This coming weekend we will put our clocks forward, marking the start of lighter nights and brighter days. It also marks the start of the short campaign for the upcoming General Election on the 7th of May. The election is an opportunity for a brighter future under a progressive Labour Party who seek to end the regressive policies of a Tory Party who consistently look after a privileged few at the top and fail to stand up for everyday people in Peterborough and across the country who are really struggling to make ends meet.
Time and time again, the Tories have shown how completely out of touch they are by insisting the economy is fixed and we are all better off. I know that’s not true from the thousands of conversations I have had on the doorsteps in Peterborough over the past few years. People here are struggling with a cost of living crisis that is very real and no amount of Tory spin can alter that fact. Their claims also ring hollow to those stuck in part-time work and zero hour contracts with little security to plan for the future. There are now 70,000 people on zero hour contracts in the East of England, up a huge 20% in the last year alone.
Labour will end the abuse of zero hour contracts, we will also end the exploitation of migrant labour which is used to undercut British workers’ wages by banning agencies from only advertising jobs abroad. We will increase the National Minimum Wage to £8.00 an hour and make sure it is enforced with fines for those who try to pay less. Labour will also give tax breaks to companies that sign up to pay a living wage and we’ll cut income tax for 24 million people by bringing back the 10p income tax rate. Making sure all work pays a decent wage will make our economy stronger, helping to bring in the revenues needed to reduce the deficit.
The next generation need hope of a brighter future. There are far too many long-term unemployed young people in Peterborough. This damages their prospects not only in the short-term but far into their futures. The Labour Party refuses to waste the talents of our young and write off a generation. If elected, we will guarantee every young person who has been out of work for a year a paid job and we will pay for this with a tax on bankers’ bonuses, and by restricting pension tax relief for the wealthiest. All of our manifesto promises are fully costed without the need for additional spending.
We will build a post-18 apprenticeship and vocational education system to drive up the number of apprenticeships, and we’ll introduce respected gold standard technical degrees. Labour will enable the next generation of highly skilled workers by ensuring that every large firm that wins a government contract commits to providing apprenticeships to train young people for high skilled jobs.
Britain succeeds when everyone succeeds. Labour are determined to build an economy where everyone benefits and a future which ensures the next generation is better off than the last. This is the brighter future I am fighting for here in Peterborough, and a future worth voting for on May 7.