Ed Miliband chose May 1st, International Labour Day, to come to the Gloucestershire Cricket Ground to support Thangam Debbonaire.
Ed came with Rachel Reeves, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, who made the introductory speech. Speaking of the cruelty of the Bedroom Tax she told of a family with a disabled child who were charged for the bedroom where essential equipment was kept. Her promise that Labour will abolish the Bedroom Tax was not news to the audience but received warm applause, nonetheless.
Then Thangam spoke, welcoming Ed to our wonderful constituency, while saying that it has suffered too much under the Coalition and could be so much better. (See Thangam’s whole speech here )
She introduced Ed as a man who has a hunger to make the changes that this country needs and who will get started on those changes from day one.
Ed, too, spoke of the Bedroom Tax and how it affects 200,000 children and 60,000 carers – people that a Government should help, not hurt. He said that the tax was not only unfair and cruel but did not work either, just like the Tory idea that wealth trickles down from the richest to the poorest.
He said that a Labour Government would put working people first and pledged:
- a minimum wage of £8 an hour;
- a ban on zero hours contracts;
- guaranteed apprenticeships for young people who get their qualifications;
- a reduction in tuition fees from £9,000 to £6,000 a year;
- more homes to be built;
- help for first time buyers;
- a fair deal for those who rent their homes.
Ed urged the audience of Labour Party members and supporters to make even greater efforts in the last few days to make sure that Thangam is elected on Thursday but judging by the numbers of people who have been out canvassing, leafleting and running street stalls over the last few weeks, that part of his message was hardly necessary.