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REDWOOD REACTS TO QUEEN'S SPEECH

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Responding to the Queen's Speech, John Redwood, shadow secretary of state for environment, transport and the region...
Responding to the Queen's Speech, John Redwood, shadow secretary of state for environment, transport and the regions, said: 'On the day of the Queen's Speech, Labour have shown that all their fine words about devolving government closer to the people mean nothing. It was a

Great Labour Lie that they wanted to trust the people of London with making the choice of Mayor. Tony Blair thinks Londoners should only be allowed the person he wants. It will be the same if Labour have their way in forcing mayors or cabinets on other parts of the country. This government is not trying to strengthen our democracy - it's trying to take it away.'

New Transport Taxes

'Labour already levies exorbitant taxes on motorists. Out of every£20 spent at the petrol pump, the Treasury takes£17 as tax. Now Labour

want to introduce unfair congestion taxes and parking taxes. Labour promised immediate benefits for the travelling public, but they have just increased taxation. It is another example of the Great Labour Lie.

NATS

'Labour's plans for the partial privatisation are a mess. They might end up selling control of our air for less than half the fair price to a foreign company. Before the election, they told us 'our air is not for sale'. It's another Great Labour Lie - leading to a botched privatisation strongly opposed by many Labour MPs and the trade unions. The Opposition will also oppose this muddled and messy scheme vigorously.

Local Government

'Labour is bullying councils into change, robbing them of any local

discretion or choice. We believe that councils should be given more freedom to develop their own arrangements, and should be able to keep their current arrangements if they wish.

'Conservatives will cut back on red tape and interference from central

government. We believe in decentralising power - to councils, schools and hospitals. We oppose the imposition of unwanted regional government, and wish to strengthen local and parish councils. We need more, not less, scrutiny to ensure that bad Labour councils do not get away with more cronyism and mismanagement.

Water

'Where is the Bill in the Queen's Speech to introduce more competition in the water industry? More competition will make water shortages a thing of the nationalised past and will allow prices to come down. This is another Conservative common sense policy I urge them to adopt in full: it is high time consumers had a choice of water supplier.

Countryside

'Labour don't care or understand about the countryside. The Bill does

nothing to help British farmers, regenerate rural communities or protect greenfield land from excessive development.

Leasehold Reform

'Labour promised in 1996 that they would have 'no hesitation' in introducing a comprehensive leasehold and commonhold reform. But now they have only published a draft Bill, calling into question the likelihood of legislation being passed before the next general election. This proves that Labour say one thing and do another.'

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