IN this week’s column, Labour Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols discusses the Queen’s Speech.

Today was the Queen’s Speech, with Prince Charles reading out the Government’s goals for the next year.

This was an opportunity to recognise the horrendous impact of the soaring cost of living crisis on people’s lives and to announce an emergency budget to address it; the Government missed this chance and have not brought forward any new help.

Warrington Guardian readers will know all too well how much prices are rising while incomes are being squeezed.

Every day we hear new stories of desperation, including people resorting to starting fires in their homes to try to stay warm with awful consequences.

But when the Prime Minister was asked about an elderly woman who rides the buses all day for heat he didn’t recognise this as a need for more action and just made inaccurate boasts about bus tickets in London.

All the while prices eat away at every corner of family budgets.

This week we have heard that direct debit payments have at least doubled for one in four energy users despite prices going up “only” 54 per cent in April.

This sounds wrong and action should be taken.

Labour has called for a windfall tax levy on oil and gas producers who are making record profits from the high prices.

This would save £600 from the bills of the most needy households, but the Government refuses to act.

We would scrap the Conservatives’ National Insurance rise and invest in insulating homes to bring bills down further, but the Government has rejected these calls too.

Rather than taking swift action on costs, or to tackle fraud that is reported to cost us £130 billion a year, the Government is more concerned with its crank obsessions like privatising Channel 4 and cracking down on our rights to protest.

There was no sign of the promised Employment Bill to guarantee fair tips, a default right to flexible working, predictable contacts, new protections against pregnancy and maternity discrimination, extended paid leave for neonatal care and a right for leave for unpaid carers.

There was also no mention of ending the discrimination against unmarried couples in entitlement to bereavement support, which must change.

The country is crying out for vision and support in these difficult times, but the Government is so out of touch that no wonder even a Conservative MP has said that “For most of the Cabinet, it is a choice between heating or Eton.”