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Brown pledges empowerment in Queen's Speech

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Prime minister Gordon Brown has pledged to put community empowerment at the centre of his legislative plans for the coming year in his draft Queen’s Speech.

Mr Brown announced he wanted to give parents, NHS patients and social tenants more control over services.

As part of this drive, he said the government would introduce a Community Empowerment Bill, which seeks to “give people greater power to influence local decisions - local spending decisions, local council agendas, the use of local assets - that affect them”.

The draft bill is being published for consultation.

Education, NHS and housing

An Education Bill aims to support the long-term goal of making sure that no schools are under performing by 2011, while the NHS bill will set out a new constitution that sets out what patients can expect to get from the health service.

The prime minister also unveiled plans for a rescue package for the country’s troubled housing market. The£200m fund would see money re-allocated to purchase unsold new homes and then rent them to social tenants or make them available on a shared ownership basis.

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