In the Queen's speech, the Tories dragged Labour onto their preferred territoryby Jay Elwes / May 8, 2013 / Leave a comment
“A stronger economy so that the United Kingdom can compete in the world.” “A fairer society that rewards people who work hard.”
In those two phrases today, the Queen, reading the government’s agenda in the ceremonial State Opening of Parliament, set out the basic structure of politics between now and the next election.
That election will take place in 2015, and today’s policy announcements are fitted to that date. The cut in corporation tax to 20 per cent will come in April 2015. An increase in capital investment plans, 2015-16. The devolution of spending to the regions, as advised by Michael Heseltine in his review, will start in 2015. New childcare vouchers—2015-16. Single-tier state pension—2016.
There will be a broad reform of the benefits system, with the introduction of the universal credit, a benefit cap, a reform of housing benefit and pension reform. There will be a deregulation of business to “reduce the burden of excessive regulation on business.” There will be an intellectual property bill and a consumer rights bill, while the Audit Commission will be scrapped.
It is clear from this where the government thinks its strengths lie, and conversely, where Labour’s weaknesses reside. This is a programme of pro-business, economic streamlining, in which the fat is being cut from the benefits system and the rules relaxed. There is a strong chance that Conservatives, knocked off kilter somewhat by the success of Ukip at last week’s local elections, will like what they hear.