A stark choice

Over the weekend, I visited Wirral West, one of 14 key marginal seats identified in the North West as crucial to the outcome of the general election.

Wirral West’s tale of woe under its current Tory MP, Esther McVey, is typical of so many constituencies up and down the country.

Around 2,700 working families in Wirral West have seen their tax credits cut in real terms. The same number are living in fuel poverty. 

The number of households forced to rent privately has exceeded 3,000, while 2,311 children are in schools in the constituency rated by Ofsted as less than ‘good’.  

Across the region, 23.6% of jobs pay less than the living wage, with at least 77,000 people working on zero hours contracts – an increase of 26.8% in just the past year. 

This is of course just the tip of the iceberg, with millions of pounds of unspecified Tory spending cuts on the horizon if they get back into office next month. 

But all is not lost. 

I had the pleasure of meeting Labour’s strong, lively, candidate, Margaret Greenwood. I also spent time with dedicated activists who are working tirelessly to campaign for the alternative to austerity. 

This same scenario is being played out across the country as 7 May approaches, with UNISON and its committed activists at the sharp end of election campaigning - spreading the message that the choice on polling day is a stark one. 

A choice between safeguarding our public services and increasing the spending power of working people; or five more years of vicious cuts to vital services, and to the pay and conditions of our members who deliver them.