Forest of Dean & Wye Valley

LEFT INSIDE: Just who ARE these Squeezed Middle ‘Strivers’?

In C.Spiby on March 14, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Hard-working voters, once referred to as the ‘squeezed middle’ are now ‘strivers’. It is these people who will be the battleground for the next General Election.

Labour sees these as ordinary working people. Indeed, Yvette Cooper outed them as at least 2.5million working women (affected by the latest Child Benefit cuts), while millionaires – mostly men – have had their tax bill cut. The true face of the Tories is revealed once again.

No one believes is something for nothing. But the latest round of benefit cuts doesn’t even make mathematical sense. For example, you could have two members of a household earning up to £49k each – totalling a household income of £98k – receiving no cuts at all, but the mother who stays at home to raise her children, while the father ‘strives’ at his £51k salary job will be hit by these new cuts.

What’s particularly galling, however, is the fact that low-paid mothers – as Ms Cooper points out – on just £12k a year will be some £1,700 worse off in the child’s first year.

Labour’s shadow cabinet are united in their distaste for misplaced cuts. Ed Balls said after the last budget ‘This Tory-led Government is standing up for the wrong people. While millionaires get a £3 billion tax cut, it is people who are already struggling to make ends meet – millions of middle and lower income families and pensioners – who are paying the price for this failure.’

That is the sound of OUR Labour.

And, clearly, this is not being ‘in it together’ as Messrs’ Cameron and Osborne would have us believe.

Tax cuts, especially for the rich and big business, are being funded by three-year real-term cuts in benefits for the poor, unemployed and single parents while energy, transport and banking sharks squeeze maximum profits out of millions of people whose wages, pensions and benefits are shrinking.

Osborne’s plan isn’t working: take energy supply. Ripping off ordinary working people merely creates greater profits for shareholders, not more demand, investment or jobs in the economy.

This is where Ed Miliband’s ‘One Nation’ Labour fits in. He sees a nation at risk of becoming two; a place where there’s a million young people out of work – the gap between the richest and everyone else getting wider and worse. That’s what he wants Labour to change.

But what does ‘One Nation’ Labour look like? Well there’s still another 18 months until the next election, so I think we should be forgiven for not having out complete manifesto drawn out at this early stage. After all, a week in politics is a long time.

Nevertheless Labour supporters can debate their vision for the future at – it’s the new Party policy hub. If you don’t get your views on it, then they won’t be heard, and you can’t help develop the 2015 manifesto. So spread the word and spread it loud.

What’s more, locally, it is time to get active. There is the County Council elections on 2nd May this year. We need to start the fight-back now, and remove any chance of UKIP’s minority views getting around the table of local and county politics as they sneak up on the reach of the Lib Dems, reeling from Clegg’s betrayal of Lib Dem principles.

Let’s remember this post-‘New Labour’ Labour wants a bank bonus tax to help pay for a youth jobs programme. It seeks a tax break for small firms taking on extra workers, plus a plan to build affordable homes and get people back to work. And, as I have written many times before, this Labour has also promised to repeal the awful Health & Social Care Bill which is destroying our NHS.



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