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European Union exit vote is on David Cameron's agenda

By Andrew Woodcock

David Cameron has set out a packed agenda for the next 12 months in the first Conservative-only Queen's Speech for almost 20 years, with Bills to pave the way for an EU referendum, devolve more powers, and ban rises in income tax, VAT or National Insurance.

The Prime Minister told the House of Commons the package was "a Queen's Speech for working people from a One Nation Government that will bring our country together".

But interim Labour leader Harriet Harman said the Tory agenda was "unravelling" even before the Queen arrived at Westminster, after Mr Cameron omitted an expected Bill to scrap the Human Rights Act and introduce a British Bill of Rights.

He said the Tories would deliver full employment, extend the right to buy to housing association tenants, increase free childcare and create a "truly seven-day NHS".

Legislative changes will create a "tax lock" barring increases in the rates of income tax, VAT and National Insurance for the next five years, along with a legal requirement for anyone working 30 hours a week or less on the minimum wage to be taken out of income tax altogether, he said.

Further devolution is promised for Scotland and Wales, and measures will be introduced to give English MPs the final say on legislation affecting only England at Westminster.

The speech set the scene for further austerity measures to eliminate the national deficit.

Belfast Telegraph


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