Ed Miliband has not always struck home against the coalition, even when the goal has seemed rather wide. In the Commons this afternoon, however, the opposition leader demonstrated that Labour’s critique of the government is getting ever firmer.
The wind is behind Miliband, of course: an economy that has sunk back into double-dip recession, rising unemployment, an superfluous shake-up of the NHS, clear splits between the Lib Dems and Tories on several fronts, including Lords reform.
But the Labour leader has tied this to his theme of a government where ministers are “working for their friends” to ever more effective deployment – even if you consider his use of the phrase “cronies” to be more suitable for a 6th form debating society.
“The heart of this problem is that the government stands up for the wrong people” is the damaging message. Labour is now repeatedly talking about rail fares, energy bills and bank charges – and criticising the overpaid bosses of such companies. And the high cost of living is unlikely to fade as a theme in the coming months.
Miliband’s job is made much easier by the Budget, in particular its cut in the 50p rate of income tax. Labour believes this was an open goal, a clearcut symbol of the Read more
This is not a complete guide to everything the coalition will do in 2012/13; many of the government’s actions do not need fresh laws. But here is the full list of all the legislation that ministers plan to enact in the coming Parliamentary calendar. Ministers will also reaffirm their plan to spend 0.7 per cent of GDP on aid by 2013, although there is no bill to legislate this commitment.
Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill:
- repealing unnecesary legislation and limiting state inspections of companies
- setting up a Green Investment Bank
- reforming competition law
- give extra powers to shareholders to influence executive pay
- overhaul employment tribunals
Banking Reform Bill:
- implementation of some of the Vickers report to ringfence retail and investment Read more
Proposals to create a system of shared parental leave have been bogged down in wrangling between ministers over a radical plan to grant a £5,500 “baby bonus” to parents on the birth of the child.
The plan was put forward by Oliver Letwin and would replace statutory maternity pay; the idea is that it would increase individual choice and remove a bureaucratic cost from employers. But it has not yet been implemented because of fears that it could end up costing more; given that many mothers don’t take their full 39 weeks of paid leave. Read more