The “legislative programme” for government has been announced and is predominately an attack on democracy in the workplace, on progressive taxation and on those who depend on benefits. In other words, more of the same.
The announcement on employment laws and the right of employees to take strike action is particularly concerning in the interest of democracy, in that it is effectively banning strike action unless 40 per cent of all eligible union members register their vote in favour of industrial action. This is surely an affront to democracy and the removal of workers’ democratic right to protect their employment.
On the massive issue of future levels of taxation, legislation is to follow banning any rises in taxes, national insurance contributions or VAT during the lifetime of this parliament, proposals that effectively have those who earn more paying less over the lifetime of the parliament – more of the same indeed.
Then we turn to welfare and the proposed cuts to benefits announced in the Queen’s Speech. Scotland did not vote for such legislation, yet many in Scotland will be painfully affected by this legislation – surely an affront to democracy and an opportunity indeed for Scotland’s voice to be heard.
Catriona C Clark
While the continuation of the pension triple lock as mentioned in the Queen’s Speech and the freezing of income tax, VAT and national insurance along with raising the tax allowance to £12,500 are all welcome, it does leave one wondering how the government can afford it.
With the deficit hovering around £100 billion per annum, adding extra hours of nursery provision and a 20 per cent discount on new homes for first-time buyers are welcome but who is bearing the cost?
Does all this extra spending and revenue freezing mean rather unwelcome rises elsewhere?
While many items in the speech were welcome and possible, one item stands out as questionable.
It is claimed the Enterprise Bill will cut £10bn of “red tape” from business.
This would be a welcome improvement but are they bearing in mind that all the non-essential red tape was once a bill in previous speeches (when that red tape was enacted) and was deemed essential at the time?
Bruce D Skivington
Gairloch, Wester Ross