The Queen’s speech lacked the commitment and ambition needed to ‘level up’ our country.
As we recover from COVID, the remainder of this Parliament will be defined by the success of ‘levelling up’ programme. The speech talked about ‘improving health, education and policing, particularly where they are not good enough,’ as well as ‘creating new good jobs, boosting training and growing productivity’. These are things that we can all get behind and I, of course, welcome the rhetoric.
But the substance of the speech did not go anywhere near enough. This substance must come quickly, and include plans for life-long education, to tackle the scourge of health inequality and to properly fund our local authorities. These are the criteria by which the people of Warrington will be able to judge the Government’s response.
To truly level up our country we need stronger action to improve the quality of employment for workers in our country. At the last Queen’s speech the Government promised an Employment Bill but shamefully this was nowhere to be seen. Labour are calling for a game-changing Employment Bill that ends the abhorrent practice of ‘fire and rehire’, provides equal rights for workers and raises the Living Wage to at least £10 an hour.
Moreover, it was deeply disappointing not to see further legislation on; fixing our broken social care system, tackling violence against shop workers and taking action on online scams.
This Queen’s Speech shows that the Government do not understand the problems of the last decade, and that as a result they do not have the ambition to tackle them in the next decade.