Monday, 14 May 2012

Queen’s Speech fails the test

The Queen’s Speech is a grand occasion, with lots of pomp and ceremony. But the contents of the speech itself showed that the Government’s plans for Britain are deeply out of touch with what businesses, families and the jobless need.

Basically, the message was “No change, no hope”. For a young person looking for work, for a family whose living standards are being squeezed, for a small business which can’t get money from the bank, this speech offered no hope.

This speech was supposed to be the government’s answer to the clear message from the local elections. But on this evidence, they still don’t get it.

The Government says people have turned against them because they don’t understand the plan for the economy. The truth is that it’s not the Government’s communications strategy that is the problem – it’s the policy failure.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg promised recovery, but they have delivered recession. We have the worst unemployment in 16 years, over a million young people out of work and the first double-dip recession in 37 years. We needed action that put building an economy that works for working people centre stage. It should have been a boost to family living standards. It was none of these things.

Bizarrely, David Cameron still responds to the alternative growth strategy by saying that it isn’t affordable because it would increase debt. It’s as though he hasn’t yet recognised that his government is now going to borrow an extra massive £150bn more than it said it would, because of the failure of his economic policies.

We’re now borrowing more to pay for the costs of increased unemployment and failing businesses. The same money could and should have been used to invest, creating real jobs, providing people paying tax rather than claim benefits.

People want to see the government offering practical, affordable ways to help people right now and get our economy moving again. The Queen’s Speech should have been quite different.