King’s speech branded ‘distraction of desperate government’
The King’s Speech has been branded a “distraction of a desperate government” by Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts.
The State Opening of Parliament ceremony took place on Tuesday (October 7) to mark the start of the next parliamentary year.
During the ceremony, the King’s Speech provided the UK Government with an opportunity to highlight its upcoming priorities.
Rishi Sunak insisted he’s “turned the corner” to put the country on a better path as he set out his pre-election stall in the speech to present challenges for Sir Keir Starmer.
But Plaid Cymru has blasted the speech for “focusing on culture wars rather than UK inequality crisis”.
Ms Saville Roberts said: “This King’s Speech was a distraction by a desperate government. People want their politicians to focus on solutions to the UK inequality crisis, but this government is more concerned with culture war obsessions.
“We had yet more empty promises on crime and sentencing, despite prisons being full and the Prison and Probation Service budget 11% lower in real terms than in 2010-11. People simply won’t believe this hard line on crime and justice, when the Tories have had 13 years to improve things and have evidently failed.
“Ahead of this King’s Speech, Plaid Cymru published a fair and ambitious plan for Wales, focused on putting more money in people’s pockets by creating a fairer and more efficient welfare system, bringing down energy bills, and changing the way Wales is funded.
“We would also lay the foundations for a brighter future by bringing natural resources under full Welsh control through devolving the Crown Estate to the people of Wales. That’s the sort of ambition people in Wales need – not the empty distraction we heard today.”
The End Fuel Poverty Coalition also criticised the speech for not including any measures to help tackle the energy crisis.
Simon Francis, coordinator of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, said: “The government is running out of gas both figuratively and literally.
“There was nothing in the King’s Speech which will help people stay warm this winter – no mention of an emergency energy tariff for vulnerable households nor a help to repay scheme for the record numbers currently in energy debt.
“Meanwhile, the UK Government’s plan to award more oil and gas licences is not the answer, what we need is much more investment in insulation and homegrown renewables. In fact, the past 13 years and hundreds of North Sea licences have yielded just 16 days worth of gas coming onto the grid, not enough to keep people warm every winter.”
Warm This Winter spokesperson, Fiona Waters, added: “The UK Government’s own energy minister Claire Coutinho admitted yesterday that these new licenses will do nothing to lower people’s astronomical energy bills. The King must have been speaking through gritted teeth delivering this license for oil and gas giants to print money at the cost of the planet and people.
“We need cheap, clean renewable energy and home insulation as millions are already in debt, pensioners are afraid to put the heating on and families can only afford to heat one room. It’s a national disgrace and that is why we are demanding the Government mends the broken energy system and are calling for an emergency energy tariff in the Autumn Statement to help the most vulnerable.”
Unions have also attacked the King’s Speech calling it a “missed opportunity” to help workers.
The UK Government has been accused of “turning its back” on workers as union leaders criticised the absence of a promised employment Bill.
TUC general secretary Paul Nowak described the speech as “cheap electioneering”.
He added: “This is a desperate last throw of the dice from the Conservatives.There is nothing in today’s King’s Speech to fix the country’s problems. Ministers have turned their back on working people.
“Having promised numerous times to bring forward an employment Bill to tackle insecure work, the Tories have junked this promise and are now attacking people’s fundamental right to strike. Instead of fixing our crumbling public services, the Government is trying to blame paramedics, teachers and other key workers for their failures.
“With families across the country facing a cost-of-living crisis, rowing back on net zero commitments will do nothing to bring down bills or to deliver better jobs and pay. We can’t go on like this. The Conservatives have broken Britain.”
Mike Clancy, general secretary of the Prospect union, said: “This King’s Speech was a missed opportunity to show working people that the Government understands the pressures of inflation, wages and living costs over the past few years.
“There was nothing in this speech to deliver the jobs, investment and hope that the country needs either to tackle the cost-of-living crisis or create new opportunities in science, technology and engineering. This is now clearly a lame duck administration for workplace rights.
“Working people will need to look to beyond the next election for any hope of improvement.”
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