On behalf of the Labour Party I send Christmas greetings to the people of Orpington and wish everyone a successful New Year.
2015 will witness one of the most crucial general elections in our nation’s history as a fundamental choice will have to be made.
On the one side the British people will be offered a Tory dominated government beholden to the interests of big corporations and finance pursuing its agenda of dismantling the state in favour of privatisation which experience shows is a disaster for the millions of good working folk whose wages and pensions are cut and conditions at work worsened.
On the other side the Labour Party will offer an alternative where the relentless march of privatisation will be halted and the NHS rescued from the calamitous top down reorganisation which has wreaked havoc and wasted £3 billion.
A Labour Government will offer a more sensible approach to deficit reduction making sure that growth – an essential element of debt repayment – is not squeezed out as it was by George Osborne’s ridiculous, unnecessary and ultimately hopeless ambition to balance the books by 2015.
In Bromley the Tory dominated Council wants to abolish local democracy and hand over all public services to the mercy of corporations some of which have defrauded the state but continue to be awarded contracts. The Council will become solely a commissioning agent.
Orpington MP Tory Jo Johnson claims the Government is building a stronger, healthier economy by reducing the deficit. However, George Osborne has missed his target of eliminating the deficit by 2015 by miles. Now it is rising again. Johnson claims to have cut income tax. True, especially for the millionaires, a little bit for middle income earners but of no use to people who don’t earn enough to pay income tax in the first place. No mention of course of the huge rise in VAT to 20%. True, unemployment has come down but under-employment has risen and zero hours contracts have rocketed. Johnson claims welfare has been cut but the bill is rising again because pay is so low in so many areas that workers have to be subsidised by welfare payments. He claims that immigration has been reduced but a recent report shows that numbers are now worse than they were under the much criticised Labour Government.
This “stronger, healthier economy” has seen the number of people receiving a minimum of 3 days emergency food from the Trussell Trust Food Banks rise from 61,468 in 2010-11 to 913,138 in 2012-13. Heaven protect us from a weak economy!
People forget that by 2010 Labour had got the economy expanding again – and if you don’t believe that look at the official ONS figures – by taking a more balanced approach to deficit reduction. Then the new Chancellor Osborne came along and plunged the nation back into recession, his excessive austerity driven by a desire to destroy the welfare state but also ruining his main economic policy objective.
Labour offers the fairest way forward. Why not come and join us to help in this great challenge?
Nigel de Gruchy.