As we go into 2015 my thoughts are with the people and families here in Wirral for whom this year has been incredibly difficult.
Household bills have soared while wages have fallen. Unemployment still remains too high, especially amongst our young people, and anyone visiting our local hospitals has seen the NHS starting to feel the strain of Government cuts and mismanagement with £15m already taken away from Arrowe Park every year.
And a few weeks ago, it sent a chill down my spine when reports suggested that the Tories want to take public spending back to the levels of the 1930s. A time when we didn’t have an NHS, children born into poverty stayed in poverty, there was inadequate education and hardly any support for the sick and most vulnerable.
While we need to balance the country’s books, this is not the sort of country I want to live in or that of most people I speak to. Yet this is the reality facing Britain if the Tories win the election in May.
Already people in Wirral don’t see this Tory-led coalition as a government that is on their side and do not hold out much hope of David Cameron and George Osborne changing course in the next five months. So between now and May, I will be working to demonstrate how the next Labour government will be a change for the better.
Already, Ed Miliband has announced a number of policies that will help people and families facing real hardship.
We will tackle the cost-of-living crisis by increasing the National Minimum Wage, will freeze gas and electricity bills for 18 months and use that time to reform the system so that customers can no longer be ripped off. We will abolish the wicked bedroom tax and we will introduced free extra child care for all three and four year olds to help working parents. We will repeal the Tories’ Health and Social Care Act which has privatised key NHS services and we will tackle rip off private landlords and build more affordable housing.
All of this will help with the cost of living crisis that has been created by this government.
In early 2015, I will be working with my Labour colleagues to show that we offer an alternative and will provide a better, more optimistic future for Britain. I wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.