Column for Ilford Recorder 16 May 2013


For many of my constituents and millions of others in our country times are tough. The Third Queen’s Speech since 2010 was a missed  opportunity to tackle the serious challenges we face after three years of failed austerity policies, low growth, falling living standards and rising borrowing. There are one million young people unemployed, the economy has been flat for two and a half years, incomes are being squeezed with prices rising faster than wages, bank lending to businesses is falling and housing completions are at their lowest level since the 1920s.   But the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are ploughing on regardless with a failed economic plan.



A  further indication of the damage being caused  by our divided dysfunctional coalition government is the fiasco of rebellious Conservative MPs voting to amend their own governments legislative programme on an in /out referendum on Europe as Conservative ministers are  instructed to abstain rather than defend the government position.  Divisions in the coalition also mean  no Bills to enforce plain packaging for cigarettes, or to introduce a statutory register of lobbyists,  no Communications Bill to tackle powerful media monopolies, or to enshrine in law the commitment to meet the UN’s target to spend 0.7% of Gross National Income on aid for the poorest people in the world.


I would have liked to have seen measures set out in Labours Alternative Queens Speech :  to help young people into work; to kick start the economy: for real banking reform;  measures to tackle rogue landlords and extortionate fees in the private rented sector;  action to genuinely confront the cost-of-living crisis that is hitting so many households; and measures to enforce the minimum wage for migrant workers.  However, the Government’s programme for legislation did not include any answers to help tackle these challenges


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