Political column: Jon Trickett MP
A new year signifies starting anew. A chance to do things differently.
This symbolism of a new year is clearly lost on the Tories. 2021 is barely a month old. Yet this government is carrying on where it left off in 2020.
Local communities have played their part in the fight against Covid for nearly a year. This hard work is now paying off in Wakefield. While still too high, the district average of Covid infections is declining.
Yet depressingly, the government is still not pulling its weight. It has learned nothing during this pandemic. Far from protecting and supporting all citizens, it continually lets them down.
But this is no accident. It is by design. None more so than when I questioned the health secretary, accusing him of diverting vaccine supplies away from Yorkshire and the north east to regions down south.
This is a scandal without justification. The government should not be pitting regions against each other.
Once again, people in the north are having to make sacrifices. And once again, these sacrifices go unrecognised. Those individuals having to wait longer for their jabs are the same people who are not being backed with financial support from this government.
It appears that the Tories only care about protecting the interests of themselves and their cronies. That is why in parliament last week they failed to vote for maintaining the £20 weekly uplift to Universal Credit, which is set to end in April.
That extra £20 a week has been a lifeline for millions of families. Shelving it when we are still in the grips of a pandemic is shameful. I will continue to fight for the 6,738 households in my Hemsworth constituency and the 27,496 throughout our district that rely on this increase.
Millions, through no fault of their own, have been plunged into hardship. If this government chooses to strip away a vital lifeline it will plunge millions more into poverty. The Tories must not be allowed to abandon them.
The self-employed have also been abandoned. The National Audit Office states that 2.9 million people are excluded from the Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
This is not good enough. These people are manual workers, plumbers, electrician, small local business owners. They are the lifeblood of our communities. Providing services that we all rely on.
What kind of government turns its back on millions of people like this who need help in a time of crisis? A Tory Government, that’s what.
Hard working families are being hung out to dry by this government.
Diverting vaccine supplies away from our region. Refusing to help thousands of people stay afloat with financial support.
Time and again, local people across Wakefield have stepped up to the plate. The government must recognise this and sharpen up its act.
I have submitted many motions to parliament in recent months calling on the Tories to do more to support our communities. Vaccinations should be based on the principles of equity.
They should not be used for political point scoring.
The government must urgently review its strategy to support people through a fair roll out of the vaccine and financial aid for those who are in need.