislation as necessary.

When the Queen leaves, the Royal Standard is taken down and the Union Flag hoisted.

Afterwards Parliament goes back to work, with each house meeting separately to begin debating the content of the speech.

The Queen has opened Parliament on all but two occasions throughout her reign.

These were 1959 and 1963, when she was pregnant with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.

It had usually taken place in October, November or December each year.

But the last three-year Parliamentary session has lasted longer than the usual because of the move to five-year, fixed-term parliaments, it means the Queen’s appearance at Westminster become a regular springtime event.

 
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