Queen Elizabeth II voiced the ruling coalition's bid to offer economic hope and win back voters after its worst few weeks yet in her annual address to the British parliament Wednesday.
New laws in the coming year would focus on "economic growth, justice and constitutional reform", the queen said, while "the first priority will be to reduce the deficit and restore economic stability".
The two-year-old government's pursuit of deep spending cuts to reduce the deficit was one reason for a drubbing received by the Conservatives and their Liberal Democrat partners in local elections last week.
In a break with tradition, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and his Liberal Democrat deputy Nick Clegg jointly wrote an introduction to the speech, promising to "stretch every sinew to return growth to the economy".
The government will also reform parliament's upper chamber, the non-elected House of Lords, and force banks to separate their retail and investment divisions to shield ordinary people from future financial crisis, the queen said.
The speech pledged pro-business moves including slashing red tape and reforming competition law, while state and private pensions will be overhauled in a move likely to spark clashes with unions.
But shareholders will get the power to vote down big companies' planned pay schemes, after several symbolic shareholder revolts over executive pay.
While the queen said from her throne in the Lords that the upper chamber would be reformed from the current largely appointed body, she gave no timeframe or proportion of elected members, in an apparent concession to critics of the plan.
The government has backed Lords reform -- which has been discussed for decades -- under Lib Dem pressure, despite opposition from some Conservative lawmakers who labelled it a distraction from the economic battle.
The coalition's mauling at the polls followed Britain's return to recession, a budget criticised for tax cuts for the rich, and questions over leaders' closeness to Rupert Murdoch's newspapers amid an inquiry into phone hacking.
Both coalition partners took heavy losses, with the opposition Labour party taking control of 32 councils and winning more than 800 seats.
One commentator at the Conservative-leaning Telegraph newspaper called Wednesday's speech a selection of "worthy -- but largely irrelevant -- odds and ends", while opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband said it offered "no change and no hope".
"Utility bills, the cost of getting to work: that is what is worrying families up and down the country. And what have the government got to say about it? Absolutely nothing," Miliband told parliament.
Also among 15 bills and four draft bills promised for the upcoming session was one creating an FBI-style National Crime Agency to fight organised crime and boost border security.
Britain's notoriously tough libel law is to get an overhaul aimed at discouraging trivial claims and "libel tourism" from foreigners seeking redress in British courts.
And in a move condemned by civil liberties groups, a draft law will seek to give intelligence agencies more powers to monitor emails and web use, although this could change when it gets to parliament.
Adoption is to be streamlined, making race less of a key factor, and maternity and paternity leave made "more flexible so that both parents may share parenting responsibilities and balance work and family".
Absent from the speech were previously flagged plans for a legal commitment to giving 0.7% of GDP as overseas aid, and the introduction of full gay marriage -- a government policy that is fiercely opposed by some Conservatives.
The queen's speech is drawn up by government and approved by the cabinet, despite being read out by the monarch, and is followed by four to five days of debate. It was skipped in 2011 as fixed-term parliaments were introduced.
The 86-year-old queen was escorted by Household Cavalry from her palace to parliament in keeping with traditions dating back over 400 years, before donning ceremonial robes and processing to the House of Lords.
An official called the "Black Rod" summoned lawmakers to the chamber, where lawmakers and lords heard the speech -- the queen's 69th -- read out from a handwritten script on vellum.