How Strong and Stable has this Conservative Government Been?

The General Election is in 3 weeks’ time. When Theresa May first made the announcement, she said ‘It will be a choice between strong and stable leadership in the national interest, with me as your Prime Minister, or weak and unstable coalition government, led by Jeremy Corbyn, propped up by the Liberal Democrats – who want to reopen the divisions of the referendum – and Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP.’

Since then, ‘strong and stable’ has become the Conservative’s campaign slogan. Their campaign flyer I received mentioned ‘strong and stable’ more times than any explicit policies (of which, there were none).

Combining alliteration and descriptive adjectives in the form of ‘strong and stable’ may seem inspiring as well as reassuring, especially during uncertain times like now. However, is there any real substance behind the slogan?

How ‘strong and stable’ has this Tory government really been over the last seven years, and what impact has this strong and stable government had on the country, after being so strong and stable?

Since the Tories came to power, the National debt has increased every year. As of January 2017, the net debt is £1,682.8 billion equivalent to 85.3% of GDP.

That’s strong and stable.

The poorest 10 per cent of households in the UK now pay a greater proportion of their income in tax than the richest 10 per cent. Meanwhile, the 1000 richest people in Britain have seen their wealth increase.

That’s strong and stable.

The proportion of 25 year olds who own a home has more than halved over the past 20 years, from 46% to 20 %.

That’s strong and stable.

Under the Tories, house building is at its lowest rate since 1923.

That’s strong and stable.

And homelessness has increased for 6 successive years – every year since the Tories have been in power. It is now double what it was in 2010.

That’s strong and stable.

The number of people who needed to use food banks has also increased every year since the Tories have been in power – it has gone from under 65,000 in 2010 to over 1.1 million now.

That’s strong and stable.

More than 2,300 people died between December 2011 and February 2014 after being deemed fit to work, and losing their benefits.

That’s strong and stable.

From April 2015-2016 during the Saudi-led conflict in Yemen, this government licensed arms exports worth £3.3bn ($4.2bn) to Saudi Arabia. According to the UN, at least 10,000 civilians have been killed during the war so far.

That’s strong and stable.

Since the Tories came into power, the number of people working zero hour contracts has more than quadrupled, from under 200,000 in 2010, to 910,000.

That’s strong and stable.

Tuition fees increased from £3,000 to £9,000 a year. Fees in England will rise again this year, to £9,250 a year.

That’s strong and stable.

Maintenance grants for the poorest students were also scrapped in 2016.

That’s strong and stable.

The Education Maintenance Allowance was also scrapped in 2010 for lower income students in further education. They claimed these grants were ‘unaffordable’, whilst they reduced corporation tax by 9% over 6 years, and voted to renew Trident, costing £40billion per year.

That’s strong and stable.

Bursaries for student nurses were scrapped too.

That’s strong and stable.

This resulted in a 23% drop in applications by students in England to nursing and midwifery courses.

That’s strong and stable.

Last year, junior doctors went on strike for the first time in NHS history, over unsafe working hours.

That’s strong and stable.

This week, the Royal College of Nurses voted to strike for the first time ever over a 1% pay cap on nursing pay.

That’s strong and stable.

Earlier this year, the British Red Cross said that the NHS faces a ‘humanitarian crisis’, and called on the government to allocate funds for health and social care.

That’s strong and stable.

Within a year, the UK has fallen from 11th to 156th in the global rankings for children’s rights.

That’s strong and stable.

In 2014, the UK Home Office lost 114 files relating to the Westminster paedophile scandals. Whilst the victims are still searching for justice, one of the main people responsible for losing the files, Theresa May, became the leader of the Conservative Party, Prime Minister, and is on course to win the upcoming general election.

Is this really strong and stable?

Based on the past actions of the Conservative government, how can they suddenly be trusted to offer strong and stable leadership? Isn’t the country in this period of uncertainty and instability due to them, and their decision to hold an E.U. referendum in the first place? When you look at the facts and stats, it is clear to see that a strong Tory government will only benefit the minority who are well off; and young people, as well as ordinary working people – who make up the majority – will be hit the hardest.

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