Henry Smith MP welcomes Queen's Speech to address the People's Priorities

Henry Smith MP has welcomed the Queen’s Speech (Thursday, 19th December), which has unveiled the Government’s priorities including delivery of Brexit, enshrining in law the largest ever NHS funding settlement and making sure serious offenders serve proper custodial sentences.

Commenting on Brexit, Henry said;

“One week after the General Election, the Queen’s Speech has set out the Government’s agenda for the next session of Parliament. It’s a programme which will deliver for Crawley and for our United Kingdom.

“The first task is to get Brexit done and leave the EU at the end of January. I’ll be in Parliament tomorrow to support the Government’s European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill.”

On the National Health Service, Henry said;

“The number one domestic priority is of course the National Health Service. At the very heart of our Queen’s Speech is the first ever commitment to enshrine in law a multi-year NHS funding settlement, with an extra £33.9 billion per year – the largest cash injection in the history of the NHS.

“Under this Government, there will be 50 million more appointments in GP surgeries every year. These are to ensure more people can access care, and so we see reductions in the time that patients are waiting.”

On support for workers and families, Henry said;

“The Employment Bill will enhance workers’ rights, support flexible working, extend unpaid carers’ entitlement to leave and ensure workers keep their hard-earned tips.

“The Chancellor has pledged that the National Living Wage will increase – reaching two thirds of median earnings within five years, projected to be around £10.50 an hour in 2024, provided economic conditions allow.

“There are also plans to expand the reach of the National Living Wage – which currently applies to people over the age of 25 – to those aged 21 and over within five years.”

On strengthening the criminal justice system, Henry said;

“The Government’s Sentencing Bill will ensure that the most serious violent and sexual offenders spend time in prison which matches the severity of their crimes. This will protect victims and give the public confidence in the system.

“One of the key parts of this legislation will be to change the automatic release point from halfway to two thirds for adult offenders sentenced for serious violent or sexual offences, bringing this in line with the earliest release point for those considered to be dangerous.”

On protecting our natural environment, Henry said;

“Through the Environment Bill, this Government will protect and preserve our planet for generations to come.

“It will establish a new Office for Environmental Protection, increase local powers to tackle air pollution, introduce charges for specified single use plastic items, and ban exports of polluting plastic waste to non-OECD countries.

“Legislation will also be introduced to promote and protect animal welfare, including measures to increase maximum sentences for animal cruelty, to ensure animals are recognised as sentient beings, and ban the import and export of trophies from endangered animals.

“As Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare in the previous two parliaments, these are just some of the causes I particularly welcome.”