My message to Plymouth on Election eve.

Tomorrow is polling day.

When you vote this time you really can vote for change, and for hope - both for Plymouth and for Britain. I will be an MP who will vote and speak up for Plymouth. Already your Plymouth Labour Candidates have convinced  the Labour Party to commit to £2.5billion for solving the rail problems that plague us every time there is bad weather, whereas the last Tory MP has always voted with the government to cut our  public  services, our NHS, and our schools

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I live and work in Plymouth. I am a local Councillor and a school governor - I know what the cuts really do to our local services. You have to live in the city you represent to really know what is going on. I can see that teachers' jobs are under threat in our schools, that our libraries are being closed down, that A&E at Derriford is in crisis, that mental health services and social care are at breaking point. I know the housing list is getting longer and that homelessness and the use of B&Bs is increasing. 

The Tories always blame local Councils for problems with local services - which is like blaming a drowning man for not throwing him a lifebelt.

The Labour Party will make a change for the better. We have a manifesto that really is for the Many not the Few.

For pensioners we will ensure security and dignity with a pension guarantee, keep the winter fuel allowance and we promise to compensate the WASPI women born in the 1950s who have been treated so badly. The Tories will do the opposite - they are abandoning pensioners. Labour will ensure that older people don't have to be worried about the dementia tax and losing their home to pay for their care.


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For young people, we will restore the Education Maintenance Allowance for 16-18 year olds who need help, and abolish University tuition fees and bring back grants for university students. Labour will bring back Housing Benefit for 18-21 years olds and introduce the full Living Wage for everyone over 18, and we will increase it to £10 per hour by 2020. All the Tories have done is take support away, pushed young people into huge debt if they go to University, and looked the other way while young adults are forced to stay living with their parents.

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For people at work we will ban zero hours contracts, end the public sector pay cap, ban unpaid internships and strengthen protections for women workers - no-one should be penalised for having children and working to support them. We will abolish unfair employment tribunal fees so that people have access to justice when they are treated badly. Under the Tories real terms pay has fallen, jobs are low-skilled and low-paid, and more and more are insecure in their jobs.  We will not increase income tax or NI for 95% of earners, meaning that only those on over £80,000 a year will pay any more. We will freeze VAT, a tax that hits lower income people harder, because we want a fairer tax system.

For those who cannot work, we will scrap the hated bedroom tax, end the Work Capability and Personal Independence Payment assessments and increase the carers' allowance. The Tories have been treating vulnerable people badly and left them without support when it is needed. Poverty, even for working families, has increased under the Tories, and there has been a huge increase in people using food banks.

The biggest difference between Labour and the Tories is in how we look at public services as everyone's right, where they think public services are a safety net for people not privileged enough to be able to pay for what they need.  We know that public services benefit everybody, and that cuts to public services hurt everybody.

Police officer numbers across Britain have been cut by 20,000, there are 5,000 fewer firefighters, and £4.6 billion has been taken taken from social care. We have lost 6,600 mental health nurses when we know that around 1 in 4 people will use that service at some point in their life. The only way to reverse all of these cuts to services and to end the austerity imposed by the Tories is to invest. We will invest in our schools to make sure our children get the best start in life, we will extend free school meals to more children, not take them away. We will invest in the NHS and set up a National Care Service, we will recruit 10,000 more police and 5,000 more firefighters. Investing in these public services for all is the only way we can have healthy, secure and safe communities.

The Government has said that they want this to be a Brexit election. It's all they talk about. Even so, they have no plan for Brexit, except to sacrifice British workers and businesses. We need a strong Brexit, not a hard Brexit. Labour will prioritise jobs and living standards, protect workers' rights and environmental standards, and keep the consumer protections that are guaranteed under European Law. In Plymouth especially, we need a close trading relationship with our European partners.

Theresa May has said that "no deal is better than a bad deal". This is wrong and reckless - it puts our economy, our jobs and our future at risk.

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We want a strong economy that supports businesses to provide well-paid jobs. We will create an economy that's fairer, that is prosperous, and we will invest in infrastructure like our railways using our national investment plan to pay for it. We will create a fairer tax system, so that people and businesses who avoid tax pay up, while ordinary working families don't see increases in the taxes they pay. We will support small businesses by keeping their corporation tax low but will reverse the corporation tax giveaways for large businesses. This will help pay for the skills and training that our workforce of the future need so that we will all benefit.

This is just the beginning. Labour's manifesto sets out a strategy for the next five years and beyond with a clear vision for Britain in the future. It is a manifesto of hope, that builds on our core values - we will create a Britain for the many, not the few.

 

 

 

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