December 3, 2008 11:28 PM

The Government's plans for new laws will do little to help hard-pressed families in Newcastle, claims a leading local Liberal Democrat.

The plans were outlined in the Queen's Speech but disappointed Liberal Democrats say that the Government's announcements will do very little to help people in Newcastle cope with the recession.

"The measures given in the Queen's Speech are not enough to help people with the real problems we are now facing," said Ron Beadle, Newcastle North Parliamentary spokesman.

"We need legislation to change the way energy tariffs work to make sure people get the cheapest prices for their essential fuel and power and changes to taxes to put money back in people's pockets.

"With the massive discounts on offer in the shops at the moment, the short term trimming of VAT will make little difference and what we need is income tax cuts targeted at low earners and paid for through closing loopholes.

"Residents of Newcastle who are worried by the economic situation will find little comfort in this programme.

"We need action to force the banks to lend money on fair terms to small businesses and families - and make it quite clear that if the banks cannot be made to act, the government will lend directly itself.

"The Government wasted the opportunity to help people in last week's Pre-Budget Report and now with the Queen's Speech they are wasting it again."

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said the package of measures was "meagre" from a "fag-end government running out of ideas".

The measures were "no use and no help" to people facing "unprecedented" economic worries, doing nothing to cut household fuel bills or get banks to lend more freely.

"It's clear today it isn't just Britain's economy that's broken. Politics is broken, too," he said.

"Today's Government programme is just political pantomime - plenty of bright colours and bad jokes, but very little substance.

"Labour's run out of ideas. It is clearer today than ever that Britain needs a new, different Government.

"A different political beginning. That's what the Liberal Democrats will deliver."