UK Politics

Queen's Speech: Ed Miliband says it offers no hope

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Media captionEd Miliband: "The PM and deputy PM are two leaders out of touch with the country"

Ed Miliband has said the Queen's Speech offers "no hope" to the unemployed and millions of people being squeezed by rising living costs.

The Labour leader said the coalition's programme was supposed to mark a fightback after local election defeats, but it showed "they just don't get it".

"The electorate have spoken and they are not listening," he told MPs.

Ministers say their 15 bills are focused on helping families and securing economic stability.

Prime Minister David Cameron said Labour had no plan for dealing with the deficit and was "giving in to every interest group" demanding help.

In his response to the government's programme for the next year - announced by the Queen earlier on Wednesday - Mr Miliband said there was "nothing to relieve the squeeze on ordinary families" from spending cuts, pay freezes and rising prices.

He called for action on energy bills, train fares and a reverse to tax rises and cuts to working tax credits.

'Lords mystery'

He told MPs the coalition partners had not got the message from their losses in last week's council elections.

There was "nothing" in the programme for young people looking for work, those being hit by the rising cost of living and millions of hard-pressed families needing help.

"No change, no hope, that is the real message of the Queen's Speech," he said.

"The prime minister and the chancellor appear to believe that people are turning against them because they have not understood the government's economic policy. The truth is people have turned against them because they have understood it only too well."

The government's programme showed that Conservatives and Liberal Democrats were united only in a desire to "hang onto office" for another three years rather than any shared principles or policy objectives.

On controversial plans to reform the House of Lords, he said he supported change to its membership but it was a "mystery" why it had been included when both coalition partners had repeatedly stressed it was not a pressing issue for the government.

"I thought the Queen's Speech was supposed to define the government's priorities for its legislative programme. How did it get into the speech?"

'Care omission'

The Labour leader said his party would support measures to establish the Green Investment Bank, reform the defamation laws and make parental leave more flexible - claiming it was his party which had originally proposed the ideas.

But he criticised the absence of specific legislation on future funding for care for the elderly - the subject of cross-party talks in recent months - saying a draft bill was not enough and a "clear promise" to act as soon as possible had been broken.

"There is nothing to stop the government speeding up the process, committing to legislation in this session, nothing at all. But they have chosen not to do so."

He also said measures on overseas aid targets and a registrar of parliamentary lobbyists should have been included.

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