How will the Coalition's political programme affect NI

The Queen How will the changes in the Queen's Speech affect NI

The Queen has set out the programme of legislation which the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government plans to introduce over the next 18 months, but how could some of the changes affect Northern Ireland?

Let's begin where all this started - polling day, the moment when the country went to vote on who should run the government.

Now fast forward and have a guess what the date of the next general election will be. Do you think it will be held on Thursday 7 May in 2015? Well there is a pretty good chance of that happening so if you fancy a flutter get down to the bookies right now.

The idea for a fixed parliament is just one of a number of proposals contained in the Queen's Speech that are aimed at changing the political landscape.

There will also be a referendum on changing the voting system and when we do go to the polls again in Northern Ireland we may be voting for fewer MPs as there are plans to cut the size of the House of Commons.

There is another novel idea aimed at removing MPs who are found guilty of serious wrongdoing. If more than 10% of electors want their MP removed and they sign a petition, a by-election would be held in the seat.

A political reform bill is just one of the 22 pieces of legislation that will be brought to the House of Commons in the next year and a half.

'Words with deeds'

Another bill will examine welfare reform which is an area of public spending determined by the Treasury that could hit Northern Ireland hard.

The issue is not a devolved matter, so what is decided at Westminster will affect tens of thousands of people who rely on state help.

The Conservatives and the Liberals want the tax and benefits system to be fairer and simpler. It is a noble aim and there will no shortage of advice being offered to reach that goal.

What Northern Ireland's MPs will want to know is, are their constituents going to suffer, will Northern Ireland's high dependence on benefits mean a special case will be made.

Those lucky enough to be in work, who are also looking forward to retirement may be interested in the planned Pensions and Savings Bill.

This legislation will examine the timetable for increasing the state pension age. Those with money tied up in Equitable Life will be interested in a planned Equitable Life Bill, which aims to help those who have lost their investments.

Members of the Presbyterian Mutual Society still unsure if they will ever get their money back will be particularly interested to view how this debate proceeds.

The Queen's Speech also revealed that plans for ID Cards will be scrapped, CCTV will be more tightly regulated and there will be a cap on non-EU Migrants entering the UK.

The new coalition claims its programme is about fairness, freedom and responsibility.

Surrounded by the usual pomp and ceremony the Queen's speech was a short address, she delivered it but as usual the content had been crafted by others, now it is their turn to match the words with deeds.

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