Crawley Observer Column, Wednesday 4th August 2021

Crawley’s economy has been harder hit than any other in the country by the Government’s Coronavirus restrictions. While these were necessary, by doing too little, too late, the UK has suffered both amongst the worst death tolls and worst economic consequences of any major industrialised nation. For the Government to now put Crawley at the back of the queue for investment to rebuild, really shows what they think of us.

The reality is building back won’t in itself be enough. Far too few benefited from economy growth, with household incomes stagnant for decades, and increasing numbers pushed into insecure employment. One in six families in Britain now lives in poverty despite going to work every day.

Everyone expects businesses to do what’s best for their bottom-line, it’s Government’s job to build a system which delivers for ordinary people, not just those able to afford expensive dinners for Ministers.

Good jobs are the bedrock on which people build their lives. This Summer, Labour are setting out how we can deliver decent employment again, based upon the five principles of good work.

First, security at work. Better, fairer workplaces with full rights from day one. An end to fire and rehire. A new right to flexible working and strengthened trade unions.

Second, quality jobs. A strong industrial strategy using government contracts to support British businesses, buying, making and selling more in Britain. Investing in high-quality, well-paid Green jobs in the industries of the future.

Third, a fairer economy. A level playing field on tax between multinational giants and high street businesses. An end to harassment and discrimination at work, so everyone can get on.

Fourth, opportunity for all. A guarantee of quality education, training or employment for our young people. By ending the Treasury’s raid on the apprenticeship levy we can create tens of thousands of new apprenticeships.

Finally, work that pays. Every job should pay enough to raise a family on. A real living wage of at least £10 an hour and more workers covered by collective agreements to boost pay.

I love our town and I hate to see just how much people are suffering, particularly when it isn’t inevitable. Labour has set out how we rebuild Britain for the better. Let’s see if the Conservatives are listening.

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