Your article headlined Hundreds Off The Dole Queue (Herne Bay Gazette, January 29) reads like a press release from Tory Central Office. Unemployment, as measured by the numbers claiming Job Seekers Allowance, is falling and things are going well. However, as reported by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, it is also true that real average weekly earnings are falling and are well below their pre-recession peak and are even below their level in 2001. Living standards will be lower at the end of this Parliament than they were at the beginning – for the first time since the 1920s. How can things be getting worse and better at the same time? The explanation is in the fact that, in an economy where zero-hours contracts are on the increase, people are being forced into low-wage and insecure jobs. Others are taking the option of self-employment, which in many cases means working very hard for little reward. Unemployment may be going down, but well-rewarded employment is not going up. What we are experiencing is a concerted effort by the Tory PR machine to convince us that the economy is best in their hands. We should not forget who caused the crisis in 2008 – the reckless bankers. Under Gordon Brown, we were emerging from the depression caused by the crash until George Osborne’s austerity programme caused a recession. The deficit is now higher than it was when this government came in – despite being pledged to eliminate it. After four years of recession it isn’t surprising that some improvement is at last happening. Osborne and Cameron hope that the electorate will forget the devastation they and their Lib Dem partners caused, just because some indicators are a bit better now than they were a few months ago. I wouldn’t rely too much on the gullibility of the electorate, Dave and George.
St Augustine’s Road, Canterbury
Herne Bay Gazette, February 5th 2015