Leonie Mathers guest column: More must be done to help people in Hucknall

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According to George Osborne, everyone is benefiting from his economic plan. At least that’s what he told us in his Budget last week.

So why aren’t we feeling it here in Hucknall? People I hear from are crying out for action to deal with the cost of living crisis, because after four years of the Tories, people here are on average £1,600 a year worse off.

Even as the Chancellor and our own Conservative MP were shouting about how well things are going, new figures were released which show that locally unemployment is on the rise again – up 10% in Hucknall since the start of the year, with the biggest increase hitting young people.

I just don’t think this Government gets it. Millionaires and city bankers may be benefiting from the recovery – they’ve had huge tax cuts. But everyone else is being left behind.

While a penny off a pint of beer is welcome, it will save the average Hucknall drinker a whopping 5p a week. Over a year that amounts to a not quite life changing £2.60 – which might just buy you another pint! If the Chancellor thinks that is going to make much difference when people are struggling to afford the basics, he’s even more out of touch than we thought.

I’ve heard from thousands of local people in the last couple of months. There’s been some very clear messages: we need more local jobs, action on rocketing bills, and more good quality childcare – not vouchers for nurseries which will have long-since closed thanks to funding cuts imposed by the Government.

There’s so much more we could have done last week. Freezing energy bills and fixing the broken market, bringing in a Compulsory Jobs Guarantee to get young people back to work, increasing free childcare for working parents – paid for by a tax on bankers bonuses, and most importantly, balancing the books more fairly, including reversing the £3 billion tax cut for people earning over £150,000.

It’s time for a recovery for the many, not just a few at the top.