HC Deb 06 November 1928 vol 222 cc7-9

I have to acquaint the House that this House has this day attended His Majesty in the House of Peers, and His Majesty was pleased to make a Most Gracious Speech to both Houses of Parliament, of which, for greater accuracy, I have obtained a copy, which is as followeth:

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

My relations with foreign Powers continue to be friendly.

My Government have been happy to accept the Treaty for the Renunciation of War in the form proposed by the Government of the United States. To My great satisfaction this Treaty was signed in Paris on the 27th August by Plenipotentiaries on behalf of all My Governments, and on behalf of the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Belgium, Poland and Czecho-Slovakia.

In pursuance of their fixed policy My Government have continued to accord their full support to the League of Nations. They are co-operating in all its current activities, and in particular they have sought fully to discharge their obligations under Article 8 of the Covenant by reducing the armed forces of this country to the lowest point consistent with national safety and by assisting the League to formulate plans for a general reduction of armaments.

Agreement has been reached with the Governments of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Japan that negotiations should be opened in regard to the possibility of a complete and definite settlement of the problem of reparations; and it has also been recognised that negotiations should take place relative to the German Government's request for the evacuation of the Rhineland at present occupied by British, French and Belgian troops.

The Coronation of the Emperor of Japan is shortly to take place, and I take this opportunity, in the name of Myself and My people, of wishing His Imperial Majesty a long and glorious reign. The historic friendship which for so many years has united Japan and My country has always been a potent factor in the maintenance of peace in the Far East.

I welcome the efforts which China is making to establish a central: government for the whole of that great country and to cope with these forces of disorder which have distracted it for many years past. I regard the progress of these endeavours as being of the highest importance, not only for the safety and prosperity of My subjects resident in China, but also for the peace of the world.

Members of the House of Commons,

The Estimates for the Services in the coming year will be laid before you, in due course. They are being prepared with strict attention to the continuing need for economy in. public expenditure. In anticipation of the general scheme for relieving agriculture and productive industry from the burden of rates, you will be asked to make provision enabling railway companies to make lower charges on important traffics of concern to agriculture, and to the coal, iron and steel industries.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

The situation in the mining areas continues to engage the earnest attention of My Ministers, who are taking energetic steps to promote the success of the scheme of industrial transference and migration. The abnormal expenditure out of the Unemployment Fund entailed by the displacement of labour from the mines will render necessary an increase of borrowing powers, and a. Bill dealing with, this question will be laid before you.

Measures will be presented to you for giving effect in this country and in Scotland to the comprehensive scheme which has been prepared by My Ministers for the reform of the rating system on a more equitable basis, for the reorganisation of local government and for the readjustment of the financial relations between the state and the Local Authorities.

I trust that the relief from the burden of rates afforded under the scheme may benefit agriculture and lead to a greater measure of employment in industry generally, and in particular in those basic trades whose condition still causes concern. The proposed changes in local government and in the relations between the Exchequer and Local Authorities are measures of far-reaching importance. My Ministers anticipate that they will promote efficiency and economy in local government, will enable better provision to be made for the health of the people, and will direct assistance particularly to those areas whose needs are most pressing.

Proposals for extending the Export Credits Guarantee Scheme for a further period will be laid before you.

You will be invited to pass a Bill authorising the appointment of two additional members of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and of one additional Lord of Appeal in Ordinary.

Among other Measures a Bill for assisting persons engaged in agriculture in Scotland to obtain credits required for the pursuit of their industry will be introduced.

And I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may rest upon your deliberations.