Local residents have told me that they are struggling and that things are getting harder, not easier for them. The prices of essentials such as food, clothes and heating are rising much faster than wages thanks to the slowest economic recovery in over a century.
The government’s talk of recovery rings hollow for families in my constituency who are still struggling with the cost of living crisis. Ordinary hardworking people know that one set of figures on an economist’s spreadsheet isn’t going to help them pay their bills.
This is the nature of the economic recovery under the Tory-led government: tax cuts for millionaires while people on lower and middle incomes get left behind.
The government’s dismissal of the cost of living crisis demonstrates how out of touch it is with the reality facing people in places like Tameside and Stockport. The government can’t deal with the long-term challenges we face because it’s committed to a race to the bottom built on low pay, low skills, low prospects and low productivity.
Since David Cameron became Prime Minister, there has been growth in the number of insecure jobs, with the number of people on zero hours contracts tripling since 2010. And too many of these jobs are low paid, with employment growing twice as fast in low paid sectors as in higher paid sectors.
The way to make a real difference in people’s lives is to make sure the economy works for working people. That begins by creating decent, secure, well-paid jobs so we can all benefit from the recovery.
The next Labour government will build a highly skilled, higher wage economy. This will mean more jobs in skilled construction trades, better quality jobs in health and caring professions and more growth in the technology sector.
But this can’t be just imposed from Westminster – real change needs local people to make the difference and create the jobs we need. We will back city and county regions to become engines of growth so they can develop their own economic strategies, clearly focused on the creation of well-paid jobs for local people.
The cost of living crisis is far from over for people on lower and middle incomes. Too many hardworking people have been locked out of the economic recovery and are unlikely to feel the benefits under this Tory-led government. By creating more high-quality, well paid jobs Labour will ensure that we all benefit from our future economic prosperity.
I’d like to see more high quality jobs in our area, but I’d also like to find out what you think. Do you think the government should devolve more powers so that people and businesses can make decisions locally about how to encourage economic growth? Are you still struggling to make ends meet because of the cost-of-living crisis? Do you think our area needs more high quality jobs so that local people can climb the jobs ladder?
Send me an e-mail with your thoughts.