Friday, 6 June 2014
Letter 133: Yes, the Coalition has increased growth, but in all the wrong areas.
You probably don't want to hear this, but there seems to be real confusion over the speech you wrote for the Queen. Is it as you say, "the packed programme of a busy and radical government", or as the Leader of the Opposition claims, evidence "that you are presiding over a zombie parliament which has run out of ideas"? This morning I listened to Radio 4's Today programme, in the hope of some clarity. Pundits there described it as "Queen's Speech lite" suggesting that you're playing safe because there's so little that the Coalition Government can agree on having fallen out on so much already.
There is one thing both sides of the Coalition cling to, which is your claim that through commitment to austerity we can have growth. But in all honesty, growth could be problematic for you too. Back in April the Huffington Post highlighted a few awkward facts about your GDP growth figures. Employment is also troubling, as your boasts of job growth aren't what they seem. Though you insist that the best way out of poverty is work, since 2010 the number of people working zero hours contracts has increased to 1,000,000, three in four housing benefit claims are now made by people in work and the surge in self employment you so proudly announced recently masks the decrease in traditional employee jobs. It would seem that the growth you prize is to be found in the increase of working poor and children living in poverty. Maybe it's Ed who's right after all; those 11 Bills in your Queen's Speech don't begin to address the UK's problems at all.