The Queen’s Speech sets out government plans for the next 12 months. My constituents tell me the issues of greatest concern are: cost of living; energy prices; childcare costs; elderly care; lack of neighbourhood police; education.
There’s no action on childcare costs despite its impact on employment and family budgets and no plan for energy costs faced by childminders and other businesses.
The pandemic has highlighted the pressure on care homes and problems pensioners face with loneliness and isolation as well as being forced to choose between eating and heating. Despite the PM claiming he had a plan to fix social care, we’re still waiting.
They’ve confirmed intentions to academise all schools and interestingly will no longer permit single trusts. Pity they didn’t listen to my previous warnings about that model, it might have saved Baverstock School.
There will be a new funding formula which will mean taking money from Birmingham and giving it to richer areas. That’s exactly what they did with police funding, resulting in the collapse of neighbourhood policing.
There’s going to be a law to punish those who attach themselves to buildings, aimed at groups like Extinction Rebellion although the Public Order Act 1986 already allows for prosecution of such activities. What would the Suffragettes have made of such a law?
New measures are planned to stop Russian oligarchs from easily acquiring British companies and assets. It won’t be retrospective so won’t affect anyone who’s already benefited and won’t have any impact on all that Russian money in Tory Party coffers.
There’s also a bill to sell off Channel 4 which is publicly owned but funded entirely through advertising. That will be a nice little earner for someone, let’s hope the Russian oligarch bill passes first. We face a whole year of legislation that ignores the issues which concern most people.
Steve McCabe MP writes a weekly column for the Birmingham Mail