UK Politics

Queen's Speech: Coalition out of ideas, says Miliband

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Media captionEd Miliband on David Cameron: "He's in office, but not in power"

Labour leader Ed Miliband has accused the coalition of being "out of ideas" with almost two years to go until the next general election.

In the Queen's Speech, the government laid out plans on immigration, National Insurance, pensions and social care.

But, in his response, Mr Miliband said it had provided "no answers" for the "big problems" facing the UK.

He offered to work with ministers to remove branding from cigarette packets and to regulate political lobbying.

The Queen's Speech, in which the government puts forward its legislative plans for the next legislative session, placed an emphasis on toughening immigration laws.

It announced that rules governing access to NHS treatment would be tightened, with landlords being forced to check immigration status and illegal migrants prevented from obtaining driving licences.

'Getting worse'

But introducing minimum alcohol pricing and banning branded cigarette packaging were not among the measures outlined in the 15 bills. Plans to allow monitoring of mobile phone and online communications to combat terrorist plots were also not included.

Mr Miliband told MPs that David Cameron "can't provide the direction the country needs because he stands up for the wrong people. And let me say to him, if his excuse is it's because of the people behind him that he's dropped these bills, we'll help him.

"If he wants a bill on cigarette packaging, we'll help him get it through. If he wants a communications bill, we'll help him get it through. If he wants a bill on lobbying, we'll help him."

Mr Miliband said the prime minister "can't provide the answers the country needs because he's lost control of his party".

The Labour leader referred to the success enjoyed by the UK Independence Party in last week's local elections in England, saying: "The real lesson of UKIP's vote, and the two-thirds of people who didn't vote in these elections, is a deep sense that the country is not working for them.

"They see a country where things are getting worse, not better. One million young people looking for work. Low growth, falling wages and squeezed living standards.

'Reality problem'

"So does the government understand the difficulties the people of Britain face? The signs aren't good."

Mr Miliband said the government did not have a "communications problem" but a "reality problem".

He added: "The government tries to tell people they're better off. But they know the reality: they're worse off.

"Wages down £1,700 since the election, with tax and benefit changes hitting families by an average of £891."

He urged more action on increasing housing supply, restricting train fare rises and regulating banks.

Mr Miliband said: "The country has big problems, but this Queen's Speech has no answers. They may have legislated for five years in office [by introducing fixed-term Parliaments], but they're out of ideas after just three."

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