Politically Speaking in the Wakefield Express

“There needs to be a more help for people like us who’ve worked hard and done our bit.” That’s what one pensioner in Outwood told me last week.

I was out with local Councillors and campaigners to promote Community Energy Switch – which could save households money on their fuel bills. The switch is a co-operative initiative, backed by our West Yorkshire Councils. The plan is to get local residents to sign up and then negotiate a better deal for customers from the energy companies.

Already thousands have joined in the first wave – and all those who’ve signed up are now being told how much they could save. They’ll be new opportunities for other households to sign up and save later in the year too. I will keep you in touch.

I know from my postbag how tough things are for families and pensioners. Bills are going up but wages aren’t keeping up. People tell me they want to see action to get the economy moving – and some help for those working hard trying to make ends meet.

Yet we’ve heard next to nothing from the Government. There’s been no Prime Minister Questions for a fortnight and no legislation brought into Parliament.

I hoped for some action in the Queen’s Speech this week.  It was a chance for the Government to put forward plans for growth in our economy, help with the cost of living and get people back into work.

What a disappointment it was. I was hoping the Government would put in place a Compulsory Jobs Guarantee to ensure there is a paid job for everyone who’s been out of work for two years or more. Across the country thousands of people are out of work and claiming benefits when they could – and should – be working and paying into the system. It could be paid for by reducing pension tax relief for people earning over £150,000 to the same as basic rate tax payers.

But there was no Jobs Bill in the Queen’s Speech. No Consumers Bill that could tackle high energy prices and train fares. Where was the Housing Bill that could take action against rogue landlords who charge extortionate fees? These are the issues people are contacting me about.

Locally, initiatives like Community Energy Switch are giving some people a bit of extra help.  But with the economy still in such a mess, it’s not enough.

This week we needed to see some decisive action from the Government. Instead they continue to take the country in the wrong direction. And it’s families and pensioners in this area who’re paying the price.

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Posted May 10th, 2013 by Ed