HC Deb 29 October 1953 vol 518 cc2946-50
Mr. Speaker

I have further to acquaint the House that the Lord High Chancellor, being one of the High Commissioners, delivered Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech to both Houses of Parliament, in pursuance of Her Majesty's Commands as follows:

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons:

I acknowledge with deep gratitude the expressions of loyalty and devotion which marked My Coronation and the prayers of My Peoples which sustained Me on that solemn occasion. The presence of so many leading representatives of the Commonwealth and Empire and of other countries was an added source of support and happiness to Me and My dear Husband.

My Government have continued their wholehearted support of the United Nations.

In Korea My Forces played a notable part in the successful resistance to aggression. My Government have continued to work with others in seeking a peaceful settlement of the Korean problem and I received with deep thankfulness the news of the armistice which brought the fighting to an end.

In Malaya My Forces, together with the local security forces, have been increasingly successful in their campaign. I have watched with sympathy and admiration the gallant efforts of My loyal subjects of all races in Kenya to restore peace and order in that country.

My Ministers regret that it has become necessary to suspend the Constitution of British Guiana.

My Government have continued in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to develop the combined strength of the West.

My Government have given full support and encouragement to the promotion of European unity and prosperity. They have offered to enter into close political and military relations with the European Defence Community and have continued to take a leading part in the work of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation.

My Government and the Governments of France and the United States have renewed their invitation to the Soviet Government to a meeting to discuss the problems of Germany and Austria.

My Government have been discussing with the Egyptian Government means of settling the differences between the two countries while safeguarding the security of the Middle East and the Suez Canal.

My Government have signed with the United Kingdom of Libya a Treaty of Friendship and Alliance which provides for mutual defence and recognises the common interest of the two countries in the maintenance of international peace and security.

Prime Ministers of the Commonwealth met in London last November and again immediately after My Coronation. At their first Conference they agreed on a course of action to strengthen the economies of Commonwealth countries, to bring about by international agreement more rapid progress towards freer trade and currencies and to maintain the improvement in the balance of payments of the sterling area. At their second Conference the Prime Ministers reviewed the international situation and considered what contribution Commonwealth Governments could make towards composing the differences which divide the world.

An Act was passed conferring on Me powers, which I have exercised, to provide for a Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. I earnestly hope that a harmonious and prosperous future lies before the new Federation.

The peoples of My Colonial territories and protectorates are moving towards a larger share in the management of their own affairs within the Commonwealth. My Ministers have held discussions with representatives of the peoples of Nigeria on the future of their Constitution. A further step has been taken towards Federation in the West Indies. My Government are considering proposals for the future constitutional advance of the Gold Coast.

The development and rearmament of My Forces have continued during the year.

I grieved at the loss of life and destruction from the recent severe earthquake in Cyprus and rejoiced that My Forces were able to bring rapid aid to the victims of a like calamity in Greece.

Members of the House of Commons:

I thank you for the provision which you have made for the Public Services.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons:

I was greatly distressed by the widespread damage and suffering caused by the storm and floods on the East Coast of England and in Scotland. My Government took energetic steps to ensure the speedy restoration of essential services and have undertaken to meet the full cost of restoring the damaged sea defences. This work is now largely complete and in certain areas excellent progress has been made with major improvements. Emergency legislation was passed to facilitate this work in England and to give financial assistance for the restoration of flooded land. Financial assistance was also provided to facilitate the disposal of wind-blown timber in Scotland.

Legislation has provided for the continuance of grants for new fishing vessels and of assistance to the fishing industries.

All concerned with the land have worked resolutely in response to My Government's call to increase food production. Cereals and feeding-stuffs have been released from control and a new method of guaranteeing the return which the farmer receives has been introduced for 1954.

Building and the production of building materials have alike increased and My Ministers have continued to expand their building programme.

Measures have been passed to make further financial provision for the building of new towns and to provide for the revaluation of dwelling houses for rating purposes, to abolish development charges, and to improve the superannuation benefits available to local government officers.

I have given My assent to a measure to establish an Iron and Steel Board for the supervision of the iron and steel industry and to provide for the return of iron and steel undertakings to private ownership.

An Act has been passed which amends the powers, duties and composition of the British Transport Commission and provides for the return to free enterprise of the long distance carriage of goods by road, for the reorganisation of the railways and for greater freedom for the Commission in the charges they may make.

Legislation has been passed to improve the maternity benefits under National Insurance and the working of the Industrial Injuries Scheme.

An Act has been passed to amend the provisions of the Education Acts including those relating to voluntary schools.

A measure has been enacted providing for the reorganisation of the University of St. Andrews.

A measure has been passed to enable grants to be made towards the preservation of buildings of outstanding historic and architectural importance and to strengthen the legislative provisions for the protection of Ancient Monuments.

I have given My assent to measures to strengthen the Monopolies Commission and the law relating to merchandise marks.

With the object of promoting administrative efficiency and public economy My Government have merged the Ministry of Civil Aviation with the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Pensions with the Ministry of National Insurance.

I thank you for the zeal with which you have discharged your arduous labours and I pray that they may be rewarded by the blessing of Almighty God.

Then a Commission for proroguing the Parliament was read; after which the Lord Chancellor said: My Lords and Members of the House of Commons: By virtue of Her Majesty's permission under the Great Seal, to us and other Lords directed, and now read, we do, in Her Majesty's name and in obedience to Her Majesty's Commands, prorogue this Parliament to Tuesday, the Third day of November, One Thousand Nine Hundred and Fifty-three, to be then here holden; and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued until Tuesday, the Third day of November, One Thousand Nine Hundred and Fifty-three.

End of the Second Session (opened 4th November, 1952) of the Fortieth Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.