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Queen's Speech to focus on family

A package of "family-friendly" policies will feature in the Queen's Speech as the coalition Government steps up its bid to recover from a catalogue of problems and a local election mauling.

More flexible leave for parents, speedier adoptions, better help for special needs pupils and improved access arrangements for divorced fathers will all be included in a wide-ranging Bill, Downing Street sources indicated.

The unveiling of legislative plans for the coming year is a key part of an attempted government relaunch amid bleak economic news and backbench pressure for a change of course.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg defended the two-year-old power-sharing deal on Tuesday - insisting it was more important than ever in the fight to cut the state deficit and balance the country's books.

But they were accused by Labour leader Ed Miliband of continuing to put the interests of the rich before ordinary voters and of presiding over a "crisis" of public faith in politics amid poor turnout at the polls last week.

Among measures expected to feature prominently in the programme to be formally revealed by the Queen are binding votes for shareholders on executive pay - bolstering a growing revolt against boardroom excess.

Public sector pension reform and efforts to slash business red tape are anticipated as part of what the Prime Minister said remained a clear focus on cutting debt and stimulating growth.

Energy market regulation, the creation of a National Crime Agency, tougher regulation of supermarkets and a new ban on driving while under the influence of drugs are all expected.

And there will detailed plans for the splitting up of banks to avert a repeat of the 2008 crash.

But the Government will also signal its intent to press ahead with reform of the House of Lords - a key Liberal Democrat demand but the focus for anger among many Tory MPs, including senior figures. They complain that with the UK back in recession it is "barmy" to devote parliamentary time to a constitutional shake-up and are threatening a full-scale rebellion.