HL Deb 30 October 1985 vol 467 cc1589-92

Her Majesty's most gracious Speech was then delivered to both Houses of Parliament by the Lord Chancellor (in pursuance of Her Majesty's Command) as follows:

"My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

"The Duke of Edinburgh and I were pleased to receive the State Visits of the Life President of Malawi in April and the President of Mexico and Senora de la Madrid in June. We were saddened by the devastation caused by the earthquake in Mexico in September, for which my Government provided prompt assistance.

"We recall with much satisfaction the State Visit to Portugal in March. I have also visited Belize, and was in the Bahamas for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Our tour of Commonwealth countries in the Eastern Caribbean is still in progress.

"My Government welcomed the decision of the Maldives and of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to become full members of the Commonwealth.

"My Government have maintained Britain's contribution to Western defence, and enhanced the United Kingdom's own defences through improvements in equipment and in the regular and reserve forces. They have played a full part in the Atlantic Alliance, and promoted British and Western defence interests outside the NATO area.

"My Government have continued to work vigorously for agreements on verifiable arms control and disarmament, and to seek improved relations with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. They warmly welcomed the opening of talks in Geneva between the United States and the Soviet Union and fully support the United States' efforts to reach concrete agreements.

"My Government have signed the Treaty on the Accession of Spain and Portugal to the European Communities, and have signed and ratified the third Convention of Lomé. An Act has been passed implementing the Fontainebleau Agreement on the future financing of the European Communities, including the correction of the British budgetary contribution.

"My Government share the widespread public concern for the victims of the famine in Africa. They have continued to provide substantial emergency assistance both directly and through the European Community.

"My Government have continued fully to honour their undertakings to the people of the Falkland Islands, while taking positive steps to seek more normal relations with Argentina. The Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong was signed last December and an Act consequent upon its terms was passed. My Government have reached agreement with Spain on the implementation of the Lisbon statement concerning Gibraltar.

"My Government have supported efforts to restore the independence and non-aligned status of Afghanistan. They have urged peaceful change in South Africa and the early independence of Namibia.

"My Government welcomed to the United Kingdom in June the Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China. The great importance my Government attach to their relations with the countries of South East and South Asia was marked by the Prime Minister's visit there in April and by the visit here this month of the Indian Prime Minister.

"Members of the House of Commons, I thank you for the provision which you have made for the honour and dignity of the Crown and for the public service.

"My Lords and Members of the House of Commons, my Government have maintained the policies necessary to bring down inflation and sustain economic growth. Inflation remains low, the output of the nation is at its highest level ever and continues to increase, as does the number of people in work.

"Further steps have been taken to help the unemployed into jobs by extending the Youth Training Scheme and enlarging the Community Programme, and in other ways, including a reform of the structure of national insurance contributions.

"To promote economic efficiency and encourage the spread of share ownership, not least among employees, my Government have continued their programme of returning state-owned businesses to the private sector, including the successful public flotation of British Telecommunications.

"An Act has been passed to complete the transition of the Trustee Savings Banks to full private sector status and to permit wide public participation in their ownership.

"An Act has been passed to increase competition in the provision of local bus services in Great Britain and to enable the operations of the National Bus Company to be transferred to the private sector.

"Legislation has been enacted to make further provision for the payment of grants to the National Coal Board and to abolish the British National Oil Corporation.

"Legislation has been enacted to remove the statutory levy on cinema admissions, to provide for alternative financial assistance for film production and to reduce the regulatory burden on the film and cinema industries.

"An Act has been passed for the better protection of food and the environment.

"An Act has been passed to establish in England and Wales a Crown Prosecution Service independent of the police, and to enable time limits to be imposed on criminal proceedings.

"An Act has been passed giving the right to vote at parliamentary and European Parliament elections to many British citizens resident abroad, and extending postal and proxy voting to electors who cannot reasonably be expected to vote in person.

"Legislation has been passed to establish a comprehensive statutory framework governing the interception of communications.

"An Act has been passed to deal with the problem of drunkenness at designated sporting events.

"Considerable advance has been made in the consolidation of our statute law; provision has been made to apply international Conventions on child abduction and for the administration of justice.

"An Act has been passed to abolish the Greater London Council and the Metropolitan County Councils on 1st April 1986 and to transfer most of their functions to the borough and district councils.

"In Northern Ireland, my Government have attached high importance to the maintenance of law and order. They have continued the search for ways in which responsibility can be returned to a local administration on a widely acceptable basis. They have sought to develop a solid working relationship with the Government of the Republic of Ireland.

"For Scotland, measures have been passed to introduce a rebate scheme following rating revaluations, to establish trustee bodies to manage certain Scottish institutions, and to make a number of reforms in Scots law.

"Legislation has been passed to reform insolvency law in England and Wales, and in Scotland.

"My Government have published proposals to improve the quality of school education, the effectiveness of teachers and the development of higher education into the next decade.

"My Government have conducted a fundamental review of the social security system and published proposals for radical reform.

"In addition, my Government have protected the real value of the retirement pension and other related benefits, and passed an Act to improve employees' rights under occupational pension schemes, and to extend statutory sick pay.

"My Lords and Members of the House of Commons, I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may attend you."

After which the Lord Chancellor said:

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons, by virtue of Her Majesty's Commission which has been now read we do in Her Majesty's name, and in obedience to Her Majesty's Commands, prorogue this Parliament to the 6th day of November 1985, to be then here holden, and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued to Wednesday, the 6th day of November 1985.

Parliament was prorogued at nine minutes past three o'clock.