Today’s Queen Speech — delivered amid a greatly scaled-down version of the usual pomp — reinforces this Government’s top-down, authoritarian approach and brings with it few surprises.
Much was made of ‘leveling up’ without much of substance to support it, and conspicuous by their absence were the reforms to the UK’s health and social care system Boris Johnson has been bigging up since before he came into office.
The speech also failed to make clear that much of the proposed legislation only applies to England: this has not played tremendously well in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland…
My lords and members of the House of Commons.
My Government’s priority is to deliver a national recovery from the pandemic that makes the United Kingdom stronger, healthier and more prosperous than before.
To achieve this, my Government will level up opportunities across all parts of the United Kingdom, supporting jobs, businesses and economic growth and addressing the impact of the pandemic on public services.
My Government will protect the health of the nation, continuing the vaccination programme and providing additional funding to support the NHS. My Ministers will bring forward legislation to empower the NHS to innovate and embrace technology. Patients will receive more tailored and preventative care, closer to home [Health and Care Bill]. Measures will be brought forward to support the health and wellbeing of the nation, including to tackle obesity and improve mental health. Proposals on social care reform will be brought forward.
My Government will build on the success of the vaccination programme to lead the world in life sciences, pioneering new treatments against diseases like cancer and securing jobs and investment across the country.
My Ministers will oversee the fastest ever increase in public funding for research and development and pass legislation to establish an advanced research agency [Advanced Research and Invention Agency Bill].
Following the unprecedented support provided to businesses during the pandemic, proposals will be brought forward to create and support jobs and improve regulation.
My Government will strengthen the economic ties across the union, investing in and improving national infrastructure. Proposals will be taken forward to transform connectivity by rail and bus [High Speed Rail (Crewe – Manchester) Bill] and to extend 5G mobile coverage and gigabit capable broadband [Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill].
Legislation will support a lifetime skills guarantee to enable flexible access to high quality education and training throughout people’s lives [Skills and Post-16 Education Bill].
Measures will be introduced to ensure that support for businesses reflects the United Kingdom’s strategic interests and drives economic growth [Subsidy Control Bill]. Laws will simplify procurement in the public sector [Procurement Bill]. Eight new Freeports will create hubs for trade and help regenerate communities [National Insurance Contributions Bill].
My Government will ensure that the public finances are returned to a sustainable path once the economic recovery is secure.
Measures will be brought forward to ensure that children have the best start in life, prioritising their early years. My Ministers will address lost learning during the pandemic and ensure every child has a high quality education and is able to fulfil their potential.
My Government will help more people to own their own home whilst enhancing the rights of those who rent. Laws to modernise the planning system, so that more homes can be built, will be brought forward, along with measures to end the practice of ground rents for new leasehold properties [Planning Bill, Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill]. My Ministers will establish in law a new Building Safety Regulator to ensure that the tragedies of the past are never repeated [Building Safety Bill].
Measures will be brought forward to address racial and ethnic disparities and ban conversion therapy.
Legislation will support the voluntary sector by reducing unnecessary bureaucracy and releasing additional funds for good causes [Dormant Assets Bill, Charities Bill].
My Government will invest in new green industries to create jobs, while protecting the environment. The United Kingdom is committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and will continue to lead the way internationally by hosting the COP26 Summit in Glasgow. Legislation will set binding environmental targets [Environment Bill]. Legislation will also be brought forward to ensure the United Kingdom has, and promotes, the highest standards of animal welfare [Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, Kept Animals Bill, Animals Abroad Bill].
My Government will strengthen and renew democracy and the constitution. Legislation will be introduced to ensure the integrity of elections, protect freedom of speech and restore the balance of power between the executive, legislature and the courts [Electoral Integrity Bill, Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill, Judicial Review Bill, Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill]. My Ministers will promote the strength and integrity of the union. Measures will be brought forward to strengthen devolved Government in Northern Ireland and address the legacy of the past [Northern Ireland (Ministers, Elections and Petitions of Concerns) Bill, Legacy Legislation].
My Government will introduce measures to increase the safety and security of its citizens.
Legislation will increase sentences for the most serious and violent offenders and ensure the timely administration of justice [Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill]. Proposals will be brought forward to address violence, including against women and girls, and to support victims [Draft Victims Bill]. Measures will be brought forward to establish a fairer immigration system that strengthens the United Kingdom’s borders and deters criminals who facilitate dangerous and illegal journeys [New Plan for Immigration Legislation].
My Government will lead the way in ensuring internet safety for all, especially for children [Draft Online Safety Bill] whilst harnessing the benefits of a free, open and secure internet.
My Ministers will provide our gallant Armed Services with the biggest spending increase in thirty years, taking forward their programme of modernisation and reinforcing the United Kingdom’s commitment to NATO. My Ministers will honour and strengthen the Armed Forces Covenant, placing it in law [Armed Forces Bill]. Measures will be introduced to provide National Insurance contribution relief for employers of veterans [National Insurance Contributions Bill].
Legislation will be introduced to counter hostile activity by foreign states [Counter-State Threats Bill, Telecommunications (Security) Bill]. My Ministers will implement the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy.
The United Kingdom will host the G7 Summit and lead the global effort to secure a robust economic recovery from the pandemic. My Ministers will deepen trade ties in the Gulf, Africa and the Indo-Pacific.
My Government will continue to provide aid where it has the greatest impact on reducing poverty and alleviating human suffering. My Government will uphold human rights and democracy across the world. It will take forward a global effort to get 40 million girls across the world into school.
Members of the House of Commons.
Estimates for the public services will be laid before you.
My lords and members of the House of Commons.
Other measures will be laid before you.
I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may rest upon your counsels.