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H.M. The Queen's Speech
"My Government will publish a
Defence White Paper providing a statement of Defence Policy and an assessment of
the new strategic environment in which the Armed Forces operate. A Bill will be
introduced to give enabling powers to bring in new pension and compensation
arrangements for the Armed Forces." Excerpt of HM The Queen's Speech.
State Opening of Parliament, House of Lords, London, November 26, 2003.
Source: FCO, London.
My Government will maintain its key commitment to economic
stability and growth.
This will enable my Government to continue to deliver reform
of the public services and continue to focus on greater opportunity and social
justice, enhanced security and protection and constitutional reform.
Delivering a world class education system that enable
individuals to achieve their full potential remains my Government's main
priority for Britain's future success. Educational reform will continue to raise
standards in all schools.
A Bill will be introduced to enable more young people to
benefit from higher education. Upfront tuition fee will be abolished for all
full-time students and a new Office For Fair Access will assist those from
disadvantaged backgrounds. Universities will be placed on a sound financial
My Government will continue to reform the National Health
Service by giving more choice to patients, more freedom to NHS staff and more
control over hospitals to local communities.
My Government will introduce a Bill that will provide all
children born from September 2002 with a Child Trust Fund with an initial
endowment from the Government and more for poorer children. This will mean that
when children reach the age of 18 they have an asset to draw on as a springboard
for the future.
Legislation will also be introduced to encourage both
employers to provide good quality pensions and individuals to save more
effectively for their retirement. A Pension Protection Fund will be set up to
protect employees and pensioners if companies become insolvent.
My Government will maintain its commitment to increased
equality and social justice by bringing forward legislation on the registration
of civil partnerships between same sex couples.
A draft Bill will also be published responding to a review of
the law relating to disabilities as part of my Government's programme to extend
the rights and opportunities of disabled people.
My Government is committed to the maintenance of an effective
asylum and immigration system. Legislation will therefore be brought forward to
establish a single tier of appeal against asylum decisions, to reduce the scope
for delay caused by groundless appeals, and to put in place a range of other
measures to tackle abuse of the system and fraudulent claims.
My Government will take forward work on an incremental
approach to a national identify cards scheme will publish a draft Bill in the
My Government will continue to make the reduction of crime
and the fear of crime a priority. The Government will be implementing the
Criminal Justice Act to ensure the effective punishment of dangerous and
persistent offenders. Firm action will continue to be taken against anti-social
behaviour by strengthening the powers available to schools and local authorities.
Measures will be introduced to modernise the laws on domestic
violence and to establish a Commissioner to speak up for the interests of
victims and witnesses.
A Bill will be introduced to improve the services designed to
protect children. A Children's Commissioner for England will be established.
A draft Bill will be brought forward on the Criminal Defence
The threat of international terrorism and a changing climate
have led to a series of emergencies and heightened concerns for the future. My
Government will introduce a Bill creating a long-term foundation for civil
contingencies capable of meeting these challenges at national and local level.
A Bill will also be brought forward to improve the delivery
of the fire and rescue services, ensuring that they can respond to the changing
demands placed on them in the modern world.
A Bill will also be introduced to regulate retention of human
tissues after death.
My Government will continue its programme of constitutional
reform by establishing a Supreme Court, reforming the Judicial Appointments
System and providing for the abolition of the current office of Lord Chancellor.
Legislation will be brought forward to reform the House of
Lords. This will remove hereditary peers and establish and independent
Appointments Commission to select non-party members of the Upper House.
A draft Bill will be published to enable a referendum to be
held on the adoption of the single currency subject to the Government's five
economic tests being met.
My Government will continue to take forward a Bill on
election pilots introduced during the last session.
My Government is committed to improving the quality of
people's day to day lives.
Legislation will be introduced on housing that will help
create a fairer housing market and protect the most vulnerable.
My Government will continue to take forward a Bill on
planning introduced during the last session, which will make the planning system
fairer and faster with greater community participation.
Legislation will also be brought forward to improve traffic
flows and manage road works more effectively.
A draft Bill will also be published to enable some local
authorities to pilot new arrangements for school transport to reduce road
My Government will also introduce legislation on energy
matters, to establish a Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and to promote secure,
sustainable supplies and a safer environment.
My Government will maintain sound public finances and will
continue to take action to secure high levels of employment and encourage
Legislation will be introduced to implement the conclusions
of the Government's review of the Employment Relations Act 1999.
Legislation will be introduced to modernise company
accounting and audit arrangements.
A thriving not-for-profit sector is part of the fabric of a
modern democratic society. My Government will introduce a Bill to create
Community Interest Companies which will enable social enterprises to meet the
needs of their communities in new and innovative ways.
A draft Bill on charities will also be published which will
modernise charity law and better enable charities to prosper.
Further draft clauses of a Bill on gambling will also be
My Government will continue to take forward a programme of
Regulatory Reform Orders to simplify and reform burdensome and outdated
Estimates for the Public Services will be laid before you.
My Government will continue to work closely with the devolved
administrations in Scotland and Wales. Bills will be introduced to create a
single public audit body for Wales and to retain the current number of members
in the Scottish Parliament.
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 to
establish a Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission.
The Duke of Edinburgh and I look forward to paying a State
Visit to Nigeria in December and attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government
Meeting. We look forward to receiving the State Visit of his Excellency the
President of Poland next May. To mark the centenary of the Entente Cordiale, we
look forward to paying a State Visit to France next April and to receiving His
Excellency the President of France in the autumn.
My Government will play an active role in preparing the
European Union for the accession of ten new member states next May. They will
work hard to conclude negotiations on a new constitutional treaty for the
European Union, following which they will introduce legislation to implement the
My Government will work for a strong partnership between
Europe and the United States, underpinned by NATO, and for effective action in
tackling the threat from global terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.
My Government will maintain Britain's commitment to
rebuilding Afghanistan and Iraq, to promoting peace in the Middle East, and to
tackling the underlying causes of conflict and extremism. They will help
war-torn countries, particularly in Africa, to seize the opportunities for
development which peace can bring.
My Government will publish a Defence White Paper providing a
statement of Defence Policy and an assessment of the new strategic environment
in which the Armed Forces operate. A Bill will be introduced to give enabling
powers to bring in new pension and compensation arrangements for the Armed
My Government will work to reduce world poverty and for the
achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, including increased aid flows
and effective debt relief for developing countries committed to reform.
My Government will press for a fairer trade system as part of
the current round of world trade negotiations. They will work to strengthen the
United Nations in response to key global challenges such as AIDS and climate
I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may rest upon your