EMMA LEWELL-BUCK: The Tories have presided over 13 years of decline and of misery
After 13 years of Tory Governments, nothing is working in this country. They have presided, as all Tory Governments do, over decline and misery.
Last week saw the biggest strikes in a decade, with half a million walking out. To add to the list of rail unions who are battling privatised rail giants over pay, working conditions and passenger safety concerns, we can now add in baggage handlers, university staff, teachers, communications professionals, post office workers, physiotherapists, fire brigades, ambulance workers and nurses.
Our key workers have had enough of their treatment by Government, the Chief Executive Officers and the multinational energy, rail and water companies that eat up pay packets whilst providing creaking infrastructure, deplorable working conditions and a situation where care professionals are simply unable to save lives.
Teachers are stretched to breaking point, the value of their pay has fallen by 20% since 2010 and they are losing staff all the time – with those who remain forced to work even harder.
SEND children are not receiving the support they deserve; extra-curricular clubs are being forced to close and staff are having to teach children who are coming to school hungry and poorly clothed as their parents are working all hours to try to make ends meet.
NHS workers are telling horrendous stories of patients dying in corridors, or in ambulances, due to waiting times – and these are on non-strike days.
The “Minimum Service Levels” that the Government are proposing for strikes are already non-existent thanks to underfunding and mismanagement from the Government themselves.
As for the argument that increased wages will “embed” inflation; those who are striking will tell you that their suppressed, below-inflation pay has been around for the last decade of declining living standards.
The Tories have already botched the figures of how much giving public sector workers a rise would cost, overestimating the cost at £28bn when it could be as low as £13bn to give workers a pay rise in line with inflation.
A Transport Minister has even said it’s actually ended up costing more than would have been the case if it had just been settled in its initial stages.
We have just seen record profits for energy companies like Shell (£32 billion) and BP (£23 billion) – I wonder if the Government will see defending their profits as “embedding inflation” too?