New agenda set to boost North-East

LABOUR is promising a raft of measures in the Queen’s Speech today which will boost the North-East.

LABOUR is promising a raft of measures in the Queen’s Speech today which will boost the North-East.

Tyne Bridge MP David Clelland welcomed proposals to tackle failing privatised bus services and said the Government’s legislative programme – outlined in the monarch’s speech – would be a “well-rounded” package.

Mr Clelland said he expected the Transport Bill to hand powers to local authorities over bus services despite concerns about potential pressure from bus operators.

And while the bill could make it easier to introduce congestion charging schemes, the Labour MP said he did not expect any apart from one or two pilots.

Junior Housing Minister Iain Wright said plans for house-building, planning and welfare reform were important for the North-East.

“They will raise prosperity, they will provide a range of houses and communities that people in the North-East are proud to live in,” the Hartlepool Labour MP said.

North-East Minister Nick Brown said the transport plans were key and added it would be a heavy legislative programme, including Parliamentary time given over to the new European Union treaty.

But Peter Atkinson, Tory MP for Hexham, expressed concern that roads and housing would not be addressed despite regional infrastructure and property difficulties.

There are unlikely to be any surprises after the Prime Minister broke with tradition by setting out a 23-bill programme in July ahead of today’s formalities.

A Health and Social Care Bill will establish a single regulator covering the NHS and children in care and pensions will be dealt with too.

There will be a Climate Change Bill and a Coroner’s Bill will establish a new chief coroner.

But Downing Street was cautious about any detailed proposals.

Plans for compulsory education to be extended to youngsters aged 17 in 2013, and to 18 from 2015 are set to be unveiled.

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