Cara Hilton MSP writes in support of Neil Findlay’s candidacy for leader.
The election of a new leader here in Scotland provides the Scottish Labour Party with a unique opportunity to discard the politics of old and rejuvenate our party with a new politics based on our principles of social justice and equality – the politics of idealism, of courage, of fairness and of optimism – the values that made our party great in the 20th century and can do so once again in the 21st century.
One of the vital areas which the next leader of the Scottish Labour Party (and I hope our new Leader will be Neil Findlay) must focus on is social justice and equality for women. Women make up over 50% of the Scottish population yet by every benchmark are worse off than their male counterparts. Economically Scottish women are worse off; women earn less, have less secure work, with fewer protected rights. Disproportionately, women now have to juggle multiple part time jobs just to generate enough income to pay for the basics of heating and food, never mind new school shoes and other essentials.
Women are much more likely to be employed on zero or short hour contracts which make family budgeting a huge challenge, impossible to plan from one month to the next. Women are more likely to be carers, which can make juggling work and caring commitments difficult.
Neil Findlay has made a promise to me and the women of Scotland that he will address these issues and many more through a series of radical new policies. Neil has pledged to:
- Bring the power to set a decent living wage to Scotland – the minimum wage should be a living wage
- A Scottish law to address the pay gap between men and women
- More free or affordable childcare at the times mums and dads need it.
- A minimum of 50,000 new council homes to address the dramatic rise in homelessness among women and single parents
- Better access for women to higher education and college places
- Equal access for training and apprentices across all industrial areas
- A substantial investment in public health that will reduce the 9 year gap in life expectancy between the wealthiest and poorest women.
- Increased investment in places of shelter for abused women and their families.
- A modern day slavery bill to protect vulnerable women for physical and sexual exploitation
- Making domestic violence a top priority of the police in Scotland
- Increasing the representation of women in our parliament and on the bodies that take decisions for our country
Social justice and equality lie at the heart of Neil’s campaign. Neil is the only candidate to set out concrete proposals to deal with the economic and social crisis women in Scotland face today. He is the only candidate who has the vision to deliver the bold social justice agenda that this country is crying out for. In Neil Findlay we have a candidate who will deliver on his promises and who can inspire women right across Scotland to put their trust in Scottish Labour.
I trust Neil Findlay to deliver on his promises to me and the women of Scotland – so should you.