The Member of Parliament for Birkenhead bluntly stated following the Queen’s Speech, “the Government has abandoned hardworking people”.
The Queen’s Speech, which sets out the Government’s business for the year, was presented by Prince Charles at the state opening of Parliament today (10 May).
Mick Whitley MP said, “The Government has spurned the opportunity to prove that it’s serious about tackling the cost-of-living crisis. Despite the Prime Minister’s repeated claims to be delivering on the people’s priorities, he has turned a deaf ear to the pleas of thousands of people in Birkenhead and millions nationwide who are struggling to heat their homes and put food on the table.”
Yesterday, the Food Foundation published research that found over seven million adults had been forced to skip meals in April, as food prices continue to soar.
With the Bank of England warning that inflation could hit ten percent within months, Mick Whitley is calling for additional steps to support consumers including a strategy to tackle food poverty, increases to wages and benefits, and a wealth tax on the richest 1%.
The Labour Member of Parliament also singled out the lack of additional protections for workers in the Queen’s Speech, saying, “too many of my constituents are working long hours in jobs paying poverty wages without even basic protections in the workplace – including those among the 800 P&O workers unlawfully sacked. Ministers have promised a new Employment Bill no less than twenty times, but there was no sign of it in today’s Queen’s Speech. This is yet another broken promise to working people.”
The speech has also drawn criticism for putting new, repressive anti-protest laws ahead of the needs of struggling households. Mick Whitley observed, “just weeks after they forced their draconian Policing and Elections Bills through Parliament, the Government is proposing additional measures to restrict our democratic right to protest and to penalise vulnerable refugees.” He accused Ministers of having got their “priorities grotesquely wrong.”
The lack of additional measures to combat climate breakdown has also provoked concern at a time when the scientific community is warning that there is now a fifty-fifty chance of the world breaching the long-feared 1.5 degrees rise in global temperatures.
The MP for Birkenhead responded, “Now’s the time to bring our energy system back into public hands so that we can accelerate our transition to clean and green forms of energy – and begin to slash household bills and our emissions.”
Mick reiterated his support for Labour’s call for a windfall tax on the record profits of the fossil fuel giants like BP and Shell as a short-term step to support households struggling with rising energy costs.
This Queen’s Speech is yet more evidence that the current Government cannot and will not deliver the people’s priorities no matter how many times the Prime Minister pretends that is what he is doing.
MPs are expected to vote on the Queen’s Speech next week, following several days of debate.