Léonie Mathers, Labour’s local candidate to be Sherwood’s next MP, has called on the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith MP to answer local people’s questions following a secretive visit to Hucknall this week.
The Conservative minister, responsible for the widely-criticised bedroom tax, the so-called ‘Work Programme’ and record levels of sanctions hitting disabled people, visited the Under One Roof community centre. After a message was posted on the social networking site twitter, a handful of local people turned up to pose questions to the Minister, before he was rushed out through a back door under police protection.
Labour’s candidate Léonie Mathers called on the work and pensions secretary to be open with local people, to hear their concerns and answer questions about his management of the work and pensions brief.
Speaking after the visit, Léonie Mathers said:
“By a long way, lack of jobs, low pay and the rising cost of living crisis are still the top concerns local people raise with me. Although the Government talks big about the economy being fixed, it just doesn’t feel that way to ordinary people here in Hucknall. If Iain Duncan Smith would just take the time to listen to people and hear what they are saying, he wouldn’t be so out of touch and he might start fixing the economy for the good of everyone, rather than just the top 1 per cent.”
Five questions Iain Duncan Smith should answer:
- Although your Government claims to have solved unemployment, long term unemployment in Sherwood is still more than three times pre-recession levels, with one in three jobseekers out of work for a year or more. Does the Minister agree that forcing people into unpaid jobs at Poundland through his ‘work programme’ has failed, and now is the time for a proper job guarantee which would see jobseekers placed in decent, long term jobs?
- In this constituency two food banks have supported hundreds of vulnerable people in the last year. Shockingly, one in five people who need emergency food are in work but earning too little to support their families. Will your Government support a Living Wage which ensures a decent salary for hardworking people?
- The Bedroom Tax, which hits over 800 families here in Sherwood, has been widely branded both unfair and incompetent, and many Councils are reporting that administrative costs to the tax-payer are often as much as, or more than, potential savings. The next Labour Government has pledged to abolish the Bedroom Tax. Will you now do the same?
- In my recent survey, almost two thirds of people in work told me they were in insecure or low income jobs – with many on zero-hour contracts, which make it difficult to plan a future for them and their families. Will you back the Labour Party’s plans to ban exploitative zero-hour contracts?
- I’ve been fighting to protecting well-paid industrial jobs here in Nottinghamshire. This Conservative Government has already failed to protect 1,000 jobs at and around Thoresby Colliery in Edwinstowe, but with Rolls Royce having receiving on average £40 million of tax payers money each year, what reassurances has his Government received from Rolls Royce of a continuing presence in Hucknall and in Britain?