The Tories budget last week said and delivered nothing for those people that want hope for a better future for this town. There were no actions to tackle youth unemployment, no strategy for growth, and no measures to create the new jobs and businesses this town needs.
Just as businesses in Swindon have declared – the Tories strategy is not for low growth; but no growth. Under Labour in the 1980s Swindon became a powerhouse for inward investment attracting Honda, bMW and Nationwide. We were the zero unemployment town. Under the Tories youth unemployment stands at the second highest in the South West region.
The Tories economic strategy is hurting but not working. Families, pensioners and businesses already know the Tories cuts are hurting. Unemployment has soared to 2.67 million, the highest levels for 16 years. And youth unemployment is at its highest level since records began.
And with the Tories plunging the Council into £116 million of debt – it’s just not working. Who is paying the price of the Tories economic failure? Families with a 150,000 cut to SureStart; the disabled with a £615,000 cut for help for disabled care; and the sick with a £150,000 cut for bus services to Great Western Hospital.
What should the budget have said?. At the heart of the budget we need a plan for growth and a long term vision for rebuilding our economy.
Nationally we should implement Labour’s 5 point plan for jobs including a new bankers bonus tax to fund 100,000 jobs for young people. In Swindon we should do the same and cut senior management costs and spend the money on apprenticeships getting young people back to work.
We also need a long term economic strategy. Swindon Labour’s proposed Green New Deal will ‘get Swindon working’ and build the new businesses, the new jobs and the new economy that our town needs. We will place Swindon at the heart of the hydrogen highway and at the forefront of creating new green collar jobs.
We will also establish a new inward investment team to market Swindon and build relationships with businesses. To help Swindon’s successful businesses to grow and expand, we will establish mini enterprise zones to attract supply chain businesses of Swindon’s major manufacturers.
To increase local opportunity for education and skills, we will build a long term plan for a University for Swindon. Finally we will create a new Masterplan for the regeneration of Swindon Town Centre.
Instead of these cuts, we need to build a plan for the economic future of Swindon. With a strong economic strategy Swindon can once again become an economic powerhouse for jobs and prosperity.