On May 3rd, Liverpool has a chance to send a message to David Cameron and Nick Clegg as we go to the polls to vote in Local and, for the first time ever, Mayoral elections. I think it will be loud and clear that we have already had enough of this hapless Coalition.
When we go to the polls to put our X next to our preferred candidate there are some things we should all bear in mind. The cost of living is rising, fuel and energy bills are soaring and more people are unemployed today than at any time in the last fifteen years. Crime is rising for the first time since 1997, we have the lowest number of police officers on the street in a decade and we are now in the midst of a double-dip recession!
The cuts to the Educational Maintenance Allowance, mean more children are leaving school earlier than planned and, with University tuition fees trebling, even less of our young people plan to go on to further education. NHS waiting times are going back up, whilst thousands of nurses are being made redundant to pay for the biggest reorganisation of the Health Service since its inception.
When the people of Liverpool go to the polls you have a real choice. You can send a message to the Government that you accept their erroneous rationale for the squeeze, or you can send a message that you want an alternative. Some might believe that alternative to be a Party other than the Labour Party, but hopefully they will see that there is only one true alternative to this ConDem Government.
When I meet people in the streets or when we knock on doors across Liverpool I am constantly amazed (and frustrated) that some people still say to me that political parties are “all the same.” Believe me, WE ARE NOT. In fact, I believe, that for the first time in a long while the differences between the Labour Party and the Conservatives/Lib Dems have never been so great.
Today, on Cameron and Clegg’s watch, unemployment is escalating. Youth unemployment is at one million and unemployment amongst women is the highest it has been in over two decades. Walton is ranked fifth in the country for unemployment, with over 5,000 (14%) of our local residents on benefits rather than working. This will continue to rise without policies to change the economic direction.
Across the North West, there are 325,000 people out of work today. Think of the devastation that causes to families, the pain and the heart ache that comes with economic uncertainty in your own home. How are ordinary people going to afford £50 or £60 to fill up the petrol tank so that we can get to work? What about running the kids round? People are worrying about whether to heat, or eat such is the cost of gas and electricity. And for many, they wonder how they are going to afford this month’s rent when their hours at work have been cut and Tax Credits have been callously slashed to give the richest people a tax cut.
For the vast majority on Jobs Seekers Allowance they would jump at the chance of being in paid work. It is this majority that require assistance to help them to find employment, but the Government would have us believe that everybody on benefit would rather live this daily trauma, than get off their backsides and work. This shows just how out of touch the Government really is.
In fact, Cameron, Osborne and their Lib Dem friends need to think again. They do not have a regeneration plan that is strategic enough to create a climate that is conducive to jobs and growth in areas like ours. In other words; they need a Plan B, because Plan A has been disastrous.
Labour’s Real Jobs Guarantee would put a tax on the people that really did cause the recession, the bankers. By taxing bankers’ bonuses, we can raise enough money to put 100,000 people back in to work and take them off of the benefits bill.
Liverpool Labour is committed to providing local services that work for you and your family. In Liverpool the Council has invested in apprenticeships and has helped to create 691 posts. We have put together an ambitious programme to build new schools which the Tories and Lib Dems scrapped when coming into office. We are working with Liverpool Community Colleges to offer a Liverpool EMA and to ensure that there are the facilities and courses available to cater for all our young people’s talents. And we will work hard to save vital local services, such as libraries and swimming pools, from the deepest and most unfair cuts in the Country.
I believe that politics is about priorities. You can choose to put profit before people or you can choose to create climates that encourage each and every person from each and every area to fulfill their potential. The Labour Party’s values of solidarity, determination and hard work, are the values that will help to keep our communities strong during these tough times. The Tories have proven that they are out of touch on the issues that matter to people most. The Lib Dems have simply become a human shield for their Tory masters. So when you go to the polls on May 3rd, bear this in mind and vote for a party that cares about you and your family. Vote Labour.