In the current economic climate, the set of bills announced in yesterday's Queen's Speech come across as an irrelevance. The Government wasted the opportunity to help people in last week's Pre-Budget Report and now with the Queen's Speech they've wasted it again. The measures announced are little more than cosmetic sticking plaster given the real problems we are now facing. We need legislation to change the way energy tariffs work to make sure people get the cheapest prices for their essential fuel and power and changes to taxes to put money back in people's pockets.
With the massive discounts on offer in the shops at the moment, the short term trimming of VAT will make little difference and what we need are income tax cuts targeted at low earners and paid for through closing loopholes. We need action to force the banks to lend money on fair terms to small businesses and families – and make it quite clear that if the banks cannot be made to act, the government will lend directly itself.
As Nick Clegg said in the House, "How on earth can the Government justify a 26th criminal justice Bill - more tough talk, more criminal offences, yet public fear of crime still on the rise - while it doesn't mention the word ‘housing' once in the Queen's Speech, an area of policy crying out for urgent Government action? St Albans in particular would benefit from LibDem plans to allow councils to keep all their council tax revenues and buy up stalled housing developments to provide much needed social housing.