Voters in Salford sent a clear message to the Conservative-led Government at the local elections. Labour won eight seats from the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and other parties. The dramatic swing to Labour shows that people want to see change. Over the last weeks and months I have spoken to many local people about the changes they want to see.
Local people want to elect as their councillors people who will listen to them and work to support them and their community. I have been impressed by the hardworking Labour candidates who gained seats across Salford. They have spent months talking to people about local issues and winning their trust to be elected as local councillors.
People have told me they are worried about the future and that they think the policies and priorities of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are wrong. The Budget gave the starkest of examples. The policies behind the Budget are unfair and they hit many different groups hard.
Extra VAT on hot pasties will hit sandwich shops and bakeries; increasing VAT on static caravans will hit both jobs in British manufacturers and hard-pressed families wanting a holiday. Child Benefit cuts will hit families already struggling with VAT increases, expensive fuel bills and cuts to their tax credits. Pensioners will have to pay more tax. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are inflicting pain and austerity on families and older people in order to give a massive tax cut to millionaires and high earners.
The Government’s ill-judged policies are so damaging that we now need to develop foodbanks locally to offer emergency food supplies to families hit by Government policies. I am grateful that work is being done on this by local church leaders and charities. However, I believe we should work on changes to help people manage in the way they did before the Government’s drastic cuts led to families needing emergency food supplies.
Labour will continue to work to show hard-working people that we are on their side and we will call on the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to stop their unfair policies hurting our communities.