“We must repeatedly point out, as highlighted by the Women’s Budget Group (WBG), how much inequality, including regionally, has been exacerbated by austerity policies. Cuts to local government and to benefits hit poorer regions hardest.”
By Yasmine Dar
As the cost of living crisis bites, inequalities soar and with the covid death toll continuing to rise, it is time for Labour to really step up its campaign against this vicious government and genuinely hold it to account.
The energy price increases we are facing will be impossible for some, coming on top of the cut to universal credit and prices overall increasing while wages fail to keep pace. Meanwhile the six big energy firms have banked more than £7 billion profit in the past five years. Labour’s call for a windfall tax is welcome but does not nearly go far enough to address the crisis we are in as ordinary people’s hard earned cash goes to line the profits of shareholders. As pointed out in our 2019 manifesto, Tory privatisation of our utilities has been a disaster for both our planet and our wallets. The solution offered then is still needed – putting people and planet before profit by bringing our energy and water systems into democratic public ownership.
A recent report from the New Economics Foundation (NEF) show that incomes for the bottom half of earners has fallen over the last two years while those at the upper end have soared. There has been a big increase in incomes for the top 5% of earners. Millions of people are relying on food banks and figures show that up to 11 million people in Britain are living in food poverty. This is why I am supporting the #RightToFood campaign, inspiringly spear-headed by Ian Byrne MP. Again Labour needs to do much much more to expose the sham of the Tory ‘levelling up’ agenda.
We must repeatedly point out, as highlighted by the Women’s Budget Group (WBG), how much inequality, including regionally, has been exacerbated by austerity policies. Cuts to local government and to benefits hit poorer regions hardest. We need investment in education, skills and employment — modelling by the WBG found that investment in a universal care system in which care work is a well-paid career, would create 2.7 times as many jobs as the equivalent investment in construction. Labour should be putting forward an ambitious alternative economic strategy that would promote investment not cuts, for the many not the few, as was seen to be so popular under Jeremy Corbyn’s Leadership of the Labour Party.
Finally on Covid, the government seems intent on promoting the false idea that the pandemic is behind us, when there are still hundreds of people dying every day. The recent proposal to end isolation rules, which appears to be against all scientific advice, we know will hit the most vulnerable hardest.
In particular I am deeply concerned about the numbers of people suffering from long Covid, and those who are clinically vulnerable who have already essentially been isolating for two years and now will see no end in sight. It really does seem to be the poorest, disabled people, women and BAME communities who have suffered the most under this Tory government and I want to see a Labour Party that really represents those concerns – as Labour does at its best locally, regionally and when in government such as in Wales.
I’m really looking forward to discussing all these issues and many more at Labour’s upcoming Annual Women’s Conference. And I do encourage those attending to keep an eye out for the motions and candidates promoted by the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy.
- Yasmine Dar is a Councillor on Manchester City Council, a member of Labour’s National Executive Committee and a Vice-Chair of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy. You can follow her on twitter here.
- Find out the motions and candidates being supported by CLPD for women’s conference here.