Just a glance down the High Street in Hawick reveals the number of ‘To Let’ signs and closed-up shops. It all points to economic hard times because under the current government the money is being taken out of the local economy.
Hawick already has one of the lowest wage economies in the UK. When you add to that increasing unemployment, cuts to welfare, zero hours contracts, higher taxes, rising energy prices and a lack of opportunities, it’s very hard to see the road to recovery that the Tories and a Liberal Democrats say we are on. Whatever the economic indicators are in London, they don’t pay the bills in Hawick.
People in Hawick need more and better jobs, a wage rise, lower taxes, a freeze on energy prices, an end to zero hours contracts and opportunities for the future. And that can only happen with a Labour government.
Labour wants to see the wealth moving in the other direction, back into our local economies and back into people’s pockets. The self employed and local business all depend on people having a bit more money to spend if they are to thrive and create jobs in the future.
So without borrowing an extra penny, a Labour government will start investing again in roads and housing and creating decent local jobs. Labour will raise revenue in a fairer way, with a mansion tax and a 50p top rate of tax for the highest earners, so that we can start a spending programme to lift the local economies outside London.
A rise in the minimum wage, a right to fixed hours and a lower starting rate of tax will also lift incomes, giving people a bit more to spend, re-energising high streets and supporting local jobs and businesses. Simply put, people need a better deal that gives a better economy and a fairer society for the many not just the few at the top.