HC Deb 30 October 1973 vol 863 cc4-7
Mr. Speaker

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

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons:

My Husband and I look forward to our visits to New Zealand, Norfolk Island, the New Hebrides, the British Solomon Islands, Papua, New Guinea, Australia and Indonesia.

In co-operation with other Member States My Government will play their full part in the further development of the European Community in accordance with the programme established at the European Summit in October 1972. This programme includes progress towards economic and monetary union; measures for the establishment of a regional development fund; and co-operation in foreign policy between Member States. My Government's objective throughout will be to promote the interests of the individual, whether as citizen or as consumer.

My Government will continue to work for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

My Government will continue their active role in Commonwealth Affairs. They will maintain their support for the North Atlantic Alliance.

My Government will continue to attach high importance to our relationship with the United States of America; will persist in the search for opportunities to develop our relationship with the Soviet Union; will work to promote the fullest co-operation with Japan; and will seek to consolidate good relations with China.

My Ministers will work for the success of the conference on security and co-operation in Europe and of the negotiations for force reductions in Central Europe.

Within the United Nations My Government will work for agreement on measures relating to arms control and disarmament; and will take an active part in the United Nations conference on the law of the sea. A measure will be introduced to enable the United Kingdom to ratify the United Nations convention on the prohibition of biological weapons.

My Ministers will continue to support the principle of peaceful change in Southern Africa; and in Rhodesia to encourage Africans and Europeans to reach agreement on a just and lasting solution to their differences.

My Government are continuing to seek an interim agreement on fisheries with the Government of Iceland.

My Ministers will continue to strive towards the ending of violence in Northern Ireland and an equitable resolution of the political, social and economic problems there. Legislation will be introduced to ensure that in seeking and holding employment My subjects in Northern Ireland are not discriminated against because of their religious or political beliefs or affiliations.

Members of the House of Commons:

Estimates for the public services will be laid before you.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons:

At home, My Government's continuing aim will be to secure a prosperous, fair and orderly society; to maintain their policies for promoting employment and for raising standards of living; and to improve the health, welfare, educational and other social services. They will have particular regard to the requirements of the old, the sick and the needy.

As a condition of securing these objectives one of My Government's primary concerns will be to sustain the expansion of the economy while achieving the necessary improvement in the balance of payments. They will so contain public expenditure that the rise in productive investment and in exports is not put at risk. My Govern- ment will continue their efforts to counter inflation.

My Government will continue to play an active part in the development of a reformed international monetary system.

The reform of taxation will continue. Legislation will be brought forward to enable a tax credit scheme to be implemented in due course.

My Government will again review retirement and public service pensions and related benefits.

My Ministers will continue to give high priority to housing policies and in particular to improving living conditions in the worst housing areas, and to giving additional help to the voluntary housing movement.

My Government will lay before you measures providing for greater control over environmental pollution.

In pursuance of My Government's concern to encourage high standards throughout industry and commerce, major reforms in company law will be laid before you.

A Green Paper will be published containing proposals for promoting a greater degree of employee participation in industry.

Legislation to make better provision for the safety and health of workers and the public will be brought before you.

For the further protection of consumers a Bill will be introduced to reform and extend the law relating to credit.

Legislation will be introduced to provide for the licensing of sports grounds in the interests of the safety of spectators.

A Bill will be laid before you to help to remove unfair discrimination on grounds of sex in employment and training and to widen the range of opportunities open to women.

My Government will seek to encourage increased opportunities for voluntary service and to support activities organised by and for young people.

Legislation will be introduced to promote road safety, to improve the control of traffic and to permit greater flexibility in the provision of rural road transport. Legislation will be brought forward on the financing, construction and operation of the channel tunnel.

Measures relating to the extraction of petroleum from the United Kingdom Continental Shelf will be laid before you.

Legislation will be introduced to reform certain aspects of local government finance in England and Wales and to establish machinery for investigating complaints of maladministration in local government.

Measures will be brought before you on the reform of crofting and parts of the general law relating to land tenure in Scotland.

A Bill will be introduced to strengthen the laws against indecent public advertisement and display; and to extend the controls over cinematograph exhibitions.

My Ministers will continue to take action to ensure an efficient and soundly based agricultural industry.

Priority will continue to be given to programmes in support of law and order and law reform, to the improvement of community relations and to the problem of those suffering special disadvantages from the conditions of life in urban areas.

Other measures will be laid before you.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons:

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