Boris Johnson branded ‘out of touch’ over failure to offer new help for cost of living crisis

·Breaking News Editor, Yahoo News UK
·4-min read
Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales proceeds through the Royal Gallery during the State Opening of Parliament at the Houses of Parliament, in London, on May 10, 2022. - The 96-year-old monarch, who usually presides over the pomp-filled event and reads out her government's legislative programme from a gilded throne in the House of Lords, will skip the annual showpiece on her doctors' advice. (Photo by HANNAH MCKAY / POOL / AFP) (Photo by HANNAH MCKAY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Prince Charles read out the speech for the first time, filling in for his 96-year-old mother who is experiencing mobility issues. (Getty)

Boris Johnson has been branded "out of touch" for failing to do enough to help people struggling with the spiralling cost of living crisis in Tuesday's Queen's Speech.

Keir Starmer accused the PM of being out of ideas to help families struggling to get by, branding the government's agenda a "thin address bereft of ideas or purpose".

Prince Charles – who delivered the speech on behalf of the Queen – outlined the government's promise to "grow and strengthen the economy and help ease the cost of living for families".

However, no new policies were announced to tackle the current crisis, with one MP branding it a "missed opportunity".

The government is under growing pressure to support families struggling with skyrocketing energy bills and the highest levels of inflation seen for decades.

Research published on Monday revealed that one in seven adults live in homes where people have skipped meals, eaten smaller portions or gone hungry all day because they could not afford or access food.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 10: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince William proceed behind the Imperial State Crown through the Royal Gallery for the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster on May 10, 2022 in London, England. The State Opening of Parliament formally marks the beginning of the new session of Parliament. It includes Queen's Speech, prepared for her to read from the throne, by her government outlining its plans for new laws being brought forward in the coming parliamentary year. This year the speech will be read by the Prince of Wales as HM The Queen will miss the event due to ongoing mobility issues. (Photo by Hannah McKay - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince William proceed behind the Imperial State Crown. (Getty)

SNP MP Tommy Sheppard said: "More than 900 words and 38 bills, yet action to tackle the cost of living crisis is almost completely absent from this Queen's Speech,

"While the Tories have spent months consumed by lockdown-breaking parties, families have struggled make ends meet. They deserve better."

Labour MP Bridget Phillipson said: "Bills are spiralling but the Tories have no plan to help families.

"Today's Queen's Speech is another missed opportunity.

"Labour's plan for a windfall tax on oil and gas producers would cut families' bills and we'd be helping with soaring childcare costs right now."

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 10: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales delivers the Queen’s Speech during the state opening of Parliament at the House of Lords on May 10, 2022 in London, England. The State Opening of Parliament formally marks the beginning of the new session of Parliament. It includes Queen's Speech, prepared for her to read from the throne, by her government outlining its plans for new laws being brought forward in the coming parliamentary year. This year the speech will be read by the Prince of Wales as HM The Queen will miss the event due to ongoing mobility issues. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
It marked the first time Prince Charles gave the speech in his mother's place. (Getty)

A number of experts echoed the warnings that more help is needed for the here and now.

"The government has called this a Queen’s Speech to ‘grow the economy’ but there is disturbingly little in their legislative programme that will make a real difference," said Dr George Dibb, head of the IPPR Centre for Economic Justice.

"Faced with last week’s warning from the Bank of England that the economy will shrink later this year and throughout 2023, it beggars’ belief the government plan to take such limited action to prevent this."

Torsten Bell, chief executive for the Resolution Foundation, said the speech showed the government has "basically made up its mind to wait until September (when we find out how bad winter energy prices will be)."

He added: "The pattern here is help being too slow, too small and poorly targeted."

Downing Street defended not introducing measures that would help the cost-of-living crisis in the short term.

Boris Johnson's official spokesman said: “The public understand that we’ve already acted to address some of the immediate challenges facing the public.

“The prime minister and the chancellor are very upfront that no government could address all of these global pressures that we’re seeing.

“The Queen’s Speech, the Bills we’re bringing forward, focus on boosting economic growth across the country to create the conditions for more people to have high-wage, high-skilled jobs, so dealing with the medium to long-term issues, that’s what is a sustainable solution to ease the burden of families and businesses."

Watch: Prince Charles delivers Queen's Speech in House of Lords

– What else was in the Queen's Speech this year?

  • A UK Infrastructure Bank with £22 billion of financial capacity is among the plans to grow the economy

  • Ministers will try to force through a crackdown on “guerrilla protests”, with jail sentences and unlimited fines for those who disrupt key national infrastructure.

  • A series of measures will seek to take advantage of Brexit, including tearing up EU regulations and implementing free trade deals with Australia and New Zealand.

  • A Bill of Rights to reform human rights laws will be introduced, the sell-off of Channel 4 will be enabled, and plans will be introduced to deal with the legacy of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

The Prince of Wales, flanked by the Duke of Cambridge and the Duchess of Cornwall reads the Queen's Speech during the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords, London. Picture date: Tuesday May 10, 2022.
The Prince of Wales, flanked by the Duke of Cambridge and the Duchess of Cornwall reads the Queen's Speech . (PA)
FILE - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II smiles while receiving the President of Switzerland Ignazio Cassis and his wife Paola Cassis during an audience at Windsor Castle in Windsor, England, April 28, 2022. Buckingham Palace says Queen Elizabeth II will not attend the opening of Parliament on Tuesday amid ongoing mobility issues. The palace said in a statement Monday, May 9 that the decision was made in consultation with her doctors and that the 96-year-old monarch had “reluctantly’’ decided not to attend.(Dominic Lipinski/Pool Photo via AP, file)
The Queen has been experiencing "mobility issues" and remained in her home of Windsor Castle. (PA)
  • Amid the drawn-out invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the security services will get extra powers to tackle foreign spies and efforts to influence British democracy, with a reference to Chinese interference.

  • A Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill will seek to drive local growth and regenerate towns and cities across England, including by enshrining the Government’s levelling up “missions”.

  • Ministers will try to deter companies repeating P&O’s mass firing of staff by giving ports powers to refuse access to ferries not paying the UK minimum wage.

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