THE BLOG
24/06/2015 13:40 BST | Updated 24/06/2016 06:59 BST

Those in Our Society Who Need Extra Support Are the Very People Tory Austerity Takes This Lifeline Away From

On Saturday, I was proud to march alongside friends, family and hundreds of thousands of other people - trade unionists, campaigners, celebrities and activists - all united in their determination to voice their anger at the Tory Government's austerity agenda.

The election result was a blow to us all. None of us wanted to see a majority Tory Government returned but the outcome of the election does not mark the end. It signalled a new chapter in our fight against inequality, against injustice and, ultimately, against austerity.

In the Queen's Speech, we learnt the full extent of the Tory programme. Attacks on trade unionists, and unprecedented levels of cuts - significantly more than those we saw in the last parliament from the Coalition Government.

This government is dismantling our vital public services and rolling back the state but it is working people and the most vulnerable in society who are really paying the price.

For millions across the country, these cuts have signalled the tipping point as they have been forced to rely on food banks simply to feed their families, forced to turn to payday lenders to cover the bills and rent putting a roof over their heads, and forced to put up with low wages and the uncertainty of life on zero hours contracts, simply to make ends meet. The very people who need extra support from the state are the very people the Tories are taking this lifeline away from.

It is an outrage but perhaps the most devastating aspect of this Tory agenda is that it is completely unnecessary. The Government and the right-wing media tell us that austerity and these "tough choices" are the only route out of the financial crisis and that they have no choice. This is totally untrue. There is an alternative.

To boost an economy you need investment. Investment in housing through a house-building programme. Investment in the public and private sectors across the board. Investment in working people through boosting wages and promoting collective bargaining. This will ensure that working people have the spending power to put back into and grow the economy, not only on a local level but nationally as well. For a start, the government should be raking back the billions effectively stolen from the public purse by the corporate and billionaire tax evaders and avoiders.

Rather than pursuing a programme of investment, which would promote equality as well as economic growth, this Tory Government is ruthlessly committed to austerity. The reality is that the most vulnerable in society are falling victim to the political will of an elite who have been fortunate enough to not have to face the hardships imposed on so many across our country as a result of their decisions. Research shows that women, those from ethnic minorities and those with disabilities are the very people hit hardest by the cuts and this out of touch government does nothing to take into account the ramifications of their actions on these people.

Instead, the Tories sell our public services off to their friends in private companies. We have seen it time and time again with Royal Mail, the railways and the salami-sliced dismantling of our NHS. It wasn't ordinary working people who created the global financial crisis but it is them and not the guilty bankers paying the price.

This cannot continue and is exactly why I joined the People's Assembly's "End Austerity Now" demo at the weekend. We have to stand up and voice our strong opposition to the Tory's plans - something the Trade Union Group of MPs will never shy away from in or outside of Parliament.

We must not be disheartened but we must continue in our fight because if Saturday's march proved anything it was this - we are not alone.

Kelvin Hopkins is the Labour MP for Luton North

This blog first appeared on the Trade Union Group of MPs blog, and can be read here

The Trade Union Group of MPs is a vehicle for promoting the voices of working people in Parliament, working with a wide range of MPs and trade unionists to push the political agenda on to the side of working people