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Her Majesty’s Most Gracious Speech

Volume 693: debated on Thursday 29 April 2021

I have further to acquaint the House that the Lord Privy Seal, 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

In the midst of a global pandemic, my Government’s legislative programme responded to the needs of the United Kingdom, making sure that public services and businesses had the support they needed. In addition, it progressed domestic reforms to strengthen the union; increase productivity and protect citizens; and delivered the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

My Government acted to protect the health and safety of the nation. Legislation was passed to ensure the NHS could continue to provide care for all those in need of it and that essential public services, such as the courts and prisons, could continue.

My Government took action to support jobs, businesses and livelihoods, with over £350 billion of financial support, helping to protect over 11 million jobs. To support businesses, my Government provided affordable loans, business rates relief and modernised insolvency laws. To facilitate businesses operating under social distancing restrictions, laws were passed to increase flexibilities in planning and licensing decisions. My Government took action to support the industries most heavily affected by the pandemic, including tourism, culture and leisure and took steps to repair the public finances once economic recovery is secure.

My Government protected the most vulnerable by supporting those who were shielding during the pandemic, placing rough sleepers in emergency accommodation and increasing funding for essential public services.

My Government worked with the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure all citizens across the United Kingdom shared in the benefits of scientific advances in testing, medicines and vaccines, as well as benefiting from the logistical expertise of our gallant Armed Forces.

My Government built one of Europe’s largest testing regimes, supporting an evidence-based roadmap to ease restrictions and making it safe to visit loved ones, including in care homes, at the earliest opportunity.

My Government supported research by British scientists to develop one of the world’s most effective vaccines. Following the first deployment of a clinically authorised covid-19 vaccine anywhere in the world, my Government embarked on one of the fastest vaccination programmes. My Ministers led international efforts to ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines for every country in the world.

Legislation was passed to ensure the United Kingdom’s smooth exit from the European Union and the end of the transition period. A comprehensive Trade and Cooperation Agreement was negotiated with the European Union, alongside continuity trade agreements with 67 countries.

Legislation passed in this session will make the most of the opportunities that being an independent nation brings for the entire United Kingdom. A points-based immigration system was introduced, ending free movement whilst enabling the United Kingdom to welcome skilled workers from across the world. Hundreds of powers were returned to the devolved governments following the end of the transition period. Laws were enacted to enable the funding of projects which further the prosperity of all parts of the United Kingdom through shared economic growth, enhanced infrastructure and common cultural values. Legislation was passed to ensure the union continues to provide an effective market for businesses, regardless of where in the United Kingdom they buy from or sell to.

My Government pursued an extensive programme of domestic reform. Alongside increased investment in schools and putting more police on the streets, my Government prioritised the safety and health of the nation whilst pursuing economic growth and increasing opportunity across the whole United Kingdom.

My Ministers further supported the NHS by enshrining in law for the first time a multi-year funding settlement. Legislation was passed to ensure faster and safer access for patients to innovative medicines.

My Government prioritised investment in infrastructure and world-leading scientific research and skills. To unleash productivity and improve daily life for communities across the country, my Ministers brought forward proposals to transform rail, road, bus and aviation infrastructure and modernise the planning system. Legislation was passed to accelerate the delivery of gigabit capable broadband.

Legislation was passed to ensure the United Kingdom’s financial services sector remains open and internationally competitive. Pension laws were reformed to make it easier for people to save for later life.

The security of the nation and its citizens remains of the highest importance to my Government. New powers to protect the United Kingdom from emerging economic and cyber threats were introduced. New legislation passed in this session will ensure the security services have the powers they need to keep citizens safe.

To tackle violence against women and girls, landmark laws were passed to address domestic abuse, including recognising coercive control and non-fatal strangulation for the crimes that they are. New measures were introduced to increase prison sentences for the most serious crimes, including terrorism, and to support victims and their families.

To keep residents safe in their homes, steps were taken to apply building safety regulations to communal areas and establish a new regulator to keep buildings safe.

My Ministers have pursued policies to protect the environment for future generations, including by improving the sustainability of agricultural and fishing practices. Proposals were published to reform the energy sector and deliver net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. My Government prioritised creating green jobs, including plans to quadruple offshore wind generation. My Ministers continued to lead the global effort against climate change, making preparations to host the COP26 Summit in Glasgow. Funding was increased for developing countries to respond to the impacts of climate change.

Legislation was passed to ensure that Parliamentary boundaries are equally sized and up to date. Draft legislation was published to repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act.

My Ministers announced plans to invest over £24 billion in our gallant Armed Forces over the next four years. Legislation to strengthen the Armed Forces Covenant was introduced into Parliament. Measures to tackle vexatious claims made against veterans were passed into law.

My Government published a comprehensive review of its defence, foreign and national security policies and continued to promote freedom of speech, human rights and the rule of law. A new sanctions regime targeted human rights violators and abusers, including those responsible for human rights violations in Xinjiang. A new visa will enable eligible citizens of Hong Kong to live, work and make their home in the United Kingdom.

My Government worked closely with international partners to tackle the global challenges presented by the pandemic, including by delivering over 300 aid programmes and supporting girls at risk of being excluded from education. Additional funding was announced to prevent famine for over seven million vulnerable people.

Members of the House of Commons

I thank you for the provisions which you have made for the work and dignity of the Crown and for the public services.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons

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