This Queen’s Speech offers no hope and no change in Wales. It is the point at which we face the sad truth that we have wasted two years due to the madhouse economics of the Tory Lib Dem coalition. It is the point at which the deep and fast cuts made by Chancellor George Osborne are exposed as having failed our nation. As a result there is no growth in the economy and we face the increasing problems of a lack of work for our unemployed youth. One million young people are now unemployed. This is a recession made in Downing Street. Yet it was this same Chancellor who provided a tax break for millionaires while placing an extra tax burden on pensioners.
This Queen’s Speech will do nothing offers no hope for Wales. It is in fact marked by an unsightly spat within the Tory Lib Dem Coalition over reform of the House of Lord’s -while the rest of the country wishes to focus on jobs, the economy and growth. David Cameron and Nick Clegg making a visit to a tractor factory won’t make a difference when the wheels have come off their grand economic plan.
There is a better way, and across Europe we can now see people voting for an alternative to the austerity plans that are plunging economies in to deeper crisis. We need a clear focus on stimulating growth and securing greater fairness in our society. It is a time for action to deliver the investment in infrastructure that can help the long term future of our country and provide a boost to employment. In these tough times when there is less money around, only Labour has an agenda for change which would improve living standards for families, ensure security for pensioners and get our young people back to work.
That is what should form the core of this Queen’s Speech. Labour would deliver a living standards bills.
If Labour was in government now and writing this year’s Queen’s Speech, five of the Bills which we would be introducing would be to help families immediately by tackling rip-off prices and creating real jobs for young people. These measures offer practical, affordable ways to help people right now and get our economy moving again. But to bring them about requires a government in touch with the needs of families in this recession.
It requires different choices and different priorities.
Five Labour Priorities for the Queen’s Speech:
• A Fair Deal on Tax. Alongside implementing Labour’s five point plan for jobs and growth, Labour’s Finance Bill would reverse tax cuts for people earning over £150,000 a year. We would use that money to help pensioners on fixed incomes hit by the “granny tax” and we would restore cuts in tax credits which have hit families.
• A Fair Deal on Energy. Labour’s Energy Bill would break up the dominance of the Big Six power companies and require them by law to offer 4 million elderly people the lowest rate available.
• A Fair Deal on Transport. Labour’s Transport Bill would stop train operators raising fares by more than one per cent above inflation, stop them exploiting commuters with unadvertised rates and give local authorities more control over bus firms. A UK Labour Government would work with the Welsh Labour Government to deliver this in Wales.
• A Fair Deal for Consumers. Labour’s Consumer Bill would give new powers to the Financial Conduct Authority and Competition and Markets Authority to stop rip-off surcharges by banks, low-cost airlines and pension firms.
• A Fair Deal on Jobs. Labour’s Jobs Bill would ensure some of the money raised from a tax on bank bonuses is used to provide real jobs, with real wages and responsibilities, to more than 100,000 young people aged 18-24.
Last week the results of the Council elections in Wales show that people believe there is a better way.
Welsh Labour has pledged to stand up for Wales and is delivering practical actions to deliver on that promise: opportunities for young people through a Jobs Growth Fund which can help to offset the waste of talent in such high youth unemployment. Employing extra CSOs to help keep the streets safe, rather than the Tory cuts to Police Officers. An economic renewal package to help stimulate the welsh economy and support firms who can provide jobs and deliver apprenticeships for our young people.
Welsh Labour’s very encouraging results in the Council elections tell us many things, but one message is very clear. The people of Wales believe there is a better way. A way that is providing greater fairness across our society. Labour’s priorities for this week’s Queen’s Speech are measures that would help families immediately by tackling rip-off prices and creating real jobs for young people. Labour’s Queen’s Speech would speak to the challenges of our time and not the unfair priorities of this UK Tory Lib Dem Coalition.