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QUEEN’S SPEECH: Plans for the year ahead unveiled

QUEEN’S SPEECH: Plans for the year ahead unveiled

The Queen's Speech saw Her Majesty take her seat on the throne in the House of Lords to announce plans for 2021.

The Queen has said that her government's priority is to "deliver a recovery from the pandemic" which will "level up opportunities across all parts of the United Kingdom, supporting jobs, businesses and economic growth." Here are some of the key points from the Queen's Speech:

Healthcare

  • The Queen says the government will provide additional funding to support the NHS, and her ministers will bring forward legislation to allow the NHS to "innovate and embrace technology". She says patients will receive more tailored and preventative care closer to home.
  • As part of her speech, she says the government wants to work on mental health, obesity and cancer. Proposals on social care reform "will be brought forward", she adds. The government will work more on making the NHS work on preventative medicine, she also stated.
  • She says that the government will take measures “to address racial and ethnic disparities” as well as to ban conversion therapy.

Infrastructure

  • The Queen moved on to the government's plans to invest in and improve our national infrastructure. She announced that proposals will be taken forward to transform connectivity by rail and bus with the High Speed Rail Bill.
  • She then mentioned that 5G mobile coverage and gigabit capable broadband will be extended.
  • She says legislation will be introduced to support a lifetime skills guarantee to enable people to access to high quality education and training throughout their lives.
  • There will be a Subsidy Control Bill to support business and new legislation to simplify procurement in the public sector.
  • Eight new Freeports will be introduced to create hubs for trade and help regenerate communities.

Finances

  • The Queen says the government will “ensure that the public finances are returned to a sustainable path once the economic recovery is secure”.
  • She says it will also “ensure that children have the best start in life” with a focus on early years. Ministers will also address the lost time in education during the pandemic, she added.
  • The government will  help more people to own their own home whilst “enhancing the rights of those who rent”, the Queen says.
  • The planning system will be modernized, allowing more homes to be built with measures to end the practice of ground rents for new leasehold buildings

Environment

The Queen moves on to the environment saying ministers will invest in new green industries to create jobs.

  • As part of this, she restates the UK's commitment to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and looks ahead to the COP26 Summit in Glasgow later this year.
  • Legislation will also be brought forward, she says, to ensure the UK has and promotes, the highest standards of animal welfare.

Online Safety

The Queen says the government will "lead the way on internet safety for all, especially children, whilst harnessing the benefits of a free, open and secure internet."

  • There will be a new Draft Online Safety Bill.

Aid and poverty

The Queen says the government will lead the global efforts to recover from the pandemic when it hosts the G7 summit.

  • She says it will "provide aid where it has the greatest impact on reducing poverty and alleviating human suffering", helping to get 40 million girls worldwide into education.

The Queen's Speech ended with her words: "I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may rest upon your counsels."


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