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Guto_Doorstep.jpgOn May 7th, the future of the UK hangs in the balance. We have an opportunity to decide what type of Britain we want to live in. We’ve got a choice between a country that is weaker and less equal as we’ve come to live in under the current Tory/Lib Dem coalition Government, or a country which rewards hard work with fair pay, a country which gives future generations more opportunities than the last and a country which delivers an economic recovery for everyone, not just a few at the top.

The people of Cardiff Central deserve an MP that stands up for them. The people want a Westminster and an MP that understands how difficult life has become the last few years. Having campaigned for Jo for some time now, I know well that she has the interests of Cardiff and its people at heart. Turning out every weekend to campaign for Jo is a pleasure, and I, along with the many other volunteers, am determined to get her elected.

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Some people may think that there’s no difference between having a Labour or a Liberal Democrat MP. The real truth is that it makes a huge difference. You only have to look at Jenny Willott’s voting record to see that she’s with the Tories all the way. She and the Tories say yes to the bedroom tax, but no to the mansion tax. Food banks on the rise, bank bonuses in their billions. Taxes up for working families in Cardiff, taxes cut for millionaires.

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The situation has to change, and it will if the people elect Jo as their MP.

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What could you do to support Jo's campaign? Click here to sign up as a volunteer.

Why I'm Campaigning for Jo - Guto

On May 7th, the future of the UK hangs in the balance. We have an opportunity to decide what type of Britain we want to live in. We’ve got a...

Harriet and Jo with the Pink BusYesterday I had the pleasure of welcoming Harriet Harman to Cardiff Central. Harriet was visiting as part of the 'pink bus' Woman to Woman tour. The bus, and senior women in Labour's shadow cabinet, are travelling the country meeting women across Britain and finding out what matters to them.

In Cardiff I took Harriet to visit British Gas, and meet some of the women working in various different roles both at the Contact Centre in Cardiff and in other roles across the business. We met maintenance engineers, customer service representatives and team managers.
There are great women working at every level, from apprentices to senior management. Harriet and I had a round table session with a group of employees, and discussed the issues facing women in the run up to the election. 
Round table
It was really interesting to hear about the wide range of issues that mattered to women of all ages in Cardiff. We talked about Labour's promise to increase free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds to 25 hours per week. We also discussed the need to improve transport and infrastructure to make it as easy as possible to travel to work. Other issues that were important to people included voter registration, making voting easier and the pressures of combining careers and family life.
Women from British Gas with Jo and Harriet
What are your priority issues as we approach the general election? You can fill in my survey to let me know what matters to you and your family. If you have any questions about a specific issue, please get in touch. I'm happy to share my views and ideas.
Jo and Harriet meet a team leader

Woman to Woman Bus Visits Cardiff

Yesterday I had the pleasure of welcoming Harriet Harman to Cardiff Central. Harriet was visiting as part of the 'pink bus' Woman to Woman tour. The bus, and senior women...

If you want an example of who this Government stands up for, look no further than the events of the past two weeks. 

The contrast between two of the most recent issues in the news; tax avoidance and policies affecting young people, demonstrates that the Tories and the Lib Dems only stand up for the privileged few.

David Cameron has effectively waged war on the young people of this country while his Government turn a blind eye to tax avoidance because apparently “Everyone does it.

The subject of tax avoidance has made headlines in the wake of the HSBC scandal, where their Swiss banking arm helped wealthy customers dodge taxes and conceal millions of pounds worth of assets.

This was reported to HMRC in 2010, but Tory & Lib Dem Government has ruled out an inquiry into their handling of 3,000 suspected tax evaders.

Seven Tory donors held bank accounts at HSBC’s Swiss subsidiary, in case you were wondering.

The tax gap between what should have been collected and what is collected under this government is £34bn.

That’s £34,000,000,000.00

Cameron & Clegg

 

Meanwhile, Cameron announced a 10% cut in real terms for the education budget over the next parliament last week and has today set out a further assault on the younger generation, the poorest and most vulnerable with a cruel welfare policy.

If the Conservatives win the election in May, they will immediately introduce a law barring tens of thousands of jobless young people from claiming benefits from "day one" unless they carry out unpaid community work.

The policy, which would cost £20m to introduce, would require at least 30 hours of community service in addition to looking for a job, to be eligible to claim the Youth Allowance of £53.75.

Forcing young people to work for £1.91 an hour, in the communities that his ideological cuts are destroying, epitomises what this Tory & Lib Dem Government is all about.

What’s possibly more shocking than the heartless nature of this policy is that it will have “little to no positive impact” according to an evaluation by the Government’s own Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in December.

Jonathan Portes, Director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, explains here how the scheme was piloted and proved to be hugely ineffective.

Once this policy is held up to any sort of scrutiny it becomes obvious what an ideological and damaging attitude this Government has towards getting young people into work. 

While letting the richest in society get away with tax avoidance, the Tories attacks young people’s future, slashing the education budget and further stigmatising policies that won’t work for people looking for jobs.

It is a truly horrifying sight of what Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ really looks like and a warning of what Britain can expect with five more years of this Government.

Thankfully, there is an alternative.

Unlike the Tories and Lib Dems, Labour are offering a vision of hope and fairness if it wins on May 7th.

Labour have pledged that young people who have been unemployed for a year would be offered a job or apprenticeship, paid for by a tax on bankers’ bonuses.

The  ‘Jobs Guarantee’ would also apply to adults aged 25 or over claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance for two years or more.

Over the weekend, at the Welsh Labour Conference, Miliband also pledged to “give parity of esteem between academic and vocational education.”

He added: “We will build on the success of Jobs Growth Wales, which has already created almost 17,000 jobs. These actions from the Welsh Government have meant Wales has seen a bigger fall in youth unemployment than nearly all other parts of the UK.”

 “With our Jobs Guarantee, funded by the bank bonus tax, across the whole of the United Kingdom, to get young people back to work, open up opportunities and transform the futures of young people across Britain.”

Miliband hit out at the Government’s stance on tax avoidance, saying: "In Britain today we risk having one rule for the rich and powerful and another for everybody else."

He claimed the current Government had "turned a blind eye to tax avoidance because it thinks that so long as a few at the top do well the country succeeds" and accused the coalition of "shrugging its shoulders" on the issue, leaving £34bn hole in the UK's finances.

Labour’s leader also promised that HMRC’s culture and practices dealing with "aggressive tax avoidance" would be properly scrutinised and the review would report back by July with recommendations for reforming the tax authority.

He also pledged to bring in fresh penalties for those who avoid tax, and to close loopholes in the law - which he said were used by hedge funds to avoid stamp duty and by large companies that move profits out of the UK to avoid corporation tax.

After the events of past two weeks, the choice on May 7th has become even clearer.

Here in Cardiff, your vote matters more than ever. It promises to be an immensely tight battle between Labour and the Lib Dems.

We currently have a Lib Dem MP who, because of her voting record, may as well be a Tory. She has voted for a staggering 99.6% of their policies, including the Bedroom Tax.

On May 8th, we will either have a Tory Government - propped up by their Lib Dem cheerleaders again – or a Labour Government which would ensure fairness for the young, the old, the rich and the poor.

*** LATEST SHOCKING UPDATE ***

It turns out that the Tories not only turn a blind eye to tax avoidance, they actually go on TV and advocate it too.

Watch the Chancellor, George Osborne, on The Daily Politics doing just that.

Life under the Lib Dem & Tory Government: Betraying young people and ignoring tax avoidance

If you want an example of who this Government stands up for, look no further than the events of the past two weeks.  The contrast between two of the most...

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