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Prorogation: Her Majesty's Speech

Volume 414: debated on Thursday 13 November 1980

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Her Majesty's most gracious Speech was then delivered to both Houses of Parliament by the Lord Chancellor (in pursuance of Her Majesty's Command) as follows:

" My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

"My Husband and I were pleased to receive the State Visits of the President of Kenya in June 1979 and of the President of the Republic of Indonesia and Madame Tien Soeharto in November.

"We look back with much pleasure on the visits we have made. We visited Denmark in May 1979; and Tanzania, Botswana, Malawi and Zambia in July and August. As Head of the Commonwealth, I was present in Lusaka on the occasion of the meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government. In May this year we visited Switzerland and we have recently returned from visits to Italy, the Holy See, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. We were greatly saddened by the death in July this year of President Khama of Botswana.

"My Government welcomed the independence of Kiribati, St. Vincent, Zimbabwe and Vanuatu, and their decision to join the Commonwealth. Having brought Southern Rhodesia to independence in conditions of the widest international recognition, My Government have committed substantial aid to Zimbabwe's reconstruction and development.

"My Government attach the highest importance to ensuring the security of the nation and the maintenance of peace. They have played a leading role within the North Atlantic Alliance to ensure that the defence capability of the West is such as to deter any would-be aggressor. British defences have been strengthened and action has been taken to improve the morale of the armed forces. My Government have taken steps to maintain the effectiveness of Britain's nuclear deterrent into the 1990s and beyond. Realistic, balanced and verifiable arms control measures have been sought in the Committee on Disarmament and in other negotiations.

"In conjunction with the United Kingdom's partners and allies, My Government have sought to bring home to the Soviet Union the damage which its actions have done to East-West relations. My Government have played an active part in the international effort to enable Afghanistan to resume its traditional neutrality and non-alignment.

"My Government have sought to play a constructive part in the work of the European Community and in European political co-operation. Arrangements have been agreed to reduce substantially the United Kingdom's net contribution to the community budget and our partners in Europe are committed to a thorough review of the development of community policies and the operation of the budget. My Ministers have secured level terms of competition for the agricultural industry under the common agricultural policy and have been negotiating a revision of the common fisheries policy which takes account of the need to conserve fish stocks and to protect the interests of our fishermen.

"My Government have also worked for a negotiated peace in the Arab/Israeli conflict acceptable to all parties. Together with the other members of the European Community, they stated in Venice on 13th June this year the principles on which they believed such a settlement should be based. They are playing a full part in the action being taken to follow up this declaration.

"The United Kingdom also took an active part in the discussion of international economic and political questions at the summit meeting of the leaders of the seven major industrialised countries held in Venice in June this year.

"My Government have continued to co-operate in international efforts to solve the serious economic difficulties of many developing countries. They have been active also in Commonwealth affairs and in the work of the United Nations and its specialised agencies. Britain's contacts with countries in Latin America and elsewhere have been strengthened.

"My Government have supported the efforts of the countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations to meet the threat posed by Vietnam's armed intervention in Cambodia, and have taken a leading part in international moves to relieve famine and to care for refugees in South East Asia.

" Members of the House of Commons,

"I thank you for the provision which you have made for the honour and dignity of the Crown and for the public services.

" My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

"My Government have given priority to bringing down the rate of inflation through the pursuit of firm monetary and fiscal policies. A medium-term financial strategy has been published, entailing a progressive decline in the growth of the money supply and fiscal policies consistent with this. Progress has been made towards securing a substantial reduction in the burden of official external debt during the lifetime of this Parliament.

"Income tax has been cut significantly, with the object of restoring incentives and creating conditions in which commerce and industry can flourish. Plans for public expenditure have been published, showing progressive reductions in total but with increases on defence, law and order and health and social security.

"My Government have introduced measures to free business and commerce from unnecessary controls and to assist exporters. Statutory control of dividends has been abolished. Legislation has been passed to strengthen the control of anti-competitive practices in industry and commerce and to abolish the Price Commission. Steps have been taken to stimulate improvements in the marketing and export of agricultural and food products.

