Infrastructure, ‘levelling up’ and the environment have been outlined in the Queen’s Speech as the Government’s priorities for the new parliamentary session.
The Queen opened the speech saying, “My Government’s priority is to deliver a national recovery from the pandemic that makes the United Kingdom stronger, healthier and more prosperous than before.
“To achieve this, my Government will level up opportunities across all parts of the United Kingdom, supporting jobs, businesses and economic growth and addressing the impact of the pandemic on public services.”
The Government is set to publish its 'levelling up' white paper later this year, setting out how new policy interventions will "improve opportunity and boost livelihoods" across the UK.
In the speech, the Queen highlighted Government will “strengthen the economic ties across the union” by investing in and improving national infrastructure.
The Queen said proposals will be taken forward to transform connectivity by rail and bus in the form of the High Speed Rail (Crewe – Manchester) Bill and to extend 5G mobile coverage and gigabit capable broadband as part of the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill.
She also said that government will invest in new green industries to create jobs, while protecting the environment, and the UK is committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
The UK will continue to ‘lead the way internationally’ by hosting the COP26 Summit in Glasgow, the Queen said.
The Queen also said legislation will set binding environmental targets (Environment Bill).
Legislation is set to support a ‘lifetime skills guarantee’ to provide access to high quality education and training set out in the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill.
Responding to the Queen’s Speech, Tim Wood, acting chief executive at Transport for the North, said: “The Queen’s Speech opened with a statement on levelling up and the need to transform connectivity by rail and bus as part of the agenda.
“That this is high on the list of priorities is welcome news and must now be met with action as we focus on rebalancing our economy and improving transport links.”
Woods has called for a ‘commitment’ to the aims, in the upcoming Integrated Rail Plan, including backing the full HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail networks.
He said: “Alongside a sustained pipeline of investment in our roads and active travel provision, this will support the cross-cutting themes of economic recovery and growth out of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as increasing skills and opportunities for the North’s communities.”
Read the Queen's Speech 2021: background briefing notes on the GOV.UK website.