Julian welcomes Christmas Queen’s Speech
December 19, 2019
“I warmly welcome today’s Queen’s Speech, setting out the government’s agenda for the new parliamentary session, for which it now has a substantial majority after last week’s general election.
After a long period of gridlock and delay, I am glad to see the Speech commit the government to passing into law the Prime Minister’s new Brexit withdrawal agreement, and move at speed to conclude a positive new relationship with the EU, allowing us to press on with improving public services and spreading opportunity more widely across our country.
Following my lobbying over several years, I was very happy at this autumn’s announcement of a per-pupil funding increase of over 6% for York Outer schools, historically disadvantaged under the old funding formula, and this Speech confirms the government’s commitment to deliver this cash boost. The Speech also pledges the government to press on with expanding technical and vocational options to better equip young people for skilled work, which will directly benefit York school leavers with the opening of 1 of only 20 new Institutes of Technology in our city. The plans to significantly increase science and research and development funding, the real basis of economic productivity, growth and higher wages, are also incredibly important.
Given my close focus on York’s health service, I am delighted that there will be an NHS Funding Bill to put into law the government’s plan to increase annual NHS funding by £33.9 billion, with £6.2 billion of new money immediately next year. I also welcome the renewed focus on finding a cross-party consensus to improve social care provision, very important for an area like ours where almost a quarter of residents are over 65, with £1 billion a year of new funding in the meantime.
I warmly welcome the Speech’s commitment to substantial investment in transport infrastructure, which will be of huge benefit to our region. After my long campaign, I am delighted the government have agreed to dual the A1237 Outer Ring Road, and I was very pleased by the Prime Minister’s personal commitment to fund the new high-speed Manchester-Leeds Northern Powerhouse Rail line. I now want to build on this success by pressing the government to dual the A64, hosting the Roads Minister in York during the election campaign to show her the case for this, and for better local rail links.
I know many York residents will also be reassured by the Speech’s proposed tougher new sentencing laws for violent criminals, and business rate changes to support small enterprises. The proposed new Environment and Agriculture Bills are also of enormous importance for North Yorkshire’s historic landscapes and large agricultural sector, and I will make sure to closely scrutinise these.”