Party Co-Chairmen, Rt Hon Amanda Milling MP and Ben Elliot, wrote this formal response after receiving the Queen's Speech consultation, the first paper of 2020.
Thank you for sending us in March a summary of CPF groups' views on the Queen's Speech. The speech set out the Conservative government's vision for how we would unite and level up across the country.
Despite the unprecedented challenges that the country has faced in recent months, we can be proud of what we have achieved together since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister last summer and the progress we have made in delivering on the promises that we made to the British people in last December's election.
Not only did we get Brexit done and leave the European Union on 31 January, but we have also delivered on our domestic agenda:
• Delivering the biggest cash boost in history for the NHS and enshrining that increase in law, to safeguard it for future generations.
• Keeping our promise of more frontline NHS investment – recruiting more doctors and nurses and starting work on new hospitals.
• Starting the recruitment of 20,000 more police officers – with the first 3,000 already in place.
• Boosting funding in our primary and secondary schools by £14 billion over the next three years, so that every child can get a good education.
• Transforming schools in every region of the country, starting with a new £1 billion investment.
• Boosting local transport connecting – including buses, roads and railways.
• Giving the National Living Wage its largest cash boost in April to £8.72 – giving nearly 3 million people a well-earned pay rise.
• Passing our historic Immigration Bill, so that we can take back control of our borders at the end of the transition period this year.
• Announcing the largest investment in affordable housing in a decade.
We hear the concerns expressed by members and will seek to address those as we continue to develop our legislative programme.
1. ENCOURAGING NEW BUSINESS
The Queen’s Speech set out our plans to improve infrastructure and level up opportunity across the whole country. From upgrading the nation’s roads, to rolling out gigabit broadband, to making the UK a science and research superpower, the Queen’s Speech contained plans that will be hugely welcomed by business. Since then, we’ve presented our first Budget, a New Deal for Britain and a Plan for Jobs, all of which doubled down on levelling up and will help to create the ideal conditions to start, grow and run a brilliant business in Britain.
2. SUPPORTING REGIONAL INDUSTRIES, INCLUDING MANUFACTURING
Levelling up the different regions and nations of the UK are at the heart of this Government’s plans. Talent is spread evenly across our country – but too often opportunity is not. That’s why this Conservative Government has set about investing record amounts in regional transport and digital infrastructure.
We don’t underestimate how difficult recent months have been for the manufacturing sector, and we’ve been proud that this Government’s huge and unprecedented package of support has been available to help them through coronavirus. We will continue to support Britain’s makers and producers over the months and years ahead.
3. SOLVING THE CHALLENGE OF SOCIAL CARE
Solving the challenge of social care is one of the most important we will face as a Government. Our manifesto promised a three step approach to doing so – first, invest at least £1 billion a year in the system, which we’ve already done this year; second, work on a cross-party basis to develop a long-term solution; and third, ensure nobody needs to sell their home in order to pay for care.
Recent months have reminded us all of the importance of social care, and the brilliant work that carers do day in, day out, and we are committed to finding that long-term solution that know social care needs.
4. KEEPING DEBT UNDER CONTROL
As Conservatives, this Government remains firmly committed to fiscal sustainability and ensuring the long-term health of the public finances. Obviously this year has been extraordinary for many different reasons, including the huge and unprecedented package of support the Government rightly made available to help get people and businesses through the challenge of coronavirus. The costs of inaction would have been far higher.
The best approach now is to ensure we minimize the structural impact of coronavirus and ensure the safe reopening of the economy, and the Government will set out more details on its plans for sustainable and balanced fiscal policy at the next Budget.
This is what a One Nation Conservative government can achieve when it is ambitious about unleashing Britain’s potential. The last six months have shown why the historic and heartfelt bond that ties our country together is so important – and we will keep on delivering for every part of the United Kingdom.
We will not be blown off course. We have a Plan for Jobs which, building on the £160 billion support we have provided so far, will help to support, protect and create jobs as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.
The people of the United Kingdom put their trust in us to unite, level up and unleash Britain’s potential. We can be proud of what we have already achieved in this Parliament but there is much more to do.
Thank you again for the time and effort that you and members take, through the CPF, to share their frontline insights and perspectives from across our country.
Rt Hon Amanda Milling MP and Ben Elliot