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Queen Speech Tuesday, 24 November, 1998, 19:23 GMT
Queen's speech at a glance
Lords chamber
Peers crammed into the chamber to hear the government's programme
These are the bills the government intends to introduce in the new session of parliament:

  • House of Lords Reform Bill To remove the right of hereditary peers to sit and vote in the House of Lords.

  • Fairness at Work Bill To set out new rights for maternity and parental leave, implement EU rules on part-time working, and introduce new rights for employees, including greater protection against unfair dismissal.

  • Welfare Reform Bill To create a single "gateway" for all benefit claimants, make it compulsory for all claimants to attend interviews on finding work, introduce changes to Incapacity Benefit and Widows' Benefits, and set out a framework for a new "stakeholder" pension.

    The Queen's Speech

  • National Health Service Bill To end GP fundholding, create new Primary Care Trusts, impose quality measures on NHS trusts, set up a Commission for Health Improvement, beef up existing self-regulation of the medical profession, and ensure pharmaceutical firms stick to pricing agreements.

  • Access to Justice Bill To replace the Legal Aid Board with a new Legal Services Commission, restrict the range of cases currently funded by Legal Aid, and simplify and speed up civil court procedures.

  • Disability Rights Commission Bill To set up an independent commission to advise the government and work towards ending discrimination faced by the disabled.

  • Age of Consent and Abuse of Trust Bill To allow a free vote on lowering the age of consent for gay men to match that for heterosexuals, and make it a criminal offence for adults in a position of trust - such as teachers or residential care workers - to have sexual relations with under-17s in their care.

  • Greater London Authority Bill To create the Mayor of London post, a new London Assembly and Greater London Authority.

  • Immigration and Asylum Bill To speed up the appeals procedure for asylum-seekers, regulate immigration advisers, increase penalties for deception offences to deter fraudulent applications, and introducing bail hearings for asylum-seekers detained in custody.

  • Tax Credits Bill To introduce the Working Families Tax Credit and Disabled Person's Tax Credit - the latter to replace the Disability Working Allowance. Those eligible will keep more of what they earn.

  • Electronic Commerce Bill To ease electronic trade and shopping, and update other areas of the law to take account of the increase in electronic communications. Encryption will be restricted.

  • Commonwealth Development Corporation Bill To allow the partial privatisation of the corporation, allowing it to seek new investment as a public-private partnership.

  • Youth Justice and Witnesses Bill To speed up the way the criminal justice system deals with young offenders, allow special measures for witnesses not to face defendants in the courtroom, and modify the law allowing inferences to be drawn from suspects who choose to remain silent.

  • Water Industry Bill To end disconnections for non-payment of bills and protect vulnerable groups with high water needs who are currently billed by the amount they use.

  • Local Government (Best Value and Capping) Bill To give ministers "best value" powers granting them a bigger say over how local authority budgets, to cap council tax increases and abolish compulsory competitive tendering.

  • Contributions Agency Bill To transfer the Contributions Agency to the Inland Revenue for ease of collecting tax and National Insurance Contributions.

  • Financial Services and Markets Bill To overhaul financial services regulation, replacing the separate existing regulators that cover different sectors of the markets with one overall watchdog, the Financial Services Authority.

    Bills to be introduced as other measures:

  • European Parliamentary Elections Bill To allow next year's Euro-elections to be held under the closed list system of proportional representation. The original bill was lost at the end of the last session following Lords opposition. If peers reject it again, the government will use the Parliament Act to make it law.

  • Road Traffic Act (NHS Charges) Bill To streamline procedures for recovering from insurance companies costs for treating road traffic accident victims.

  • Pollution Prevention and Control Bill To implement EU directives on tackling pollution.

  • Scottish Enterprise Bill Increasing the financial limit for Scottish Enterprise to 5b.

  • Valuation of Non-Domestic Rating Bill To clarify points on the law relating to non-domestic rating valuations.
  • Links to more Queen Speech stories are at the foot of the page.

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