Wirral MP closes important Queen’s Speech debate in Parliament

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23 Jan 2020
Margaret Greenwood, MP for Wirral West, has this week delivered the closing statement for the Opposition in a House of Commons debate on the Queen’s Speech.

The Queen’s Speech was delivered just before Christmas and set out the government’s plans for the current Parliament. For over a week, the House of Commons had been debating various aspects of government policy including health and social care, education and local government, and the environment.

Ms Greenwood, who is the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, was speaking on the economy and jobs, raising in particular the importance of ending in-work poverty, tackling insecurity in work and addressing underpayment of the National Living Wage.

During her speech, Margaret Greenwood also called for all primary school children to be provided with free school meals, a £10 an hour minimum wage for all workers aged 16 and over, and the abolition the two-child limit in Universal Credit.

Speaking after the debate, Margaret Greenwood said:

“Only last week, a major new study highlighted that the wealthiest people in the UK can expect to live around nine years longer in good health than the poorer people in our society. That is a stark indication of the deep-rooted inequality in our country.

“The last decade has seen a sharp rise in the number of people in low-paid, insecure work which is damaging people’s lives. It leaves children going hungry, puts stress on families and leaves many unable to meet basic household bills.

“While the government proposes to increase the National Living Wage, it will fall far short of a genuine living wage, as set by the Living Wage Foundation. The government has even missed its target of £9 an hour by 2020, set by George Osborne back in 2015, let alone Labour’s goal of £10 an hour for all workers aged 16 and over.

“Average wages still remain lower in real terms than they were in 2008.

“Low pay and insecure work create real problems for people and for society.

“People need stability in their lives so that they can know how they are going to pay their bills and feed their families.

“The government must take action to address the very real problems that working people face.”