Speech to Full Council: The Great British Rip Off

Anyone who has spoken to people in Sheffield will be amazed at the LibDem motion. I don’t think I have ever seen a motion that is so out-of-touch, so aloof and so smug. Crisis – what crisis?

Of course, any improvement in the British economy is very welcome, however weak and however overdue.

But nobody should be in any doubt about this change  – it is for the South East, it is for the rich and it is for the short-term.

Let’s remember that 93% of people on zero-hour contracts don’t get any benefit from the rise in tax allowance whatsoever. The increase in tax allowance is almost entirely used by people earning over £30k – it doesn’t benefit the lowest paid whatsoever.

  • So if the economy is doing so well, why is the government planning to borrow an extra £190 billion MORE than they planned?
  • If the economy is doing so well, why does the IFS say an extra 400,000 children will be in poverty by 2015?
  • If the economy is doing so well, why are Councils being told to brace themselves for another 4 years of even more savage cuts?
  • If the economy is doing so well, why are over 850,000 young people still out of work?
  • If the economy is doing so well, why are living standards still falling?

The answer is because the economy isn’t nearly strong enough. Most working people are not feeling a recovery at all. And even worse, it is built on another housing bubble AND confined to one part of the country AND helping the richest the most.

The Lib-Dems and Tories may be happy with an economy that is low-wage, low-pay and low security, but Sheffield deserves better.

  • That’s why Labour would guarantee a job for every young person out of work for more than a year.
  • That’s why Labour would clamp down on exploitative zero hour contracts.
  • That’s why Labour will freeze energy bills for homes and businesses for two years.

Our communities need real action now, not the LibDems telling people they should feel richer and should be grateful for all the kind things the LibDems have done for them.

So let me finish by saying that if the Liberal Democrats want to make this general election a fight over who can stand up best for families, who can create good jobs and who can help with the cost of living crisis – I have only three words to say to them: Bring it on.

 

[[CHECK AGAINST ACTUAL DELIVERY]]]

Advertisements

Labour’s Support for Small Businesses

Families in Sheffield are facing a cost of living crisis with prices rising faster than wages for 39 out of the last 40 months, more people than ever are working part-time because they can’t get enough hours to work full-time and energy bills having gone up by an average of £300 since David Cameron became Prime Minster.Image

Small independent businesses in Sheffield are also struggling. Local people keep them going because they know they form a vital part of our high street and our community. But small businesses are facing their own version of the cost of living crisis – a cost of doing business crisis.

Shops and small businesses across the country are due to see their business rates increase by an average of £430 from next April, at a total cost to businesses of £700 million.

Small business owners face a stark choice: either pass these business rate increases on to their customers through higher prices – adding to the cost of living crisis for hard-working families – or face a further squeeze until they can no longer afford to stay in business.

Families and small businesses need help to see them through these tough times. That’s why a Labour Government would cut business rates for small and medium businesses in 2015 and freeze them in 2016. This move would mean an average saving of nearly £450 for 1.5 million business properties and would be paid for by not going ahead with the Tories’ plans for an additional Corporation Tax cut for just 80,000 large companies.

The living standards crisis is hitting businesses as well their customers. Many small businesses report that energy bills are the second biggest cost they face after rates and our pledge to freeze energy prices for 20 months until January 2017 will save small businesses an average of £1,800.

Labour would also give local people more power to shape the town centre by working with local businesses, Business Improvement Districts and others to make the high street a more vibrant place.

Most of the jobs in the future will be created by a large number of small businesses which is why they need our support; so they can continue to create jobs and lead the economic recovery both in Sheffield and across the country.

Labour is the party of small business. Our plans will make a real difference for small firms, benefit ordinary consumers when they’re doing the weekly shop and also benefit our community through more local jobs.