"Somebody commented on a Clacton Labour Party Facebook post stating that The Labour Party has alienated the working class and no longer represent them. My reply is as follows:
If it was true that Labour had alienated themselves from the working class we wouldn't have a working class candidate standing here in Clacton. I was raised by my single mother after my dad died and I am so grateful that I was lucky enough to grow up under a Labour government.
I was lucky enough to be among the hundreds of thousands of families who were lifted out of relative poverty by Labour's introduction and increase of minimum wage and Child and Working Tax Credits.
Millions of children benefitted under Labour from literacy and maths performance at primary school being raised to record highs, and I was lucky to be among the generation that saw improvements in education mean that achievements at 14, 16 and 18 were much better under the Labour government. Funding for every child doubled between 1997 and 2010 and under a Labour government we saw the benefits of 36,000 more teachers across England and 274,000 more support staff. I was lucky enough to receive educational maintenance allowance, which allowed me to go to Colchester Sixth Form to study a better course for me at a better college for me than my local sixth form - the EMA paid for the weekly bus pass that I would otherwise not have been able to afford.
I was fortunate that when I needed an operation on my knee, at the age of 15, I received it within 3 months of referral, where people had previously and are now waiting for up to three years for non-urgent operations, often in pain. Under the Labour government between 1997 and 2010 we recruited 85,000 more nurses and 32,000 more doctors. Now, under the Conservatives, tens of thousands of nursing and doctor positions are vacant.
I was fortunate that when I had my daughter at 19 there were multiple Labour-created Surestart centres in Clacton (and 2,200 across the country) that I could go to, which supported vulnerable families and made sure that I wasn't isolated; these have all been cut now by the Conservatives who don't seem to understand that such centres - staffed often by health visitors - were an invaluable resource to vulnerable families, but also to social services in preventing families who might need a little more support from slipping through the cracks and being lost under the radar.
I was lucky that where I lived in Clacton with my young daughter I had the reassurance of a visible police force patrolling the streets and deterring crime, and I had the mobile number of the local PCSO. I was lucky to have the safety and security in my home and my community that there were (14,000) more police on the streets across the country and here in Clacton than before Labour came into power in 97, and crime was down 32%. Since then the Tories have cut those 14,000 police officers, and another 6,000 for good measure, and practically all of the PCSOs.
I would not be where I am today without the Labour government. I would not have had the opportunities that made it possible for me to this year graduate from my degree with a first class honours and to be invited to return for postgraduate study at the University of Essex. Tax Credits brought in by the Labour government and child benefit, which was increased by the Labour government meant that, even as a single mother myself, I could afford to return to education to fulfil my potential (albeit saddled with £60,000 of student debt, thanks to the Lib Dems and Tories tripling tuition fees) - and now the Tories have scrapped grants and bursaries, replacing them with loans.
I would not be who I am today without a Labour government. Labour has always looked out for the working class, and I am proud, as a working class mother, to be standing for Labour in my home town."
Tasha is a working class candiate, a local candidate for the people of Clacton.
Vote for Tasha to be MP for Clacton on Thursday, 8th June.
Find your local polling station HERE.