Nick Clegg and David Cameron signalled their determination to keep the Coalition going until the next election, as they prepared to unveil major pension reforms as the centrepiece of today’s Queen’s Speech.
Tomorrow’s Queen’s Speech, setting out the Government’s legislative programme up to the General Election, will include measures to allow workers to contribute to collective pension funds which they will share with thousands of other members.
The aim is to provide an alternative to saving individual pots, which are more vulnerable to variations in the stock market.
In a joint statement, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister said: “It is easy to forget when we first came together in the national interest just how sceptical people were about how long the Coalition could last and how much change we could effect. Four years on, our parties are still governing together and still taking bold steps.”
But they insisted: “There is still a long way to go”, adding: “This Queen’s Speech marks a significant step. It builds on the foundations we have laid in the past four years, will help us make progress and continue to take Britain forward to a brighter future.”
European elections last month saw the Liberal Democrats pushed into fourth place in terms of share of the vote in the North East. Nationally they came fifth, and were reduced to just one MEP across the country.
But Mr Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, appears to have avoided any potential threat to his position after possible rivals such as Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, and Tim Farron, the party President, said the leadership was not an issue.
Other measures that could be announced today include:
* Laws allowing gas companies to frack under private land;
* Measures allowing voters to recall MPs found guilty of serious wrongdoing;
* A 20% tax rebate per child on the annual cost of childcare, worth up to £10,000;
* Tougher punishments for people found guilty of human trafficking;
* Measures forcing tobacco companies to remove branding from cigarette packets;
* A possible “Cinderella law” making emotional neglect of a child a criminal offence.
Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “The local and European elections show the depths of discontent with the direction of our country which people increasingly feel does not work for them.”
He added: “We would have a Queen’s Speech with legislation which would make work pay, reform our banks, freeze energy bills and build homes again in Britain.”