Tackle rough-sleeping, support the Real Living Wage, and shop local Rich Maw
I was born in Scarborough and have lived here all my life. I’ve always voted Labour and consider myself to be a socialist, and working class. I have worked as a portrait photographer in the town for twelve years and previously as a freelance press photographer. My career has taken me around the world, and I have had the privilege to see up close many historical figures from Tony Benn to Nelson Mandela. I witnessed the juvenile call for a zero tax economy by the Young Conservatives, and the willingness to engage with the “enemy” at Sinn Fein Conferences.
If you want to change things, to make things better, vote!
I see the devastating effects of wage stagnation and austerity on a daily basis. Many of my clients these days find it difficult to pay £40 for a luxury item such as a family portrait, and will struggle to pay it at £5 per week. And these aren’t “work shy benefit claimants”, as some of the media like to portray, but hard-working families whose incomes cannot stretch to even the simplest of luxuries.
I’ve seen the rise of homelessness on the streets of Scarborough, and the calls for increased funding by those who are there to help. We shouldn’t see anyone rough-sleeping on our streets and if we are really to believe that our economy is working well (as the Tory press are keen to remind us) then we should ask why it is that our high streets and empty shop doorways are almost always tenanted by someone who has fallen short of the system. There is often a long term mental issue with these fellow citizens, and they need our help. I would really like to tackle rough-sleeping locally and will work with organisations such as Foundation to eradicate the problem.
It is an embarrassment that Scarborough was recently recognised as the Low Wage capital of the UK, and it took way too long for the council to act and to pay the Real Living Wage to its employees. I applaud all those businesses who locally pay the Real Living Wage in these tough times, and implore Scarborians to shop local. To consider purchasing from an independent retailer or to visit an independent café keeps our money in our town. I would like to see an initiative which creates a genuine awareness on how shopping local can really help at a neighbourhood level, and the resulting benefits to our town.
We’ve had a Tory-run council all my life. The fact is that the majority of people in this town don’t even bother to vote! It’s my belief that if you want to change things, to make things better, then in May we have an opportunity. Go and vote! And if enough of us do that, then we will finally remove those who make disastrous decisions time and again on our behalf – such as the demolition of the Futurist.
Check out the voting record of your local councillor and decide if that person is really representing you and your family. Fact is, they often aren’t! We have a Tory government and an austerity project which I believe has had devastating consequences for many. Having a Tory council too just compounds these problems at every level. I say enough is enough. That’s why I’m stepping forward as a candidate, to work hard in putting residents and the needs of the many first.
As a Labour Party member I already knock on doors to try and understand what this town wants from its council. I sense an apathy… that things never change. But they can! If I am elected I will push for change. I will demand questions are answered and will be relentless. This town should have a Labour council. Go vote and make it happen!