Barbara Keeley

MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR WORSLEY AND ECCLES SOUTH

Barbara's Salford Advertiser Column, 29th August 2013

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It is becoming ever clearer that David Cameron and his Government are completely out of touch with what is happening to people in areas like Worsley and Eccles South.

First, his Government changed the planning system and left us exposed to an aggressive campaign by developers to build on green open spaces and green belt land from Worsley through to Irlam.

Now, the Government is trying to force the issue on fracking for shale gas and David Cameron says he is "determined to win" the debate on this. I know there are some real concerns and issues for people living close to the proposed shale gas drilling site in Barton Moss. Instead of listening and providing the answers that people need about this industrial process the Government is speeding up the planning and permit process.

Important issues such as seismic activity, flaring and venting of gas and impact on groundwater supplies can no longer be considered when Salford City Council are deciding whether to grant planning permission for shale gas.

Since the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats took office in 2010, prices have risen faster than wages in 36 out of 37 months. Average earnings in the North West have fallen by £1,685 since 2010, the second highest fall in earnings in the country. The VAT rise, increasing inflation, frozen salaries and cuts to tax credits are having a real impact on living standards in Salford.

It is also clear that Government policies for dealing with unemployment are not working here. Unemployment rose in Worsley and Eccles South last month, as it did across Greater Manchester. In recent months we have also seen increases in the numbers of people unemployed for more than a year. Government Ministers keep repeating their view that they think we have turned a corner and that their policies are working. This is not true in Salford.

Labour would help families on low and middle incomes. We would bring forward infrastructure investment now and bring in a compulsory jobs guarantee. It is time we had a recovery for the many, not just for the few.

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