Robin Walker, MP for Worcester, has welcomed the Government’s agenda at the start of a new Parliamentary session.
On the occasion of Her Majesty the Queen’s 64th Gracious Speech, Robin drew attention to a wide range of policy initiatives which are set to honour the Government’s commitment to building a country that works for everyone. At the heart of this year’s speech was the need to get Brexit right, delivering the result of last year’s referendum in a way that commands maximum public support. At the General Election, over 80 per cent of the electorate backed the two major parties, both of whom campaigned on manifestos that said we should honour the democratic decision of the British people.
Having recently been reappointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Department for Exiting the European Union, Robin welcomed the formal announcement of the Great Repeal Bill, which will end the authority of EU law in the UK and return powers from Brussels to the UK, while at the same time enshrining existing rights in domestic law and maximising certainty for individuals and businesses to allow for a smooth and orderly transition as the UK leaves the EU.
Robin also welcomed the news of the Government’s determination to deliver a fairer funding system for schools. Having called for a fairer deal for Worcester schools for many years, Robin praised the Government’s commitment that no school will miss out as a result of the new National Funding Formula, as well as reforms to technical education with an extra £500 million a year to introduce 15 technical education routes and high-quality work placements for students. This follows the announcement in March of a £4million Further Education Engineering Campus in Worcester.
Robin praised the Government’s commitment to reforming mental health legislation whilst continuing to invest in better services. The new measures announced included reviewing the use of Community Treatment Orders to see if they remain fit for purpose in helping people leave hospital to receive better care and support in the community, considering how the rights of family members to get information about the mental health and treatment of their loved ones can be improved, and ensuring those with mental ill health are treated fairly and protected from discrimination. Since 2010, spending on mental health has increased to a record £11.7 billion in 2016/17, with a further investment of £1 billion every year by 2020/21. The Government will continue to invest in new and better services across the whole spectrum of mental health conditions.
Among a range of positive measures, Robin also drew attention to the Draft Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill, which will protect victims of this heinous crime, and transform our approach to abuse to ensure victims have the confidence to come forward and report their experiences. The Government will establish a Domestic Violence and Abuse Commissioner to stand up for victims and survivors, create a new domestic abuse civil prevention and protection order regime, and ensure that if abusive behaviour involves a child, the sentence reflects the devastating life-long impact that abuse can have.
Speaking after the Queen’s Speech, Robin said:
“The Queen’s Speech this year centred around the great challenge facing our country in the legislation required for us to leave the EU and form a new partnership with our neighbours from outside it. I was honoured to be asked to take up my position once again in the Department for Exiting the European Union, working alongside David Davis to support him in negotiations and make sure we secure the best deal for citizens, businesses and our country’s future.”
“But while much of Her Majesty’s Gracious Speech was rightly focused on Brexit, there were also many other positive announcements. Having advocated for fairer funding for Worcester’s schoolchildren since the beginning of my career in Parliament, I was very glad to hear the commitment to ensure a more equal system of allocating funds that ensures no school will lose out.”
“The announcement of reforms to mental health legislation and of a Draft Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill also show this Government’s commitment to creating a fairer and more equal society. We will work to build a stronger economy so we can improve people’s living standards and fund public services, governing in the national interest so that people can go as far as their talents will take them.”
“Meanwhile, I am keeping up the pressure on local issues, pressing the case for more investment in our hospital, which was highlighted by the CQC report published this week but referring back to the situation in November last year. This showed that we needed a change in management and leadership at the trust – something that has already been delivered – but also the pressures from hospitals working at capacity. I want to see an expansion in that capacity with more beds and investment in A&E at both Worcester and Redditch and I have used my first few meetings of the new Parliament to press for this alongside other Worcestershire MPs.”