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Westminster Column


On Wednesday one of the highlights of the Parliamentary calendar took place – the State Opening of Parliament. This ceremony, steeped in tradition, dates back to the 16th Century and provides a platform for one of the most important events in Parliament – the Queen’s Speech.

The Queen’s Speech on Wednesday was particularly important as it marks the start of the last Parliamentary session before the General Election. It sets out the legislation on which the Conservative-led Coalition Government will be judged, and builds on the achievements made by this Government over the last four years and marks the next phase of our plan to secure economic recovery for our country.

This is the culmination of a well-judged legislative programme that has and will deliver benefit across the country. I welcome in particular those measures that I believe will directly benefit Sutton Coldfield, and address the issues raised by my constituents. These include the further reforms made to pensions, with a Bill implementing reforms to annuities that the Chancellor announced in his much-praised Budget, and a separate Bill that will give greater control to employees to allow them to choose how they save.

These changes to our pensions system will give people who work hard and save responsibly more security in their retirement, and crucially empowers them to choose how they save. The people of Sutton deserve this trust that has been put in them, and I believe that it is long overdue.

Sutton is full of innovative individuals, as demonstrated by the regular requests I receive to visit new business and see new projects. This is why I applaud the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill which will support those trying to set their ideas in motion and maintain a small business, and in doing so will help make Britain an attractive place to start, finance and grow a business.

I also welcome the Government’s commitment to make it easier for working families to bear the burden of childcare costs through the Childcare Payments Bill. No parents should be financially penalised for making the decision to work, and this piece of legislation goes some way to making this a viable option.

As its programme of legislation makes clear, the Coalition’s key aim has been to ensure that Britain is able to pay its way in the world with a stronger, more competitive economy and to give hardworking people peace of mind for the future.

The Queen’s Speech this week built on what the Conservatives’ long-term economic plan has delivered so far: the deficit down by over a third; income tax cut for 25 million people by an average of £705; 1.5 million more jobs; a welfare system that ensures work pays; 1.7 million more apprentices and better schools for young people.

I am confident that the programme set out in the final Queen’s Speech before the election will provide real benefits for my constituents, and reassure them that the Conservative Party’s vision for the future will continue to deliver results and build on the achievements of the last four years.



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