Queen's Speech: Government's post-pandemic agenda set out in Lords

11 May 2021, 10:53 | Updated: 11 May 2021, 13:05

Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

The Government's post-pandemic agenda has been unveiled in a slimmed-down Queen's Speech - in what Boris Johnson claims will be "rocket fuel" for his levelling-up pledge to parts of the country.

It is the Queen's first major public ceremonial duty since the death of Prince Philip, with her sitting alone in the House of Lords.

She said the Government's priority is to "deliver a national recovery from the pandemic that makes the United Kingdom stronger, healthier and more prosperous than before" as she addressed Parliament from the throne in the House of Lords.

She continued: "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.

READ MORE: Social care reform plan will be "long term," Matt Hancock tells LBC

"My Government will protect the health of the nation, continuing the vaccination programme and providing additional funding to support the NHS."

She announced that the Government plans to "lead the world in life sciences" following the Covid-19 pandemic and that there will be the "fastest ever increase in public funding for research and development".

Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer made their way to the House of Lords to hear the Queen's Speech
Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer made their way to the House of Lords to hear the Queen's Speech. Picture: PA Images

There will be "proposals on social care will be brought forward", she said, but lacked detail which many Conservative MPs hoped would be present.

Boris Johnson first pledged to bring forward detailed plans on the social care crisis following his election win in 2019 but the Government is yet to outline how to fix significant problems in the sector.

The Prime Minister plans on "revolutionising" adult education and training as part of the Government's refreshed legislative agenda set out on Tuesday morning.

Hinting at the ongoing row between Holyrood and Westminster, the Queen said the Government will "strengthen the economic ties across the union" by "investing in and improving national infrastructure".

Legislation will also support a "lifetime skills guarantee" for adult education and training, with measures to be introduced to ensure that "support for businesses reflects the United Kingdom's strategic interests and drives economic growth".

The Queen heads to the state opening of parliament
The Queen heads to the state opening of parliament. Picture: PA

No10 said new laws will create a post-16 and adult education and training system that is "fit for the future" and overhaul the student loan system to give every adult access to a flexible loan for higher-level education and training at university or college.

Also included will be a new 'Building Safety Regulator' to "ensure that the tragedies of the past are never repeated".

The Government has come under pressure to propose radical reforms to social care which are unlikely to appear in the speech, with Conservative MPs calling for a cap on care costs to stop people having to sell their homes.

Meanwhile, Labour called for "action, not more rhetoric" as it urged the Government to set out a "clear plan to get Britain working for working people".

Watch the Queen's Speech at the top of this page.