HC Deb 27 October 1959 vol 612 cc48-51
Mr. Speaker

I have to acquaint the House that this House has been to the House of Peers at the desire of the Lords Commissioners appointed under the Great Seal for opening and holding this present Parliament, and that the Lord High Chancellor, being one of the said Commissioners, delivered Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech to both Houses of Parliament, in pursuance of Her Majesty's commands, of which I have, for greater accuracy, obtained a copy, which is as follows:

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons

I am glad that My dear Husband is to pay a short visit to Ghana next month and I hope that the visit which we had planned to make together may take place in 1961.

The warm and friendly welcome accorded to My Cousin, the Princess Alexandra, by the Government and people of Australia has given me great joy; and I have learned with pleasure of the generous courtesy with which His Majesty the King of Thailand and His Majesty the King of Cambodia have received her in their countries.

I look forward with pleasure to the visit which the President of the French Republic and Mme. de Gaulle are to pay to this country next year.

My Government will work in the closest collaboration with the Governments of the Commonwealth in all matters which contribute to peace. They will seek to develop the material resources on which the standard of living of the peoples of the Commonwealth must depend and will at the same time foster the spiritual values which form our common heritage.

The Commonwealth Education Conference which met last July made a number of recommendations designed to spread the benefits of education more widely within the Commonwealth. The consequential legislation will be laid before you.

I confidently expect that a formal request will be received from the Nigerian Legislature for the grant of independence within the Commonwealth to the Federation of Nigeria in 1960. My Government intend to proceed with the appointment of an Advisory Commission in preparation for the review of the constitution of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland which is to take place next year. My Government welcome the prospect of the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus, in accordance with the Agreements concluded at the London Conference.

My Government will continue to work for the improvement of relations between East and West and will use all their efforts to this end.

My Government look forward to taking part in the work of the new Commission of ten nations which is to consider plans for comprehensive disarmament. They will maintain their efforts to achieve agreement at the Geneva Conference on the discontinuance of nuclear weapons tests. They will persist in their support of the United Nations and will seek to increase its influence. They will play their full part in maintaining the North Atlantic Alliance and other regional pacts to which they belong. My Armed Forces will continue to make their contribution to the preservation of peace throughout the world.

The improvement of conditions of life in the less developed countries of the world will remain an urgent concern of My Government. They will promote economic co-operation between the nations and support plans for financial and technical assistance. They have entered into negotiations for setting up a free trade association of seven countries in Europe, and intend that this should assist in the establishment of wider European trading arrangements which will be in the best interests of the Commonwealth and of the world as a whole.

Members of the House of Commons

Estimates for the public services will be laid before you in due course.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons

My Ministers will strive to maintain full employment, together with steady prices, a favourable balance of payments and a continuing improvement in standards of living based on increasing production and a rising rate of investment.

In recognition of the place of science and technology in the modern world a Cabinet Minister has been entrusted with the task of co-ordinating and promoting development in research and other scientific activity.

My Ministers will give urgent attention to the problems of those areas in which there is need to provide further opportunities for employment, and a Bill will be introduced to replace the Distribution of Industry Acts.

In order to develop a sound system of communications throughout the country. My Government will press forward with their policy of building new highways and improving existing roads. They will encourage further modernisation of the railways and will devote special attention to the future of the aircraft industry. A Bill will be laid before you for improving the arrangements for licensing air services and airline operators and to ensure the maintenance of high standards of safety.

My Government will initiate an enquiry into the working of the Companies Act and will introduce a Bill to strengthen the present law relating to building societies. They will put before you legislation to permit the payment of wages through a bank to any employee who so requests.

The well-being of all those whose living depends on the land will remain one of the first cares of My Government. The system of guaranteed prices and the long-term assurances in the Agriculture Act of 1957 will be continued. Legislation will be introduced to provide grants for horticultural growers and My Government will encourage the more economic marketing of produce. In particular, proposals will be put before you for reorganising and improving Covent Garden Market.

Proposals will be put before you also to continue the subsidies and grants given to the fishing industry and to make further provision for co-operation in international measures of conservation. At the Second World Conference on the Law of the Sea, to be held next spring, My Ministers will work for a just and reasonable settlement of the unresolved problems of the breadth of the territorial sea and of fishery limits.

My Government will give close attention to the social welfare of My people, including the needs of the war-disabled and their dependants and of old people. The earnings rules for pensioners and widowed mothers will be further relaxed. New house building will be maintained at a high level and the slum clearance campaign will continue. Measures will be introduced to modernise the law in Scotland relating to mental health and to succession. A Bill will also be laid before you providing for the registration of certain professions auxiliary to medicine.

The needs of the young in the society of today demand special attention. My Government will press forward with their plans to improve school buildings and to enlarge opportunities in the schools, technical colleges and universities. More teachers will be trained, and this will help to reduce the size of classes. With the aid of more trained youth-leaders, with an improved Youth Service and by other means young people will be enabled to put their leisure to better use.

A Bill will be introduced to amend and modernise the law on betting and gaming. A measure will be prepared to bring up to date the various statutes relating to Charitable Trusts. Legislation will be laid before you to make legal aid and advice more widely available.

Further advances will be made in penal reform. A Bill will be introduced to provide more effective means of dealing with young offenders and to extend compulsory after-care to prisoners who, by supervision on discharge, may be prevented from reverting to crime.

Other measures will be laid before you in due course.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons

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