Queen speech a ‘missed opportunity’ says Hartlepool MP

The Queen and Prince Philip at the State Opening of Parliament
The Queen and Prince Philip at the State Opening of Parliament

HARTLEPOOL MP Iain Wright believes the Queen’s speech was a “missed opportunity” with little to help boost the economy and reduce unemployment figures.

Measures to control immigration were at the heart of the Government’s legislative agenda for the coming year, laid out yesterday by the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament.

The Queen also set out plans to cap bills for social care, introduce a flat-rate state pension, extend consumer rights and cut the regulation burden on small businesses.

But Mr Wright said: “In the main there is nothing in there to deal with the big issues for areas like Hartlepool such as unemployment, creating jobs or re-training schemes.

“In terms of the impact on Hartlepool, for me, this was a missed opportunity.”

Mr Wright, who was hoping to speak in the House of Commons debate, said it was a missed chance to sort out the housing crisis but did welcome the Mesothelioma Bill, designed to help people who suffer from Mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos.

It establishes a payment scheme for those people who cannot trace their employer or their employer’s insurance company, where the employer was responsible for the asbestos exposure and anyone diagnosed with mesothelioma from July 25 2012 will be able to make a claim.

Health chiefs say it was a missed opportunity to protect the public by missing plain packaging for tobacco from the speech.

Ailsa Rutter, director of the anti-smoking agency Fresh, said: “We are disappointed at the missed opportunity to include standardised tobacco packaging in the Queen’s Speech, but we hope the Government will still listen to the strong evidence that it will reduce the lure of smoking.”

The issue of minimum unit pricing on alcohol suffered a blow after it was also excluded which Colin Shevills, director of the region’s alcohol awareness group Balance, described as “extremely disappointing.”