“Quality of Life” was the theme for discussion at the January meeting of Buxton Labour Party last week.
Protection of the environment and support for vulnerable people must be key platforms for Labour Party policy, local members agreed. “The Coalition Government’s austerity policies are not working”, argued Cllr Fiona Sloman. “We are watching unemployment rise while government debt will be double by the end of this parliament. Thousands are struggling to pay their food, energy and transport costs while wages for many are at a standstill”.
Members agreed that there is a better way to manage the economy by investing in long term projects such as schools and roads. Branch members did not support the High Speed Railway (HS2) proposals, seeing them as a distraction and a waste of money.
“Capitalism is at last being put under the microscope as more and more people question the morality of huge payouts to the rich who hide their wealth away in offshore tax havens while the majority are squeezed. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, same old Tories,” said Jane McGrother.
“Many of the things we predicted are coming true”, claimed branch chair, Roger Cooper. “We said that cutting the public sector too fast and too far would result in high unemployment. The private sector was never going to be able to replace all those lost jobs”.
Deep concern was expressed at the destruction of the NHS. American style health provision seemed to be the aim of the government resulting in the longer waiting lists now evident. “We fear the pressure will result in patients feeling the need to go private. A shorter working week, a living wage, a decent pensions system for all and support for those who need it should be the goals of a rich country like ours”, said Cllr Keith Savage.
“We believe in everyone making a responsible contribution if they can but the proof of our civilised society is that we protect people with disabilities of all kinds who cannot. The government’s cruel policies on benefits will push many people into despair,” members agreed.
Buxton Labour Party will be setting up their own website and Google group to encourage debate and ideas. If you would like to join the discussions or join the Labour Party please contact 01298 24779 or log onto www.labourhighpeak.info/ or www.buxton.labourhighpeak.info