Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, has today commented on the Government’s upcoming legislative agenda, as announced by Prince Charles in the Queen’s Speech this morning.
It is the first time that the Queen has missed the event since 1963, with mobility issues meaning Prince Charles read the speech in her place. Prince Charles was accompanied by Prince William and the Duchess of Cornwall.
Written by the Government, the Queen’s Speech opens the Parliamentary session, and is an opportunity for the Government to lay out their key legislative plans for the upcoming year.
Commenting, Andrew Gwynne said:
“This speech was paper thin and shows a concerning lack of urgency from the Government. We are in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, we’ve got inflation at a record high, fuel bills skyrocketing, and families wondering how on earth they are going to put food on the table.
In this context, it is mind-boggling that the Government didn’t use this opportunity to announce an emergency budget, which would give people up and down the United Kingdom the support that they deserve. The Government could have announced a Windfall tax on big energy companies, and slashed money off people’s energy bills. Instead, we got very little in the way of substance, and more references to ‘levelling up’ which seems to be the Government’s go-to phrase when it runs out of ideas.
On levelling-up, we’re still seeing a real lack of ambition. Under the Tories plan, major decisions will continue to be made in Whitehall, with communities being made to compete for small pots of money managed by Tory Ministers. I’ve experienced this first-hand, constantly having to apply for various grants and funds from central Government, and being forced to fight for basic support for schools, town centres and green spaces.
On health, which I take a particular interest in as Shadow Public Health Minister, there was an overdue announcement to overhaul the Mental Health Act. Yet the Government still fell short of matching Labour’s plan to invest in an additional 8,500 mental health staff, to treat more patients and drive down waiting lists. I was also concerned that the Government gave no indication of how it planned to address the massive workforce shortages in our NHS, which are exacerbating sky-high care backlogs.
An absence of leadership, ideas and solutions has left this rudderless Government treading water. The Tories need to meet the demands of the time, or step aside.”