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The Queen's Speech

Volume 415: debated on Thursday 20 November 1980

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The QUEEN, being seated on the Throne, and attended by Her Officers of State (the Lords being in their robes), commanded the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, through the Lord Great Chamberlain, to let the Commons know, "It is Her Majesty's pleasure they attend Her immediately in this House."

Who being come, with their Speaker:

Her Majesty was pleased to speak as follows:

"My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

"I take great pleasure in the current State Visit of His Majesty the King of Nepal, and look forward to visiting later this month Belgium, the Commission of the European Communities, and the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

"I look forward with equal pleasure to visiting Norway, Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, and to being present in Melbourne on the occasion of the next meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government.

"My Government believe that the best hope of lasting peace lies in the effective maintenance of Western security. They therefore attach great importance to defence and to contributing fully to the North Atlantic Alliance. They will continue to press for the complete withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan and for a political settlement acceptable to the Afghan people. Despite events in Afghanistan and Cambodia, they will continue to seek more stable East-West relations and will continue to work for effective measures of arms control.

"My Government support the efforts of the European Community to work towards a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement of the Arab/Israel dispute. They view with grave concern the present conflict between Iran and Iraq and will continue to work with other Governments for an end to hostilities. They will continue also to support the United States Government in their efforts to find an early and peaceful solution to the prolonged illegal detention of the United States' diplomatic hostages in Iran.

"Negotiations to find an internationally recognised settlement in Namibia in accordance with the United Nations' plan will continue.

"My Government reaffirm their strong commitment to the European Community. They look forward to the accession of Greece on 1st January 1981 and to the prospect of further enlargement. They will play a full part in discussions to improve the common agricultural policy and restructure the Community Budget. They will continue to work for agreement on a revised common fisheries policy. Legislation will be introduced to amend the law about the Boundary Commissions' reviews of the European Parliament constituencies.

"My Government confirm their commitment to the Commonwealth and the United Nations, and will continue to play a constructive role in their activities.

"My Government recognise the serious economic problems that affect both developed and developing countries and will continue to work with other countries and international organisations in seeking to alleviate them.

"Members of the House of Commons,

"Estimates for the public service will be laid before you.

"My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

"The need to bring down the rate of inflation and create conditions for a sustainable growth of output and employment remains the prime concern of my Government. To that end they will take all steps necessary to maintain firm monetary and fiscal policies.

"Plans for public expenditure will take account of the need to restrict the claims of the public sector on the nation's resources. Special attention will continue to be given to the encouragement of new businesses and to measures to permit small firms to expand and prosper.

"My Government, recognising the hardships and worries of those suffering unemployment, will proceed urgently with an expanded programme of employment and training measures for the unemployed, particularly the young. Proposals will be put before you for improving industrial training in the longer term and for supplying those skills which will be needed when industry moves out of the current recession.

"Further proposals will be brought forward to reduce the scope of nationalised and state industry, and to increase competition. My Government will take steps to permit wider participation in the fortunes of the British National Oil Corporation. Measures will also be laid before you to replace public involvement in transport industries with further opportunities for private investment; and to reorganise the Post Office, to encourage better performance in postal services and to introduce greater competition in telecommunications.

"Legislation will also be introduced to amend the financial arrangements for the National Enterprise Board, the Scottish and Welsh Development Agencies, and the Development Board for Rural Wales; and to provide for a capital reconstruction of the British Steel Corporation.

"Measures will be brought forward on company law and insurance.

"My Government will continue to ensure that the nation's energy resources are appropriately developed and efficiently used. Legislation will be introduced to assist the conservation of energy and to impose a levy on the British Gas Corporation for specified gas purchases.

"In Northern Ireland my Government will continue in its efforts to protect all members of the community against violence and terrorism, to foster its economic recovery, and to create arrangements for the government of Northern Ireland that will better meet the needs of all its people.

"My Government are firmly committed to the maintenance of law and order in all parts of the United Kingdom. They will introduce legislation to improve the criminal law including repeal of the suspected person offence and will develop plans for giving effect to the proposals in the recent White Paper on young offenders.

"A Bill will be introduced to change the law on nationality on the lines of the White Paper published last July.

"Legislation will be brought forward to facilitate the education of children with special needs.

"Measures to improve the law in Scotland relating to education and to local government and to protect wives' home rights will be laid before you.

"My Government will propose measures to improve road safety.

"Pensions, war pensions and other social security benefits will be increased on 24th November and reviewed again next year. Legislation will be brought forward to place a duty on employers to provide sick pay for their employees during the early weeks of sickness.

"Legislation will also be laid before you to promote the conservation of wild life and the countryside.

"A Bill will be introduced to reform the law of contempt of court.

"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."

House adjourned during pleasure.

House resumed at half-past three of the clock: The LORD CHANCELLOR on the Woolsack.

Prayers—Read by the Lord Bishop of Hereford.