HC Deb 27 October 1967 vol 751 cc2015-20
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 Command, as follows:

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons:

My Husband and I were glad to welcome to this country the President of Pakistan. We also welcomed the State Visits paid by the Federal President of the Republic of Austria, by His Majesty King Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and by His Majesty King Feisal of Saudi Arabia.

My Husband and I had the great pleasure of being present at the cele- bration of Canada's centenary in Ottawa and of visiting Canada's International Exhibition at Montreal.

My Government have played a full part in the varied activities of the United Nations.

My Ministers have continued to seek progress towards disarmament and in particular an international treaty to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. My Government have signed the Treaty governing the exploration and use of Outer Space.

My Ministers welcomed the restoration of good relations between Indonesia and Malaysia. They have also constantly sought means of bringing peace to Vietnam.

My Government have applied for membership of the European Economic Community, European Coal and Steel Community and European Atomic Energy Community. The closest consultation has been maintained with the Governments of the Commonwealth, the European Free Trade Association and the Republic of Ireland.

My Government have continued to play their full part in the North Atlantic Allance and are co-operating in the study of its future tasks. Contacts with the Eastern European countries have been further developed.

My Government made strenuous efforts to prevent the outbreak of war between the Arab States and Israel. When hostilities nevertheless began, they worked unceasingly at the United Nations to bring about a cease-fire; and they have been continuously active in seeking a lasting settlement.

The Award which I made for the arbitration of a frontier dispute between Argentina and Chile has strengthened My Government's friendly ties with both countries.

An Act has been passed to provide for the relinquishment of My sovereignty over Aden, Perim and the Kuria Muria Islands.

It was with great pleasure that I welcomed to London in September 1966 the Heads of Government or their representatives from the Member Countries of the Commonwealth.

Four of our overseas territories became independent within the Commonwealth in the last 18 months— British Guiana (as Guyana), Bechuanaland (as Botswana), Basutoland (as Lesotho) and Barbados. Five of our West Indian territories assumed a new status of association with the United Kingdom. Constitutional discussions were held with others of our territories.

My Government have supported the people of Hong Kong, whose fortitude and steadfast spirit they have greatly admired in recent months.

My Government have continued to seek by all practicable means to bring about a return to constitutional rule in Rhodesia in accordance with the multiracial principles approved by Parliament.

My Government have concluded a supplementary Trade Agreement with New Zealand.

My Government have continued to provide a high level of aid to less developed countries.

My Ministers have played an important part in international discussions to strengthen the world monetary system. My Government warmly welcome the agreement on special drawing rights which was reached by the International Monetary Fund.

My Government played a full part in achieving a successful conclusion of the Kennedy Round of trade negotiations, which will bring about a greater reduction in tariffs and other barriers to trade than any previous negotiations.

Acts have been passed to continue and modernise the legislation relating to the regular, reserve and auxiliary forces. My Government have completed the far-reaching examination begun in 1964 of the nation's defence needs in the next decade.

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:

In spite of a slackening in the growth of world trade and disturbances in the Middle East and elsewhere. My Government have made progress in restoring the balance of payments.

In pursuit of their endeavours to promote efficiency and high productivity in all parts of the country, My Government have introduced more positive incentives for investment and have set up an Industrial Re-organisation Corporation. My Government have introduced a Selective Employment Tax designed to redress the balance of taxation between services and manufacturing industry.

A Regional Employment Premium has been introduced to help manufacturing industry in development areas. This constitutes a major addition to My Government's other measures to improve the economic strength of these areas.

Acts have been passed to reinforce the voluntary observance of the prices and incomes policy. My Government welcome the increasing participation of management and unions in the operation of the policy.

Legislation has been enacted providing for the introduction of a decimal currency system in 1971.

Legislation has been passed to assist the shipbuilding industry to reorganise itself so as to become more competitive in world markets.

Public ownership of the main part of the steel industry has been restored.

The Docks and Harbours Act, and measures to end the system of casual employment, have provided the basis for greater efficiency in the docks.

An Act has been passed to require the public disclosure of more information by companies, including the disclosure of political contributions, and to strengthen the supervisory powers of the Board of Trade over insurance companies.

An Act has been passed to enable data-processing services and facilities to be provided by the Post Office.

My Government have set up a Meat and Livestock Commission and a Central Council for Agricultural and Horticultural Co-operation.

Legislation has been passed dealing with the safety of goods vehicles, and with persons driving while affected by alcohol or drugs or while disqualified.

Improvements have been completed in the arrangements under which family doctors practise in the National Health Service.

Legislation has been passed to improve control over drug addiction.

Continued progress has been made with the reorganisation of secondary education on comprehensive lines, and practical measures taken to prepare for the raising of the school-leaving age.

New and vigorous steps have been taken to increase the output of teachers; and new machinery has been enacted for settling the remuneration of teachers in Scotland.

An Act has been passed to create a new Ministry of Social Security and to replace national assistance with a scheme of supplementary benefits. Provision has been made for improvements in pensions and benefits.

Legislation has been passed to establish a more generous system of Exchequer subsidies for certain housing; to assist persons of modest means in buying their homes; to provide for leasehold reform; and to establish a Land Commission.

An Act has been passed to reorganise and increase Exchequer assistance to local authorities and to relieve the domestic ratepayers.

Legislation has been passed to reorganise water supply in Scotland and to establish a Countryside Commission for Scotland.

An Act has been passed providing for the appointment of a Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration.

I have appointed Royal Commissions to carry out reviews of local government in England, outside Greater London, and in Scotland, and another to review the system of Assizes and Quarter Sessions. My Government have made proposals for the reorganisation of local government in Wales.

An Act has been passed making further provision for the free use of the Welsh language in public business in Wales and Monmouthshire.

In fulfilment of an agreement entered into with other European countries, an Act has been passed to deal with unauthorised broadcasting at sea.

An Act has been passed which makes substantial reforms in the penal system and the procedure of the criminal courts in England and Wales.

Further progress has been made in the systematic reform of the law; under the impetus given by the creation of the Law Commissions 15 Acts consolidating sections of our statute law, and an Act repealing many obsolete statutes, have been passed.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons:

I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may attend you.

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 Cornmissipn 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 thirty-first day of October, one thousand nine hundred and sixty-seven, to be then here holden; and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued until Tuesday, the thirty-first day of October, one thousand nine hundred and sixty-seven.

End of the First Session (opened on 18th April, 1966) of the Forty-fourth Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in the Sixteenth Year of the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second.