I have further to acquaint the House that the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, one of the Lords 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 Journal of this House. Copies are being made available in the Vote Office.
The Speech was as follows:
My Lords and Members of the House of Commons:
My Ministers’ first priority has been to strengthen the economic competitiveness of the United Kingdom through the growth of the private sector and the creation of further opportunities for employment. To this end, legislation has been passed to make it easier for businesses to protect their intellectual property and to reform the financial services sector. Legislation has also been enacted to introduce a new Employment Allowance to support the creation of jobs and to help small businesses.
My Government has made it a priority to promote investment in infrastructure across the United Kingdom. In pursuance of this, legislation has been passed to update energy infrastructure and to improve the water industry. Legislation was also introduced to enable the building of the High Speed Two railway line to provide further opportunities for economic growth in many of Britain’s cities.
My Ministers have worked to promote a fairer society that rewards people who work hard. In pursuit of this goal, legislation was brought forward to support people who have saved for their retirement and to reform the way long-term care is paid for so that the elderly should not have to sell their homes to meet the costs of their care.
Legislation was enacted to ensure sufferers of mesothelioma receive payments where no liable employer or insurer can be traced.
Policies have been pursued which are designed to ensure that every child has the best start in life, regardless of background. Measures have been passed to reform the law on marriage in England and Wales to make provision for same sex couples.
My Government attaches the highest priority to reducing crime and protecting national security. Legislation was passed to reform the way in which offenders are rehabilitated in England and Wales. Alongside these reforms, legislation was enacted to introduce new powers to tackle anti-social behaviour, cut crime and reform the police.
Legislation was passed further to reform Britain’s immigration system to attract people who will contribute and deter those who will not.
With regard to the defence of the Realm, legislation was brought forward to improve the way defence equipment is procured and to strengthen the Reserve Forces. Legislation was also passed governing remote gambling and in relation to the European Union.
My Government has taken forward a range of measures designed to foster greater accountability in public life. Legislation was passed to provide for greater transparency in lobbying, third party campaign spending and trade union administration. Measures were also enacted regarding i local government, to close the Audit Commission and to give effect to a number of institutional improvements in Northern Ireland.
My Ministers have pursued policies to benefit people in every part of the United Kingdom and have continued to work to foster a strong working relationship with the devolved administrations.
The Duke of Edinburgh and I were pleased to welcome Her Excellency the President of the Republic of Korea and His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ireland on their visits to the United Kingdom. We were heartened by the warm welcome we received on our visit to Italy and the Holy See.
On the international stage, my Government has worked to reduce conflict and alleviate human suffering, through negotiations with Iran, by championing the rights of Syrians, and by supporting the Afghan people. My Ministers helped to secure the first international Arms Trade Treaty and are leading a worldwide effort to end the scourge of sexual violence in conflict. My Ministers have striven to promote British trade and investment around the world, creating new opportunities for the British people. Working with European partners, my Ministers have made progress towards a more open, competitive, flexible and democratically accountable European Union.