Labour candidates speak out against unemployment – “Minimum wage should be a living wage”

babs labour
Bridgwater East Labour candidate Barbara O’Connor speaks out on Unemployment. “The Tories pitting workers against the unemployed”

With two and a half million unemployed, nearly a million of them young people, the Tories’ idea of sound governance is to give 13,000 millionaires a tax cut and hit 660,000 households with a tax penalising anyone who happens to have a spare room.

We have to wait at least another two years before the next general election. But that doesn’t mean people can’t make an elite-serving Cameron-Clegg Coalition sit down and listen to what we think of their social vandalism.

A chance to hit back at the Tories and Lib Dems

Here in Somerset, next week’s County Elections are a chance to hit back at the Tories and the Lib Dems – the Coalition parties who’ve spent nearly three years making life harder for millions, pushing the poorest even further into poverty, and doing scandalously little while unemployment has shot through the roof.

Labour’s candidates, one for every seat in Somerset, are passionate about helping the unemployed. Being out of work in rural England is especially grim – there are less jobs to go around anyway, and finding employment can be incredibly difficult and demoralising.

Everyone should have the chance to earn a living wage

Barbara O’Connor, leading the charge for Labour in Bridgwater East & Bawdrip, is deeply concerned about how the Tories talk about jobs and the right to work. “As a working parent, I’m constantly reminded of how lucky I am to have a job – mostly by the Conservatives, who seem to think I ought to be grateful to be in work. The reality is that everyone should have the chance to earn a decent, living wage.”

“The Tories seem to be pitting workers against the unemployed, private sector against the public sector, part-timers against full-timers – their strategy seems to be divide and rule by any means necessary, so that people are so busy fighting each other that they don’t notice the sheer extent of the damage the Coalition is doing to our society.

But Barbara rightly points out that it’s not just the youth of Somerset who are floundering in the jobs market – many older residents are also struggling, now forced to work longer than ever to access their state pension. “Personally, I’m really concerned about the over 60s age group, many of whom are now being forced to look for work at a time when they once might’ve been thinking about retirement.”

Unemployment is something that affects all generations

“Years of job losses, pension reform, changing family circumstances, and now the added pressure of having to support grown-up children through financial hardship, mean that we have older people struggling to find the work they need to make ends meet. Without an urgent change of direction, we could have another, older lost generation on our hands. We must not lose sight of the fact that unemployment is something that affects all generations.”

“We’re all in this Tory-made mess together – and I’m grateful to the Labour Party for trying to protect all of us, whether in work or out of it, and for having to vision and courage to tackle unemployment head on”.

Coalition pandering to the super rich

Alan Bond
Watchet and Stogursey Labour candidate Alan Bond ““The more ordinary people have in their pockets to spend, the faster money circulates through the economy – and that benefits everyone.”

Watchet & Stogursey’s Alan Bond, meanwhile, blames a Coalition that has spent three years consistently pandering to the super-rich. “Levels of unemployment will not be helped by making people work longer – the real problem lies in falling tax revenues, due to massive levels of tax-dodging by the richest.”

We need to reduce the taxation deficit – firstly by making everyone pay their fair share, and secondly by reversing Cameron’s tax giveaway to his affluent buddies. By taxing those who can afford it, not those who are struggling to get by, we could allow working people to retire earlier, freeing up more jobs for young people”.

Low wages abroad should not be used as an excuse to keep pay unacceptably low in this country. Being “competitive” really means nothing more than paying people less than they deserve for what they do. We need pay levels that reflect the cost of goods and the value of the service provided, not set as low as employers can get away with paying.”

The minimum wage should be a living wage

Alan also points out the Con Dem’s short-sightedness. They think that by slashing services and making life harder for the majority they can plug the budget deficit. But in an economy so reliant on consumerism, people need money to spend to get things moving again. “The national minimum wage should be a Living Wage – the minimum amount people need to live a decent, comfortable life, not just enough to survive on. And VAT should be cut so that earnings go further.”

“The more ordinary people have in their pockets to spend, the faster money circulates through the economy – and that benefits everyone. While those at the top are allowed to hoard increasing amounts of the nation’s wealth, the economy will continue to decline, and unemployment will keep rising. This suits the Tories and their friends – it leaves everyone else fighting over the crumbs from their tables, allowing them to get on with slashing budgets and making life harder for the majority.”

“All this has to stop – and Labour has to make it happen”.

On May the 2nd, send a personal message to Coalition HQ telling them that enough is enough – vote Labour, for Somerset’s alternative to austerity.


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