UK government promises to 'grow and strengthen economy' and ease cost of living crisis in Queen’s speech
The UK government has promised to “grow and strengthen the economy and help ease the cost of living for families” in this year’s Queen’s Speech.
The Queen, 96, had planned to deliver today's speech marking the state opening of parliament, but pulled out of the ceremonial occasion on Monday evening citing "episodic mobility problems”.
The responsibility of outlining Boris Johnson's legislative programme for the forthcoming parliamentary session has instead been delegated to the Prince of Wales for the first time.
It includes 38 new bills, including seven measures scrapping existing EU regulation. Of these, 27 will apply in fully or partially in Scotland.
"My government’s priority is to grow and strengthen the economy and help ease the cost of living for families," Charles began in his address to the House of Lords.
“My government will 'level up' opportunity in all parts of the country and support more people into work.
“My ministers will continue to support the police to make the streets safer, and fund the National Health Service to reduce the Covid backlogs.
"In these challenging times, my government will play a leading role in defending democracy and freedom across the world, including continuing to support the people of Ukraine.”
The Prime Minister said the speech was part of a wider programme to get the country "back on track" after the pandemic, adding the government is "focused like a laser" on the issues that matter most to the public.
As well as helping to boost the economy, the agenda includes a British Bill of Rights to replace the Human Rights Act, which enshrines the European Convention on Human Rights in UK law.
A Media Bill will enable the privatisation of Channel 4 and, in an effort to deliver the government's flagship 'levelling up' agenda, a regeneration bill is expected - that only some of its provisions will apply in Scotland.
The government’s plan for the economy “will be underpinned by a responsible approach to the public finances, reducing debt while reforming and cutting taxes”, as well supporting the Bank of England to return inflation to its target.
A Transport Bill will create the body Great British Railways to modernise rail services and improve reliability for passengers, while an Energy Security Bill will build on the success of the COP26 Summit in Glasgow last year to deliver the transition to cheaper, cleaner, and more secure energy.
Meanwhile a bill will be brought forward to “further strengthen powers to tackle illicit finance”, while measures will be introduced to support the security services, and legislation will prevent public bodies engaging in boycotts that undermine community cohesion.
While the speech was delivered by Prince Charles in the House of Lords, the Queen's throne remained empty, with the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall taking their usual places. Prince William will also participate in the event for the first time.
The only previous occasions when Elizabeth II missed the State Opening were in 1959 and 1963 when she was pregnant, first with Prince Andrew and then Prince Edward.
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