Labour recently won the first local by-election in Salford since the Conservative-led Government came to power. Brendan Ryan was elected to represent Walkden North with 73% of the vote. The Liberal Democrats came 5th with only 3% of the vote. This result sends out a strong message to the Government that people are very unhappy with the cuts being imposed on them. Labour also won the Parliamentary by-election in Barnsley on the same night. These by-election results are not surprising given the policies of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.
We recently debated in Parliament Labour’s motion to reverse the VAT rise on fuel but the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats voted against this. Labour has always opposed the VAT rise, which will cost the average family an extra £450 a year. Increasing VAT has added 3p to the cost of a litre of petrol at a time when world oil prices are soaring. The VAT rise will generate £700 million for the Treasury. Labour say the VAT rise should be reversed and this should be paid for with the extra £800 million the Treasury will get from the levy on banks.
Locally, people are being hit badly by the Government’s policies. Families with children have been hit by the loss of Child Benefit and the VAT rise as well as having to make increased pension contributions. Children have lost their Child Trust Fund savings, hitting young people leaving care. Pensions are being reduced because the government is linking increases to the consumer prices index which is usually less than the retail prices index.
The Government is making reckless decisions that hit families hard at the same time as banks pay their staff record bonuses. The cuts to Child Benefit amount to more than the levy on the banks – this cannot be right.