President Abraham Lincoln talked about “Government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Stating the obvious? Not if you are in Westminster listening to the Tory-led Government telling us how they are going to cut our public services.
If dogma is your guiding light then people have to be fitted into your system and not the system adapted for the good of the people. Unfortunately, as independent analysts tell us, the recent VAT rise and swingeing cuts are hitting those on low and modest incomes most. But things could be done differently, and here in Wales with Labour in the Assembly we can do some things differently.
On a UK level, amongst other things, Labour’s central proposal for the Budget is that the government should repeat last year’s bank bonus tax – which raised £3.5 billion, and use that to stimulate growth in the economy, which helps create jobs and keeps down the unemployment bill. It was for the same reason that Labour introduced the Future Jobs Fund which here in Carmarthenshire has helped many young people develop skills and find real jobs. It is shameful that the Tory government has now scrapped the scheme. However, if a Labour Assembly is elected in the May elections, then we are planning a similar Welsh Jobs Fund to create some 4,000 jobs in Wales. Likewise we have pledged to employ extra Police Community Safety Officers – to keep our communities safer – far better to be employing people to do something useful than just to let the dole-queues lengthen.
In 1909 Lloyd George introduced what has since always been called the People’s Budget. I think that is what we need in 2011.