Agendas. Everybody has one in the build up to a general election
This not only applies to individual political parties, either, as every single potential voter in the UK has a set of unique and meaningful circumstances that will dictate how and why they vote. So just as political parties can be accused of challenging progressive policy ideas in order to discredit their opposition, voters may also make a decision that suits themselves rather than considering the bigger picture. There is nothing necessarily wrong with this, as it echoes the sentiments of Margret Thatcher when she claimed that citizens had a duty to look after themselves first before considering the needs of others.
Job seekers are not immune to this, as those who are out of work will be impacted heavily by the results of the 2015 general election. With this in mind, let’s consider the policies of the main political parties and how they will influence the job seeker vote: -
Out of all political parties, the Conservatives probably have the most aggressive and reliable approach to driving economic and labour market growth. Not only do they pledge to eradicate the deficit by 2018 and raise the income tax threshold to £12,500 per annum (which will reduce tax levies for 30 million citizens by the year 2020 and create longer-term job opportunities), but Chancellor George Osborne has also pledged to create an employment power base in the North of the country, while creating a staggering three million apprenticeships through welfare budget cuts.
Your Vote: With such a detailed economic policy and a budget that was aimed at neutralising any political opposition to specific aspects of this plan, the Conservatives appear to be the best placed to deliver consistent growth and job opportunities. Certainly the economy has expanded at a rapid rate under the Tories, with even historically poorer regions in the North currently outstripping London in terms of job creation. More careful inspection of the Conservative proposals suggest that those already in employment will benefit the most from their re-election, with young job seekers also well-placed thanks to the prolific creation of apprenticeships. Job seekers in the market for public sector opportunities may also suffer in the short-term, with budget cuts set to continue until 2018.
The Labour Party
Labour has endured a testing time recently, with the party losing Scottish support and falling further behind the Tories in the latest polls. The party has also been accused of lacking a clearly defined policy for driving economic and labour market growth, pledging to eradicate the surplus and create jobs ‘as soon as possible during the next parliament’. On a positive note, however, the party does pledge to guarantee jobs for under-25’s who have been unemployed for a year and older job seekers who have been out of work for more than two years. It also hopes to create one million ‘green’ technology jobs by 2025, which will create additional opportunities for work and training.
Your Vote: Ultimately, Labour is let down by a significant lack of definition or certainty surrounding their policies, as while they have committed to increasing the number of apprenticeships in the UK, they have done so without conviction or context. Their promise to guarantee job seekers work after a year of unemployment hardly seems adequate to sway undecided voters either, and altogether these policies lack the aggression and clarity of their proposed taxation cuts. Unskilled job seekers in the market may be tempted by Labour’s pledge to rewarding the lower and working classes, however, with proposed income tax cuts for 24 million citizens funded by the reintroduction of the 50% rate for citizens who earn more than £150,000 per annum.
The Liberal Democrats
Part of the coalition government, the Liberal Democrats have used this status as a platform from which to market their policies and set out their stall to the nation. In this respect the party is in a better position than Labour, as it has at least been able to clearly define its plans and add genuine depth to their manifesto. It is also committed to increasing taxation for the rich and helping to improve the lifestyle of low-income workers, while it also aims to create a million more entry level jobs in the UK and raise the salaries of the lowest paid apprentices by £1 an hour.
Your Vote: Unfortunately, there is little to consider for job seekers who are keen to return to work. While the party wants to create up-to a million additional entry level jobs nationwide, there is no definitive measures referenced to help them achieve this. Aside from this, the majority of Lib Dem policies are aimed at improving the living conditions for apprentices and low income workers by increasing tax levies on rich citizens and business owners. Not only does this not help job seekers directly, but it also creates the potential for entrepreneurs and independent employers to lose money and reduce the amount of available jobs in the long-term.
Ultimately, your decision to vote as a job seeker will be determined by these policies and your own, individual circumstances. The main thing is to consider all of the options in depth and detail, before making an informed decision that benefits your situation and hopefully the nation as a whole.