Today's queen's speech reaffirmed that the NHS is our number one priority which is why we will become the first ever Government to enshrine the increased NHS budget of an extra £33.9 billion per year into law.
The Queen's Speech also set out our plans to:
- Get Brexit DONE! We want to leave the EU at the end of January. Our great new deal is ready to go. We will avoid the trap of further dither and delay and rule out any further extensions to the implementation period beyond 2020.
- Make it easier for more qualified doctors and nurses to work in our NHS, ensure that hospitals can access the most innovative medicines and abolish hospital car parking charges for those who need it the most.
- Deliver on our plans for 50,000 more nurses, 50 million more GP appointments, 40 new hospitals and 20 hospital upgrades.
- Modernise and reform the Mental Health Act to give people greater influence on the type of care they receive.
- Increase levels of funding per pupil in every school, to ensure every child receives the best possible education, no matter where in the United Kingdom they grow up.
- Tackle violent crime and make our streets safer with new legislation to ensure terrorists spend longer behind bars and make it easier for the police to stop and search known knife carriers.
- Safeguard the natural environment for future generations through our Environment Bill, establishing a new Office for Environmental Protection and additional legislation for animal welfare. We will also ban exports of polluting plastic waste to non-OECD countries.
- Strengthen the Union, invest in transformational infrastructure and bring forward proposals to stop vexatious claims against members of our Armed Forces - something I know local forces veterans have been requesting for a long time.
There were many other fantastic plans set out in the Queen's Speech, from improving environmental protections and strengthening transparency in the supply team, regaining control of our waters, ending free movement and introducing a points based immigration system. The Government aims to support workers and families by enhancing worker's rights, supporting flexible working and extending unpaid carers' entitlement to leave an issue I know will benefit many local people. We will also reduce the cost of living through increases to the NI threshold and the National Living Wage.
A Renter's Reform Bill is also planned to enhance renter's security and improve protections for short-term tenants by introducing a lifetime deposit and ending 'no fault' evictions. To fully implement the most urgent recommendations from the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry as well as introducing a Building Safety Bill to review all building regulations.
Looking at pensioners, the Pensions Schemes Bill is aimed at enabling people to better plan their saving for later life and strengthen the pension regulator's powers to tackle irresponsible management of pension schemes.
Crime is high on our agenda with bills set out to ensure the most serious offenders stay in prison for longer, that all public bodies work to identify and tackle factors which lead to crime. We will enhance police stop and search powers, establish a Police Covenant and implement a version of 'Helens Law' to require the Parole Boards to recognise the pain felt by victims and their families when offenders refuse to disclose certain information about their crime.
Bills on divorce, domestic violence, extradition and deportation of migrant offenders and setting up a Royal Commission to improve the effectiveness of our criminal justice process is also planned.
Considering our armed forces, we will continue to invest in our military and honour the Armed Forces Covenant, continue to uphold the NATO commitment of spending AT LEAST 2% of our national income on defence, looking to implement the Stormont House Agreement and undertaking an Integrated Defence, Security and Foreign Policy review, the deepest review since the end of the Cold War.
Finally we will take forward work to repeal the Fixed Term Parliament Act so we will never again be in a position where parliament is at a complete stalemate, do more to identify and tackle electoral fraud and set up a Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission to consider the relationship between Government, Parliament and the Courts.
And yes there's still more packed in on education, infrastructure, transport, science, broadband, business rates and regenerating the high street!
I have no doubt that next year will be a rather busy one but you can read more about the Queen's Speech by using the link below: