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My Lords And Members Of The House Of Commons

Volume 84: debated on Wednesday 30 October 1985

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My Government have maintained the policies necessary to bring down inflation and sustain economic growth. Inflation remains low, the output of the nation is at its highest level ever and continues to increase, as does the number of people in work.

Further steps have been taken to help the unemployed into jobs by extending the Youth Training Scheme and enlarging the Community Programme, and in other ways, including a reform of the structure of national insurance contributions.

To promote economic efficiency and encourage the spread of share ownership, not least among employees, my Government have continued their programme of returning state-owned businesses to the private sector, including the successful public flotation of British Telecommunications.

An Act has been passed to complete the transition of the Trustee Savings Banks to full private sector status and to permit wide public participation in their ownership.

An Act has been passed to increase competition in the provision of local bus services in Great Britain and to enable the operations of the National Bus Company to be transferred to the private sector.

Legislation has been enacted to make further provision for the payment of grants to the National Coal Board and to abolish the British National Oil Corporation.

Legislation has been enacted to remove the statutory levy on cinema admissions, to provide for alternative financial assistance for film production and to reduce the regulatory burden on the film and cinema industries.

An Act has been passed for the better protection of food and the environment.

An Act has been passed to establish in England and Wales a Crown Prosecution Service independent of the police, and to enable time limits to be imposed on criminal proceedings.

An Act has been passed giving the right to vote at Parliamentary and European Parliament elections to many British citizens resident abroad, and extending postal and proxy voting to electors who cannot reasonably be expected to vote in person.

Legislation has been passed to establish a comprehensive statutory framework governing the interception of communications.

An Act has been passed to deal with the problem of drunkenness at designated sporting events.

Considerable advance has been made in the consolidation of our statute law; provision has been made to apply international Conventions on child abduction and for the administration of justice.

An Act has been passed to abolish the Greater London Council and the Metropolitan County Councils on 1st April 1986 and to transfer most of their functions to the borough and district councils.

In Northern Ireland, my Government have attached high importance to the maintenance of law and order. They have continued the search for ways in which responsibility can be returned to a local administration on a widely acceptable basis. They have sought to develop a solid working relationship with the Government of the Republic of Ireland.

For Scotland, measures have been passed to introduce a rebate scheme following rating revaluation, to establish trustee bodies to manage certain Scottish institutions, and to make a number of reforms in Scots law.

Legislation has been passed to reform insolvency law in England and Wales, and in Scotland.

My Government have published proposals to improve the quality of school education, the effectiveness of teachers and the development of higher education into the next decade.

My Government have conducted a fundamental review of the social security system and published proposals for radical reform.

In addition, my Government have protected the real value of the retirement pension and other related benefits, and passed an act to improve employees' rights under occupational pension schemes, and to extend statutory sick pay.