HL Deb 15 June 1945 vol 136 cc649-54WA

And afterwards His Majesty's most gracious Speech was delivered to both Houses of Parliament by the Lord Chancellor (in pursuance of His Majesty's Command) as followeth:

"My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

"The present Parliamentary Session, which I am now bringing to a close, has seen the final overthrow and unconditional surrender of our enemies in Europe. Their leaders, almost without exception, are either dead by their own hand or held in Allied custody. At last, after more than five years of mortal strife, Europe is liberated from the foul tyranny that threatened to enslave it. This deliverance is due not only to the resolution with which My people in these islands have carried on the struggle, but also to the stalwart aid so freely given by the peoples and Governments of My Commonwealth and Empire overseas, to the splendid Armies, Fleets and Air Forces of the United States and the vast suppliers which they have afforded, and to the heroic deeds of the Forces of much-suffering Russia. I must also express My deep admiration for the exertions of all those other Allies who fought by our side on sea, land and in the air anti of the resistance of their peoples, now happily restored to their former independence. So persistent, so widespread and so united a co-operation of States to rescue European freedom from a hideous menace has never before been seen in the history of the world. I, with all My peoples, take pride in the thought that it was we who stood alone to face the foe in the darkest days, and who now share in the common triumph.

"It has given The Queen and Myself particular pleasure to have been able to visit My loyal subjects in the Channel Islands; and I rejoice that they, who suffered so long under the German invader, are once more free.

"I have already had an opportunity, in replying to your loyal Addresses of Congratulation, to pay tribute to all that has been done by My peoples, whether in the Armed Forces or in any of the other forms of national endeavour. It is a wonderful record of constancy, faith and courage in every part of our national life and a striking manifestation of the historic character and quality of the British people.

"My thoughts have been constantly with the peoples of the Commonwealth and Empire who se lands still suffer from the tyrannous Japanese occupation and with all others who have experienced the same calamity. The resounding victory gained in Burma and the swift advances made in the Pacific by the powerful Forces of the United States, who, together with Forces from these islands and from Australia, New Zealand and other parts of My Dominions, are closing in on Japan, have brought nearer their liberation. Though heavy labours and tribulations may still lie ahead, the downfall of our enemy in Europe enables us to bend all our energies to the task, which we shall share with our Allies, of crushing the aggressor in the Far East.

"The grievous sacrifices which my peoples and My gallant Allies have had to bear in these long years of war will not have been in vain if they lead to the establishment of a new world order based upon justice and respect for human rights, and equipped to crush any future attempt to disturb the peace of the world. At San Francisco My Ministers have striven to further the framing of an international organization by which future generations may be spared from the horrors of war.

"My Government have authorized the Governor-General of India to invite the participation of Indian political leaders in the Government of British India I earnestly hops that this invitation will be accepted so that this in vitation will be accepted so that the immediate tasks of the waging of the war against Japan and the post-war development of Indian may be under-taken with the full co-operation of all sections of Indian public opinion.

"I have assented with great satisfaction to the colonial development and welfare to the colonial development and welfare (Amendement) Act which both substanstially increases the amount of money to be made available to assist colonial development and prolongs the period of assistance. The resources so provided will be of the greatest help to Colonial Government in those plans which they are now preparing to improve the conditions and standards of living of the peoples in their territories.

"Members of the House of Commons:

"I thank you for the provision which you have made towards the heavy cost of conducting the war and the cost of the public services.

"My Lords and Members of the House of Commons

"Plans have been completed for the orderly release of men and women from the Armed Forces under a scheme which ensures fair treatment to serving men and women, and there has been a recent relaxation of the control over the employment of labour. Much progress has also been made with the arrangements for training men and women released from the Forces or from industrial war work and for compensating and resettling those who are disabled as a result of their service.

"Steps have been taken, in close co-operation with the Governments of the United States, Canada and other Dominions, to overcome the grave shortages in world supplies of many essential foods. These shortages make yet more necessary the vigorous and sustained efforts of the agricultural community and the men of the fishing fleets in providing food for My people.

"The destruction of our homes by the enemy and the urgent need to concentrate our man-power for nearly six years on tasks directly connected with the prosecution of the war have led to a widespread shortage of houses. Energetic measures have already been taken to restore houses damaged by enemy attack and to prepare housing sites, and the maximum effort is being devoted to the production and erection of new houses. To this end arrangements have been made to augment the number of those available for house building both by special releases of building workers from other industries and from the Armed Forces and by the training of new recruits for the building industry.

"I have given My assent to a number of measures which have been brought before you during the course of the year.

"Legislation has been passed to provide for a scheme of family allowances, in which the families of serving men will be included. A measure has been passed to assist employers and work-people in securing the wider observance of jointly agreed terms and conditions of employment and in maintaining reasonable standards of remuneration. A much needed reform has been effected in the law concerning contribu- tory negligence. Henceforward a claimant who proves that his injury is due to another's fault will not fail to secure some compensation merely because a certain degree of fault is attributable to him. Among the Bills relating to Scotland which have received my assent is a measure to amend the law relating to education and to introduce reforms which will promote the progressive development of the educational system.

"Prevision has been made for the resumption of local elections, and reforms have been made in the law relating to the representation of the people. Effect has been given to the Report of the Boundary Commission for England regarding the division of abnormally large constituencies.

"Measures have been passed to finance capital expenditure incurred, by local authorities; to assist the improvement and equipment of modern industry by the reform of the Income Tax law; to extend export credit facilities; to maintain the use or value of assets. Created at the public expense on requisitioned or other land, and to provide for the maintenance of employment by a better distribution of industry.

"Legislation has been passed to transfer to the Agricultural ministers responsibility for forestry, with a view to promoting schemes of intensive afforestation; for continuing the functions of the Minister of Fuel and Power; and for the appointment of a Minister of Civil Aviation.

"I have also given My assent to measures for the adjustment of local government areas in England and Wales; for the conservation of water resources and the better organization of water supplies, and for the re-development of war damaged and obsolescent areas and the regulation of the price at which land can be acquired for public purposes in Scotland.

"With you I thank Almighty God for the victories already granted to us, and I pray that His blessing may attend us in all our undertakings throughout the strenuous times that lie ahead."

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 His Majesty's Commission, under the Great Seal, to us and other Lords directed, we do, in His Majesty's name and in obedience to His Commands, prorogue this Parliament to Tuesday the third day of July next, to be then here holden; and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued until Tuesday the third day of July next.

End of the Tenth Session of the Thirty-seventh Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the ninth year of f e Reign of His Majesty King George VI.