IN his latest column MP for Milton Keynes South Iain Stewart writes about the Queen’s Speech and what it means to people in Milton Keynes.
THE State Opening of Parliament and Queen’s Speech took place this month on May 9. The last session of Parliament was the longest for nearly 100 years and the State Opening marks the formal start of the new 2012-13 parliamentary session.
At the end of a Parliamentary Session any bill that is not passed is dropped, apart from Public Bills that have had a carry-over motion passed. Early Day Motions that have been tabled in a previous session are also no longer available for signing by MPs.
The main focus of the 2012 Queen’s Speech was to address our most urgent task, to tackle the nation’s record debts and to promote growth. We have had to make some tough choices, but it is vital for us to continue to make sure we keep spending down, so families can benefit from low interest rates and Britain is protected from the global debt storm.
The Public Service Pensions Bill will help reduce the deficit by putting the pensions system on a more affordable footing and saving the taxpayer tens of billions over the coming years while still guaranteeing a good pension for teachers, doctors and nurses.
The Enterprise Bill will give a boost to the economy by cutting regulation on businesses, as well as including proposals to increase shareholder power, potentially giving binding votes on executive pay. Bills like this, alongside the measures the Government have already taken to cut corporation tax and introduce new incentives for investment, will make Britain one of the most business-friendly countries in the world.
A Banking Reform Bill will clear up the regulatory mess left after the crash and protect consumers from risky activity. As well as an Energy Bill that will channel new investment into the growing industries that are going to create thousands of good jobs across our country in manufacturing renewable, nuclear and new gas technologies.
Importantly the Queens Speech also included a bill that exempts the UK from a new European bailout agreement between eurozone countries. The European bailout agreement was something the previous Labour government signed us up to days before they were voted out of office. It was wrong to pour so much taxpayers money into trying to save the euro. I thoroughly support the decision to end the UK’s liability if eurozone states default on their debts.
In my view this is a Queen’s Speech that takes important long-term steps. This does mean taking tough, and sometimes unpopular, decisions, but always with the aim of restoring our economy to a sound footing and helping Britain avoid the debt crisis they are suffering elsewhere in Europe. It helps us to tackle the deficit and get our economy moving – and it is purposefully on the side of people who work hard and do the right thing.
Turning to more local issues, I was delight to take part in the many and varied community activities that took place in Milton Keynes this month. I was pleased to support a recruitment drive by the local branch of the MS society, who received support from catering and beauty therapy students from MK College. Volunteers are essential to the effective running of support organisations like this and I would encourage people to volunteer their time and skills for this worthwhile cause.
With Carer’s Week coming up from June 18-24, I went along to visit the offices of Carers MK to see the good work they do supporting both young and adult carers in the city. In addition to meeting the dedicated team, I had the opportunity to listen to a local carer’s story. This carer’s life was turned around in an instant when her partner suffered a stroke. It was through the support from Carers MK that she was able to cope. Her story highlights how important the work of Carers MK is and how much more we should value our carers.
A few months back I participated in the Young Enterprise Trade Fair in Middleton Hall. This month the county finals were held at the Open University and I was pleased to support the young people who are getting a taste of the real world of business.
Finally, I was delighted to nominate ‘Time Well Spent’, a band of four teenagers from Milton Keynes, for this year’s Parliamentary live music competition, Rock the House. I wish them the best of luck as the competition progresses.
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