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Is the economy working? And who for?

We’ve come to Aberdeen; a city synonymous with oil and gas. It’s an industry which brought wealth and jobs to this city. But some have been left struggling since the slump in the price of oil.

Instant Neighbour food bank is one of nearly 40 in Aberdeen. It also doubles up as a shop for the local community. Staff and volunteers get donations from around the city, scrub them up and sell them on at affordable prices.

John Mulhern, who helps run the centre, says the food bank often struggles to cope with demand. Up to 50 people come to them for food parcels some days, and in recent weeks they’ve had to turn people away on occasion,.

“This time last year we were doing between 80 to 100 food parcels a week – we can now do up to 170 parcels a week at the moment,” he says.

And he blames political decisions for that.

“It’s to do with the benefit cap on families – which stops them from claiming anything in excess of £20,000 a year as benefit payments.

“It’s reduced the amount of disposable income they’ve got and the income they’ve got to support their families.”

From the BBC May 17th 2017


Conservative manifesto summary: Key points at-a-glance

The Conservatives have launched their manifesto, “Forward, Together: Our plan for a stronger Britain and a prosperous future”. The full document is available online. Here are some of the main things you need to know.

Key message

A programme to provide “strong and stable leadership through Brexit and beyond” and a “declaration of intent” to tackle the “giant challenges” facing Britain over the coming decade.

Theresa May’s foreword says: “This election is the most important this country has faced in my lifetime. Our future prosperity, our place in the world, our standard of living, and the opportunities we want for our children – and our children’s children – all depend on getting the next five years right… if we succeed, the opportunities ahead of us are great.”

Key policies

  • Real terms increases in NHS spending reaching £8bn extra per year by 2022/23
  • Scrapping the triple-lock on the state pension after 2020, replacing it with a “double lock”, rising with earnings or inflation
  • Means test winter fuel payments, taking away £300 from wealthier pensioners
  • Raising cost of care threshold from £23,000 to £100,000 – but include value of home in calculation of assets for home care as well as residential care
  • Scrap free school lunches for infants in England, but offer free breakfasts across the primary years
  • Pump an extra £4bn into schools by 2022
  • Net migration cut to below 100,000
  • Increase the amount levied on firms employing non-EU migrant workers

From the BBC May 18th 2017