Making sense of the Queen’s Speech

Melissa, who talks to MPs and decision makers on Sense’s behalf, breaks down the Queen’s Speech, where the laws that the government is going to introduce are announced.

Yesterday in Parliament, a series of strange things happened. A crown arrived in its own car. An MP was taken hostage. Guards searched the cellars of Parliament for explosives. And the door to the House of Commons being slammed in someone called Blackrod’s face.

Yes, you read that right. These weird traditions are all part of the Queen’s Speech. And it’s not just a day of ceremony in Parliament, it’s the day the Queen announces the laws her government is planning to introduce.

It’s usually given by the Queen, but unfortunately due to mobility issues she was unable to deliver it. So Prince Charles did it on her behalf, and while there were some positives, the speech was a missed opportunity to improve the lives of people with complex disabilities in the short term.

What was in the Queen’s Speech?

This year’s Queen’s Speech contained 38 pieces of legislation. These ranged from an energy bill which will support the transition to cheaper, cleaner and more sustainable energy, to a bill regulating English football. With plenty of others in between.

What was in the Queen’s Speech for people with complex disabilities?

There wasn’t much in the speech for people with complex disabilities. The main area of interest was at the beginning when the government said their priority is to grow and strengthen the economy and help ease the cost of living for families.

The cost-of-living crisis is having a huge impact on people with complex disabilities. Research by Sense shows that more than three quarters (78%) of disabled people fear the rising cost of living will push them into debt.

The Queen’s Speech focused on long-term improvements to living standards, the economy and cheaper energy. This is all positive, but it does not solve the immediate challenges disabled people are facing. This speech was a missed opportunity to increase welfare benefits to avoid catastrophe.

What next?

MPs and peers will spend the next few days debating the contents of the speech. Then the fun begins as the government will start to move all 38 pieces of legislation through Parliament. I, along with the rest of the Sense team, will be keeping a close eye on them, to make sure they are doing everything they can to support people with complex disabilities.

And we’ll continue to speak to MPs and peers about how to address the cost-of-living crisis for disabled people.

We need action now, even if it needs to happen without all the excitement of the Queen’s Speech. 

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