Bethnal Green & Bow MP Rushanara Ali says this government is ignoring the ordinary people
- Credit: Archant
Every year around this time, the Government of the day sets out its vision for the year ahead in the Queen’s Speech. It’s a great opportunity for me to stand up in Parliament and respond on behalf of local residents.
What I heard was a Government which isn’t listening. Unemployment in London is still a shocking 12 per cent higher than national averages, and we needed a Queen’s Speech which showed the Government understood how tough things are for people. What we got was a thin list of policies proving they have run out ideas for the future.
And this Government showed little promise in providing for the future. Under this Conservative-led Government, the next generation is being left behind. Recently, the official child-poverty watchdog showed that 3.5 children in the UK are set to live in poverty by 2020. More than two-in-five children in Bethnal Green and Bow live in poverty. To make matters worse, two-thirds of those children live with someone who works. That’s why, in my response, I focused on how the Government should make work pay.
Currently, five million people in the UK are on low-pay. Labour introduced the minimum wage 15 years ago, and it’s Labour again leading calls to increase the minimum wage nearer to average earnings. Yet low-pay isn’t the only issue for people trying to make a living. When you’re employed on a zero-hour contract, you can’t secure your weekly pay-check. These contracts have ballooned since 2010 to 1.4 million. I was proud that the Labour Party put forward proposals providing new rules on these contracts to protect workers.
What was lacking most from the Government’s plans were ways to help our young people. From Tory cheers, you wouldn’t know one-in-four young people in London are still unemployed. This number is likely to be even higher if you are a young person of white-working class, Bangladeshi or Pakistani heritage. That’s not fair – and it’s a massive waste of talent and potential. Labour will introduce a Compulsory Youth Jobs Guarantee ensuring young people can get into work and earn a living for themselves.
Only a Labour Government will fight for ordinary people - working to ensure they have a decent wage, helping with childcare costs, and creating training and job opportunities for young people. Only a Labour Government will help with housing costs through scrapping the bedroom tax, and ending tax breaks for millionaires.