Says Ealing Southall Labour MP Virendra Sharma
Families in Ealing and across the country can see what David Cameron and George Osborne are incapable of seeing: that the Government has failed to turn things around for Britain’s hard-working families.
We’ve had three damaging years of a flatlining economy and the slowest economic recovery in over a century. People in Ealing and Southall tell me they are struggling and that things are getting harder not easier for them as the prices of essentials such as food, clothes and heating are rising much faster than wages.
The government boasts that they’ve fixed the economy but their decisions choked off the recovery and we’re yet to make up the ground lost since 2010. The talk of economic recovery rings hollow for families that are still struggling with the cost of living crisis.
Since David Cameron became Prime Minister wages in London are down by £2,200 a year, prices have risen faster than wages for 37 of the 38 months he’s been in Downing Street yet in April he cut taxes for millionaires. With a record like that the Government should be focused on helping hard-working families instead of breaking out the champagne.
Take energy as an example. There are currently 3,910 households in Ealing Southall in fuel poverty and since the last general election the average household’s energy bill has increased by over £300 a year. At the same time, Britain’s big six energy companies have enjoyed a £3.3 billion uplift in profits - household bills go up when the wholesale price rises, but they don’t seem to go down when the wholesale price falls.
David Cameron has done nothing to bring down energy bills because he only stands up for the wealthiest and is out of touch with the challenges ordinary people face. A Labour Government would ensure that all over-75s are automatically put on the cheapest deal and we’d create a tough new regulator with the power to force firms to cut their prices when wholesale costs fall.
There is plenty more that the Government could do to help families that are struggling. Instead of cutting taxes for millionaires this year, they should be helping ordinary working people instead. Labour wants to make work pay by introducing a lower 10p starting rate of tax, paid for by a mansion tax. And Labour has called for a compulsory jobs guarantee, which will get any adult out of work for more than two years, or young person out of work for a year, into a job – one they would be required to take.
We also need to take action to secure and strengthen the recovery. That’s why we’ve called on the Government to bring forward £10bn of infrastructure investment now – as the International Monetary Fund has also demanded – which could be used to build 400,000 affordable homes, create more than half a million jobs and make our economy stronger for the long term.
11th September 2013