Queen unveils measures to boost society in annual speech

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II EMN-160422-162420001
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II EMN-160422-162420001
The marble floor at Southsea's Queen's Hotel has been unveiled after 50 years

Hidden marble floor revealed after 50 years at the Queen's Hotel

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THE Queen has unveiled a package of measures set to be introduced to help some of the most vulnerable in society and to curb extremism.

Her Majesty said the government would set out to ‘bring communities together’, ‘give children the best start in life’ and devolve more powers to councils so they can make more of their own decisions.

And she said more powers would be given to directly-elected mayors to control combined authorities – a boost in the bid to form a Solent force in Hampshire.

A number of bills were proposed in the Queen’s Speech, including;

n Digital Economy Bill - Creates new right to high-speed broadband for every household.

n Modern Transport Bill - Clears way for new spaceports, driverless cars and drones.

n Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill - Reforms planning system and gives new powers for people to shape developments in their home areas.

n Local Growth and Jobs Bill - Gives councils powers to keep and invest 100% of business rates, and to vary their level.

n Better Markets Bill - Makes it easier for utility customers to switch providers.

n Bus Services Bill - Gives elected mayors powers over buses.

n NHS (Overseas Visitors Charging) Bill - Recovers cost of NHS treatment from non-UK residents.

n Pensions Bill - Removes barriers to accessing pension savings.

n Children and Social Work Bill - Speeds up adoptions and gives guarantees of more support for children leaving care.

n Education for All Bill - Allows for expansion of academy programme.

n Higher Education and Research Bill - Supports the establishment of new universities.

n Prison and Courts Reform Bill - Gives new freedoms to governors to run their own jails.

Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond welcomed the Queen’s Speech measures.

She said: ‘I was happy to see that the Queen’s Speech had a strong focus on improving the life chances of our current and future generations, which is vitally important for a fairer society.’