Main points from UK government’s new programme

A grab from a handout video made available by the UK Parliamentary Recording Unit shows Britain's Queen Elizabeth ll during the state opening of parliament at the House of Commons in London, Britain, 19 December 2019. [EPA-EFE/UK PARLIAMENTARY RECORDING UNIT]

Here are the main points from Queen Elizabeth II’s speech in parliament on Thursday  (19 December) setting out the British government’s legislative programme:

Brexit

Government’s priority is to deliver Britain’s departure from the EU on January 31, 2020.

London to seek a future relationship with Brussels based on a free trade agreement.

Britain to begin trade negotiations “with other leading global economies”.

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Northern Ireland

Integrity of the United Kingdom “of the utmost importance”.

Ministers to work urgently to facilitate talks on restoring devolved regional government in Northern Ireland.

Health

National Health Service funding boost to be “enshrined in law”.

Boosting size of NHS workforce. Foreign healthcare professionals to have “fast-track entry” visa to Britain.

Hospital car parking charges to be abolished “for those in greatest need”.

Government to seek cross-party accord on long-term social care policy.

Nobody will have to sell their home to pay for social care.

Immigration

“A modern, fair, points-based immigration system will welcome skilled workers from across the world.”

Defence

“Measures will be developed to tackle hostile activity conducted by foreign states.”

NATO commitment to spend two percent of national income on defence reaffirmed.

Plans to tackle “vexatious claims that undermine our armed forces”.

Integrated security, defence and foreign policy review to “reassess the nation’s place in the world”.

Climate change

Net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 target reaffirmed.

Legally binding targets, including for air quality.

Export of polluting plastic waste to countries outside the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to be banned.

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Internet

“New laws will accelerate the delivery of gigabit capable broadband.”

Justice

Commission to review and improve system’s efficiency and effectiveness.

The most serious violent offenders, including terrorists, to serve longer in custody.

“Swift justice” for people charged with knife possession.

Investment and debt

Borrowing and debt to be kept “under control”.

Investment priority given to infrastructure and science, research and skills.

Parliament

Laws blocking the prime minister from calling an election at the time of his choosing to be repealed.

Transport

Measures developed to provide minimum levels of service during strikes.

Education

Funding per pupil to increase.

Home ownership

Making homes available at a discount to local first-time buyers.

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