When we came to office in 2010, Britain was on the brink. Our task was urgent: to rescue our economy from the mire. With that economy now going in the right direction, we are once again on the brink - but this time, on the brink of something special. We have a golden opportunity to renew the idea that working people are backed in this country; to renew the promise to those least fortunate that they will have the opportunity for a brighter future; and to renew the ties that bind every part of our United Kingdom. We now have the mandate to deliver that renewal. And it starts with today's Queen's Speech: a clear programme for working people, social justice, and bringing our country together - put simply, a One Nation Queen's Speech from a One Nation Government.
The first task of a One Nation Government is to help all working people have security. And nothing is more crucial to that than a job. A new Bill will help to create two million more jobs this Parliament. That means there should be a job for everyone who wants one - in other words, full employment. To help people get those jobs, we'll train them up; three million more will start apprenticeships over the next five years. We will also reward work by letting people keep even more of the money they earn - for the first time putting it into law that the Minimum Wage is and always will be tax free. That will be alongside a five-year tax lock which means there will be no income tax, VAT or National Insurance rate rises in this Parliament.
The second big focus of this Queen's Speech is championing social justice. That starts with education: a decent schooling for every child, no matter where they're from. Our school reforms in the last Parliament were bold; one million more children are now learning in good or outstanding schools. In this Parliament they will be bolder still: taking over and turning into Academies not just failing schools but coasting ones too, as part of our new Education and Adoption Bill; opening not just a few more Free Schools, but 500 more. Of course, there is nothing that embodies the spirit of One Nation and the cause of social justice more than our NHS, which is there for everyone, whoever they are, regardless of their ability to pay. So we will continue increasing spending on our health service, by at least £8 billion a year by 2020, and make it a truly 7-day NHS.
We will also continue our welfare reforms that help people into jobs, reducing the benefit cap further, to £23,000. Our reforms will incentivise work - so people are always better off after a day at the office or factory than they would have been sitting at home. That's true social justice - not handing people benefit cheque after benefit cheque with no end in sight, but turning workless households into working households; the misery of unemployment into the purpose and dignity of employment; and the welfare system into a lifeline, not a way of life.
Third, this Queen's Speech will bring every part of our United Kingdom together. Our legislation will make sure this recovery reaches everyone, from the oldest industrial towns to the remotest rural villages. Our High Speed 2 Bill will help bring our great northern cities together in a Northern Powerhouse that rivals the biggest cities in the world.
For our different nations and regions to coexist as One Nation, people must have more direct power over the areas in which they live. So our Cities Devolution Bill will allow them to bid for an elected mayor, with far more sway over planning, transport, policing and health. We will have a Scotland Bill, a Wales Bill and a Northern Ireland Bill, and will put into practice our promises on devolution - making Holyrood the most powerful devolved Parliament in the world. Governing with respect means respecting the wishes of the English too. That's why we will address the fundamental unfairness devolution causes in England, by introducing English votes for English laws. And the UK will have more control over its affairs, as we bring forward proposals for a British Bill of Rights to replace the Human Rights Act. We will also legislate to have an EU Referendum before the end of 2017, putting the question to the British people for the first time in 40 years: the European Union - in or out. Underpinning all of this is security. With an Extremism Bill, an Investigatory Powers Bill and a Policing and Criminal Justice Bill, we will keep our people safe.
That's our legislative programme. It's challenging but doable; optimistic but realistic. It's the bold first step of a One Nation Government - a Government for working people. And this is the Britain we're setting out to create: a Britain where you can get a decent job, have a good education, buy a home of your own, have dignity when you retire, and feel safe and secure throughout your life. In the last Parliament we laid the foundations for that; in this Parliament we will use them to build something special. We've now got the majority we need. With this Queen's Speech we're going to get on and do it - for every single person in this great nation.
Cabinet Office and Her Majesty The Queen
Delivered on 27 May 2015
My Lords and members of the House of Commons.
My government will legislate in the interests of everyone in our country. It will adopt a one nation approach, helping working people get on, supporting aspiration, giving new opportunities to the most disadvantaged and bringing different parts of our country together.
