Page last updated at 12:27 GMT, Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Queen's speech

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The government has put financial stability and economic recovery at the heart of its plans in the run-up to the next general election.

The Queen's Speech , which marks the start of the Parliamentary year, outlines the government's plans.

The Queen delivered the speech on 18 November 2009, during the traditional ceremony from the House of Lords.

Other key measures outlined in the speech include a legal obligation to halve the budget deficit within four years and a promise to clamp down on bankers who take too many financial risks.

There will also be free social care for the neediest pensioners in England.

In all, the speech outlined 13 bills and two draft bills. There are an expected 70 to 80 days of parliamentary business remaining before Gordon Brown calls a general election.

Her Majesty delivered the speech from the throne in the House of Lords.

The event is known as the state opening of Parliament and is one of the most important - and colourful - events in the parliamentary calendar.

While it is called the Queen's Speech, it is written by the government and approved by the Cabinet - and the Queen reads the speech in the same tone throughout to indicate Her Majesty's neutrality.

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