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Immigration, extremism, Europe and tax cuts: Key promises from the Queen's Speech

Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 12:39 pm
by Petter
The Conservative government has unveiled its first wave of post-election promises in the first Tory-only Queen's Speech in almost two decades.

The speech packed in 26 proposed new bills, including moves to tackle immigration, cut tax for low earners, devolve further powers to other UK nations and major cities, and plans for a referendum on membership of the EU.

Key measures announced today include:

EU Referendum Bill

The bill - one of the government's flagship promises - will set out a plan for an in-out vote on Britain's membership of the EU by the end of 2017.

This controversial issue was one of the main talking points of the election campaign, and the details of when the vote will happen, who can take part, and other details are likely to be fiercely debated.

Bill of Rights

A British Bill of Rights would, in theory, replace the Human Rights Act, which enshrines in law the UK's committment to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Critics claim the law has been exploited by foreign criminals and has given power to European judges to overrule those in Britain.
But supporters argue that an international agreement on human rights is essential to prevent politicians "picking and choosing" which rights they wish to honour.

National Insurance Contributions Bill and Finance Bill

Personal allowance will rise from £10,600 to £12,500, directly benefitting 30 million workers. The bill also ensures that no one working 30 hours a week on the current minimum wage of £6.50 an hour will ever have to pay any income tax at all.

The government's "tax lock commitment" will mandate that there are no rises in the rates of income tax, VAT or National Insurance over the course of the next five years.

It will also prevent the government from adding VAT to new items, or from raising the National Insurance upper earnings limit.

However, there will be no set threshold at which the various rates become payable, which some have warned means Chancellor George Osborne could still fiddle with rates to boost tax revenues.