HC Deb 22 October 1937 vol 327 cc185-8

Message to attend the Lords Commissioners.

The House went; and, having returned,


(standing in the Clerk's place at the Table): I have to acquaint the House that the House has been to the House of Peers, where a Commission under the Great Seal was read. The LORD CHANCELLOR, being one of the Lords Commissioners, delivered His Majesty's Most Gracious Speech to both Houses of Parliament, in pursuance of His Majesty's Command, as followeth:

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

IT was with deep satisfaction that the Queen and I on the solemn occasion of Our Coronation received the proofs of the loyalty and affection of My peoples and of their devotion to the Crown. The significance of this Ceremony was emphasised by the presence of Prime Ministers of My Dominions, and representatives of My Empire of India and every part of My Empire overseas.

The deliberations of the Imperial Conference, which followed immediately after the Coronation, afforded ample evidence of the value of such meetings for the discussion of matters of common concern, and I earnestly trust that their result may be to enhance the security as well as the prosperity and happiness of My peoples in all parts of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

My relations with foreign Powers continue to be friendly.

The Treaty of Alliance with Egypt has been duly ratified by Myself and the King of Egypt. In the spring of this year an international Conference was held at Montreux for the abolition of the capitulations in Egypt. Thanks to the practical and conciliatory spirit in which the complex issues involved were faced by the delegations of the participating Governments, the Conference was brought to a successful issue.

Throughout the course of the past year My Ministers have followed with concern and anxiety the tragic events in Spain, and have persisted in their endeavours to prevent the spread of the conflict beyond that country's borders. I am happy to note the successful outcome of the Conference at Nyon.

I have seen with the greatest concern the development of hostilities between Japan and China. The sufferings which have been inflicted upon the innocent noncombatants by attacks from the air and sea have caused Me particular distress. I trust that the Conference of Powers, which is shortly to be called together, may contribute to bring this deplorable conflict to an end.

In the field of naval limitation I am happy to state that the London Naval Treaty signed in London on the 25th March, 1936, has now been ratified by all the signatories. Further, with a view to extending the scope of that Treaty, bilateral naval agreements have recently been concluded between My Government and the Governments of Germany and of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The provisions of the Government of India Act, giving responsible government to the Provinces of India, and of the Government of Burma Act have come into operation during the year, and I am watching with deep interest developments in both countries. I hope that in, no distant time there may be realised the full project of a Federation of India.

Members of the House of Commons,

I thank you for the provision you have made for the Public Service.

I thank you for the provision you have made for the honour and dignity of the Crown.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

I note with much satisfaction the continued strengthening and improvement of all three of My defence forces, as a result of the measures laid before you last year. The heavy burden of this necessary rearmament is to some extent lightened by the continued growth of trade, em- ployment, saving and purchasing power among My people.

The provision of facilities for recreation and healthy outdoor activity, more especially for the younger members of the community, has always been a matter of special interest to Me. It was therefore with particular pleasure that I gave My assent last summer to the Physical Training and Recreation Act. It is My hope that the fullest possible use will be made of this contribution to the physical well-being, and through it the happiness, of the nation.

The national health services have been further developed and improved. The rate of progress in the clearance and replacement of slums has been satisfactorily maintained, the abatement of overcrowding is proceeding, and house building has continued at a high rate.

The Act relating to the Special Areas has been continued for a further period and additional powers have been conferred with the object of further promoting the establishment of new industrial undertakings in those areas and in other areas of heavy unemployment.

I have given My assent to a Bill in which the law regulating the conditions of work in factories has been codified and brought up to date, and greatly improved provision has been made for securing the safety and health of factory workers.

My assent has also been given to Bills extending voluntary insurance for pensions to persons with limited income, making further provision for the superannuation of local government officers, and providing for the distribution of Exchequer grants with increased regard to the needs of local authorities.

Bills have been passed into law to assist the livestock industry and to promote its efficiency; to increase the productivity of agriculture by measures to encourage the application of lime and basic slag to the soil; to promote land drainage; to provide further assurance for the cultivation of cereals and to combat animal diseases. Assistance to the milk industry has been continued for an additional period.

I have given My assent to a Measure extending, with certain amendments, the operation of the Empire Settlement Act, 1922, for a further period of fifteen years.

Acts have been passed to authorise the raising of defence loans, to increase the amount which may be issued to the Exchange Equalisation Account, to continue the temporary subsidy granted to tramp shipping and to consolidate and amend the law relating to export guarantees.

The Bills relating to Scotland which have received My assent have included, in addition to Bills dealing with Exchequer grants to local authorities and the superannuation of local government employees, Measures for the development and improvement of maternity services, for the regulation of the wages of agricultural workers, and for the better custody of public records.

A number of other Measures of public utility have been passed into law.

I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may rest upon your labours.

Then a Commission for Proroguing the Parliament was read in the House of Lords.

After which The LORD CHANCELLOR said:

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons: By virtue of His Majesty's Commission, under the Great Seal, to us and other Lords directed, and now read, we do, in His Majesty's Name and in obedience to His Majesty's Commands, prorogue this Parliament to Tuesday, the twenty-sixth day of October, one thousand nine hundred and thirty-seven, to be then here holden; and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued until Tuesday, the twenty-sixth day of October, one thousand nine hundred and thirty-seven.

End of the Second Session (opened Tuesday, 3rd November, 1936) of the Thirty-seventh Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in the First year of the Reign of His Majesty King George the Sixth.