Ready to hit Sleaford (with Gary behind the camera)
Over a dozen members of the Sleaford and North Hykeham Labour Party hit the streets in both towns to oppose the tax credits cuts.
We handed out leaflets, talked to shoppers and collected names on a petition. John Grocock, Jim Clarke, Gary Wilkinson, Mike Blackburn, Samanta Zubrute and Flo Ormesher were in Sleaford market place. At the Forum in North Hykeham were Bob Reid, Tony Tyler, Andy Sceeny, Terry Dooley, Pete Mason, Pete Llewellyn-Jones and me.
A cold dull morning in November is not the best time to hold a protest but, in spite of the weather, getting signatures proved easy. The first to sign was someone spotting me taking the clipboard from the boot of my car. After that people signed up; one every two minutes. Andy Sceeny “had never found it so easy to get signatures on a petition”. Between signing there were conversations. Most people expressed concern at the impact of the cuts. Cuts that mean a couple, both in full time work but on minimum living wage, with two children loosing £1,774 in year 2016/17. Other changes will not make up the difference. The final cut could be £12 a week or more. To have that money snatched from your hand every week is a real problem when raising a family on the minimum wage.
Tory voters who would not sign shared that opinion. Most thought it right that people should get a living wage but the tax credit cut was too much, too fast.
The petition will go to our MP, Stephen Phillips. Phillips is reportedly earning nearly 70 times the minimum wage. I doubt he understands the everyday pressure on the low-paid. He will understand the discomfort of his supporters.
Relaxing after a busy morning campaigning