London: Queen Elizabeth II announced the legislative programme for Prime Minister David Cameron`s newly-elected British government on Wednesday at the ceremonial state opening of parliament.
Here are some of the main bills announced:
The Queen`s Speech featured a formal pledge to introduce a law paving the way for a referendum by the end of 2017 on whether Britain should leave the EU.
The law itself will be published Thursday and parliament could reportedly start debating it as early as next month, leaving the door open for a vote as early as next year.
"Legislation will be introduced to provide for an in-out referendum on membership of the European Union before the end of 2017," the Queen said.
Cameron wants to secure a range of reforms to Britain`s relationship with the EU but says that if he can, he will campaign for Britain to stay in.
More powers over taxation are set to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament from Westminster after Scotland voted against independence in a referendum last year.
The Queen said there would be "wide-ranging" powers for Scotland and also for Wales, another constituent nation of Britain.
But the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP), which is now the third largest party in the House of Commons after increasing its number of seats ninefold at last month`s election, says current proposals do not go far enough.
The government plans to pass a law which would ban it from increasing income tax, VAT (a form of sales tax) and national insurance (contributions towards state benefits) for the next five years.
Cameron promised this move during the election but his government still has to make major austerity savings during this parliament and is to cut welfare spending by £12 billion (17 billion euros, $18.5 billion).
The government will propose new powers to ban "extremist organisations" seen as responsible for radicalisation, plus restrictions on people seen as extremists who seek to enter Britain.
It will also propose a communications bill, dubbed a "snoopers` charter" by critics, which could oblige mobile phone companies and Internet service providers to hand individuals` browsing data to security services.
Cameron wanted to pass this under the last coalition government but was blocked by partners the Liberal Democrats.
Cameron`s government is set to introduce new measures aimed at reducing immigration, including giving police the power to seize wages earned by illegal immigrants.
They also want to make it easier to remove illegal immigrants by introducing a "deport first, appeal later" rule.