UK sets out post-Covid plans in Queen’s Speech

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The Queen Elizabeth II said the 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”, reports Asian Lite newsdesk

Queen Elizabeth II has announced a series of bills as the UK government pledged to “level up” the country while recovering from the pandemic crisis.

She was speaking at the House of Lords, the upper house of the British Parliament, to set out the government’s legislative agenda for new parliamentary session.

The Queen said that the 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,” Xinhua news agency reported.

Boris Johnson(IANS)

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the government “won’t settle for going back to the way things were”, the BBC reported.

He promised to end the “criminal waste of talent” in parts of the UK by spreading opportunity more evenly.

“We intend to unite and level up across the whole of our United Kingdom because we one nation Conservatives understand this crucial point – that you will find flair and imagination and enthusiasm and genius distributed evenly across this country while opportunity is not,” BBC quoted Johnson as saying at the House of Lords.

He said there is a need to change that because “it is not just a moral and social disgrace, it is an economic mistake. It is a criminal waste of talent.”

“And though we cannot for one moment minimise the damage that Covid has done – the loss of learning, the NHS backlogs, the courts delays, the massive fiscal consequences – we must use this opportunity to achieve a national recovery so that jabs, jabs jabs becomes jobs, jobs, jobs,” he said.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer slammed the prime minister and said the government programme lacked urgency and ambition.

He said the UK needed a Queen’s Speech that rose to scale of the moment. He claimed, the speech was “packed with short-term gimmicks and distant promises”.

Sir Keir seized on the absence of new legislation to fix the funding of adult social care – something he said the prime minister had promised on the steps of Downing Street two years ago.

Many of the measures in the Queen’s Speech are aimed at the Conservatives’ new electoral strongholds in the Midlands and north of England, according to the report.

According to BBC, among the planned new laws are a Skills and Post-16 Education Bill for England, with loans for adults wanting to retrain and more powers to deal with failing colleges; a bill aimed at deterring asylum seekers from crossing the English Channel; a bill to ease planning controls and increase housebuilding in England; plans to improve bus and train service connectivity in England; new laws to scrap the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, meaning it will be easier for Mr Johnson to call an early general election before 2024.

Meanwhile, the prime minister also committed to setting up a “full, proper” public inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic, which could begin in the coming year, in response to a question from Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey.

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