Labour has won the first by-election of this Parliament in a Greater Manchester constituency. This result sends a powerful message to the Conservative-led Government that people think its policies are wrong. Policies like forcing cuts to the numbers of police officers and to jobs and services in local councils are really worrying people.
David Cameron promised that Conservatives would not make cuts to our front-line services but he hasn’t kept that promise. We are seeing damaging cuts to the services that we rely on. Most serious are the cuts to police numbers. Greater Manchester police will have to lose 3,000 staff, including 1,400 police officers. The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester has told MPs that the Conservative-led Government’s cuts will mean a major change to policing in our area and that we will get a lower level of service. This will include police stations closing and fewer police patrolling our streets.
The Chief Constable also pointed out that many charities which work with the police to reduce gang crime have now lost their funding. Conservative cuts look as if they will bring about a rise in crime.
Manchester City Council has also said that Conservative policies are forcing them to make cuts which will mean 2,000 people losing their jobs this year. Salford City Council will also have to announce severe cuts, meaning many job losses.
All political parties know that some cuts had to be made after the recession caused by the banks and by world economic problems. But the Conservative-led Government is now pursuing reckless policies which will cause serious damage to our local economy and to people’s lives.
Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are also pulling away support from families and from young people. This month sees the loss of Education Maintenance Allowance, which helps so many young people in Salford to stay on at school and college. I am worried about how this will affect young carers, who need this support to get an education while managing their caring workload.
I urge the Government to start listening to people’s fears and to change their reckless policies now.