I have lived and worked in central Eastleigh for the last 14 years. I live with my long term partner and we have four adult children between us. I was a single parent for a number of years when my children were younger and experienced the difficulties of living on a limited income with a lack of affordable housing and childcare. Since moving to Eastleigh I have worked full time in a customer facing role in one of the local banks where I am also a Unite Workplace Representative. I first studied economics and politics at A level locally in the late 70s and in so doing started to become aware of the inequalities and injustices that exist within our society and the detrimental effect that this can have on our life chances. I have been a socialist and a Labour Party supporter ever since.
After 8 years of austerity – driven by an ideological attachment to privatisation and the free market economy - we are seeing a crisis in all areas of public service provision: health; social care; housing; education; local government; emergency services; prison service and defence. Alongside dramatic real cuts to budgets in all areas we have seen an unprecedented attack on the poorest and most vulnerable through cuts to benefits at the same time significant cuts to Corporation tax and to income and inheritance tax for the rich. We have seen a further generational redistribution of wealth from the young to the old through increased housing costs, student tuition fees and cuts to grants and benefits to those under 25.
Nationally Labour has a clear set of policies to invest in our economy, our people and the industries of the future. We can target public investment where it is so desperately needed after austerity to rebuild our welfare state. We will take back into public ownership essential services reinvesting for the benefit of users and workers rather than private profit and to put rights of workers, consumers and environmental concerns on an equal footing with shareholder profit. We will tackle poverty through policies aimed at redistributing wealth and income more fairly and by putting social justice at the heart of our decision making.
Locally we would like to see greater diversity in our elected representatives on the basis of age, wealth, occupation, disability, ethnicity and gender so that all local voices can be heard. Furthermore we believe the continued LibDem dominance of Eastleigh Borough Council has stifled public debate around some very important local issues particularly in housing where a lack of affordable housing generally and council housing specifically is pushing more local residents into the private rental market and hence into hardship and long term insecurity.
I believe that an unequal society is not a successful one and increasing inequalities are not inevitable. With the political will and with your support in the local council elections we can start to build a fairer and more sustainable future – for the many not the few.
Promoted by Phil Baker and Eastleigh Labour Party, both at 69 Leigh Road, Eastleigh SO50 9DF