British Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday announced a series of bills as the British government pledged to “level up” the country while recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking from the House of Lords, the upper house of the British Parliament, the Queen said in her speech that the British government’s priority is to “deliver a recovery from the pandemic” which will “level up opportunities across all parts of the United Kingdom, supporting jobs, businesses and economic growth.”
The Queen’s Speech was meant to set out the government’s legislative agenda for the new parliamentary session.
The government will “deliver a national recovery from the pandemic that makes the United Kingdom stronger, healthier and more prosperous than before,” she said.
She also said the government will “strengthen the economic ties across the union, investing in and improving national infrastructure.”
Meanwhile, the Queen announced that proposals will be taken forward to transform connectivity by rail and bus with the High Speed Rail Bill.
Legislation will be introduced to support a “lifetime skills guarantee” to enable people to access high-quality education and training throughout their lives, she said.
The Queen said the government will provide additional funding to support the National Health Service (NHS), bringing forward legislation to allow the NHS to “innovate and embrace technology.” Patients will receive more tailored and preventative care closer to home, she added.
On the environment, the Queen said the government will invest in new green industries to create jobs. She reiterated Britain’s commitment to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Britain will host the United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow in November.
The Queen also introduced other bills covering such issues as education, women’s rights, social care and mental health.
Earlier Tuesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his government’s plans will put “rocket boosters” under its “leveling up” agenda.
However, the main opposition Labour Party has urged the government to deliver “action” rather than “rhetoric.”
The Queen’s Speech is part of the normally grand State Opening of Parliament, but some ceremonial aspects of the event have been scaled back this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.