Ian Lavery: After 9 years of needless austerity, it’s time the richest pay their share
For our General Election series, Labour Chairman Ian Lavery writes that, Labour will deliver the most radical expansion of workers’ rights in a generation, ending worker exploitation and ensuring big businesses pay their share of taxes.
The stakes in this election couldn’t be higher.
Nine years of needless austerity have hurt people up and down the country. Schools are setting up GoFundMe pages, inequality is at record levels and waiting times in A&E are the worst they’ve ever been.
Last week Jeremy Corbyn revealed documents showing the Tories want to parcel off pieces of our NHS to Donald Trump’s America. Labour is clear that the NHS is not for sale. And we won’t just protect it - we will give it the funding that doctors, nurses and patients are crying out for.
We will take on the vested interests that hold us all back. Boris Johnson’s Tories are in bed with the billionaires - that’s why they want to push wages down and shareholder profits up. Labour believes that wealth should go to workers. We will put money in your pocket with a real living wage of £10 an hour for everyone over 16 and a 5% pay rise for public service workers.
Not only will pay go up, fares and bills will go down. We will cut rail fares by 33%, saving the average commuter £1,000 a year. And we’ll end the rip off of rampant privatisation and bring rail, mail, water and energy into public ownership.
We must right the wrongs of nine years of Tory and Lib Dem austerity.
Women born in the 1950s were dealt a historic wrong by pension changes forced through in 2011, and despite his promises to sort it out, Boris Johnson is refusing to do anything about it. Labour will face that injustice head on. Simply put, providing compensation is the right thing to do.
It is also a national scandal that after a life-time of paying their way, older people face catastrophic care costs. Many lose their family house and still end up in sub-standard care. Labour will end that. We will provide free personal care for older people and fund support so that they can live independently in their own homes.
Addressing inequality and poverty requires giving all our children the best possible start in life. Labour will reverse cuts to Sure Start and provide funding to open a centre in every community. Labour will cap class sizes at 30 and fund free school meals for primary school students so that no child goes hungry.
Just this week, Labour announced plans for the most radical expansion of workers’ rights in a generation. Big businesses like Uber and Amazon have been given free rein to exploit workers and avoid tax for too long. We’ll make them pay their share and make sure workers have the rights they deserve.
That means ending bogus self-employment contracts, banning zero-hour contracts and giving everyone full rights from day one.
Finally, Labour has the most ambitious and credible plan to tackle the climate emergency of any political party. We know that it’s an opportunity as well as a duty. Our Green Industrial Revolution will create a million new jobs and rebalance our economy so that it works for everyone, in every part of the UK.
That’s Labour’s plan for real change. It’s a manifesto of hope. You deserve it, and the richest and big businesses are going to pay for it.
On Thursday 12 December the choice is clear: a Conservative Party in the pocket of billionaires, or Labour, on your side, working for the many not just a privileged few.
Ian Lavery is Chairman of the Labour Party and Labour parliamentary candidate for Wansbeck.