Her Majesty the Queen began her speech with the statement that her Government’s 'priority has always been to secure the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union on 31 October', stressing that the Government 'intends to work towards a new partnership with the European Union based on free trade and friendly cooperation'. Policies on crime, immigration, health and the environment, however, formed the heart of her speech. The key points are as follows:
- Commitment to address violent crime and to strengthen public confidence in the criminal justice system
- An immigration bill ending free movement, but which will include measures that reinforce the Government’s commitment to ensuring that resident European citizens have the right to remain
- Steps to be taken to provide certainty, stability and new opportunities to the financial services and legal sectors
- A new economic plan to be put forward underpinned by a responsible fiscal strategy, investment in growth, management of public finances
- Measures to be brought forward to support and strengthen the NHS, its workforce and resources, enabling it to deliver the highest quality care
- New laws to implement the NHS’ long-term plan in England, including a new independent body to investigate serious healthcare incidents
- Proposals to reform adult social care in England to ensure dignity in old age; work will also continue to reform the Mental Health Act to improve respect for and care of those receiving treatment
- Work to ensure young people have access to excellent education – maximising their potential and preparing them for the world of work
- Measures to make work fairer and to support those working hard
- Measures to help people to plan for the future - simpler oversight of pensions, including greater powers to tackle irresponsible management of private pension schemes
- National Infrastructure Strategy to be brought forward, which will set out a long-term vision to improve the nation’s digital, transport and energy infrastructure
- Commitment to establishing the UK as a world-leader in scientific capability and space technology
- Environmental principles to be enshrined in law for the first time. Measures to be introduced to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore habitats. A new, independent regulator to be established in statute to scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take enforcement action.
Reviewing the details of the speech, chief executive Sara Drake stated:
'With Brexit just weeks away and a general election before Christmas a very realistic possibility, it remains to be seen how much, if any, of the Government’s proposals will be in place in a few months’ time. However, it is clear that the Government’s plan is seeking to tackle some genuine areas of public concern in terms of crime, immigration, health and the environment. The issue of fairness is a growing one, be it related to education, working practices or the environment. This makes it all the more important to focus on stakeholder engagement. Organisations need to keep all of this at the forefront of what they are doing as the success of a post-Brexit Britain will be dependent on the success of more than just a responsible fiscal strategy.'
View the full transcript of the Queen’s Speech.