A huge thank you to the 256 Shortlands residents who voted for me on Thursday.
We should have done better, and we now need to do more to communicate that the Tory and Lib Dem coalition cuts go too far, too fast. The residents who supported me understand that with unemployment reaching its highest level since 1994, we need a plan to create and support new jobs.
The Government’s economic policies have resulted in 2.57 million people now out of work – the highest in 17 years. One in five young people are without a job.
The UK has experienced zero economic growth over the last nine months and Japan is the only G7 country that has grown more slowly over the last year. The International Monetary Fund has warned that if the UK’s economic situation deteriorates further then the Tory-led Government will have to change course and slow down the cuts and tax rises.
Labour has taken action and set out a clear five-point plan to create jobs, help struggling families and support small businesses:
- A £2 billion tax on bank bonuses to fund 100,000 jobs for young people – which they would be required to take-up – and build 25,000 more affordable homes.
- Bring forward long-term investment projects in schools, roads and transport to get people back to work and to strengthen our economy for the future.
- Temporarily reverse January’s damaging VAT rise – an extra £450 for a couple with children would provide a boost for our high streets and help struggling families.
- A one-year cut in VAT to 5% on home improvements, repairs and maintenance to help homeowners and small businesses.
- A one-year national insurance tax break for every small firm which takes on extra workers would help small businesses to grow and create jobs.
By cutting spending and raising taxes too far and too fast this Tory-led Government is getting our economy into a vicious circle. By choking off the recovery and putting tens of thousands of people on the dole, claiming benefits rather than paying taxes, the Government is making it harder to get the deficit down.
There is a better way – Labour’s plan for jobs and growth will get our economy moving again and help get the deficit down in a steadier and more balanced way.
Despite well publicised crime in Shortlands, and the rioting and looting that went on in the borough, local police teams will be losing local Police Sergeants.
A Tory led council has proved to be no defence against these cuts.
We must ensure that those in charge listen to reason. The Labour Group and I think that to slash funding for youth groups, together with cutting police numbers is a recipe for more unrest, like the riots we witnessed in August. Add to that, the total number of 16 to 24 year-olds without a job rose to 972,000 in the three months to July this year.
Youth Clubs in Bromley are being closed, and police numbers being cut. I don’t think it’s difficult to work out that this will lead to young people feeling more frustrated and angry. There is no justification for the crime that went on during the riots, but shouldn’t we expect our leaders to consider the reasons why young people felt they needed to take to the streets?
Youth Clubs won’t solve the problem, but closing them will only add to young people’s frustration.