© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II arrives at St. George & # 39; s Chapel in Windsor, United Kingdom on April 17, 2021 for the funeral of Britain's Prince Philip, who died at the age of 99. Leon Neal / Pool via REUTERS
By Elizabeth Piper and William James
LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to tackle inequality and "level" the country on Tuesday with a series of laws following the pandemic that Queen Elizabeth put before Parliament.
In a ceremony withdrawn because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the queen, wearing a day dress instead of the usual robes and crowns, read out the government bills for everything from job creation to health care over the next year to say goodbye to health care would like to cut red tape after Brexit.
"My government's priority is to achieve a national recovery from the pandemic that will make the UK stronger, healthier and more successful than before," said the 95-year-old Queen in the government's speech at the start of a new parliamentary year.
"To do this, my administration will improve opportunities in all parts of the UK, support jobs, businesses and economic growth, and address the impact of the pandemic on public services."
In the 18 months since Johnson's Conservatives were re-elected by a large parliamentary majority, his agenda has been dwarfed by the pandemic that caught his administration by surprise and drained many of its policy-making resources.
With the UK vaccination program way ahead of many other countries and with the virus spreading at a low level, Johnson, 56, is keen to revive his leveling-up agenda and restore a prime ministry also tarnished by allegations of cronyism .
In an introduction to the Government Promise Pages, Johnson said, "The crisis has in no way diminished the government's ambition or appetite for change … We have been given the historic opportunity to change things for the better."
"RHETORIC IN REALITY"
After the UK left the European Union in late 2020, Johnson wanted to show what he sees as the benefits of Brexit. So far, however, he has been unable to deliver on a pledge made as part of the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign to give £ 350 million ($ 494 million) a week to healthcare.
Instead, his government will seek to reduce the overly perceived EU red tape by tightening state aid and procurement rules so that funds can be directed more quickly and directly to sick companies.
Part of the government's strategy to "better rebuild" the coronavirus pandemic also includes educational reforms aimed at making adult access to lifelong learning easier – seen by ministers as key to transforming the UK workforce.
On climate change, the government reiterated its commitment to zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This pledge is intended to encourage other nations to lower their emissions targets ahead of a United Nations climate change summit in Scotland in November.
Much of the “Queen's Speech” on Tuesday included pre-flagged guidelines and proposals leading the opposition Labor Party to urge the government to “translate their rhetoric into reality”.
Others criticized the omission of sensitive issues such as the provision of welfare benefits to the elderly, the disabled and others, which successive governments have avoided. The government announced that it would submit reform proposals for the sector in 2021.
"We are bitterly disappointed that social welfare was only mentioned temporarily in today's Queen Speech," said Edel Harris, executive director of the Mencap charity for learning disabilities.
"Where's the ambition and the funding when people are left without the care and support they need to get through?"
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