A new report shows that “low-income voters [are] now more likely to vote”, and that “an ambitious policy offer” could sway their decision. And with Jeremy Corbyn’s bold policies in favour of ordinary people, it could be Labour that benefits from these votes at the next general election.
“Brexit is not the most important issue to most”
In a press release about its new report, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) revealed that:
Not only are low-income voters now more likely to vote (up by 7% between 2015 and 2017), they have become more willing to switch between parties and between voting and not voting. For example, 59% of low-income voters who did not vote at the 2017 General Election said they now planned to vote at the next one when asked in July 2019.
Out of 9.5 million such voters, the JRF said we could define 2.7 million as swing voters, and it stressed:
At the last election there were 130 seats where the number of low-income swing voters was larger than the majorities achieved.
It also insisted that “Brexit is not the most important issue to most”. Many of these voters feel that politicians don’t listen to them, it said, and “are looking for leaders who understand their lives”. The top five proposals that interest them, meanwhile, all involve “measures to promote local economic growth, training and job opportunities”. Many also:
- Dislike the insecurity of the private rental sector.
- Want “more council and housing association homes for rent”
- Believe that welfare support should “rise in line with inflation”.
“An ambitious policy offer” could be key
The JRF revealed that “low income voters are well placed to be a significant force in dozens of what could be the most fiercely contested seats”. And it stressed:
Joint JRF research with UK in a Changing Europe also found that an ambitious policy offer could deliver electoral dividends. People’s priorities were for more vibrant local economies and high streets; better paid and more secure work that boosts their living standards; and opportunities to improve their skills and find good apprenticeships.
In terms of improving education opportunities, addressing the housing crisis, increasing pay and job security, fixing the benefits system, and boosting local economies, Corbyn’s Labour seems to have all the ‘ambitious policies’ the JRF alludes to. Because it has promised to:
- “Create a unified National Education Service (NES) for England to move towards cradle-to-grave learning that is free at the point of use”.
- Build “at least 100,000 council and housing association homes a year for genuinely affordable rent or sale” by the end of its first term while creating a “Department for Housing to focus on tackling the crisis and to ensure housing is about homes for the many, not investment opportunities for the few”.
- “Ban zero hours contracts”; “raise the Minimum Wage to the level of the Living Wage” for everyone over 18; set up a “Ministry of Labour” to help “empower workers and their trade unions”; and aim for a “four-day work week. … with no loss of pay” within 10 years.
- “Replace Universal Credit with a social security system that focuses on “alleviating and ending poverty, not driving people into it””.
- Support “the creation of publicly owned, locally accountable energy companies and co-operatives”; create around 400,000 “good unionised jobs” as part of a Green Industrial Revolution; and offer “free or affordable integrated green public transport”.
For the many, the choice is simple
Conservative Party leader and prolific spreader of lies Boris Johnson has formed a hard-right government with proud Thatcherites who want even further cuts to public services and the welfare state. Despite limited, cynical pledges, his government has promised more tax cuts for the richest people and corporations in the UK. And his party has overseen almost a decade of decay in education, healthcare, housing, working conditions, welfare, and local communities across the country. In short, he offers very little hope for low-income voters (and the majority of UK voters).
Corbyn, on the other hand, has all the ‘ambitious policies’ the country desperately needs.
The choice for voters at the next election will perhaps be clearer than ever before.
Featured image via Wikimedia – Sophie Brown
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