Earlier this month, the Bank of England announced that it would be raising interest rates for the 14th successive time, lifting its official rate to 5.25%.

In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, I know that this news will have caused real concern to many households right across Stockport. It means that if you are on a variable-rate mortgage or currently looking to re-mortgage, you face an increase in costs.

To me, the news reinforced the need for a government that works in the interests of ordinary people and operates responsibly. I won’t rehash the political drama that’s dominated the news recently, but suffice it to say the impact of the disastrous mini-budget last year has had serious ramifications for our economic security.

The key question is: how do we face down these economic storms, and make sure that we don’t have to face a crisis like this again?

The answer, I think, is twofold. First, we must help people through the immediate crisis. I know that this is something local councillors have been working hard to do, with Stockport Labour Group fighting to secure additional support to help children on low incomes, as well as backing Labour’s plans to help households through the cost-of-living crisis by implementing a proper windfall tax on oil and gas giants making exorbitant profits.

The second part of the equation is long-term, and by necessity ambitious. We must provide economic stability and harness the talents and efforts of working people to turbocharge and grow the economy.

The next Labour Government has committed to securing the Highest Sustained Economic Growth in the G7. This is important, because without economic growth wages will stagnate and ordinary people will be left vulnerable to price rises and a sluggish economy. This level of growth is no easy task but I’m confident that by giving people the skills and opportunities they need to get on, supporting innovation in clean energy and the digital economy, and ensuring all parts of the country are encouraged to thrive, this target will be met.

Times are incredibly tough for many people in Stockport but change is possible. With the right approach nationally and locally, we can build a future that is fairer, more secure and prosperous.

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