In tough times, it’s important that the policies of all political parties are properly costed and funded. People rightly want to know that the sums add up.
I would like to see rigorous scrutiny of political parties’ election manifestos and I think all parties should be willing to subject their manifestos to examination.
Last week in Westminster I voted for the Office for Budget Responsibility (the Government’s independent budget watchdog) to be able to audit the costings of every spending and tax commitment in all political parties’ election manifestos, but the Government parties voted to block this important reform.
It is disappointing as it is likely that they are running scared of having their own manifestos audited.
The recently published ‘The State of the Coalfields Report’, which was commissioned by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, is the first study for almost ten years to explore the economic and social conditions prevalent in coalfield communities.
The report highlights that the consequences of job losses of the 1980s and 90s are still all too visible in statistics on jobs, unemployment, benefits and health; demonstrating that there is an ongoing need for economic regeneration in the coalfields.
The report also finds that the Government’s welfare reforms are hitting the coalfields disproportionately hard, as well as identifying that there is a funding crisis for voluntary and community sector organisations in the coalfields compared to elsewhere in the country.
To read the report visit www.coalfields-regen.org.uk/crt-publications/
Forty four years after the Equal Pay Act was passed, new analysis of Office for National Statistics figures has revealed that women in Yorkshire & the Humber still earn on average just 80p for every pound earned by men.
Since coming to power over four years ago the Government has managed to close the gap by just 0.1% and shockingly, last year, for the first time since 2008 the pay gap didn’t just stagnate, it rose.
The depressing figures show that if the Government had continued with the progress made before 2010, women would have an extra £177.30 in their pay packets at the end of the year. This extra cash could make a big difference as families continue to struggle with the cost of living crisis.
A third of working women are now in low-wage jobs, and nationally a record six million women are working part-time where hourly pay is on average a third less than they could expect in a full-time job. Additionally some three-quarters of a million women are now on zero-hour contracts, many of them are struggling to get enough hours from one week to the next.
We need to make achieving equal pay a priority, with greater pay transparency so women can see if they are being paid less than their male colleagues.
It seems extraordinary in an age when girls are outperforming boys at school, going to university in greater numbers and running FTSE 100 companies that pay inequality still exists, but it does. What is really depressing is that things are going backwards. Women deserve much better than this and they can’t afford to wait another 44 years for pay equality, and neither can Britain.
Letwell’s annual summer fayre is taking place in the village this Saturday (5th July).
The event begins at 1:30pm and features snail racing, a coconut shy and a vintage bus display. Many congratulations to everyone who organises the fayre, the proceeds of which go towards the upkeep of St Peter’s Church.
What do you think to Sir Kevin’s column this week? Send us your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.