East Ham MP Stephen Timms says the economic recovery must benefit everyone


- Credit: Archant

The statistics say we now have - at last - an economic recovery. The Sunday Times has reported, in its annual Rich List, that the wealthy have become much better off in the past year. But what about everyone else? The average household is £1,600 per year worse off since the last election. What will it take for the recovery to put an end to Britain’s cost of living crisis?

Last week, Labour won control of Redbridge Council. Visiting Ilford during the campaign, Ed Miliband launched Labour’s “Cost of Living Contract”. It deals with worries raised by voters in these elections. It sets out ten steps Labour will take if successful at next year’s General Election. We want economic recovery to benefit everyone, not just a few at the top.

These are the ten steps. (1) Freeze gas and electricity bills until 2017 while we reform the energy market. (2) Get 200,000 homes a year built by 2020. (3) Stop families that rent being ripped off, with longer term, more predictable tenancies. (4) Cut the starting rate of tax to 10 p in the pound. (5) Ban exploitative zero hour contracts. (6) Raise the Minimum Wage and encourage employers to adopt the Living Wage. (7) Cut business rates for small firms. (8) Provide 25 hours per week free childcare for three and four year olds. (9) Ban recruitment agencies that only hire foreign workers. (10) Introduce a Job Guarantee for the young and long term unemployed. Further details are here.

It’s a good thing economic recovery has finally begun. But it can’t just be taken for granted that everyone will benefit. We need a new set of policies to make families in East London better off. Ed’s “Contract” is a very big step in the right direction.

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