The last time he had an audience this sympathetic must have been in the Olympic stadium last year. Then he received a torrent of jeers and boos. Today he would have fared a little better at least.
Jobs remain thin on the ground in Sittingbourne. Long-term unemployment has nearly doubled locally in the last year and has nearly trebled for people over 25. It’s not so much that ‘every penny counts’ but that having a job matters more than ever.
The trouble is that in places like Sittingbourne & Sheppey, most are low paid , short-term and part-time. Many of the 400 men who were laid off by Thamesteel last year are driving cabs or picking up occasional work. The prospect of 2,000 new jobs was dangled momentarily in front of us last year by Vestas, the wind farm manufacturer. But they cleared off when the Coalition government cut the subsidies for the industry. And recently, the Tory-led local Council turned down a Motion to pay its lowest paid contract workers a Living Wage.
Adopting a food store’s slogan to endorse your austerity message is one thing. Offering local families the promise of a better a future with jobs worth holding out for is clearly something beyond Mr Osborne and his colleagues.
Cllr Mike Haywood, Roman Ward
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Promoted by Margaret Cooper on behalf of Sittingbourne and Sheppey Labour Party both c/o 29 Park Road, Sittingbourne ME10 1DR