These are the facts:
Wages are still £20 per week below pre-financial crash levels; take the top 10 per cent of earners out of the calculation and they fall far below.
Household debt is at its highest.
The so-called “jobs miracle” doesn’t mean more people are in work; it means poor people are being driven to take on extra jobs.
Half of non-home owners now doubt they will ever be able to afford a house.
Food bank use has increased by the highest amount in five years.
Four in 10 people do not believe they’ll have a decent standard of living in 10 years’ time.
Debt and anxiety are on the rise – and those living below the poverty line have fallen a massive 30 per cent below the threshold (which, at 60 per cent of median income, has also dropped to a lower level of income than in 2010)
Those are important. But perhaps the personal story in Polly Toynbee’s article gets the point across in a better way.
She refers to Thiara Sanchez, who was the daughter of a cleaner at the Treasury during the 2010 election campaign.
Days before that poll, she made an important speech highlighting the effect of poverty pay on her mother and grandmother (also a Treasury cleaner) and the knock-on effect on the family.
She needed a laptop to do her homework but couldn’t afford it; sometimes her family spent a week eating lentils because that was all they could afford; she hardly saw her mother because that woman could not afford to use the tube and the three buses she used took a long time.
Both David Cameron and Nick Clegg (remember them?) made promises about poverty, and they slithered into government together as a coalition. And what happened to Ms Sanchez and her family?
The spent several months living rough after being evicted from a flat – sleeping on buses and park benches and missing school – until they were rescued by Catholic nuns.
Her mother died of pancreatic cancer at the painfully young age of 49. So much for NHS England’s record of cancer detection and treatment. Her grandmother has severe dementia and returned to Spain – because care in the UK has been run down so badly by the Tories and Lib Dems?
Ms Sanchez herself managed to get through university and has a first-class degree in human resource management – and an enormous student debt thanks to the Lib Dems, who reneged on their promise to end student tuition fees, the instant they got into government.
She cannot get a job; employers want experience. She hopes a Masters degree might help, but this means another £10,000 of student debt.
She shares a flat with three men she does not know, at a cost of £500 a month. It’s the cheapest she can find; so much for Tory/Lib Dem housing policies.
Her story is a nine-year saga that is an indictment against the Tories (and Lib Dems) – who haven’t failed, by the way.
The Tories and Liberal Democrats achieved exactly what they set out to do, which was to shrink state spending, make the rich richer and crush the poor beneath the weight of their own poverty.
And now they are carrying out a new election campaign with an air of triumphalism – completely ignoring the fact that they have harmed – or killed – millions of people for good of their own petty ambitions.
And there are still people who will vote for them. Why?
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