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Volume 253: debated on Tuesday 12 November 1963

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11.30 a.m.

Opened by Commission, the Royal Commissioners being the Lord Chancellor (Lord Dilhorne), the Earl Alexander of Hillsborough, Lord Carrington, Lord Silkin and the Earl of Dundee.

Then, the Commons being at the Bar, with their Speaker, The LORD CHANCELLOR delivered Her Majesty's Speech to both Houses of Parliament, as follows:

" My Lords and Members of the House of Commons

"The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty signed last summer in Moscow was the result of many years of patient effort by My Government in co-operation with successive administrations in the United States, and has been welcomed throughout the world. Encouraged by this My Government will pursue the cause of peace with renewed confidence and vigour. They believe that by patience and persistence a steady increase of confidence can be achieved between the two great groups of Powers. They will continue to support the freedom of West Berlin and to seek solutions of the problems of European security and Germany.

"They will continue their support for the United Nations in many spheres, both in its work for the preservation of peace and in its economic and social activities. At the same time, in accordance with the Charter, they will continue to play their part in the North Atlantic Alliance and other regional associations for the defence of freedom.

"They believe that the Commonwealth has a significant part to play in ensuring stability and peace in the world, and they will continue to take all possible steps to strengthen the links between the Governments, and peoples, of the Commonwealth. In their efforts to expand world trade, My Government will continue to attach great importance to the maintenance and development of corn-fierce between Commonwealth countries.

"My Government will carry out loyally their obligations to various international organisations. In this spirit they will continue their efforts to reduce barriers to trade, both within and beyond Europe. They will sustain, to their best, the developing strength of the European Free Trade Association, and at the same time continue to seek harmonious relationships with the European Economic Community and its member States. They will work for the strength and unity of Europe, through the Council of Europe and the Western European Union.

"My Government will continue their efforts to promote peace and stability in South and South-East Asia.

"My Government attach great importance to the forthcoming tariff negotiations in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Their success would make it possible to increase Commonwealth and international trade. This will particularly benefit the developing countries for which My Government will also be providing an expanding programme of financial and technical assistance.

"As a result of the successful outcome of the Victoria Falls Conference proposals will be laid before you to transfer the responsibilities of the Government of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland to the territorial Governments. Bills will be introduced to provide for the independence of Kenya, Malta, Nyasaland and Zanzibar, and to provide a new Constitution for the Bahamas.

"My Armed Forces will continue to play their part in maintaining order and security in the world.

"Legislation will be laid before you to carry out the intentions that My Government declared in Parliament last summer with regard to the reform of the central organisation for Defence. My Government are confident that this modernisation of the whole defence system is in accordance with the needs and spirit of the time. Provision will also be made to improve the organisation of My Reserve Forces.

" 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

"My Ministers will bring forward further proposals for the modernisation of Britain, covering many of the economic and social aspects of our national life.

"Plans for comprehensive regional development will be laid before you for central Scotland and North-East England. Plans appropriate to other regions will follow. A Bill will be introduced to make improved provision for industrial training. My Ministers are engaged in discussions with both sides of industry about severance payments to employees who become redundant.

"My Ministers will encourage the provision of a modern transport system by all appropriate means, including planning, investment and research. Legislation will be introduced to secure the ordered development of the major ports under the guidance of the National Ports Council.

"My Government will ensure a proper balance between home-grown and imported food on the basis of an efficient and prosperous home agriculture. To this end they will lay before you proposals to prevent imports from undermining the market and intend to adapt the guarantee arrangements for cereals and fatstock. Legislation will be introduced to promote the well-being of horticulture. Proposals will also be made to enable rights to be conferred on breeders of new varieties of plants.

"My Government will continue to support the fishing industry and have invited Western European countries to discuss fishing problems, including access to fishing grounds and markets.

"My Ministers are determined to maintain the expansion of the economy in all parts of the country based on a high and stable level of employment. They will continue to encourage growth without inflation, aided by the work of the National Economic Development Council and the National Incomes Commission and supported by a sustained export effort.

"These developments at home must be matched by action designed to sustain our economic position overseas. With other Governments My Ministers will continue to promote arrangements for international payments on a scale adequate to maintain the growth of the world's economy. They will maintain the position of sterling and strengthen the balance of payments.

"My Ministers will ensure that economic growth is matched by social advance. Great progress has already been made in the development of higher education. My Ministers recognise the importance of securing a substantial further expansion of the universities and of other institutions of higher education. They will, therefore, bring forward proposals based on the recommendations of the Committee on Higher Education. They will press forward the measures needed to provide for a rising school population and to improve the standards of school education. They will review and strengthen the organisation for supporting science and technology, and encouraging their application to industrial processes; will promote a further increase in the number of qualified scientists and engineers; and will encourage the growth of research.

"The rate of house building will be increased. Measures will be laid before you to stimulate building by housing societies, to provide for the systematic improvement of many more houses each year and to strengthen and extend the powers of local authorities to secure better living conditions for the tenants of houses in multiple occupation. Steps will be taken to help the construction industries to increase productivity and to achieve larger building programmes.

"Bills will be introduced to reorganise the arrangements for the administration of justice in Greater London, to alleviate hardship resulting from litigation between persons who receive legal aid and those who do not, and to empower the Court of Criminal Appeal to order a new trial of a convicted person on grounds of fresh evidence.

"You will be invited to consider arrangements for the payment of compensation to the victims of crimes of violence.

"A Bill will be introduced to implement recommendations of the Royal Commission on the Police and to bring up to date the law relating to police administration.

"My Ministers will continue to give special attention to the development of the Highlands and Islands. Measures will be introduced to develop the tourist industry in Scotland and to improve the amenities of the countryside; and to amend the law of Scotland concerning succession.

"A Bill will be laid before you providing relief to certain householders suffering hardship from increased rates as the result of revaluation of their houses.

"Other measures will be laid before you.

"My Lords and Members of the House of Commons

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

After which the Commons withdrew.

House adjourned during pleasure.

House resumed at half-past two of the clock, The LORD CHANCELLOR on the Woolsack.

Prayers read by the Lord Bishop of Leicester