#freezethatbill – Saturday’s Street Stall

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Saturday’s street stall was a success! Over 160 people signed a petition supporting Ed Miliband’s promised price freeze of energy bills until January 2017.

The price hikes of SSE and British Gas have generated hostility and worry in equal measures. Many families are already struggling to pay the bills, and a lot of people who signed the petition voiced their concerns over paying another £100+ a year. As I write this, Npower have raised their gas and electricity adding £139 to an annual bill – hitting even more struggling families and the elderly.

While Ed Miliband proposes to #freezethatbill in response to soaring energy prices, David Cameron proposes people should wear another jumper. David Cameron has allowed energy bills to increase three times as fast than under Labour*, but has no plan to deal with the impact it has on families and the vulnerable.

Saturday’s Street Stall showed the impact that the energy companies were having on families and the vulnerable. Soaring energy bills were making it difficult to make ends meet for many people. #freezethatbill should restore trust to the energy market and prevent rip-off energy bills.

*Source: Commons Library – energy prices increased by an average of £23 p.a. under Labour while under the Coalition energy prices have increased by an average of £90 p.a.

“The Economy is Turning a Corner.”

George Osborne claimed that the economy was ‘turning a corner’ and yet the evidence seems to suggest otherwise; wages are stagnating, unemployment remains high and any signs of an economic recovery for all remain starkly absent. The national economic picture is improving slightly, but in the East Riding of Yorkshire unemployment is stubbornly higher than the national average. This combined with very real pressures on wages mean that there is a severe cost of living crisis. Claims of an economic recovery are hollow, almost delusional, compared to the experiences of ordinary families in Beverley, and East Yorkshire.

 

In Yorkshire and Humber, the unemployment rate is the third highest in the country, at 245’000 people or 8.75%. Mr Osborne used the national increase in employment and growth, to claim that austerity has been justified. And yet, the regional picture shows a great difference between the truth for many and Osborne’s beliefs.

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With a flat-lining economy in Yorkshire and Humber, there are 0.74 jobs per person. Too many people for too few jobs. This simple fact shows why George Osborne is wrong on job seekers; they are not scroungers or job avoiders. There simply are not enough jobs. That is why long term unemployment (claiming JSA for over two years) in East Yorkshire is up and is triple the amount in 2010. Forcing people to work for their benefits, as Osborne plans, is a fallacy that merely panders to Tory members to the cost of the skills and confidence of the unemployed while failing to tackle the real crisis; a lack of jobs.

 

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A lost generation is emerging with lost potential and lost hope. Our youngest employees are emerging with skills and knowledge for employment, and yet youth unemployment is at its highest and 10% higher than in 2010. Three years of Coalition rule and austerity has lead to a terrible economic picture for our young people. With four time the number of young people claiming JSA for over two years and nearly 1 in 5 not in employment, education and training (NEET’s), any belief in an economic recovery is clearly not true for our young people.

 

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Continue reading ““The Economy is Turning a Corner.””

See what the Tories have done to UK debt!

In 2010 the COALITION came in promising to reduce UK Debt and Borrowing.

To do this they introduced AUSTERITY – increasing VAT, cutting Spending on public services and Benefits to the poor

RESULT –

1. UK debt as proportion of national income (GDP) has actually RISEN – the OBS (George Osborne’s Office of Budget Responsibility) estimates that debt will have risen from 50% in 2010 to 85% in 2015. No success there then!

2. Public Sector borrowing instead of falling has also RISEN massively – from over £300 billion to an estimated well over £500 billion. Failure again!

As a result of these two huge government failures most people have become considerably poorer – real wages are approximately £1500 lower than they were in 2010. And for the first time since World War 2 children face being worse off than their parents.

AUSTERITY DOES NOT WORK!

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This image is taken from the excellent CLASS (Centre for Labour and Social Studies) Myth-Busting series http://classonline.org.uk

50,000 at NHS/Anti-Austerity demonstration at Tory conference

View of Patrick, one of our youngest membersImage
 
I did manage to get to the demonstration. It was a very interesting experience. People from all sorts of political parties, campaign groups and unions all coming together to fight against what this government is doing to the very things we call sacred, The NHS, Royal Mail, East Coast Trains.
 
I was delighted to hear afterwards that approximately 50,000 people turned out, thinking about it though, I would have put that figure a lot higher. According to the BBC the front of the procession left Liverpool Road at 12:15; I was stood near the back and we didn’t get moving until about 12:50 which just shows the sheer magnitude of the number of people there.
 
As we marched past the conference centre one fella behind me from the ‘People’s Republic of Bolton’ noticed the Tory banners outside the building saying ‘For hard working people’, of course we were all laughing at the irony of this, but this man took it one step further and shouted at the top of his voice “For hardworking people? Cheeky B******s!”

The procession ended with a sort of rally at Whitworth park with some very inspirational speakers. All in all I think it was a very successful day! (For us, that is!)  

Patrick Wilkinson (age 16)