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The main policy announcements from the Conservative Party yesterday (April 21) – if you can dignify them with the name – were that they are considering ending the triple-lock on pension increases that safeguards payments to senior citizens, and that they are likely to increase taxes on the poor.

(They only mentioned increasing taxes, but after seven years of tax breaks for the extremely rich, it is obvious where the hammer is going to fall.)

One presumes these measures are being proposed in the name of austerity, under the lie that they are needed to bring the national debt under control – and what a lie it is!

Austerity was never necessary – in fact, it delayed any national recovery from the Great Recession and lost the average UK household resources worth thousands of pounds. Tories are happy with that because Tories want you to be poor.

But they have used the excuse of austerity to bring back rationing – but only for working people and the poor; not for the very rich.

They have rationed education – most schools will lose teachers, so class sizes will increase and fewer subjects will be taught. In This Writer’s area, schools are closing. Meanwhile, Theresa May wants to open new grammar schools to ensure the rich get the best education possible.

They have rationed healthcare – 10 per cent of the National Health Service in England is now under the control of private, profit-making industries, turning the care they provide into a postcode lottery. Meanwhile, as money is drained from the publicly-funded service to pay these vampires, people are waiting longer for treatment. Many died while waiting for medical help as a result of Conservative rationing.

They have rationed housing – fewer new homes are being built now than ever, even though the Tories claim they are building more than the last Labour government. Housing is more expensive than ever, meaning it is now impossible for people on low or medium incomes to buy a home of their own. Tory ‘Help To Buy’ schemes helped rich people buy second homes. And the Tories told you there were no homes available because immigrants were living in them – another lie; they aren’t available because the Tories haven’t built them.

They have rationed wages – the vast majority of new jobs are on zero-hours contracts (around a million of them, by now), meaning people are only able to work when their employer tells them, and are only paid for the hours they do work. There is no sick pay; there is no holiday pay; there is no maternity pay. Over all jobs, wages have fallen by at least 10 per cent since the Great Recession (and these figures are more than nine months old).

They have rationed benefits – people on Jobseekers’ Allowance are now being asked to fulfil a ridiculous number of pointless demands, made by the Department for Work and Pensions, to receive their payments. Any failure to meet those demands is punished by punitive sanctions that can leave good people starving for months at a time. Those claiming sickness and disability benefits are in an even worse situation: The Conservative Government has re-defined illness in order to claim that most people are imagining their conditions or are able to work in spite of them. As a result, more than 2,400 people had died prematurely after having their benefit cut, or as a result of the work capability assessment, by mid-2014. Do I even have to discuss the Bedroom Tax?

They have rationed food – school pupils are returning from the holidays with malnutrition because their parents cannot afford to feed them. This is not because parents cannot manage their money properly – it is because Tory cuts mean they simply don’t have the money any more. Their wages have been cut, or their benefits have been sanctioned. By April 2016, more than one million three-day emergency food supplies were handed out to people in crisis by food banks run by the Trussell Trust alone.

Labour has announced plans to reverse this trend and restore not only equity, but dignity, to the people of the United Kingdom.

If elected on June 8, Labour will fund free school meals for all children aged between four and 11. Some have complained that this should not include the children of rich parents but, as rich parents are paying for the policy (the £1.3 billion funding would come from charging VAT on fees for private schools) it seems unfair to exclude them.

Some of Labour’s other plans for schools are outlined in this video:

Labour will increase the minimum wage to £10 an hour, making a huge difference to family finances and beginning to address the unfairness imposed by the Tories since 2010.

And Labour will ban zero-hour contracts.

Labour will re-nationalise the National Health Service, ensuring that healthcare is available to everybody – and the service is restored to full efficiency.

Labour will build at least one million homes in the five years after a victory on June 8 – including half a million council houses. These important first steps on the home ownership ladder have been removed by the Conservatives since ‘Right to Buy’ was imposed in the 1980s. Labour will restore the housing stock.

Considered in this way, a vote for Labour on June 8 is the only logical choice. Isn’t it?

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