It becomes clearer every day that the economic policies of the Conservative-led Government have failed. Living standards have fallen and continue to fall and there is hardly any growth in the economy. The deficit is not being reduced as the Government promised and now we learn that Government borrowing increased last year, as did the country’s debt.
The Government seems determined to stick to policies that are clearly failing and people in Salford are paying a high price for that failure. In Worsley and Eccles South over 3,400 people are unemployed, including nearly a thousand people who have been unemployed for over a year. I know from constituents who contact me how difficult long-term unemployment can be and how hopeless people can feel when their search for a job fails week in and week out.
Families are almost £900 worse off this year, due to changes in tax and benefits. VAT has increased, tax-credits have been cut and child benefit has been frozen or cut. While life is getting harder for ordinary families on middle and lower incomes, the highest earners have enjoyed a tax cut handed out by this unfair Government.
We need a change of direction from the Government and we need it now. The Government is planning a new round of deep spending cuts for 2015-16. Instead of this they should be working all out to boost jobs and growth this year and next year.
I call on the Government to consider Labour’s policy of investing in building affordable homes across the country. This would create new jobs and apprenticeships in construction. It is right to make this investment in a way that would mean we could guarantee paid work for six months to every young person who has been out of work for more than a year.
It is time we had a Government that was competent, not just cutting and cutting while our debt is rising. We also need a Government that stands up for all those people struggling on modest incomes rather than helping the richest people with tax cuts.