After weeks of party conferences political life is returning to normal with Parliament starting back at Westminster.
Watching the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester reminded me how out of touch Conservative Ministers are and how little they know about the reality of people’s lives. When the Prime Minister was asked if he knew the price of a loaf of bread, he revealed that he makes his own using an expensive breadmaker. No wonder he and his Ministers don’t understand the impact their policies are having on people living in Salford.
My constituency case work shows me that more people are struggling to manage and families are facing a real problem with increased costs of living. Police officers, teachers and many others doing vital work tell me they are finding it harder to manage on less pay and with higher pension contributions.
Thousands of households locally are being affected by the unfair Bedroom Tax. This charge even hits disabled people and unpaid family carers who cannot work to pay the extra rent. A group of older people living in small properties with poor insulation have told me how they find it difficult to pay high energy bills in the winter. Energy bills have gone up by an average of £300 since 2010.
I am pleased there is now some hope on the horizon for local people and businesses. If elected in 2015, Labour plans to freeze energy bills then make prices more competitive through tougher regulation. We are also going to help small businesses by cutting business rates. Families with younger children will be helped by ten hours more childcare at local nurseries, a policy which Salford already has in its schools.
Thanks to the Government’s unfair policies, the months ahead will continue to be hard for families who are £30 a week worse off than they were in 2010. I wish the help from Labour’s planned policy changes could be brought in earlier than 2015, but it needs a change of government first. Till then, I will continue to fight to help people struggling with this cost of living crisis.