Yesterday, Tuesday May 10, HRH Prince Charles delivered the Queen’s speech – on behalf of his mother, HRH Queen Elizabeth II – at the state opening of Parliament, during which he outlined the government’s proposed legislation for the new parliamentary session.
This was the first time the Queen was absent from the proceedings since 1963, when she was pregnant with Prince Edward, due to “mobility issues”, Buckingham Palace confirmed.
In this year’s speech there are 38 bills – this is up from 30 last year – and they cover a wide range of government policies for the upcoming session including; climate change, conversion therapy, protest rights, “levelling up”, economic crime, schools, animal welfare, railway reform and energy security.
The speech also contained several commitments that are not presented as legislation, such as a coded reference to ongoing issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol and the cost of living.
‘Out of ideas’
However, following the speech NUS Vice-President for Higher Education Hillary Gyebi-Ababio released a statement criticising the speech as they felt the Government ‘failed to address the issues facing students’.
NUS VP said: ‘Today’s Queen’s Speech shows that the Government is out of ideas. They’ve failed to address the issues facing students, and seemingly forgotten that we’re in the midst of a cost of living crisis.
‘Students desperately need support. Our research shows that they’re becoming increasingly worried about being able to manage; 2 in 3 have sought financial assistance, with 5% visiting food banks and 13% relying on credit schemes like Klarna.
‘Today, the Government could have shifted tack and focused on providing emergency help for the most vulnerable. But rather than committing to offering basic levels of maintenance support, instead they’re pressing ahead with plans which seek to gatekeep education from marginalised communities and will cost current students and graduates £35 billion over the next five years.
‘Students want a transformative education system, not a failing marketised model which is turning us into consumers. The only way forward is funded, accessible and lifelong education.’