Copyright: Photo Monkey/
Copyright: Photo Monkey/

Shortages of food, fuel and essential products. Rising costs of food and energy. Taxes going up. People in Bristol West are now seriously worried about the future.

The government lurches from crisis to crisis and has no plan to deal with problems as they pile up.

Take the shortage in lorry drivers, causing food and fuel shortages. Over the last couple of weeks, ministers first denied there was a problem, then tried to blame it on the public for panic buying, and now they state that this chaotic situation is the intended outcome of their failed Brexit deal. However, ministers were warned about this shortage months ago – and they ignored it.

The country deserves better than this Tory incompetence. We need a plan out of this mess to get skilled people into important jobs and get the economy back on track.

Labour has that plan.

First of all, we would not have ignored the warnings as the current Tory government has and continues to do.

Right now, the government needs to stop hammering people’s incomes – Labour would not be doing this. That means stopping the proposed tax rises on income and reversing the cut to Universal Credit. The Tories are choosing to take money from the pockets of hardworking people to fix their mistakes. They have broken their manifesto commitments with numerous Tory tax rises.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Labour will tax fairly, spend wisely, and get the economy firing on all cylinders. We want to save money and stop waste because we respect taxpayers and our public services. This money should be spent on improving people’s everyday lives, and the big challenges we face like tackling climate change.

We will reform our tax system to make fit for the 21st Century by reforming it so it is fairer, more efficient and shifts the burden of business tax.

To deal with the immediate driver shortage, Labour would appoint a Minister for the supply chain crisis. We would extend temporary visas to meet the immediate shortage of drivers needed and use that time to urgently recruit and train new drivers. We should be using everything at our disposal to resolve this, including MOD capacity, airfields and army bases to accelerate training.

Ministers should be looking ahead at the next crisis. Years of economic mismanagement means there are more labour shortages coming down the line. This includes social care workers, bus drivers, food manufacturing, warehousing, courier services and bin collectors.

We need real investment in our everyday economy. This means more training for young people, better working conditions and pay. We need to buy, make and sell more in Britain. We would also invest £28 billion per year on capital investment for tackling climate change and ecological emergency, right now. Our current government is not treating this emergency with the urgency it requires.

We should be dealing with the cost of living crisis at the same time as dealing with climate change – for example, we should be retrofitting cold, damp, draughty and expensive to heat homes, as they are responsible for 14% of our carbon emissions and a growing chunk of household budgets.

The reality of Boris Johnson’s failed Brexit deal is even worse than warnings he dismissed as ‘Project Fear’. Labour will plug the gaps in Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, for example by recognising professional qualifications from other countries and by making a veterinary agreement to deal with product checks at the borders.

The government is determined  to ignore the problems and bluff and bluster their way through.

For families struggling to afford food, businesses that cannot get staff or key workers unable to get to work, this is not working.

The British people deserve a government that which can look ahead and avert problems before they become full blown crises. The rising cost of living, the crisis in NHS and social care and the climate emergency all demand a government able to plan for the future.

That’s a Labour government.

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