Queen’s speech

Economic growth won’t fix the cost-of-living crisis

This article originally appeared in the New Statesman.

The problem isn’t a lack of solutions – it’s a lack of imagination.

In such uncertain economic times, it is perhaps little wonder that last week’s local elections left a messy set of results. They certainly don’t act as an endorsement of the government, with the Conservatives losing almost 500 seats including the vast majority of councils in London. But neither do the results represent a decisive victory for Labour, which, despite putting a brave face on things, enjoyed mixed results, particularly in the West Midlands and the north. Post-Brexit, post-pandemic and in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, the UK’s inequalities have been exposed as never before, yet our politicians seem content to play it safe.
“we should not confuse policy inertia with a lack of ideas”
There has been a lot of talk recently about British politics being “out of ideas”. Eyebrows were certainly raised at the paucity of inspiration in this week’s Queen’s Speech. However, we should not confuse policy inertia with a lack of ideas. Every day brings yet another piece of research or analysis about the state that we’re in. There are plenty of ideas on how to make things better – what is lacking is an appetite in Whitehall to challenge the economic model and deliver change.

Queen’s speech? More like a memo.

The Queen’s speech is usually a chance for the incoming administration to set out their legislative programme to back up their winning manifesto aspirations. Occasionally, they are an exciting signal of intent as regards economic and social development policy. In this we can think back to the windfall tax on private utilities in 1997 or the Decentralisation and Localism bill in 2010. However, this Queen’s speech is thin (bar the range of Brexit induced legislation), and dull.

Indeed, it is almost wholly devoid of anything which addresses the austerity induced social pain, the challenges within our local economies and growing issues of community cohesion.
“…this Queen’s speech is alarming