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Labour’s cost of living contract

Weve all got budgets GeorgeIn less than three weeks voters will go to the polls with the UK still in the midsts of a cost of living crisis for ordinary people up and down the country.

After plunging the UK into a double dip recession, recent growth figures have left David Cameron denying a cost of living crisis exists.

However, the Coalition Government have presided over the slowest recovery for 100 years, breaking their promise to balance the books by 2015 and are on course to borrow £190 billion more than planned, with nearly a million young people still unemployed.

While growth is being shared amongst the wealthiest in society with tax cuts and the return of excessive wages and bonuses, communities like ours continue to live with austerity, cuts to public services, the bedroom tax and the growth in food banks.

Nigel Farage has grabbed many of the headlines in recent months, but while he pretends to champion working people his policies are more right wing than Thatcher. UKIP has demanded more austerity, greater cuts to the public services we all rely on, scrapping workers’ rights and a tax cut for the richest in society. A UKIP MEP even claimed “the very existence of the NHS stifles competition” and his party wants to impose charges for visiting GPs.

While UKIP and the Conservative Party continue to fight for who should inherit Margaret Thatcher’s legacy, Labour launch their European Election campaign with the cost of living contract, policies which make work pay, stop rip-off prices and give young people a chance.

To make work pay, Labour would strengthen the minimum wage and provide incentives to business to pay the living wage, cut income tax through a lower 10p starting rate as well as banning exploitative zero hour contracts. The 50p top rate of tax would also be restored to ensure those with the broadest shoulders make their contribution to reduce the deficit. Unlike UKIP that want to cut help to working families, Labour will help working parents by offering 25 hours of free child care for three and four year olds, and freeze energy bills until 2017 to provide time to reform the broken energy market.

More and more people are finding it difficult to find affordable housing, with the price of renting and buying a home driving the cost of living crisis. A future Labour Government would build 200,000 homes by 2020, and provide people renting with long term predicable tenancies that will allow families to plan for the future without the threat of eviction.

A growing economy should benefit the whole community, but in the last four years people are working harder, for longer, for less, with too many people working in insecure employment. We need a real alternative to the policies of austerity and cuts like those proposed by both factions of the Conservative Party.

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