Full text of Queen’s Speech

My Lords and members of the House of Commons.

My government’s main priorities are economic stability,
investment and reform in public services and a constructive foreign

To this end, my government will maintain sound public finances
and will continue to take action to secure high levels of

This approach will enable my government to continue to invest in
the public services, while supporting major programmes of reform on
health, education, transport and crime.

At the heart of my government’s legislative programme is a
commitment to reform and rebalance the criminal justice system to
deliver justice for all and to safeguard the interests of victims,
witnesses and communities.

A bill will be introduced to reform sentencing arrangements and
criminal procedures.

Sentencing will be reformed to ensure that the punishment is
appropriate for the offender. New types of sentence will be
introduced to protect the public from dangerous offenders, help
reduce re-offending and deal with young offenders.

The bill will also allow retrials for those acquitted of serious
offences where new and compelling evidence emerges. It will also
simplify the rules of evidence to allow judge and jury to hear all
the facts, including relevant previous convictions of a

Legislation will also be introduced to reform the courts system.
It will bring together magistrates’ courts and the crown court to
work more effectively under a single organisation. New sanctions
will allow courts to enforce the payment of fines more

My government will introduce a bill to tackle antisocial
behaviour that damages communities. A bill will be brought forward
to modernise the laws on sexual offences and to strengthen the
framework of penalties for sex offenders to protect the public.

A bill will also be introduced to improve international
co-operation in tackling crime, including drugs trafficking, and to
modernise the arrangements for international mutual assistance to
catch criminals.

My government will bring forward legislation to streamline the
licensing system for premises selling alcohol. This will abolish
fixed opening hours and introduce a range of measures to reduce
antisocial behaviour.

My government will continue to modernise the delivery of
healthcare based on the founding principles of the NHS. Legislation
will be brought forward to devolve power and resources to frontline
staff; give greater freedom to successful hospitals while
increasing their accountability to local communities; and to
introduce an independent health inspectorate. A bill will also be
introduced to help ensure that local authorities support older
people awaiting discharge from hospital.

Raising educational standards remains my government’s main
priority for Britain’s future prosperity.

Secondary school reform will continue to promote opportunity and
choice through greater diversity for parents and pupils. University
reform proposals will be published to improve access and build on

My government wants to create a welfare state based on giving
people rights and responsibilities. They will pursue proposals that
focus on the importance of work as part of our social security

They will also bring forward proposals to tackle problems of

A bill will be brought forward to establish a railway accident
investigation branch in the light of Lord Cullen’s recommendations
on transport safety and reform the way railways are regulated to
improve services for the public.

My government will introduce a bill to modernise local
government by improving the delivery of local services through
better financial management and greater freedom for councils based
on performance. Legislation will also be introduced to provide for
the holding of referendums on the issue of regional governance in

Legislation will be brought forward to reform the broadcasting
and telecommunications industry by promoting competition and
investment and giving powers to the office of communications.

Measures will be brought forward to protect our environment,
including legislation on the conservation and proper management of

My government will also introduce legislation to speed up the
planning system while improving the involvement of local
communities. 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.

In Northern Ireland, my government will continue to work closely
with the political parties and the Irish government to secure the
full implementation of the Belfast agreement. Legislation will be
brought forward on policing in Northern Ireland.

My government maintains its commitment to devolution in Scotland
and Wales. A bill will be introduced to reform the provision of
health services in Wales.

A bill will be introduced to enable parliament to reach a
conclusion on hunting with dogs.

Parliament will be invited to scrutinise legislation in draft on
a number of measures, reflecting the importance that my government
places on pre-legislative scrutiny by parliament.

Legislation in draft will be published to improve both housing
standards and standards of management of private rented
accommodation by landlords.

Draft legislation will be published on the management of nuclear
liabilities. A draft bill will also be published to reform the laws
on corruption.

My government looks forward to considering the report from the
joint committee on House of Lords reform.

Other measures will be laid before you.

My Lords and members of the House of Commons.

The Duke of Edinburgh and I look forward to paying a visit to
Belgium next spring and to receiving the state visit of his
Excellency the President of Russia next summer.

My government will work for rapid progress on enlargement of the
European Union, notably at next month’s European Council meeting in
Copenhagen. Legislation will be introduced to enable the United
Kingdom to ratify the accession treaty with prospective member

My government will make a decision on whether to recommend entry
into the single currency on the basis of the assessment of the five
economic tests to be completed by next June.

The forthcoming NATO Summit in Prague will emphasise the
alliance’s continuing role as the cornerstone of Britain’s national
security. My government will continue work for an enlarged and even
more effective NATO, enjoying a close partnership with Russia.

My government will continue to play a leading role in combating
terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,
which are among the most serious threats to the security of the
United Kingdom and our allies. My government will continue to work
with the international community to ensure the implementation of
all UN security council resolutions.

My government will work for rapid and effective implementation
of the agreements reached at the recent World Summit for
Sustainable Development in Johannesburg and will focus on tackling
climate change and finding new ways to meet our energy needs.

My government will continue to work for a more effective global
effort to reduce poverty, building on the UN millennium development
goals and on progress achieved at the recent Monterrey conference
on financing for development. Britain’s aid budget will be
increased and we will work to implement the Africa Action Plan in
response to the new partnership for Africa’s development.

My government will work for a successful outcome to the current
round of world trade negotiations that benefits industrialised and
developing countries alike.

My Lords and members of the House of Commons

I pray that the blessing of almighty God may rest upon your

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