The Queen’s Speech was more notable for what was not included, than the legislation set out.
As the Conservatives no longer have a majority in Parliament following the general election and are not even able to put together a coalition as yet, they are not able to go ahead with many of the most damaging policies from their manifesto.
I am very pleased that the following manifesto policies were not included in the Queen’s Speech:
- Means testing of the Winter Fuel Allowance for pensioners
- Ending the Triple Lock on pensions
- The ‘Dementia Tax’ on social care
- A Grammar School system
- Ending free school meals for 5, 6 and 7 year olds
- Fox hunting
By replacing a Conservative MP with a Labour MP, people in High Peak have already made a real difference to the future of our country and a significant contribution to preventing these harmful policies, which so many people told me concerned them.
It is good to see that the Conservatives’ manifesto proposals for a very hard Brexit have been softened by adopting the Labour Party’s priorities of supporting businesses and jobs, and I look forward to working with MPs from all parties to try to retain as many of the economic benefits of the European Union during the negotiations on Brexit.
I am also pleased that the government have committed to legislation on two areas which I and the Labour Party have been advocating for several years:
- Ending letting agents’ fees
- A price cap on excessive energy bills
However, I am most concerned at the lack of action in the Queen’s Speech on the most pressing issues which we face:
- Huge cuts faced by our schools
- Long waits for health services
- Existing and impending Cuts to support for people who need it, particularly People with disabilities and families on low incomes
- An increase in affordable homes
- A huge skills shortage which contributes to low productivity across the UK
- Government investment in our much-needed transport infrastructure
The Queen’s Speech represents a continuation of austerity and further cuts to our struggling public services – a policy which is not only cruel to those who need support, but also holds back our economy and has seen our deficit more than double over the past 7 years.
I and others in the Labour Party will be fighting to ensure that public funding is increased where it is needed, but also against the waste of public funds, particularly on unneeded Free Schools, and on contracting out our health services to the private sector.
I will also be fighting against cuts to our local services in High Peak and to make sure that our corner of Derbyshire is not overlooked when it comes to the fair distribution of reducing resources.
This very sparse Queen’s Speech makes clear that there is a lot to do both in High Peak and across the country.