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Sunday, 2 February 2014

Don't let the Tories finish us off for good.


In last week's Plympton, Plymstock and Ivybridge News, our local MP Gary Streeter asked to be allowed to ‘finish the job’. I, for one, don’t want the Tories to ‘finish the country off for good’ for that’s where we are headed.

Gary Streeter was celebrating the news of unemployment being down but in reality many local people have little to celebrate. He proudly details 42 fewer claimants for unemployment benefit since November. It would be very interesting to know the story behind these statistics. Have these 42 people found full time jobs with good pay and working conditions, like sick pay, holiday pay and maternity rights?  The sort of work everyone is entitled to and our unions have been fighting for since their conception.

There are a number of reasons why these figures may look so good but the story behind them is usually showing a widening gap between the haves and the have nots. Thousands of disabled people across the country have been forced off benefits into destitution as a result of the despicable ATOS tests which carry out the government's benefit reduction agenda. This is evidenced by  the huge increase in homelessness and food banks.

Another way these figures are brought down is by sanctioning people for not doing enough to find work. Badly trained, insensitive, often young and inexperienced people make decisions about the most vulnerable job seekers in our society who find it almost impossible to access work and record their efforts within this incredibly hostile environment. But maybe those 42 have been ‘lucky enough’ to find a job with the many zero hours contract employers out there. These contracts mean that ‘employees’ have no set hours and only get paid when they are called in. They live a miserable existence on irregular hours worrying about whether they can pay their bills each month.

Gary Streeter praises the wealth creators who lie awake at night worrying about business decisions – surely he should also be praising the other true wealth creators who work hard every single day in these businesses but still often have to claim working tax credits because their wages are so low. I urge you to seek the truth behind the rhetoric. Gary Streeter makes it clear who he favours in his article. He stands for a Party which rewards and protects the wealthy and in reality prefers greater unemployment because desperately unemployed people are too busy trying to survive to worry about who they vote for.