It is a great pleasure to follow Peter Dowd.
I welcome the Queen’s Speech because it builds upon the Government’s already strong progress over the past six years and gets Britain fit for the future. For example, on jobs, since 2010 and during the course of this Parliament, employment is set to rise by 3 million, which is a huge achievement. In Havant the number of people on jobseeker’s allowance has more than halved since 2010.
I welcome the Gracious Speech not only because it strengthens Britain’s economy today, but because it prepares our economy for tomorrow by equipping the country to lead in what is becoming known as the fourth industrial revolution, helping to create jobs and strengthen economic growth. The first industrial revolution used steam power to mechanise production, the second used electricity to create mass production, and the third used information technology to create the internet and launch the digital revolution. Now a fourth industrial revolution builds on the third, characterised by a fusion of technologies that blurs the lines between the physical, the digital and the biological.
At the core of this fourth industrial revolution are advances such as high-quality manufacturing, robotics, the new digital economy and life sciences. The fourth industrial revolution is a systematic shift that will transform the world’s economy in the decades ahead, and it is because of this Queen’s Speech that Britain’s economy and workforce are set to play a leading role.
I therefore welcome the digital economy Bill, which will give Britain world-class digital infrastructure. People in Havant and across the country will benefit from the new broadband universal service obligation, which will, for the first time, enshrine in law a right to the fast broadband connections that underpin every aspect of the digital economy and modern life.
Just as Britain pioneered the steam train and the jet engine, we are poised to be leaders in the next generation of transport innovations. I welcome the modern transport Bill, which places the UK at the forefront of new technologies, such as driverless cars. It shows investors that we in Britain are committed to transport innovation and the many jobs that will be created by it.
If we in Britain are to lead the fourth industrial revolution, to create jobs and to grow our economy, we cannot just sit back and watch this revolution pass us by. We have to give our businesses and communities the tools to strengthen our economy and to create those much-valued jobs up and down the country, in constituencies represented on both sides of the House. That is what I believe this Queen’s Speech does. It deserves the support of the House, and I will be voting for it in the Lobby this evening.