Let’s play fantasy Queen’s Speech

With hours to go before the Queen lets us know the Government’s legislative plans for the year ahead, I thought it might be a good idea to ask you for just one idea you would like to see in the Government’s legislative programme.

Liberal Democrats are likely to wince at further curbs on immigration, but be pleased at the presence of Steve Webb’s pension reforms and at the absence of draconian plans to require companies to keep records of every website we visit and every email we send.

But if you were writing the speech, what would you put in it?

I’d go for incorporating the International Code on the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes into UK law. Who can argue with its aim to:

contribute to the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants, by the protection and promotion of breast-feeding, and by ensuring the proper use of breast-milk substitutes, when these are necessary, on the basis of adequate information and through appropriate marketing and distribution.
Formula manufacturers have on several occasions had to withdraw advertisements after making claims which could not be backed up by evidence. Incorporating the code would make sure that information on infant nutrition was always accurate and not promoted at parents in such a way as to undermine breastfeeding. I wrote last year about how encouraging breastfeeding would be a powerful way to tackle inequalities in health. And, by the by, it would also save us £40 million a year in NHS costs. Clearly legislation on its own is not enough to promote the necessary cultural change, but it would be a good start.
So, what would you do? Be as creative as you like.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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4 Comments

  • I’d ask the Her Majesty the Queen to announce a Royal Legacy programme for her to spend some of her Inheritance to stimulate our Country’s economy. This would be funding for the charity sector with a three (although seven would be better) year fixed term grant to charities to manage and employ a number of apprentice young people then to develop and train them for the future. I would suggest that the investing funds into Angel investment programmes would also help. With our Monarch front and centre at the Queen’s speech, she should be part of the solution our country needs, to my pragmatic mind.

    I would definitely include electoral reform and the introduction of the Single Transferable Vote, A consultation on Land Value Tax/Mansion Tax policy, reversal of the Legal Aid cuts and secret courts legislation.

  • Martin Frost 8th May '13 - 12:29pm

    No need for fantasy. This is the reality.

    -Tougher immigration controls to make it easier to deport criminals. (a veiled attack on the Human Rights Act)
    -Immigrants to face restrictions on access to the NHS . Very civilised.
    – Requirements on private landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants. Populist nonsense,
    – A further bill on ‘de-regulation’ to encourage growth and support businesses.. ie. by removing hard fought for employment rights . We already have weaken employment protection than almost anywhere in the Western world. We are obviously aiming to be bottom of the league.

    The further change to the Equality Act 2010 is the power to remove the power of Employment tribunals to make wider recommendations in discrimination cases. No doubt further watering down will follow, A discriminators’ charter.

    When is Nick Clegg going to start listening to the views of his own Party members and supporters?. His priority remains helping Dave to pacify the right wing of the Tory Party. It is their Government now.

  • Andrew Colman 9th May '13 - 10:34am

    (1) Scrap ATOS checks on disability benefit claimants, get ATOS to chase tax dodgers instead
    (2) Introduce land Value tax and mansion tax, exempt labour costs of small domestic plumbing and decorating jobs costing <£2000 from VAT. Push for G8/G20 worldwide tobin tax.
    (3) Include upfront house prices (not interest payments) in CPI (weighted according to total expenditure on housing)and inflation indices used to manage monetary policy
    (4) Use Stamp duty as a house price regulator (eg raise if prices rise to fast). Include some partial exemption for frequent movers

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