Saturday, 25 January 2014


There are 13 million people living in poverty in Britain and for the first time ever, the majority are in working families. David Cameron says his economic plan is working and people are better off, but this simply isn’t true – and it just shows how out of touch they are. In the past, when the economy grew, most people got better off with it. But that isn’t true anymore. Today people are facing a cost of living crisis. They are working harder, for longer, for less, year after year.

The Government is failing to solve the cost of living crisis for families because they stand up for a privileged few, not for ordinary families.

This week’s employment statistics show that real wages have fallen by over £1,600 since the

General Election yet the Tories have tried to claim that things are getting better. But their highly selective figures do not even include the impact of things like cuts to tax credits and child benefit which have hit working families hard.

The Tory-led Government’s failure to tackle long-term unemployment, low pay, and insecure jobs is also adding to social security bills, as well as undermining the strength and future prosperity

of our economy. David Cameron talks about Britain being in a ‘global race’, but with him it’s a race to the bottom for the lowest wages and the fewest rights at work.

Britain will succeed in the 21st Century only with a race to the top, not a race to the bottom. Labour would tackle the cost of living crisis by building an economy that works for working people - freezing energy bills while resetting Britain’s energy market so it works for families and businesses, and tackling low pay by strengthening the minimum wage and giving employers an incentive to pay a living wage. We would back small business, by cutting and then freezing business rates, and support working parents to play their part by expanding free childcare for 3 & 4 year olds.

And to tackle unacceptably high levels of long-term unemployment, Labour would bring in a Basic Skills Test to give jobseekers the skills they need to find work and introduce a Compulsory Jobs Guarantee to give the long-term unemployed a decent job, while training up the next generation with a dramatic increase in the number of quality apprenticeships.

These measures are essential if we are to earn our way out of the Tories' cost of living crisis and build an economy that works for everyone.