Families in Bedford and Kempston are facing the biggest cost of living crisis in a generation. Prices are increasing, wages are falling and for many hard-working people there is rising insecurity in the workplace.
Recent figures show that the number of people feeling insecure at work has almost doubled from 6.5 million to 12 million since David Cameron became Prime Minister. David Cameron is fond of talking about Britain being in a global race, but his government has led a race to the bottom for the lowest wages and the fewest rights at work. He has compounded the cost of living crisis by making it easier to fire workers instead of hire them.
There has been a rise in the number of employees on zero-hours contracts since 2010, with some figures estimating there could be as many as 1 million people now employed on them. The number of people working part time, but who want to work full time has risen by more than 350,000 to over 1.4 million over the same period. Many of these people are paid the National Minimum Wage which has declined in value by almost 5 per cent under David Cameron.
Both employers and employees need flexibility but this shouldn’t mean people in Bedford lacking job security and having to be flexible about being able to afford the weekly shop.
We’ve got to put a stop to this. That’s why Labour announced plans to ban zero-hours contracts where they exploit people, end the scandal of false self-employment, strengthen the National Minimum Wage and incentivise employers to pay a Living Wage through ‘make work pay’ contracts.
We can tackle the cost of living crisis and rising insecurity at work by building an economy that works for working people. We need growth which is better balanced across regions and sectors, and which creates high-skilled, better paid jobs for local people.
Labour will always stand up for hard-working people and the next Labour government will tackle rising insecurity at work by ensuring that Bedford is equipped to earn its way out of the cost of living crisis.