COLUMN: Focus on areas facing unemployment rises

In today’s world, superfast broadband is as essential as any other utility.

We need decent speeds to be able to do our jobs and for our children to be able to complete homework and upload it onto school networks.

A number of constituents contact me to say that once they have moved into a new build property which they have worked hard to buy, they are told that they have to wait for superfast broadband for up to three years.

This week in Parliament I pressed the Government to work with developers to ensure that all new build properties have access to good broadband. The minister said that they would look at this and I intend to hold them to their word.

The downfall of Carillion has been making headlines. It has been clear for months that Carillion has been in difficulty but the Government continued to hand over contracts to the company even after profits warnings were issued.

The Tories’ blind commitment to outsourcing has, in my view, put jobs and vital public services in crisis.

Under a Labour government, there would be a crackdown on companies that hoard contracts to ensure that any risky behaviour they undertake can be picked up on and dealt with swiftly.

It would ensure that where private contracts have to be given, these would be to companies that recognise trade unions, pay their fair share of tax and promote equal opportunities.

Setting up a public value contracts com-missioner to ensure that contracts go to those who are fair, not just because they are the cheapest.

On the subject of workforces, new employment figures were released this week.

The total number of unemployed claimants in Ashfield constituency in December 2017 was 1,210. This is a slight increase on the previous month and up from December 2016. These figures go against the national trend of un-employment going down.

The Government needs to focus on towns like Ashfield where unemployment is rising. Losing your job is bad at any time but it’s a particularly lousy way to start 2018.