Guy Nicholson Labour’s 2015 General Election candidate responds to the Autumn Statement
Another opportunity missed by George Osborne and this Government to tackle the cost of living crisis we are up against in Sittingbourne and Sheppey; far too little offered to the tens of thousands of us who are struggling with incomes that have fallen way behind the cost of living over the last three and a half years.
Their response to Labour’s plan to freeze our gas and electricity bills and make long term changes to the energy markets was a Tory classic – tinker around the edges with the tax levies. We will still be paying an average of £70 more this winter than we were last winter and the energy companies have got off scot-free, for them its business as usual!
Over the last three years the train companies have hit us with fare rises of up to 9%. Look at the small print in the Autumn Statement and you find that rail fares aren’t being capped, the companies can carry on putting fares up above the rate of inflation.
Their so called helping hand to our small businesses falls far short of what firms have been crying out for. Business rates are still rising by 2%, meaning an average rise of over £250 in April and their business rates discount does not cover all businesses, it excludes workshops, and other small and medium manufacturers who are vital to drive our recovery. Labour’s plan will assist 1.5 million businesses including start ups, workshops and shops. All will see a cut and then a freeze in business rates.
What was needed in the Autumn Statement was Labour’s compulsory job guarantee funded by a tax on bank bonuses creating a job for every young person under 25 out of work. What we got was something that is far too late – it won’t come into effect until the closing weeks of this Government in 2015; and far too little – no new investment to support our businesses tackle the shocking situation created by this Government’s economic ineptitude. Their flagship Youth Contract initiative has been a failure and a generation is struggling.
It is good to see that after three and a half years we now have signs of growth in our national economy. But in Sittingbourne and Sheppey we are still worse off, prices are still rising faster than incomes, for many of us there is no recovery in sight just hard work and a struggle to make ends meet.
David Cameron and George Osborne have shown their true colours in this Autumn Statement. They find it easy to help those at the top and just as easily they leave the rest of us behind. We are calling for action, calling for a strong, balanced and sustainable recovery for the many not just the few, a recovery that will serve us well in Sittingbourne and Sheppey.