Nine measures for a ‘big L’ liberal Queen’s Speech

CentreForum’s Tom Frostick outlines nine measures a “big L” liberal government would enact in a Queen’s Speech.

E-mail-sign-up Donate

 

.

By CentreForum’s Tom Frostick

ConservativeHome has published its own version of the Queen’s speech, charting what a “big C” conservative government would be doing had the Tories won a majority in 2010. At CentreForum, we conducted a similar exercise, and came up with nine measures a “big L” liberal government would enact.

Our Queen’s speech is based upon the principles of freedom and fairness. It will help disadvantaged children escape their circumstances. It will get more people into housing. It will cut youth unemployment immediately, promote consumer choice and strengthen our democracy. It will boost the economy now and into the future.

Queens-Speech-cartoon
This is a Queen’s speech that liberals and progressives, from all parties, can get behind:

1. Legislate to get all children reading by the age of 11

No child who is eligible for the pupil premium should leave primary school without being able to read. A target along the lines of the 2020 child poverty target may help concentrate minds, but the government must also look to intervene where pupils are struggling to read to a decent standard.

2. Tackle the housing crisis by liberalising the planning system and giving leaseholders a better deal

Community land auctions should be introduced immediately to incentivise housebuilding. More houses will mean more leaseholders; the government should reform this unfair form of property ownership as an accompanying measure.

3. Go further in relaxing controls on the number of students entering higher education, and introduce a bill for postgraduate loans

As CentreForum’s chief economist Tim Leunig has argued, creating extra university places will cost nothing. The government should continue to relax controls on student numbers. It should also offer loans for one year taught Master’s courses. This again would cost the government next to nothing.

4. Change Home Office visa rules so overseas students who are studying in the UK on a temporary basis are treated differently to permanent migrants

Overseas students contribute billions of pounds a year to the UK economy. Home Office statistics show only about ten per cent stay on in the UK permanently. Clamping down on these students to reduce overall net migration makes no sense.

5. Press ahead with legislation for a majority elected and smaller House of Lords

“Asquith’s unfinished business” was in each of the major parties’ manifestos before the last general election. They should get on with it.

6. Commit to changing water industry legislation to make hosepipe bans a thing of the past

A hosepipe ban is a poor response to a drier than normal winter. In future drought years, water companies should offer businesses compensation for reducing the amount of water they consume. The water saved can then be sold on to metered domestic users who pay more for water than business users. This generates the cash needed to compensate businesses.

7. Push for a more diverse senior judiciary

Following the Ministry of Justice consultation ‘A judiciary for the 21st century’, the government should be looking to make the Supreme Court a more diverse institution.

8. Legislate to raise the state pension age by one month every year

People are living longer and will therefore have to work longer and wait longer before claiming their retirement benefits. It is time the government maps out a clear path for increasing the state pension age.

9. Go further in making the energy market friendlier to consumers

Switching energy tariffs should be made as easy as possible. Companies should have to tell people if a competitor is cheaper, and how much they can save, based on their estimated usage. As well as being told who is cheapest, customers should get a QR code linked to a pre-populated form, a web address and a phone number if they want to switch. All companies should offer the same prices to everyone – existing customers as well as new ones.

 


See also:

The Queen’s Speech needs an ‘Economic Freedom Bill’ 9 May 2012

Labour’s five “fair deal” priorities for the Queen’s Speech 30 Apr 2012

Will Clegg stick or twist? 8 May 2010


 

For more on these measures, check out the CentreForum website; with the exception of Lords reform, we don’t expect to see any of them in Her Majesty’s speech, but there is always next time…

 


Sign-up to our weekly email • Donate to Left Foot Forward

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today. 

24 Responses to “Nine measures for a ‘big L’ liberal Queen’s Speech”

  1. CentreForum

    Nine measures for a ‘big L’ liberal Queen’s Speec: http://t.co/Mp4Cz3aR by @CentreForum’s Tom Frostick #QueensSpeech

  2. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – Nine measures for a ‘big L’ liberal Queen’s Speech http://t.co/m3e0yWaB

  3. CentreForum

    Nine measures for a ‘big L’ liberal Queen’s Speech: http://t.co/Mp4Cz3aR by @CentreForum’s Tom Frostick #QueensSpeech

  4. BevR

    Nine measures for a ‘big L’ liberal Queen’s Speech: http://t.co/Mp4Cz3aR by @CentreForum’s Tom Frostick #QueensSpeech

