One of the main priorities for any government is to make sure people are better off, not worse off.
It’s pretty obvious really – we don’t elect governments to make us poorer.
But after seven years of the Tories, with all their damaging austerity cuts and right-wing policies, and after all the harm they’ve caused our economy, the reality is people are now earning less than they were a decade ago.
Tory failure in government has meant a pay cut for families across the country – as wages have fallen in real terms over the last decade.
As a result of this Tory pay cut, and the increased cost of living, many people are now going from payday to payday just about covering their rent, bills and living costs, with little to show or put aside at the end of it.
And with the Tory welfare cuts, more and more people are now struggling with rent arrears, pushed into debt, and forced to rely on emergency aid.
That’s why the SNP’s Westminster Leader Ian Blackford grilled Theresa May on this Tory pay crisis at PMQs.
When Ian pointed out that the UK’s record on earnings has been much worse than almost every other developed economy, the Prime Minister ducked the question and changed the subject.
Rather than holding her hands up, admitting the Tories had got it wrong, and setting out a strategy to tackle the wage crisis, Theresa May tried to distract with a desperate rant about Scotland’s economy – failing to mention that Scotland is outperforming the UK, with higher growth, higher productivity, higher employment, and lower unemployment.
Working at Westminster I’m used to politicians not answering the question but this instance made me really angry – millions of people across the country are paying the price for the Tory wage crisis, and the UK government’s head-in-the-sand response is simply not good enough.
We’ve had the worst decade for wage growth in 210 years. The last time things were this bad our ancestors were fighting the Napoleonic wars and the battle of Waterloo – it’s no wonder Theresa May wants to hide from her government’s record.
We now face a situation where young people in the UK today – so-called “millennials” – face becoming the first generation in modern times to be poorer than their predecessors – with lower lifetime earnings, and higher outgoings on inflated rents as more young people struggle to get on the housing ladder.
In Scotland, the SNP Scottish Government is taking the action we can with the powers we have – promoting a real Living Wage, getting more jobs and investment into the Scottish economy, building a Scottish social security system that supports those in need, and building affordable and social housing.
But with an extreme Tory Brexit driving up living costs and damaging the economy further, things are likely to get even worse without a radical change in UK government policy.
The Tories urgently need to get a grip – stop making excuses, and start changing course, or we’ll all suffer the consequences.
This article originally appeared in the Daily Record.