I have further to acquaint the House that the Lord High Chancellor, one of the Lord Commissioners, delivered Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech to both Houses of Parliament, in pursuance of Her Majesty's Command. For greater accuracy, I have obtained a copy and also directed that the terms of the speech be printed in the Votes and Proceedings. Copies are being made available in the Vote Office.
The Duke of Edinburgh and I were pleased to receive the State Visits of His Majesty King Hassan II of Morocco in July 1987, His Majesty King Olav of Norway in April of this year, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Turkey in July, and the President of the Republic of Senegal and Madame Diouf earlier this month. I was pleased to receive President Reagan of the United States after his visit to Moscow in June.
We recall with pleasure our visit to Canada in October last year, where I was also present on the occasion of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Vancouver. Earlier this year we visited Australia in her Bicentenary year and the Netherlands to mark the William and Mary Tercentenary. Also to mark the Tercentenary, I received Loyal Addresses from both Houses in July. We remember with much satisfaction our State Visit to Spain in October.
My Government have worked vigorously for balanced and verifiable agreements on arms control in respect of nuclear and conventional weapons and for the abolition of chemical weapons. They have supported the treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union for the elimination of their intermediate and shorter range missiles, as a result of which cruise missiles are being removed from the United Kingdom.
My Government have fully supported the United Nations in its recent efforts to negotiate a ceasefire between Iran and Iraq. They have welcomed the start of the Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and have supported efforts to restore that country's independence and non-aligned status. My Government have encouraged the forces for change in Southern Africa and have urged the countries of that region to settle their problems peacefully.
My Government have reached agreement with our European Community partners on the restructuring of the Community's finances and on certain measures of reform of its common agricultural policy. They have continued to play a full and active role in negotiations to achieve the completion of a single market within the European Community by the end of 1992, and have encouraged business to prepare for the opportunities and challenges that this presents.
My Government welcomed the agreement reached on their initiative to provide debt relief to some of the poorestcountries in Africa. They have continued to provide a substantial aid programme, both directly and through the European Community, including emergency assistance to the victims of natural disasters in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.
My Government have continued to pursue sound financial policies designed to keep inflation under control and to sustain economic growth. They have made a public sector debt repayment. The national output has continued to grow, as has the number of people in work. Further steps have been taken to help unemployed people into work through the introduction of the employment training programme and the extension of the youth training scheme.
As part of my Government's programme to encourage enterprise and improve the performance of the economy, the basic rate of income tax has been further reduced and all but the lowest of the remaining rates have been abolished. Legislation has been enacted to reform and simplify the tax system and to provide for the independent taxation of married couples.
In further pursuit of my Government's commitment to encourage greater industrial efficiency and to promote wider share ownership, legislation has been enacted to provide for the sale to the public of shares in British Steel and to enable the water authorities and the electricity supply industry to prepare for privatisation.
By virtue of Her Majesty's Commission which has now been read we do, in Her Majesty's name, and in obedience to Her Majesty's Commands, prorogue this Parliament to Tuesday the twenty-second day of this instant November, to be then here holden, and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued to Tuesday the twenty-second day of this instant November.