We need to get going on jobs and growth

The Shadow Chancellor bemoans a Queen's Speech that offers the country so little

Share
Related Topics

A flatlining economy, falling living standards, declining business investment and almost a million young people out of work. With this backdrop, Britain deserved a Queen's Speech focused on growth and jobs. But the Government has no answers and nothing to offer. First, on our long-term infrastructure, not only has the Government invested billions less than the plans they inherited, but major projects are beset by dithering and delay. The decision on how to expand aviation capacity in the South-east has been kicked into the long grass and 80 per cent of government infrastructure projects haven't even started construction.

This is why Ed Miliband and I have asked Sir John Armitt, the chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, to examine how our country can improve decision-making on long-term infrastructure. Rather than leaving it to the next Labour government to act, ministers should embrace Armitt's recommendations, due later this year.

Second, on energy policy, uncertainty means vital investments are not being made. The Government should be legislating now for a decarbonisation target for 2030 to give a framework for those seeking to invest in renewable, nuclear, and clean gas and coal technology. But ministers have ducked the issue by saying they will wait until 2016 before even making a decision.

On banking reform, the Chancellor is rejecting the recommendations of the Parliamentary Commission he set up. And finally, on welfare, we've had unfair choices and divisive rhetoric but nothing serious to tackle the underlying causes of the rising benefits bill.

To drive down the social and economic costs of long-term unemployment, we need a compulsory jobs guarantee – a paid job for every young person out of work for 12 months or more and every adult unemployed for over two years, which they would have to take up or lose benefits.

To tackle the housing shortage, create jobs and get the housing benefit bill down, we need a major programme of affordable house-building. This would mean a temporary rise in borrowing, as the IMF has been urging. But investing in infrastructure now, at low interest rates, would get our economy moving, give us a long-term return and help cut the deficit and benefits bill.

These are vital issues, but instead we have the bizarre spectacle of the Prime Minister, under pressure from Eurosceptic backbenchers, saying he is relaxed if ministers vote against his own Queen's Speech. This coalition is a total shambles – offering more of the same, just at the time when the country is crying out for change.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Functional Consultant

£65000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A rare opportun...

Tax Solicitor

£40000 - £70000 per annum + EXCELLENT: Austen Lloyd: Tax Solicitor An excel...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Support Analyst

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: This is an exce...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Children of a bygone era  

Kids these days aren't what they used to be — they're a lot better. So why the fuss?

Archie Bland
A suited man eyes up the moral calibre of a burlesque troupe  

Be they burlesque dancers or arms dealers, a bank has no business judging the morality of its clients

John Walsh
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series