HL Deb 02 July 1929 vol 75 cc6-8

The Commons being at the Bar, with their Speaker, the LORD CHANCELLOR delivered His Majesty's Speech to both Houses of Parliament. Then the Commons withdrew.

His Majesty's speech was as follows:—

"My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

"While I regret that it is not possible to address you in person, I thank Almighty God that I can look forward with confidence to that complete restoration of health, for which the prayers of My people throughout the Empire, with a sympathy and affection which call forth My deepest gratitude were offered during the months of My long and serious illness.

"My relations with foreign Powers continue to be friendly.

"The independent financial experts appointed to draw up proposals for a complete and definitive settlement of the German reparation problem have presented a unanimous report which is at present being considered by My Government in preparation for a Conference of representatives of the Governments concerned. A settlement of this problem will enable the occupying Powers to proceed with the evacuation of the Rhineland.

"Conversations have commenced with the Ambassador of the United States of America on the subject of naval disarmament, in consequence of which it is the earnest hope of My Government to ensure, in co-operation with My Governments in the Dominions, the Government of India and the Governments of foreign Powers, an early reduction of armaments throughout the world.

"My Government consider that the time has come to submit to judicial settlement international disputes in which the parties are in conflict as to their respective rights. For this purpose they are now consulting with My Governments in the Dominions and the Government of India regarding the signing of the Optional Clause embodied in the statute of the Permanent Court of International Justice.

"My Government are examining the conditions under which diplomatic relations with the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics may be resumed and are in communication with My Governments in the Dominions and the Government of India on the subject.

"Members of the House of Commons,

"Estimates for the public service will be laid before you.

"My Lords and Members of the House Commons,

"It will be the foremost endeavour of My Ministers to deal effectively with the continuing evil of unemployment.

"Schemes are being prepared for the improvement of the means of transport, for the stimulation of the depressed export trades, for the economic development of My Overseas Dependencies, for the improvement of the condition of agriculture, for the encouragement of the fishing industry, and for the improvement of the facilities for the marketing of farm and fishery outputs. In co-operation with My Governments in the Dominions measures are being considered with the object of providing greater opportunities for overseas migration.

"My Government have under consideration the question of the reorganisation of the coal industry including hours and other factors and of the ownership of the minerals. Proposals to this end will be submitted in due course.

"Inquiries will be undertaken immediately into the condition of the iron and steel and the cotton industries in order to discover means for co-operating with them to improve their position in the markets of the world.

"Bills will be laid before you for amending and consolidating the existing factory legislation, and for giving effect to the obligations entered into in Washington in 1919.

"My Ministers propose to introduce legislation to promote an extensive policy of slum clearance and to make further provision for housing in urban and rural areas.

"My Ministers have decided that the time has come to investigate the whole field of legislation relating to the sale and supply of intoxicating liquor and on their recommendation I propose to appoint at an early date Commissioners for this purpose.

"My Ministers are engaged on a general survey of the various National Insurance and Pensions schemes. Meanwhile a Bill is being prepared to amend the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, 1925, so as to modify the conditions applicable to certain pensions, and to make some increase in the classes of persons entitled to them.

"A measure will be introduced to remedy the situation created by the Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Act, 1927.

"At the recent General Election an extended franchise placed in the hands of the whole of My people of adult years the grave responsibility for guarding the well-being of this nation as a constitutional democracy, and My Government propose to institute an examination of the experiences of the election so that the working of the law relating to parliamentary elections may be brought into conformity with the new conditions.

"Your labours upon these and all other matters I humbly commend to the blessing of Almighty God."

House adjourned during pleasure.

House resumed at a quarter past four of the clock, The LORD CHANCELLOR on the Woolsack.

His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales—Took the Oath.

His Royal Highness the Duke of York—Took the Oath.

Several Lords—Took the Oath.