As a Jersey born, 21-year-old gay man from a working class background, I am totally disillusioned with our current government and the “independents” that have supported it. I am standing as a Reform Jersey candidate because I want to be a part of a team that has proven that party politics is the only way to hold politicians to account.
I have worked since the age of 16 in a variety of jobs both full and part-time to fit in with my continued study. I have been studying Media at Highlands College for the past two years.
My engagement with politics began 4 years ago when my Reform colleague, Sam Mezec, introduced equal marriage legislation. Watching our government play politics with what should be a basic right has been frustrating.
The current Council of Ministers has failed in its primary promise to grow the economy and has presided instead over a society which has grown more and more unequal. Those worst off – pensioners, children, single parents and those with a disability have all suffered.
The current Council of Ministers, many of whom have now “stepped down”, cut £10m from the incomes of the most vulnerable people in our community, including single parents, who faced a loss of £40 weekly. Only thanks to a Reform Jersey member operating through scrutiny, was this damaging proposal reversed.
Those in work have seen the value of their earnings go down in real terms over the past decade. Many workers, especially young people, are trapped in work on the minimum wage, on so-called zero-hour contracts, not knowing how many hours they will get next week or next day. The outgoing government has refused to protect the rights of these workers by regulation and inspection.
Dedicated workers in the public sector have seen their jobs threatened by outsourcing, and have been subject to the imposition of below-inflation wage settlements which have left them worse off in real terms. It is time to return to honest relationships, not bullying.
In short, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. This is not inevitable, but happens when you have States members who are removed from the struggles of ordinary people. I pledge to support Reform Jersey’s costed plan to address these issues.
My pledges to you if I am elected:
• Vote to raise the minimum wage to £10 an hour by 2022 – our minimum wage is now lower then Guernsey and the UK while our cost of living is higher.
• Vote to introduce our fully funded grant scheme for University tuition. Parents should not be punished for wanting the best for their children and students should not be punished for wanting to better themselves.
• Vote to introduce a rent freeze on social rents and an empty property tax
• Vote to introduce 26 weeks’ statutory parental leave paid from contributions and 3 weeks’ minimum annual leave.
• Vote to abolish the contribution caps on Social Security contributions and the long term care charge (LTC).