"An Act has been passed to improve industrial relations and to bring about a fairer balance between the rights of employers, trade unions and individual employees.

"Measures have been introduced to stimulate enterprise and competition, to encourage the growth of new businesses and to reduce nationalised and state ownership. Steps have been taken to increase the efficiency and reduce the size of the Civil Service. Substantial private sector support has been obtained for the advanced factory programme in the assisted areas. My Government have announced their intention to set up urban development corporations in the London and Merseyside docklands and enterprise zones in nine locations, and the necessary statutory authority has been secured. Measures to strengthen industry in the regions have been concentrated in the areas of greatest need.

"Legislation has been passed to allow British Aerospace, British Airways and the National Freight Corporation to be taken into the private sector, and to increase competition in the bus industry. An Act has been passed to modify the functions of the National Enterprise Board and the Scottish and Welsh Development Agencies. Legislative provision has been made to amend the financing of the National Coal Board and for the payment of certain grants to assist the Board.

"My Government have implemented in full the recommendations on police pay of the Committee of Inquiry on the Police and have been pleased to see a substantial increase in the strength of the police service. An Act has been passed to establish a Police Negotiating Board for the United Kingdom. The report of the Committee of Inquiry into the United Kingdom prison services was received and my Government have taken action on its main recommendations.

"In Northern Ireland, my Government have made continuing efforts to combat terrorism and promote security within the normal framework of the rule of law. A conference of local political leaders has been held and, following the publication of some Proposals for Further Discussion, a programme of extensive consultations has been undertaken, in pursuance of my Ministers' objective of returning power to locally-elected representatives on a basis acceptable to both parts of the community.

"Legislation has been passed to give public sector tenants in England and Wales and in Scotland an extensive right to buy their homes and a Tenants' Charter of Rights, and to provide measures to encourage short-term private lettings.

"An Act was passed to provide, among other matters, for the relaxation of controls over local authorities in England and Wales, including a new and more flexible system for controlling their capital expenditure, for a fairer system for the distribution of rate support grant to local authorities, for the regulation of local authority direct labour departments, and for the repeal of the Community Land Act.

"Legislation has been passed to remove the compulsion on local authorities in England and Wales to reorganise secondary schools on comprehensive lines; to give parents the right to express a preference for a school and to take part with teachers in school government; and to provide for a scheme to assist children of families of limited means to attend independent schools.

"Special employment and training measures have been taken to assist young people and others in a time of high unemployment. Provision has been made for increases in social security benefits and contributions. A major reform of the supplementary benefit scheme has been initiated. Legislation has also been enacted to limit the increasing expenditure on social security. My Government have published proposals for making employers responsible for sick pay during the early weeks of an employee's illness.

"An Act has been passed to assist the development of private medical care and improvements in health services. Steps have been taken to simplify the structure and management of the National Health Service.

"An Act has been passed to establish the National Heritage Memorial Fund. Legislation to provide for a public lending right for authors has been brought into force. My Government have taken effective steps actively to encourage business sponsorship of the arts.

"An Act has been passed to provide for the extension of the life of the Independent Broadcasting Authority for a further fifteen years; for the establishment by the Authority of a fourth television channel in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, subject to strict safeguards; for the establishment in Wales of a Welsh Fourth Channel Authority with special responsibility for broadcasting television programmes in Welsh; and for the establishment of a Broadcasting Complaints Commission.

"My Government have substantially increased direct expenditure on support for the Welsh language. Legislation has also been passed to enable grants to be paid towards Welsh language teaching.

"Further provision has been made in Scottish legislation to continue financial support for air services in the highlands and islands and to improve criminal justice and the treatment of offenders in Scotland.

" My Lords and Members of the House of Commons, "I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may attend you."

After which the LORD CHANCELLOR said: "My Lords and Members of the House of Commons, by virtue of Her Majesty's Commission which has been now read we do, in Her Majesty's name, and in obedience to Her Majesty's Commands, prorogue this Parliament to Thursday, the twentieth day of November, to be then here holden, and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued to Thursday the twentieth day of this November instant."

House rose at nine minutes before twelve o'clock.

End of the First Session of the Forty-Eighth Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the twenty-ninth year of the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.