Short but not sweet: Initial reaction to the Queen’s Speech 2013


Earlier today (8th May) was the State Opening of Parliament, where the Queen formally opens the new Parliamentary Session with a speech setting out the Government’s agenda and priorities for the next year.

Unfortunately as anticipated the Queen’s Speech, which was one of the shortest in years, failed to recognise many of the problems concerning real people. It was a stark reminder that this out of touch Conservative-led Government has its priorities completely wrong.

Today was an opportunity to change course and get Britain back on track, to support working people by lowering the cost of living or tackling increases in energy bills and train fares. Instead the speech offered no change and was short of ideas.

The Government claims its focus is the economy, but sadly the speech mentioned nothing about tackling youth unemployment or pressing banks to lend more to small businesses.

The speech failed to reflect the need for more action to be taken on housing. Not only does the housing shortage need addressing by building more homes, but clearer and stronger regulations are needed in the private rented sector to stop rogue landlords charging extortionate fees.

I was also disappointed to see the omission of efforts to protect our health, by introducing minimum alcohol pricing and plain packaging for cigarettes, from the speech. It is just another example of a shy Government too afraid to stand up to big industries.

Over 5,000 young people in Birmingham have been out of work for more than 6 months. Each day a growing number of people in Northfield are getting in touch with me about their housing troubles.  The Government rhetoric has emphasised stopping the so called ‘something for nothing’ culture. But too often it is them doing nothing. As far as I’m concerned it’s the Conservative-led Government that need to do something.

You can read One Nation Labour’s alternative Queen’s Speech – one that is committed to jobs and growth here.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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