Laws to help UK reach ‘potential’
BORIS JOHNSON said the Queen’s Speech sets out a plan for “unleashing our nation’s full potential” as the UK recovers from coronavirus.
The Queen set out the Government’s programme in her first major public ceremonial appearance since the death of her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.
But measures to address the long-standing issue of social care funding were not included in the speech.
Proposals on social care will be brought forward later this year, the Government said – despite Mr Johnson’s promise when he entered No 10 two years ago that he had already prepared a “clear plan” to fix the system.
The Prime Minister said: “We will bring forward proposals to reform adult social care so that every person receives the dignity and security they deserve.”
Also missing was a Bill on dealing with the legacy of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, although Mr Johnson said legislation will be introduced.
Issues around the treatment of veterans of the Troubles have been highly controversial amid suggestions that any protection from prosecution offered to service personnel may also be extended to terrorists.
Mr Johnson said the Government’s legacy package will deliver “better outcomes for victims, survivors and veterans”, focused on reconciliation and ending the “cycle of investigations”.
In his introduction, the Prime Minister said: “We must harness the ingenuity and resolve that has been revealed in the struggle against Covid-19 and use it to create a stronger, healthier and more prosperous nation.
“We have been given an historic opportunity to change things for the better, level up opportunities across the whole of the United Kingdom, and address the problems that have constrained us far too often before.”
The Government also promised a “levelling-up White Paper” setting out how Mr Johnson intends to meet the promises made to voters in former Labour-voting areas.
“As the United Kingdom gets back on its feet, we will turbocharge our economic recovery in every part of our country, increasing and spreading opportunity.”
Also promised are measures to ban socalled conversion therapy to protect LGBT communities from “abhorrent practices” which can cause mental and physical harm.
The Prime Minister said the Queen’s Speech will “fulfil our pledge to unite and level up and build back a better Britain”.
The response to coronavirus has shown “deep wells of talent, kindness, ingenuity and resourcefulness” across the country and “the Government’s task is to mobilise that extraordinary spirit, matching talent with opportunity and unleashing our nation’s full potential”.
The usual pomp and ceremony of the event was scaled back to reduce the potential for spread of Covid, and all attendees must have had a negative test beforehand.