Modernising agenda built on the traditions of old

The state opening of parliament in the House of Lords.  Picture: Chris Jackson/PA Wire
The state opening of parliament in the House of Lords. Picture: Chris Jackson/PA Wire
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Off The Fence by Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage

The Queen’s 65th opening of parliament was an event of almost unimaginable pomp and pageantry, yet it set out a forward-looking plan to tackle some of the most futuristic challenges faced by the modern, hi-tech world.

The government outlined how it will modernise British infrastructure.

Every household will have a legal right to a fast broadband connection on which so many small businesses rely.

Legislation will enable the development of the UK’s first commercial spaceports, driverless cars and safer drone use. This will support pioneering enterprises to compete in the global economy, welcome news for our region where the aerospace industry is a key employer.

An independent National Infrastructure Commission will be set up, providing an important route through which the Solent can call for investment to improve our out-dated transport system.

There was also a progressive approach to tackling society’s deepest social problems. There are plans to transform the outcomes of children in care, improve the adoption process and introduce changes to our education system to give every child the best start.

Overdue reforms to prisons will ensure they are not just places of punishment but also rehabilitation.

The new Help to Save scheme and Lifetime ISA will help young and low-income people plan for the future. Planning reforms will enable more people to own their own home which I know many constituents long for.

For these bold measures to be implemented, national security is a priority. Therefore, domestic measures to tackle extremism will be complemented by spending two per cent of GDP on defence, which is such a massive part of our local identity and our regional economy.

The 2016 Queen’s Speech, therefore, built upon traditions of old to announce a modernising agenda.