Politically Speaking Column in Wakefield Express

It’s been like the Costa Brava in Liverpool this week. Labour Party conference delegates are used to the wind and rain of the seafront at Blackpool. But this week we’ve all been reaching for the sun tan lotion as temperatures soared.

But despite the sunshine it’s been a serious week. These are testing times in the UK and around the world. Unemployment is on the rise and there’s been little or no growth in the UK for many months now. Yet it’s only by having people in work and paying taxes (rather than claiming benefits) that we can really start to get Britain’s deficit down. So I took to the stage in Liverpool on Monday to set out my five point plan for jobs which I believe will get us back on the right track.

The first thing I think the Government should do is to repeat the bank bonus tax from this year. They could use the money this would raise to build 25,000 affordable homes and guarantee a job for 100,000 young people; jobs and houses we desperately need here in Wakefield.  It just can’t be right to be cutting taxes on the banks when almost 1 in 5 young people are now out of work.
Secondly, the Government should bring forward long-term investment projects, like new school buildings, roads and transport investment. This would get people back to work and strengthen our economy for the future.
As regular readers will remember, for some time I’ve been calling on the Government to reverse January’s damaging VAT rise for a temporary period. This would put £450 into the pockets of an average family with two kids and would give a much needed boost to shops and businesses on our high streets. That’s step three of my plan.
Step four is an immediate one year cut in VAT to 5% on home improvements, repairs and maintenance. This would give real help to thousands of small businesses; plumbers, builders, decorators etc as well as homeowners.
Finally the Government should give a one year national insurance tax break for every small business which takes on extra workers. There’s money for this already in the pot as a result of the government’s failed national insurance rebate for new businesses. My proposal would really support small businesses to grow and create jobs.
After months of stagnation, the Government has to change course. With families, pensioners and businesses struggling across our district, they desperately need a new plan. Labour’s five point plan will create jobs and support families and businesses and get our deficit down.

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Posted September 30th, 2011 by Ed