Thu 21 October 2021

The Prime Minister’s Queen Speech and recent announcements are a long way away from the commitments he was declaring during his leadership election.

Boris Johnson used his first Queen’s Speech to rewrite history on a number of promises he made during his leadership campaign.

There was no immediate agenda, as he had promised, to tackle the burgeoning social care crisis and no new policy to help tenants at the mercy of landlords. Plans for 40 ‘new’ hospitals stayed stubbornly at just six. Also missing was a bill that would force billionaires to register the real ownership of their mansions.

There was also no “fresh vigour” to help the Backto60 group, which has been campaigning for 3.8 million women born in the 1950s – who lost out on six years of their pensions when the state pension age was raised – to be compensated.

Addressing the pensions scandal during his leadership campaign, Johnson said in July: “I will undertake – if I’m lucky enough to succeed in this campaign – to return to this issue with fresh vigour and new eyes and see what I can do to sort it out.”

However, following last week’s dismissal by the High Court of the judicial review brought by Backto60, he has now backtracked.

Writing to a constituent in Uxbridge and Ruislip, who wishes to remain anonymous, he said: “Making further transitional arrangements [for the 1950s women] would not only complicate the system but could also cost the taxpayers many billions of pounds and the potential cost of reversing the 2011 changes has been estimated at £39 billion.”

For the women themselves, the one tool of power they have left is their vote in the next General Election. Many others, from the millions needing social care to the millions of private tenants, may also feel the same.

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