It is clear that many working people and families in Worsley and Eccles South are really struggling due to low pay and a high cost of living. Many people tell me that they are working hard but finding it impossible to make ends meet.
I have talked to working couples who cannot see themselves being able to move from rented accommodation to their own home. Parents are struggling with increased childcare costs which can mean a parent cannot afford to return to work. Low rates of pay mean that many families can only manage to pay their bills with the help of tax credits.
The last Labour Government brought in the National Minimum Wage but some employers fail to pay it and too many jobs are now based on zero-hour contracts. If elected in May, a Labour Government will tackle the problems caused by our low skill, low wage economy. We will increase fines on employers who fail to pay the Minimum Wage and we will increase the National Minimum to £8 an hour by 2020. Labour will also ban exploitative zero-hour contracts.
Labour will help parents by expanding free childcare for working parents of 3 and 4-year olds to 25 hours. We will back the next generation by funding more apprenticeships and guaranteeing a paid starter job for all those young people who have been out of work for a year.
Labour will freeze energy bills until 2017 and we will reform the energy market so that it works better. We will also bring in a tough new watchdog to make the energy companies cut bills when their costs fall. Labour will work for a fairer deal for renters, banning rip-off letting agent fees, introducing three year tenancies and putting a cap on rent increases. We will also abolish the cruel and unfair Bedroom Tax which affects so many disabled people, carers and armed forces families.
I will fight for a fairer deal for local people, who have been hit hard by a Conservative-led government which has put the interests of the most privileged before those of the majority.