Emma Lewell-Buck warned that the rising cost of living under David Cameron meant that work was no longer a reliable route out of poverty, as Labour MPs called for immediate action to help struggling families in a parliamentary debate.
Emma explained how, because of the pressure of rising utility bills, childcare and rents, the average working person in South Shields has just £244 a month to cover the cost of food, transport and other essentials.
She added that over a million extra people had fallen into poverty under the Coalition, including 300,000 children. Increasingly these people are in working households.
Emma told the House:
“In the past, the values of my constituents were rewarded and people could be confident that hard work would bring them security and fulfilment. Now that link is broken. They are made to work for their poverty and the Government fail to uphold their responsibility towards them. We need a Labour Government to restore the link.”
You can read Emma’s speech in full by clicking here.
Labour called Wednesday’s debate to demand more help for struggling households, including an energy price freeze, extension of free childcare, and a compulsory jobs guarantee for the long-term unemployed.
The Coalition parties used their majority in the House of Commons to vote down Labour’s motion.
Since 2010, rising prices and stagnating wages mean the average household is £1,500 worse off. Energy bills have risen by over £300, while the cost of childcare is now over £100 a week.
Citizens Advice in South Shields has seen demand for their services skyrocket, with over 14,000 enquiries about debt in the last year alone, and families contacting them to request emergency food aid almost every day.
Speaking after the debate, Emma said:
“People in South Shields are getting worse off every month under David Cameron, with wages failing to keep up with soaring bills for food, energy and childcare.
“The average person in my constituency has to survive on just £244 a month, barely enough to scrape by – let alone save for their retirement or cover the costs of a family emergency. And for unemployed people, or vulnerable groups like the elderly or disabled, the situation is even worse.
“The Government continues to deny that there is a cost of living crisis, but people in South Shields see the reality every day. Labour is the only party proposing to help struggling households with the cost of living, as shown when the Coalition voted down our proposals this week.”