THE Government has made strengthening the union a key pledge in the Queen’s speech.

The Prime Minister will set out how he intends to bolster the economic ties between Scotland and the rest of the UK, and bring the four nations together, in his speech later today following the Queen's speech during the State Opening of Parliament. 

It comes just days after Nicola Sturgeon’s party won 64 seats at Holyrood, and the Scottish Greens’ success with eight seats put pro-independence candidates in the majority.

Along with plans to boost jobs, Mr Johnson will say that businesses in Scotland will thrive following Brexit, with claims that the country’s exit from the EU would open up “global opportunities” for firms, creating new markets across the world for industries such as the food and drink sector.

The Queen, in her speech in the Houses of Parliament today, emphasised the UK Government’s commitment to recovery from the pandemic and “levelling up”.

She said her government’s “priority is to deliver a national recovery from the pandemic that makes the United Kingdom stronger, healthier and more prosperous than before.”

The Queen continued: “To achieve this, my Government will level up opportunities across all parts of the United Kingdom, supporting jobs, businesses and economic growth and addressing the impact of the pandemic on public services.”

Her Majesty also emphasised the economic strength across all four nations of the UK, saying the government would “strengthen the economic ties across the union, investing in and improving national infrastructure. Proposals will be taken forward to transform connectivity by rail and bus and to extend 5G mobile coverage and gigabit capable broadband.”

Her remarks come following the Union Connectivity Review, a draft of which was published in March, which set out plans to improve transport networks across Scotland and elsewhere.

While the Queen and Mr Johnson re-emphasised the commitment to improving the transport links between Scotland and the North of England, there is no mention of the proposed ‘Boris bridge’ between Northern Ireland and Scotland that had drawn criticism from opposition parties, and scepticism from some within the Conservatives within today's announcement.

Along with plans to upgrade the A75, the UK Government said it would provide £20m of “development funding” to assess schemes highlighted in the review as crucial for improving connectivity between the four UK nations.

Among these are “enhancing” the West Coast Mainline and developing “significantly faster” rail connections between Scotland and England, as well as improving train travel between the north coast of Wales and England.

The Queen continued: "My Government will ensure that the public finances are returned to a sustainable path once the economic recovery is secure.

"Measures will be brought forward to ensure that children have the best start in life, prioritising their early years.

"My Ministers will address lost learning during the pandemic and ensure every child has a high quality education and is able to fulfil their potential."

The Queen also made comments about strengthening the devolved government in Northern Ireland, improving racial and ethnic disparities and banning LGBT conversion therapy. 

After Boris Johnson sets out his agenda before MPs today, six days of parliamentary debate will follow. Leaders of opposition parties are to respond to the plans today, with backbench MPs speaking over the next week. 

Following the Queen's speech, Alister Jack, Secretary of State for Scotland, said: “This is a Queen’s Speech which delivers for people in Scotland, and right across the United Kingdom, as we focus entirely on recovering our economy and our public services from the devastating effects of the Covid pandemic.

“The Prime Minister and the UK Government have been working tirelessly on the pandemic, putting in place an unprecedented level of financial support, and securing millions of vaccine doses for people in all parts of the country. At all times we have prioritised both lives and livelihoods. 

“The UK Government will continue to lead our recovery from the pandemic, as we Build Back Better and level up opportunities right across the UK.

“We will continue to support top level R&D, encourage our businesses to innovate, and create vital new and green jobs. We will invest directly in Scotland’s communities, building on the success of our £1.5 billion City Deals programme with Freeports, better connectivity, and a new UK Shared Prosperity Fund. 

“And Scotland’s businesses will continue to benefit as, outside of the EU, we strike new trade deals around the world."