From the TUC

Ten Reasons to Vote

06 May 2015, by in Politics

The election campaign is coming to an end, and it’s time to mark your ballot. We’ve put together ten big issues which can be changed by the next government, depending on who we vote for. 

But first the practicalities…

If you’ve registered to vote (yes, if you’re reading this, it’s too late now), then you can go to your polling station on Thursday 7th of May between 7am and 10pm. Your polling station is written on your polling card, which you should have received in the post. If you didn’t get one, or lost your card, don’t worry: you don’t need the card, and you can find the nearest station here

1. It’s the slowest recovery since records began

The government claims that its economic strategy has been vindicated by a “strong” return to economic growth. We looked into it, and found that it was an incredibly slow recovery. Then we discovered that it’s actually THE slowest recovery since records began. And even worse, it’s gotten slower since then.

2. NHS cuts and reforms are failing patients

The NHS is a prized institution – and rightly so.  But it’s clearly under threat, and your vote will set its course for the coming years. The TUC’s Matt Dykes looked at five key indicators of patient care to show how badly government reforms and cuts have failed NHS patients.

3. One charity’s food banks were used over a million times in the last year

If the recovery really was for everyone, then fewer people would rely on food banks. But instead more and more are. Of the million uses of Trussell Trust food banks in the last year, 400,000 were to feed children. Here’s how different regions across the UK are using food banks.

4. 700,000 people are on zero-hours contracts

If you’re on a zero-hours contract, you’ll earn on average £300 less a week than a permanent worker. You won’t know your hours or your pay in advance, making budgeting impossible. 40% of such workers have no entitlement to paid sick leave. This has to end. Read more on the zero-hours scandal here.

5. Deficit-reducing austerity has failed on its own terms

The cuts were introduced to reduce the deficit massively. A fixation on the deficit is unhealthy, but even if you make it your primary measure of success – austerity hasn’t worked. The deficit hasn’t been reduced by anywhere near what they predicted. Read more about how this crusade has failed, and how ordinary people have been hurt.

6. The NHS is being privatised

A defining feature of the NHS is that it’s in public hands. Owned by us, run by us, for us. But the government has increasingly pushed NHS services out to private companies. They deny that this is happening, but the evidence is clear.

7. Benefits delayed by five weeks

If you lose your job, your income stops suddenly. When that happens, you and your family will need some help – just to cover the basics – until you find a new job. The government wants people to wait for five weeks before they can claim any benefits. That’s more time than many can afford. The current, shorter benefit delays are already driving people to food banks – the problem will only get worse with a five week wait.

8. Britain needs affordable housing

If you’re reading this and renting in the UK (particularly London), then you don’t need to be told just how expensive housing is. The same goes for people who are trying to buy. This is because of political choices made by governments – and it can be changed. Read more on the problem here.

9. The Growing Pay Gap

Paramedic graphic
Top bosses’ real pay is up 26%. Average workers’ real pay is down 8%. It’s a stark and clear illustration of who this “recovery” is benefiting, and who is really suffering under austerity. Read more in the Mirror about the pay gap.

10. Union rights under attack

Throughout history, workers have been able to improve their conditions by simply standing together. United we stand, divided we fall. The government is threatened by this, and wants to restrict trade union rights. They want to weaken us by changing salary systems, gag us with the Lobbying Act, and smash the right to strike with impossible balloting rules. Read more on the proposals here.

What next?

It’s simple. Get out and vote. Make sure your friends, family, and colleagues do too. 

2 Responses to Ten Reasons to Vote

  1. Ed Brownbill
    May 6th 2015, 9:25 pm

    Why is the Labour Party not giving back the right for a TU to implement the closed shop? The only way to protect wages and ensure workers are given a living wage. Lab no longer the party for blue collar workers but who the hell is??!!

  2. John
    May 7th 2015, 2:17 am

    I am a semi retired Brit Michael Pidgeon and permanently live abroad. I have been following The Guardian on-line about the obvious & nót so obvious election issues. You have kindly summarised many of these in your blog. What I find hard to understand ís that the polls are predicting a hung parliament! How can this be so? With what the majority of people have been through with reference to all your blog points, the media are saying that there is a 50/50 chance that the tories could get back in government, albeit with a (much) reduced majority! I find this quite hard to believe, but of course íf this is true then I shall be corrected with your election results.

    Just one more important point (for me), I am not a nationalist, but I can understand why the Scots, Welsh & Northern Irish feel different to the English, (as I do being an [English] northerner, feel different to the southerners!). However, why is it that Ed Miliband had chosen not to form any ‘alliance’ with the SNP’s when every vote against the tories will count? To be fair I cannot pretend to begin to know all the many facts, but I guess that he is supporting the Scottish Labour Party as much as possible, which is only right. No doubt I shall see what happens in your post election aftermath!

    Thanks for your article Michael.