July 29, 2014


From April to June 2010, the economy grew by 1%.

This may not sound much but it is the fastest growth that we have seen in this country since 2007, ie before the global financial crisis hit. 

Since June 2010, though, growth has been much, much slower because there was a complete change of government policy when George Osborne and David Cameron took over in May 2010. 

What happened next was that the recovery came to a shuddering halt and people on low and middle incomes saw their living standards start to fall, often a long way, which is why so many people rely on foodbanks, payday loans and zero hour contracts. 

In my constituency 40% of people in work, or 15,300 of you earn less than a living wage. 

Talk of a recovery now simply does not ring true for most people and I am afraid that what happened in May 2010 has caused great hardship for the many, while the wealthiest few have enjoyed massive tax cuts. For those earning £1 million a year, tax has in fact been cut by £100,000 a year, while most people are worse off by £1,600 a year on average.

Now, in the United States and in Germany, living standards have gone up since 2010 as the governments there adopted very different policies from those pursued by Mr Osborne. In those countries growth has continued and they have been able to reduce their deficits. In fact, the reason they can reduce their deficits is entirely because of growth in the economy. Because a growing economy means more taxes are paid, which means more money for paying down our debts. The problem with this government has been that they made it less likely they would pay off the deficit by choking off the recovery in 2010 and most of you have been paying the price for the economic illiteracy of the Conservatives, supported quite happily by the Lib Dems remember.

By next May, most of you will still be worse off than you were in May 2010. That will be the first time ever that there will have been a fall in living standards from one election to the next. 

For young people it is worse, much worse. For those in work under the age of 30, wages have fallen by 20%, while for older workers it is 3%. And 18% of under 24s is out of work compared with fewer than 5% for those over 24. And young workers are more likely to have part time or zero hours contracts than older workers as well, making it much harder for them to pay the rent or other bills let alone afford a mortgage.

The recovery has helped those at the top. It has started to help others too. Any improvement is welcome. But for young people today, there are worrying signs of a repeat of the damage done to a lost generation in the 1980s by Margaret Thatcher’s government.

In the United States and in Germany, people did not see such catastrophic falls in living standards; young people have the prospect of well paid jobs and careers and the deficits are being paid off. 

Up to May 2010, we were following similar policies to those in America and Germany and the economy was growing strongly. 

The time has come to learn from the mistakes of this government, learn from the success of our friends overseas and get this country moving forward again.

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