The State Opening of Parliament took place earlier this week with the Queen’s Speech setting out the Government’s agenda for the parliamentary year, outlining proposed policies and legislation.
There is no doubt that Britain is facing a fragile future - for our economy, our constitution and our public services. Although we are seeing economic growth return, its benefits are not being shared and the economy remains fragile.
When compared to other countries, Britain’s productivity lags behind. Tax revenues have fallen short of where the Government said in 2010 that they would be now, meaning it’s taking longer to reduce the deficit.
We cannot succeed by low skilled, low wage, insecure employment with a race to the bottom. The path to economic prosperity and recovery must be with a high skilled, long-term approach. Our productivity is being held back by a lack of investment in training, infrastructure and industry.
The Government are bringing forward legislation on tax but they must not repeat what they did in the last Parliament, which saw those on the very highest incomes prioritised for a tax cut. This legislation must not block off the possibility of the Government being able to raise taxes on the very highest earners, if that is necessary to protect public services. It is a matter of basic principle that those with the broadest shoulders should bear the biggest burden.
Measures to get people in to work and to achieve full employment should be backed but it is important that the jobs are there for people to move into, the childcare is there (particularly for lone parents) and there are adequate funds for discretionary housing payments.