I agree with Ruth Patrick that many people living with poverty say they won’t vote (Society, 17 May). But I disagree strongly with her view that Labour has said little to appeal to people on benefits. Here are just a few examples of what Labour’s manifesto offers them:
• Scrapping the bedroom tax immediately (the draft law was ready before the 2015 general election).
• Scrapping the sanctions regime.
• Reinstating housing benefit for unemployed 18- to 21-year-olds.
• Scrapping cuts to bereavement benefits.
• Increasing employment and support allowance (ESA) by £30 per week.
• Ending the six-week delay in paying out to new universal credit (UC) claimants.
• Ending the “rape clause” for mothers claiming UC for more than two children.
• Replacing the work capability and personal independence payment assessments with a humane and personalised service.
• Ending the constant reassessments for people with severe long-term conditions.
• Keeping the pensionable age at 66.
• Building a large volume of council and housing association homes – at least 100,000 a year, at truly affordable rents.
• New private tenancies will be for three years, with limits on rent rises.
• Keeping tax and national insurance payments as they are unless you are pretty well off.
• Increasing the minimum wage to £10 an hour, for everyone aged 18 and over.
• Giving more money to local authorities, protecting libraries, post offices, pubs and local shops.
What’s not to like? Could it be clearer? We all need to get these points across as soon as possible to those who would benefit most from a Labour government. We have just days left to persuade people to register (by midnight on 22 May), and just weeks to persuade them that a Labour government would change their lives for the better.
• Gaby Hinsliff (19 May) captures us perfectly in her characterisation of Labour voters. But as activists in Oxford East, knocking on doors six days a week, we’ve found another group: habitual non-voters who see an offer they haven’t had before. Perhaps we will be joined by pensioners angry at the Conservatives’ triple whammy. It feels as if there’s a snowball rushing downhill which could knock Theresa May over – or hit a rock on the way and fly apart. Interesting times.
Roy and Jane Darke
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