THE final Queen's Speech before next year's General Election was
"unashamedly pro-work, pro-business, and pro-aspiration", the Prime
Minister and Deputy Prime Minister said on Wednesday.
In a joint statement, David Cameron and Nick Clegg said that the
"guiding principle" behind the package of Bills was "to back
everyone who wants to get on in life. . . Countries rise when their
people rise." They highlighted "ground-breaking pensions reform" as
"part of our wider mission to put power back in the hands of the
people who have worked hard".
Also included is the Childcare Payments Bill, which will provide
parents of children aged under 12 with up to £2000 a year to cover
childcare. Poverty campaigners issued a cautious welcome.
Chris Goulden, head of poverty research at the Joseph Rowntree
Foundation, said: "This help should not be funded by cutting their
help in other areas. "This is more important than subsidising
childcare for very high-earning families. Most of the extra support
will be going to families with higher incomes, including households
where both parents are earning just below the additional rate tax
threshold, set at £150,000."
Matthew Reed, chief executive of the Children's Society, said:
"Too often families miss out on this crucial help because the
system is too complex, pushing them and their children into
Campaigners welcomed the inclusion of the Modern Slavery Bill,
which will provide compensation for victims and increase the
maximum sentence for human traffickers from 14 years to life (News,
20 December, 2013).
Matthew Frost, the chief executive of Tearfund, welcomed the
Bill, and said that it must "reach beyond our borders,
incentivising aid recipients to fight modern slavery and mandating
supply chain transparency if we are to win the battle against
Mr Reed described it as a "huge step forward", but said that the
Government must change the law "so that children who are trafficked
are always treated as victims. It needs to extend guardianship for
trafficked children to all children found on their own in the UK -
including those fleeing war and torture."
The Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, said on
Thursday that he was delighted that a slavery bill was planned.
Bishop Redfern is a member of the parliamentary committee which
drafted the Modern Slavery Bill.
"Such a serious crime requires legislation which will clarify
our definitions of slavery, exploitation and human trafficking;
provide support and help for victims; and encourage a proper
partnership between the [...] the police, the local authority, and
A summit to discuss how Derbyshire can respond to the challenges
of modern slavery had been arranged for 23 June, Bishop Redfern
The Roman Catholic Bishop for Prisons, the Rt Revd Richard Moth,
expressed disappointment that the Draft Voting Eligibility
(Prisoners) Bill was not included in the speech. "Allowing
prisoners to vote is not a move to be soft on crime: those who
commit crimes are rightly punished and the punishment is the
restriction of their liberty," he said. "A blanket ban on prisoner
voting is disproportionate."