Communist candidate for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, Laura-Jane Rossington, went down a storm at Thursday's election hustings hosted by City College Plymouth. The 18 year old student spoke passionately about the issues facing young people in Plymouth and delivered a simple message - tax the rich. This is her opening statement.
In 2008, the world economy suffered a financial crisis unlike any it had seen before.
In Britain, the banks were bailed out with hundreds of billions of pounds and the recession that followed saw the deficit rise to unsustainable levels. The Tories blame this global crash on Labour, whilst New Labour were unable to respond with any policies which would actually solve the problem.
For the last 5 years, all of the main parties have been pointing their fingers at each other whilst the likes of you and I have been paying the price. The poor are getting poorer whilst the rich are getting richer. In 2013, The Sunday Time's Top 1000 'rich list' saw their combined personal wealth rise by £69 billion in 1 year. The richest 10% of households own £4.2 trillion, 5 times as much as the poorer half of society put together.
The Tories and Lib Dems have used the recession as an excuse to destroy large parts of our society that would even make the likes of Margaret Thatcher blush. They sold the Royal Mail to their friends in the city on the cheap, they abolished EMA and lied to you about tuition fees which Labour brought in and still refuse to abolish. And now they are privatising parts of the NHS, leaving the health and well-being of your families in the hands of greedy profiteers.
This is no way to run a country.
The Communist Party is fighting for a genuine alternative to our current and failing system.
We would scrap tuition fees entirely in further and higher education and bring back student grants. Education is a basic right and should be funded out of taxation. We aim to scrap academies and free schools, integrating all religious, trust, academy and even private schools back into a unified and secular education system, bringing an end to privilege in education. Quality education should not have a price tag attached. We will compel employers to help fund high quality vocational training for young people.
We understand that not everybody learns in the same way, but that does not make them any less capable or any less valuable. Most people in full time education are living either with their parents or are being exploited by private landlords. None of the main parties are serious about housing.
The Communist Party would end council house sales and initiate a large scale building programme of 1 million new social houses. Many students and new graduates endure the instability of exploitative zero hours contracts. We shall bring an end to this. It is wrong that young workers are paid less just because of their age.
We demand a living wage, now, for all workers – regardless of how old they are. Britain is still one of the richest countries in the world. We could easily create a society that benefits the millions, not the millionaires. Our election slogan is simple. Tax the rich!