12 May 2022

Queen’s Speech fails to address cost of living challenge facing millions

A response to the Queen’s Speech from Paul Morrison, Policy Adviser for the Methodist Church

The Queen’s Speech has failed to offer help to families being pulled under by the cost-of-living crisis. Churches and charities have been reporting that more and more families having trouble making ends meet. This week alone, we learned from the Food Foundation that 7.3 million adults are unable to afford the food they need, and that an additional 250,000 are expected to be pushed into destitution in the coming months.

Something is going profoundly wrong when a wealthy society tolerates millions going hungry and destitute. Families are working when they can - unemployment has returned to record lows. Charity is doing its bit – Trussell Trust foodbanks supplied over 2 million food parcels last year. Government must play its part and not shirk its responsibilities.

The Queen’s speech sets out the Government’s priorities over the next Parliamentary session. It is an opportunity to indicate how the government aim to tackle the issues that families are facing today. Unfortunately, that opportunity has not been taken.

This was also an opportunity for government to set out an agenda for key policy areas such as benefits, housing and employment to ensure that families are not left so exposed to cold economic winds in future. While there was no clear strategy to address the current crisis short or long term there was legislation proposed around renting, levelling-up and energy markets which could be used to begin to move us in the right direction. As yet however the details are not clear.

Churches all over the country run foodbanks and we long for the day when they close through lack of demand. Families, charities and communities are already acting to bring that day closer, but it also requires ambition and action from government of which this Queen’s speech showed little sign.

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