My government will continue with its long-term plan to provide economic stability and security at every stage of life. They will continue the work of bringing the public finances under control and reducing the deficit, so Britain lives within its means. Measures will be introduced to raise the productive potential of the economy and increase living standards.
Legislation will be brought forward to help achieve full employment and provide more people with the security of a job. New duties will require my ministers to report annually on job creation and apprenticeships. Measures will also be introduced to reduce regulation on small businesses so they can create jobs.
Legislation will be brought forward to ensure people working 30 hours a week on the National Minimum Wage do not pay income tax, and to ensure there are no rises in Income Tax rates, Value Added Tax or National Insurance for the next 5 years.
Measures will be brought forward to help working people by greatly increasing the provision of free childcare.
Legislation will be introduced to support home ownership and give housing association tenants the chance to own their own home.
Measures will be introduced to increase energy security and to control immigration. My government will bring forward legislation to reform trade unions and to protect essential public services against strikes.
To give new opportunities to the most disadvantaged, my government will expand the Troubled Families programme and continue to reform welfare, with legislation encouraging employment by capping benefits and requiring young people to earn or learn.
Legislation will be brought forward to improve schools and give every child the best start in life, with new powers to take over failing and coasting schools and create more academies.
In England, my government will secure the future of the National Health Service by implementing the National Health Service’s own 5 year plan, by increasing the health budget, integrating healthcare and social care, and ensuring the National Health Service works on a 7 day basis. Measures will be introduced to improve access to general practitioners and to mental healthcare.
Measures will also be brought forward to secure the real value of the basic State Pension, so that more people live in dignity and security in retirement. Measures will be brought forward to increase the rights of victims of crime.
To bring different parts of our country together, my government will work to bring about a balanced economic recovery. Legislation will be introduced to provide for the devolution of powers to cities with elected metro mayors, helping to build a northern powerhouse.
My government will continue to legislate for high-speed rail links between the different parts of the country.
My government will also bring forward legislation to secure a strong and lasting constitutional settlement, devolving wide-ranging powers to Scotland and Wales. Legislation will be taken forward giving effect to the Stormont House Agreement in Northern Ireland.
My government will continue to work in cooperation with the devolved administrations on the basis of mutual respect.
My government will bring forward changes to the standing orders of the House of Commons. These changes will create fairer procedures to ensure that decisions affecting England, or England and Wales, can be taken only with the consent of the majority of Members of Parliament representing constituencies in those parts of our United Kingdom.
My government will renegotiate the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union and pursue reform of the European Union for the benefit of all member states.
Alongside this, early legislation will be introduced to provide for an in-out referendum on membership of the European Union before the end of 2017.
Measures will also be brought forward to promote social cohesion and protect people by tackling extremism. New legislation will modernise the law on communications data, improve the law on policing and criminal justice, and ban the new generation of psychoactive drugs.
My government will bring forward proposals for a British Bill of Rights.
Members of the House of Commons.
Estimates for the public services will be laid before you.
My Lords and members of the House of Commons
My government will continue to play a leading role in global affairs, using its presence all over the world to re-engage with and tackle the major international security, economic and humanitarian challenges.
My ministers will remain at the forefront of the NATO alliance and of international efforts to degrade and ultimately defeat terrorism in the Middle East.
The United Kingdom will continue to seek a political settlement in Syria, and will offer further support to the Iraqi government’s programme for political reform and national reconciliation.
My government will maintain pressure on Russia to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, and will insist on the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.
My government looks forward to an enhanced partnership with India and China.
Prince Philip and I look forward to our state visit to Germany next month and to our state visit to Malta in November, alongside the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. We also look forward to welcoming His Excellency the President of The People’s Republic of China and Madame Peng on a state visit in October.
My government will seek effective global collaboration to sustain economic recovery and to combat climate change, including at the climate change conference in Paris later this year.
My government will undertake a full strategic defence and security review, and do whatever is necessary to ensure that our courageous armed forces can keep Britain safe.
My government will work to reduce the threat from nuclear weapons, cyber attacks and terrorism.
Other measures will be laid before you.
My Lords and members of the House of Commons
I pray that the blessing of almighty God may rest upon your counsels.
The Queen’s Speech 2015 (PDF, 103 pages):