Julian has welcomed the Queen’s Speech for 2019, setting out the government’s proposed draft laws and policies for the new session of Parliament. The Speech confirmed Ministers’ intention to deliver Brexit, and pledged substantial funding increases for the NHS and schools, alongside measures to improve broadband coverage and protect the environment.
Having prioritised York’s health service and lobbied for improvements, Julian was very pleased the Speech pledged new laws to implement the government’s 10 year plan for the NHS, to deliver a £33.9 billion health funding increase per year over the next 5 years.
There was also a commitment to increase per-pupil funding in schools, investing £14 billion more over 3 years. Julian has campaigned for several years to reform the old schools funding formula which disadvantaged York, successfully securing a local funding boost in 2017, and will be watching carefully to ensure the city’s schools get their fair share of new education money. Having assisted a number of local parents regarding improving Special Needs provision in York schools, he was very encouraged by the commitment to £780 million more for Special Needs as part of this education funding rise.
Julian also welcomed the pledge to continue improving technical education options to equip school leavers with the right skills, and York has already been announced as the base for one of the first wave of new university-level, employer-linked Institutes of Technology to be established as part of this drive.
Improving broadband provision on the outskirts of the city has also been a major focus for Julian, and he was glad the Speech made clear the government will keep up the pace in this area. There will be new legislation to roll-out gigabit-capable broadband and widen overall coverage, and Julian will lobby hard to ensure that the necessary funding and legal changes are put in place for Ministers to deliver on their ambitious pledge for universal full-fibre broadband by 2025.
The government will also bring forward an Environment Bill and an Agriculture Bill, to ensure that our natural heritage and countryside are maintained and enhanced as the UK retakes full control of these areas from the EU, and gains the freedom to set environmental standards even higher than current European ones.
Following the Speech, Julian said: “I am pleased that the government is setting out such comprehensive plans to improve public services and widen opportunity, while also committing to securing a Brexit settlement that allows the country to move on.
Having been a firm advocate for York’s health service and schools, I am glad to see Ministers bring forward substantial funding improvements in these areas, and I will work to ensure our city gets its proper share. Young people in York also have much to gain from the government’s commitment to widen technical education options and boost Special Needs support.
The Environment and Agriculture Bills will also be vital for the future of North Yorkshire’s timeless landscapes and large agricultural sector, and I will be examining these very closely.”