LABOUR MP Kate Hollern has condemned the Queen's Speech setting out the government's legislative programme as failing her Blackburn constituents.

But her Burnley Tory counterpart Antony Higginbotham has said it 'gets us back to focusing on the issues residents right across Burnley are raising with me'.

Blackburn with Darwen Council's new Labour leader Cllr Phil Riley has given a qualified welcome to plans to grant councils new powers to force landlords to let out empty shops to rejuvenate high streets.

Blackburn MP Mrs Hollern said: "Levelling up has been all talk and no action from the Government.

"This Queen’s Speech does not give me any confidence that the Conservative Party will give local authorities the powers and funding to revitalise people and places. A few touches here and there will not bridge the growing divides between regions of the country.

"While families in Blackburn are struggling with this very real cost of living crisis, oil companies have posted record profits.

"This was a chance to come out behind the hardest-pressed and least well-off: to cut VAT, go back on the national insurance hike and to tax oil and gas producer profits to help cut household bills."

Mr Higginbotham said: "After the deepest economic shock in more than 300 years we have got to turbo-charge the levelling up agenda, regenerate the parts of our borough that need it, ease the cost of living for working families, and strengthen our local economy.

"That’s what this agenda for the forthcoming Parliamentary session does.

"All we’ve heard from Labour is that they don’t like it, without any ideas of their own.".

Cllr Riley said of the proposals for powers to force landlords to let out empty shops: "I can see why it is an idea worth consideration and we will certainly give it consideration in neighbourhoods where there are empty shops. However this is not an easy set of actions."

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said: “It is the central mission of this Conservative Government to deliver on the priorities of the British people.


“This Queen’s Speech addresses costs of living pressures and goes further to support long-term growth in our economy, increases safety across communities and spreads opportunity across the UK.”