  5. BMetAlevelPolitics

    Nine measures for a ‘big L’ liberal Queen’s Speech: http://t.co/Mp4Cz3aR by @CentreForum’s Tom Frostick #QueensSpeech

  6. Paul Hindley

    Nine measures for a ‘big L’ liberal Queen’s Speech: http://t.co/Mp4Cz3aR by @CentreForum’s Tom Frostick #QueensSpeech

  7. QRcodes Statistics

    Nine measures for a 'big L' liberal Queen's Speech – Left Foot Forward: Left Foot ForwardNine measures for a 'bi… http://t.co/VBT7EEUa

  8. Billy Donohoe

    RT @leftfootfwd: Nine measures for a ‘big L’ liberal Queen’s Speech http://t.co/Z3mbJ0p4

  9. Pulp Ark

    Nine measures for a ‘big L’ liberal Queen’s Speech http://t.co/33sJLntJ #GoodSociety #liberals #Parliament #muslim #tcot #sioa

  10. Political Planet

    Nine measures for a ‘big L’ liberal Queen’s Speech: CentreForum’s Tom Frostick outlines nine measures a “big L” … http://t.co/ywr4qwYe

  11. Graduate News

    Nine measures for a 'big L' liberal Queen's Speech – Left Foot Forward: Left Foot ForwardNine measures for a 'bi… http://t.co/OgBUwTbe

  12. Ewok Defence League

    Nine measures for a ‘big L’ liberal Queen’s Speech http://t.co/V6x9oIwB #GoodSociety #liberals #Parliament #muslim #tcot #sioa #edl

  13. Shamik Das

    Nine measures for a ‘big L’ liberal Queen’s Speech: http://t.co/Mp4Cz3aR by @CentreForum’s Tom Frostick #QueensSpeech

  14. Ruby Chow

    Frm earlier: Nine measures for a ‘big L’ liberal Queen’s Speech: http://t.co/Mp4Cz3aR by @CentreForum’s Tom Frostick #QueensSpeech

  15. Millie Brown

    Nine measures for a ‘big L’ liberal #QueensSpeech from @leftfootfwd: http://t.co/l976RclK

  16. All Thats Left

    I agree with most of this Tom (perhaps with the exception of the Judiciary point) – here’s our Alternative (I know everyone’s doing them), perhaps even more radical than yours!
    http://www.allthatsleft.co.uk/2012/05/an-alternative-queens-speech/

  17. Anonymous

    2. That won’t help the people being evicted NOW. We need immediate rent caps.

    3. While the suggestion for taught masters courses is good (disclaimer: It would probably get me some work);

    “This again would cost the government next to nothing.”

    Yes, because a lot of Universities – including red brick ones – are miserably failing to fill their places. It would do next-to-nothing at all because so few people would use it! The problem is student loans in the first place, reducing them to say £1.5 a year, close to the OECD average, for Undergrads, would be a better strategy.

    As would reversing the devastating impact of other cuts on Universities. And they /are/ devastating them.

    9. This will have next-to-no impact on many poorer people, for several reasons.

    Firstly, many tennants contracts deny them the right to change gas and electric suppliers. This should not be permitted, but contracts should attach to the individual and not the house, and Landlords when someone ends their contract should not face some of the burdens they do today. For that matter, it should be possible to pass contracts for utilities on to the new tenants directly (including internet access in that) and for multiple people’s names to be on utility contracts!

    Second, many poorer people are forced to use expensive meters, on their own extortionate tariffs. This practice should be brought to an end, and people on meters should be put onto normal tariffs, with a SMALL surcharge (say…3%) for the cost of running the meter.

  18. Anonymous

    Mm. What’s wrong with Portugal’s approach to drug misuse? Honestly, in terms of outcomes, their policy is by far the best as far as I’m concerned.

  19. BevR

    RT @leftfootfwd: Nine measures for a ‘big L’ liberal Queen’s Speech http://t.co/vPBZQfr5

  20. Foxy52

    RT @leftfootfwd: Nine measures for a ‘big L’ liberal Queen’s Speech http://t.co/vPBZQfr5

  21. MustBeRead

    Tom Frostick: The #AlternativeQueensSpeech if the Liberals were in charge http://t.co/XiCH4iXo via @LeftFootFwd

  22. BevR

    RT @leftfootfwd: Nine measures for a ‘big L’ liberal Queen’s Speech http://t.co/vPBZQfr5

  23. Look Left – Miliband’s speech, the Queen’s Speech and Vidal Sassoon | Left Foot Forward

    […] Nine measures for a ‘big L’ liberal Queen’s Speech Tom Frostick, […]

Leave a Reply