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King's Speech

Volume 480: debated on Tuesday 31 October 1950

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I have to acquaint the House that this House has this day attended His Majesty in the House of Peers, and His Majesty was pleased to make a Most Gracious Speech from the throne to both Houses of Parliament, of which I have, for greater accuracy, obtained a copy, which is as follows:

My Lords and Members of the House at Commons:

Five years ago, in the hour of our deliverance from war, I declared it to be the firm purpose of My Government to work, in concert with the Governments of all other peace-loving nations, for the attainment of enduring world peace. Yet despite the untiring efforts to this end of all My Peoples, helped by My Allies across the seas, the world is once more troubled with the menace of war The avoidance of war remains the supreme desire of My Ministers, and under this new peril they will seek by all means in their power to ensure the success of the measures for rearmament which they have taken. In the Session which lies before you the necessary increases in production for defence will call for further efforts and sacrifices, but I am confident that with the unfailing support of all My loyal subjects the nation will be enabled to play its full part in the defence of freedom and the preservation of peace.

In Korea forces, for the first time under the flag of the United Nations, are overcoming the invaders. The success of this historic action in which My Forces are playing their part marks a decisive moment in world affairs, and is arousing fresh hopes of achieving a united, free and democratic Korea. It has already given proof of the ability of the United Nations to meet a threat to world peace.

My Government also support strongly the efforts of the Specialised Agencies of the United Nations which are directed to improving the standard of living in impoverished or backward countries

My Ministers in the United Kingdom will maintain the closest relations with the other Governments of the Commonwealth in order to safeguard freedom and peace They will also continue to work with the Governments signatory to the North Atlantic and Brussels Treaties to strengthen the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, to improve the defence of the North Atlantic area and thus to achieve security against attack.

In consultation with other Commonwealth Governments, My Ministers will give further study to plans for promoting the economic development of South and South-East Asia.

The development of the Colonial Territories and the welfare of their peoples will continue to receive the attention of My Government, and they will introduce legislation to supplement the sums made available for these purposes by the Colonial Development and Welfare Act, 1945.

I look forward with great pleasure to the forthcoming visit of the Queen of the Netherlands and the Prince of the Netherlands.

Members of the House of Commons:

The Estimates for the Public Services will be laid before you in due course.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons:

I am glad to know that preparations are going forward throughout the United Kingdom for the Festival of Britain, 1951, which will demonstrate to the world the greatness of British achievement in the arts and sciences and in their application to industry and agriculture. The Queen and I look forward with high expectation to the opening of the Festival next May.

Although the rearmament programme will make heavy demands upon the nation, My Government will continue to give high priority to housing and will maintain the essentials of their social policy. They will do their utmost to ensure as far as possible the stability of costs and prices and to continue the export drive.

In order to defend full employment, to ensure that the resources of the community are used to best advantage and to avoid inflation, legislation will be introduced to make available to My Ministers, on a permanent basis but subject to appropriate Parliamentary safeguards, powers to regulate production, distribution and consumption and to control prices.

My Ministers propose the further development of the Civil Defence Services both as a responsibility of local authorities and, after due consultation with managements and workers, within large industrial units.

A Bill will be laid before you to provide for the hearing of appeals against convictions by courts-martial.

You will be asked to approve a measure to confer rights of reinstatement in civilian employment on reservists recalled to My Forces and on National Service men who, before the coming into force of the National Service Act, 1950, voluntarily undertook an additional six months' whole-time service.

Legislation will be laid before you to provide for the restoration of land devastated by ironstone extraction.

The disturbed international situation emphasises the need to intensify the efforts which My Ministers have been making to expand the production of food at home. A Bill will be laid before you still further to encourage the rearing of livestock in upland areas.

A measure will be laid before you to place on a permanent basis the legislation relating to the beet sugar industry and to transfer to public ownership the shares in the British Sugar Corporation which are not held by the Exchequer.

My Government will introduce legislation providing for the establishment of an authority with powers to reorganise and develop the white fish industry, and of a Scottish Committee of that authority.

A Bill will also be laid before you proposing more effective means of dealing with the poaching of salmon and trout in Scotland.

A Bill will be laid before you to amend the Restoration of Pre-War Trade Practices Act, 1942.

My Ministers have under consideration the reform of the law relating to leaseholds and meanwhile measures will be introduced to provide for the continuation for a short period of ground leases relating to residential premises, so as to prevent some of the hardships which would otherwise arise on the termination of tenancies. Provision will also be made for facilitating the renewal of certain business tenancies.

A measure will be laid before you to provide River Boards with more effective powers to deal with the pollution of rivers and streams.

Other measures will be laid before you if time permits; and it is hoped to make further progress with the consolidation of the Statute Law.

I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may rest upon your counsels.