Britain is said to be coming out of recession, but it doesn't feel like that for most people. Millions of families are just a pay-cheque away from losing their home. One million people rely on food banks, many because of benefit sanctions imposed, often for the pettiest of reasons.
Millions of workers are either unemployed or under employed - and desperate for work. 1,500 people queued in Shropshire recently for three hours for one job at an Aldi supermarket.
And, under plans shared by ALL the big parties, it won't get any better. A Local Government Association report predicts money available to provide services such as gyms, parks, libraries and youth centres could shrink by 66% by the end of the decade.
That will add to the 360,000 local government jobs already cut under the Coalition. That period includes all of the next Parliament - whoever is in charge. Ed Miliband has signed up to the Tory spending plans if he's the next prime minister.
But it doesn't have to be that way. Labour councils say they have no choice, but they do - they can stand up for the people who elected them and refuse to implement the cuts!
This is still a very rich country but that wealth is in the wrong hands. The Sunday Times annual Rich List showed the seriously rich are getting seriously richer!
While the problems of millions got worse in the recession, both the numbers of billionaires in Britain and their average wealth rocketed.
Many billionaires pay little or no income tax because 'clever' accountants find ways round the rules. Their tax avoidance is part of over £120 billion uncollected in taxes each year, mainly from the super-rich and big business. That's plenty of money that could be invested in decent jobs, social housing, the NHS, and many other things that would massively improve our standard of living, without any cuts to essential local services.
So what can we do about it? On 22 May, in many parts of the country, you can vote for who runs your local council. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is standing 560 anti-cuts and anti-austerity candidates in 87 towns, cities and boroughs. That's the biggest left-of-Labour challenge for 60 years.
Three-quarters of our candidates are active trade unionists - including 50 from the transport union RMT and almost 140 from Labour's biggest union backer, Unite.
Anti-bedroom tax and anti-fracking activists, anti-cuts campaigners and even people who 'made a little bit of history' - like Liverpool's Roy Dixon, whose heckle kickstarted the process that led to the new Hillsborough inquests - all are standing for TUSC.
Vote TUSC and send a message to all the parties that you and your family won't pay for the gambling and speculation of the bankers that got us into this mess. Labour takes ordinary people for granted. TUSC won't.
TUSC stands for a democratic socialist society to rationally plan our wealthy society in the interests of the people, not the billionaires. Vote for that alternative. And join us in building a new political voice for working people.
While TUSC is standing in local elections, for the European elections the Socialist Party is supporting No2EU - Yes To Workers' Rights, which is led by the RMT union.
No2EU opposes the pro-privatisation, pro-profiteering, anti-worker policies of the European Union.