‘Populist hobby horses rather than tackling the cost of living crisis’ – Mayor responds to Queen’s Speech

Three years after the Government first said it would level up the country, today’s speech shows ministers still have no idea what it means in practice. 

First, it was removing people’s say over local developments and attacking the right to protest or vote, and now it’s reheated planning and regeneration reforms that will do nothing to tackle Hackney’s housing crisis. If the Prime Minister believes he can rebalance the economy after Brexit by dressing up a few boarded-up shop fronts and making it easier to change street names, it shows the failure of his ambition.

Instead of tackling the cost of living crisis, today’s proposals showed the Government seems more bizarrely preoccupied with needlessly privatising Channel 4 or rewriting the Human Rights Act – doing nothing to tackle inequality or support families struggling in Hackney.

We welcome moves to reform business rates, tackle illegal schools and new SEND standards, all areas we have campaigned on, but these measures will only be effective with adequate funding for local government to provide frontline services after 12 years of austerity. We will study the detail of these bills and respond when they are presented to Parliament, but others like the ban on conversion therapy don’t go far enough,.

Three years after first announcing a ban on Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions for private renters, we remain concerned that action has again been kicked down the road into a new parliamentary session, and call on ministers to bring forward legislation as soon as possible. With the end of the lockdown evictions ban, soaring rents and weak protections for renters the Government can and must do more for those living in the private rented sector and squeezed by the cost of living crisis. We support the Generation Rent campaign to strengthen this Bill, action by London Renters Union locally and highlight this report by Shelter that shows homelessness due to these ‘no fault’ evictions is up 37%.

From the delivery of new council homes to tackling climate change there are so many missed opportunities. At a time when Hackney is setting a bold agenda for action, all I can see is dither and delay.

The lack of meaningful policy in today’s speech showed a Government prioritising populist hobby horses over action to tackle the major issues facing Hackney and the country.

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