HC Deb 26 October 1937 vol 328 cc7-9
Mr. Speaker

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.

I have invited the King of the Belgians to visit Me in November and a similar invitation has been extended to the King of Roumania for the spring of next year. I shall welcome the visits of Their Majesties to My capital and trust that they will conduce towards the consolidation of the friendly relations existing between our nations.

My Ministers have followed with growing concern the continuance of the conflict in Spain. It is their aim to do everything which lies in their power to assist towards the restoration of peace among the Spanish people. They believe that a strict application of the international policy of non-intervention in Spain will materially contribute to this end.

The position in the Far East will continue to engage the earnest attention of My Government, who will persist in their policy of attempting, in co-operation with other Governments, whether members of the League of Nations or not, to mitigate the suffering caused by the conflict and to bring it to a conclusion.

I am looking forward with interest and pleasure to the time when it will be possible for Me to visit My Indian Empire.

Members of the House of Commons:

The Estimates for the Public Services will be laid before you.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons:

With the full co-operation of My people the work of expanding and equipping My defence forces is now making rapid progress.

My Ministers are anxious that energetic steps shall be taken to complete the measures for the protection of the civilian population against air raids. A Bill to put the necessary arrangements on a statutory basis will be brought forward for your consideration.

I rejoice to know that the outlook for trade and industry remains favourable, and that there is every indication that the progress made in the last year will be maintained. My Government will continue to take all possible measures to encourage industrial activity at home, and to develop our overseas trade.

A Bill will be submitted to you to provide for the unification of coal royalties under national control and for the furtherance of re-organisation in the coal-mining industry.

A Measure for improving the distribution of electricity will be laid before you.

My Government have announced their intention to assist the production and to increase the consumption of milk, and to facilitate the improvement of milk distribution. A Bill to this end and further proposals for the welfare of agriculture will be submitted to you.

You will be invited to pass legislation to provide for the reorganisation of the white fish industry, and for other matters related to sea fisheries.

A comprehensive publicity campaign is being undertaken to ensure the fullest use of the public health services and to encourage their expansion. The policy of improving housing conditions will be energetically pursued.

My Government will further develop their social policy by introducing legislation to enable meals to be supplied to boys and girls attending junior instruction centres; to provide medical care for young persons who have left school and entered employment; to reduce the age limit for the award of pensions to blind persons; to enable further information to be obtained for the study of the population problem; to amend the financial provision for slum clearance and the abatement of overcrowding; and to make further provision for the improvement of agricultural housing.

A Measure will be laid before you to amend the penal law and to enable improved arrangements to be made for dealing with offenders, including juveniles and those who commit repeated offences.

Proposals will be laid before you for providing such additional judicial strength for the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division as will enable the High Court to discharge the additional duties laid upon it by the Matrimonial Causes Act of last Session; for carrying out some of the recommendations of the Royal Commission on the Despatch of Business at Common Law; and for giving effect to certain recommendations of the Law Revision Committee on the subject of the limitation of actions.

Among other Measures which you will be invited to pass will be Bills to amend the present scheme for securing the renting and exhibition of a certain proportion of British films; to prevent frauds in share dealings; to make better provisions for preventing abuses of the law relating to clubs; to improve the efficiency of the organisation of the fire brigade services of the country; and to regulate wages and conditions of employment in the transport of goods by road.

Scottish affairs will continue to receive the close attention of My Ministers. Legislation on the subject of rural housing in Scotland and on other matters of Scottish interest will be submitted to you.

Other Measures of importance will be laid before you and proceeded with as time and opportunity offer.

I pray that, under the blessing of Almighty God, the outcome of your deliberations may advance the happiness and well-being of My people and the peace of the world.

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