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Letter to Dartford Messenger: MP has no cause for complacency

"These figures show that Mr Johnson has no cause for complacency. We need a recovery that benefits everyone and the Conservatives are just not delivering that for Dartford."

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Dartford residents are still facing an unprecedented squeeze in living standards.

For them and many others, the local MP's complacency about the local economy (column July 31) will offer no comfort. While Labour welcomes the fall in the Jobseekers Allowance claimant count for 18-24 year olds, the truth is that the outlook for people in Dartford is far from rosy.

While inflation stood at 1.5% between May 2013 and May 2014, regular pay only increased by 0.7% during the same period. This represents a real terms pay cut for working people in Dartford.

On average, working people are now over £1,800 a year worse off under the Conservatives and the number of people who want to work full-time but are stuck on part-time hours is at a record high.

These figures show that Mr Johnson has no cause for complacency. We need a recovery that benefits everyone and the Conservatives are just not delivering that for Dartford.

People in Dartford need action on the cost of living, not spin, and the truth is that Mr Johnson has voted to raise VAT for Dartford residents while at the same time giving millionaires a tax cut.

The Conservatives have done nothing to help local people struggling to make ends meet.

Our young people are also being hit by the ever spiralling costs of housing. According to a recent report from housing charity Shelter, 26% of working people aged 20-34 were living at home, with nearly half of them stating the reason was because they could not afford to rent or buy.

This is the shocking result of this Government's failure to deal with the growing housing crisis

We need to build more affordable homes in Dartford and that's why Labour have announced a Help-to-Build scheme where bank loans to smaller housebuilders would be underwritten in order to unlock the finance needed to get them building.

 

Simon Thomson

Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Dartford

Read related posts from Simon Thomson

Waiting to hear whether you’ve been given your preferred choice of school can be a stressful time for parents and children.

However, it seems that Kent County Council’s policy of accepting more applications from outside the county is creating extra stress for families in Dartford.

Dartford’s successful secondary schools and the town’s close proximity to London can make an attractive alternative for parents living in the capital.

There were 2,299 applications for places in Kent’s schools this year from parents living outside the county and a third of those have been offered places.
Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Dartford, Simon Thomson, has been made aware of several cases where local families have missed out on all their preferred choices of local secondary school.

Simon Thomson says “the situation is absurd. KCC seems to be giving an increasing number of places in Dartford schools to families not living in Kent. And that means local schoolchildren in Dartford are missing out.”

“In one case, KCC are expecting a family to get their child to a school outside of Dartford, with the journey involving three different buses. That’s crazy.”

“I want to see KCC give priority for places in Dartford’s secondary schools to families living in Dartford. And I hope the county council will address these absurdities on appeal.”

“But there simply aren’t enough school places in Dartford, especially with all the development being planned for the area. Instead of being obsessed with opening more free schools, the government should be working with KCC to create more places at good schools in Dartford as a matter of priority.”


Simon Thomson can be contacted on 07941 679353 or via email: simon@dartfordlabourparty.org.uk
FAMILIES

Mon 09 March, 2015

Dartford’s children being let down over local school places

Waiting to hear whether you’ve been given your preferred choice of school can be a stressful time for parents and children.However, it seems that Kent County Council’s policy of accepting more applications from outside the county is creating extra stress... Read more

Increasing numbers of people in the Dartford area are struggling with debt and are only just able to meet their living costs, according to new figures released by StepChange, a Debt Charity. The figures are released as part of the charity’s Debt Awareness Week. 

During 2014, the charity’s helpline was contacted by 1476 people from the Dartford postcode area. Those contacting the charity’s helpline on average owed £12,970 in unsecured debt such as credit cards, personal loans and overdrafts and they only had £36 left each month after paying their debts and household bills.


Mike O’Connor, chief executive of StepChange Debt Charity said:


“More and more families in the Dartford area are falling into debt and struggling to make ends meet. For those living on the edge of their financial means, taking control of the situation can seem a daunting, if not impossible, prospect, but taking positive steps towards tackling debt is crucial to getting back on your feet. We urge those who are worried about their debt problems to seek free confidential advice as soon as possible."


Simon Thomson, Parliamentary Labour Candidate for Dartford said:


“StepChange provide vital support for people in Dartford struggling with debt. This a problem that has got worse in the last four years and shows that too often the economy is just not working for local people.”


“Working people are £1600 worse off under the Conservatives and these figures highlight what many people have told me on the doorstep - far too often it’s still a struggle to make end meet. Dartford needs a pay rise and real help with the cost of living. That’s why a Labour government would deliver a fairer economy by raising the minimum wage to £8 an hour, freeze energy bills until 2017 and create more jobs, including a jobs guarantee for young people out of work."


Ends

Notes for Editors:
Figures from StepChange Debt Charity, based on helpline calls in 2014.
Simon Thomson is the Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate for Dartford. He can be contacted for further comment on 07941 679353
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More news from Simon Thomson

Dartford only succeeds when working people succeed - that's Labour's message for the General Election.

Over the last year I’ve spent a lot of time knocking on doors in Dartford listening to people and their concerns. I’ve seen first hand that many local people are still struggling to make ends meet. I’ve also seen they’ve not given up on hoping for a change.

We need real change in Dartford and real change in our politics. We need to take action on the cost of living crisis. It cannot be right that under the Conservatives the rich are getting richer while we all pay more in taxes. It cannot be right that the Tory top down re-organisation of the NHS has meant that nurses and doctors are struggling with ever increasing workloads and lack of support. It cannot be right that after 5 years of a Conservative led government, the next generation is faced with being worse off than their parents. I think it is time for change and a better plan.

Dartford needs a better deal. Last week, Labour announced five pledges that are at the heart of our plan for a better future. It’s based on a simple idea: that Britain only succeeds when working people succeed. That’s as true in Dartford as it is in the rest of the county. The five pledges set out a clear vision about what type of society Labour wants to create - a fairer, more equal, more prosperous society.

· A strong economic foundation: Labour will balance the books and cut the deficit every year while securing the future of the NHS.

· Higher living standards for working families: Labour will freeze energy bills until 2017 and give the regulator the power to cut bills this winter, ban exploitative zero-hours contracts, raise the minimum wage to £8 and provide 25 hours free childcare a week.

· An NHS with time to care: 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs. Labour will join up services from home to hospital, guaranteeing GP appointments within 48 hours and cancer tests within one week.

· Controls on immigration: People who come here won’t be able to claim benefits for at least two years and Labour will introduce fair rules making it illegal for employers to undercut wages by exploiting workers.

· A country where the next generation can do better than the last: Labour will reduce tuition fees to £6,000, and guarantee an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the basic grades, and deliver smaller class sizes for 5, 6 & 7 year-olds.

As your MP, I’ll work hard every day to help restore pride in Dartford and make sure that everyone benefits from our town's revival.


Simon Thomson


Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Dartford


Tue 17 March, 2015

Labour's plan for Dartford

Dartford only succeeds when working people succeed - that's Labour's message for the General Election. Read more

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