Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Vernon Coaker MP, responding to the Queen’s Speech, said:
“There is nothing in this Queen’s Speech for Northern Ireland, not even a mention. It shows how out of touch Owen Paterson and this Tory-led Government is.
“Last week we found out that economy, which had been recovering strongly two years ago, has now sunk into a double-dip recession – a recession made in Downing Street but felt in every street in towns and villages across Northern Ireland.
“David Cameron, George Osborne and Owen Paterson promised they would change things in Northern Ireland for the better. They boasted they had taken the economy “out of the danger zone”. They ignored the warning signs that their reckless plan would backfire.
“Labour’s priorities are measures that would help families in Northern Ireland immediately, not help the bankers who wanted their big bonuses or the millionaires who wanted a tax cut worth tens of thousands of pounds.
“This Tory-led Government, with its Liberal Democrat prop, has helped those who don’t need help. But it has not helped families feeling the squeeze – because it is too close to the rich and powerful and out of touch with everyone else. Those in the middle are being forced to pay more in tax. Pensioners are being forced to pay more in tax. Families are losing their working tax credits, making some of them better off on benefits. There is even a new tax that will hurt charities.
“In these tough times when there is less money around, Labour’s priorities for Northern Ireland are those which would improve living standards for families, ensure security for pensioners and get our young people back to work.”