Another year, another State Opening of Parliament, another Queen’s Speech full of Tory lies.
Perhaps one should qualify that by saying the legislative plan outlined in the speech isn’t a lie, but the language used to describe it was most certainly stuffed full of them.
“My Government will legislate in the interests of everyone in our country,” pronounced Brenda. “It will adopt a one nation approach, helping working people get on, supporting aspiration, giving new opportunities to the most disadvantaged and bringing different parts of our country together.
That’s a pretty tall order for the Tories – especially since the part about “helping working people get on” was stolen from the Liberal Democrats’ old message script and the part about “aspiration” has been nicked from Labour, as one can tell by checking recent comments from that party’s leadership candidates.
What did they actually give us, though? The Guardian‘s editorial, yesterday morning, described the possibilities as a “menu of pain”:
“Express protection for the elderly doubles the proportional cut for everyone else, to about 10 per cent,” it stated. “The main action will have to come in some mix of four welfare fields: children, housing, disability and tax credits.
“Mr Duncan Smith has signalled sympathy for capping support to just two children, to encourage parents to think twice about having kids they can’t afford. That’s too bad for children who didn’t ask to be born into big families, and won’t help with the immediate arithmetic unless it is retrospectively imposed on existing big families, which are hardly going to shrink. Besides, if Mr Cameron’s reassurances are worth anything, child benefit is safe, which only leaves means-tested payments, where cuts are guaranteed to increase child poverty.
“Cutting in-work tax credits would sink the supposed pro-work welfare reforms, which leaves support for housing and disabled people looking like the principal targets. Even if the Queen’s speech rustles up something on the minimum wage, Mr Cameron can hardly talk of ‘one nation’ until he can reassure the poor and the frail that there is a place for them in his land.”
In practice, the Tory ‘Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill’ proposes freezing working-age state benefits, meaning that they will not rise with inflation for at least the period of the current Parliament and people on benefits will be less able to afford the necessities of life.
The Benefit Cap will be dropped to £23,000 per family, creating a greater risk that David Cameron and the Gentleman Ranker, Iain Duncan Smith, will push children into homelessness and poverty.
Young people aged 18-21, who are on benefits, will lose their ability to move away from their childhood home because housing benefit is to be withdrawn from them. This will create resentment within families and family-style groupings, and could present the opportunity for abusers (of many kinds) to continue their crimes, with the authorities going unnotified.
Benefit claimants aged 18-21 will have to work for it, which is in itself a contradiction in terms and a betrayal of the National Minimum Wage. The Bill states that there will be “stronger work-related conditionality from Day One, and anyone who remains unemployed for longer than six months will be required to go on an apprenticeship, training or community work placement.
This means young adults working for their benefits will be removing jobs from the market; if a company can get a jobseeker to do a job for free, it won’t pay an employee to do it. Therefore the jobs market will contract, pay will be cut – in real terms – to the levels of benefits and more profit will go to the bosses, who will probably stash it in a tax haven rather than letting any of it go back to the State in tax.
The government intends to limit the amount of income collected by HM Treasury by ensuring that there are no rises in income tax rates, VAT rates or National Insurance contributions (NICs) rates for individuals, employees and employers. This means the only way the government will be able to pay down its debts will be by expanding the economy – a feat which the Conservative chancellor, Gideon Osborne, has failed to achieve after more than five years in the job.
This is a transparent move to increase public debt, making it easier to cut public services even further.
The government intends to restrict the supply of social housing even further, forcing council to sell off larger houses that have become vacant (due to the Bedroom Tax?) and force housing associations to sell their properties at discount to tenants. The claim is that new houses should be built at a rate of one for each house sold – but with discounts of up to 70 per cent per sale, this is clearly a false claim and the housing stock will drop. A commenter to this site has stated that a more realistic building rate is one new house for every eight sold – which would make the current housing bottleneck much, much worse.
In short, this is a legislative programme that is very much in line with the plan laid out by Margaret Thatcher and her cronies in the mid-1970s: Less security in work, lower pay and benefits, less social housing.
People thrown into poverty and onto the street when they deserve better.
Higher profits for the undeserving rich.
Who voted for this?
Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike
Join the Vox Political Facebook page.
If you have enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!
Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:
Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
explaining the true meaning behind Conservative Party spin.
Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here: