Politically Speaking in the Wakefield Express

Very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year to all Wakefield Express readers.

There are just a few days to go until Christmas. I’ve signed a mountain of Christmas cards and the festive appointments in my diary have reached their peak.

My Santa suit has had two outings; once for the House of Commons children’s Christmas party and once for the Christmas party at Kingsland Primary School in Stanley which is always a pleasure to support. On Friday I was at Lofthouse Gate Primary School to present the prize to the winner of my Christmas card competition. Fred Turner is just four years old and in reception but designed a fantastic card that will soon be cheering up mantelpieces across Wakefield and Leeds as well as in Westminster and even Downing Street. Hundreds of children enter the competition every year but Fred’s design really stood out with its bold bright colours. Congratulations – well done Fred!

Christmas is often a time when money is tight. There are presents to buy for the kids and meals to plan for family and friends. And these have been tough times for people in our area. My postbag in recent months has been full of letters and emails from those feeling the pinch. From the pensioner couple who are reluctant to put the heating on to the hard working family who were unable to get away on holiday this year. Rising bills, especially for fuel and childcare have hit people hard.

We’ve heard this month that the economy is finally growing again which is welcome news after three years of flatlining. But this recovery is not being felt by most people in our area. Working people are on average £1,600 worse off than they were a few years ago which means family budgets are still under pressure.

People are telling me they desperately need a bit of extra help. And with prices set to rise faster than wages again next year, the problem isn’t going away, it’s getting worse.

I want to see energy prices frozen as we reform the market – which will help families and pensioners on low and middle incomes who need a break. And I want to see the bank levy increased in order to expand free childcare for working parents and help make work pay.

In 2014, we desperately need to see some action from the Government to support those who are feeling the pinch. I’ll continue to hammer home the reality of family finances to the Government. I do hope they will listen.

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Posted December 20th, 2013 by Ed