Conservative manifesto pledges dropped from two-year Queen’s Speech

Written by Tom Freeman on 21 June 2017 in News

Queen's Speech light on matters relating to Scotland but includes a commitment to work with devolved administrations on Brexit

Queen's Speech - PA

A number of key Conservative manifesto pledges were dropped from today’s Queen’s Speech in the Houses of Parliament.

Instead, the UK’s departure from the European Union dominated the legislative proposals.

Manifesto commitments to cut the winter fuel allowance for better-off pensioners, scrapping of the triple lock of pensions and free school meals, the reintroduction of grammar schools and a relaxation of the ban on fox hunting were all dropped. 


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Controversial reforms to the way social care is funded which would see the value of people’s homes used to pay for services after their death will now be put to consultation.

All these relate to England and fall under the jurisdiction of the Scottish Government north of the border.

The speech set out 27 bills in the next two years of parliament, eight of which refer to Brexit and its implications for industry.

These include a bill to repeal the European Communities Act and establish new powers on immigration, international sanctions, nuclear safeguards, agriculture and fisheries.

There is no mention of whether any of these would be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

Other bills cover plans to scrap tenants' fees, crack down on domestic abuse and introduce flexible working in the Armed Forces, as well as a review of counter-terrorism procedures in the wake of recent attacks in Manchester and London.

In her introduction to the programme, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “The election result was not the one I hoped for, but this Government will respond with humility and resolve to the message the electorate sent.

“We will work hard every day to gain the trust and confidence of the British people, making their priorities our priorities.”

SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford described May as a “lame duck” prime minister.
 
“It took Theresa May just four days to ditch her first flagship manifesto policy, and it’s taken barely four weeks for her to ditch the rest,” he said.
 
“There was nothing in this programme to try and turn around the faltering economy, or how to support our under-pressure public services. Years of Tory infighting have ultimately led us to this moment – they have effectively brought government to a standstill, and working people across the country are paying the price.”

Labour’s Shadow Scottish Secretary Lesley Laird said there was “no mandate” for the proposals.

“It is deeply disappointing that this government appears determined to press ahead with deep cuts to public services and a failed austerity programme that has lost public support,” she said.

“The Queen’s Speech offers very little for Scotland, with nothing for our vital oil and gas industry, no measures to protect the 250,000 WASPI women in Scotland affected by the botched acceleration of the state pension age, and no attempt to apply a VAT exemption to our stretched fire and police services.

“While Brexit will undoubtedly dominate parliamentary proceedings, Theresa May must revisit her reckless plan for a Brexit that will leave people worse off.”

The Queen’s Speech also contained a promise to “work closely with the devolved administrations” in Brexit negotiations, which began this week in Brussels.

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