Labor appeals to North East ahead of local elections

A Labor government would side with workers, families and pensioners, a shadow cabinet minister has said in an impassioned plea ahead of local elections.

Politicians and would-be councilors have been active in Hartlepool for weeks ahead of the May vote, and although the upcoming election will only involve the election of a third of the authority’s councillors, many locals there see an important litmus test in gauging local sentiment ahead of a future. general election.

Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Jonathan Ashworth traveled to the city on Friday to support local labor councilors ahead of May’s mayoral elections, but also to gauge people’s views on the no Door.

But before talking to The Echo of the Northlocal fisherman Paul Graves identified Mr Ashworth inside the Headland Café and lamented the Government’s lack of action after thousands of dead shellfish washed up on North East shores, threatening the industry some fishing.

It’s an issue which affects the livelihoods of many Whitbys in Hartlepool, and which accentuates residents’ dissatisfaction with local politics.

Read more: Anger over dead crabs on North East and North Yorkshire beaches

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his party’s victory in the Hartlepool by-election in May 2021 was “a mandate for us to keep delivering, not just for the people of Hartlepool and the fantastic people of the North East, but for the whole country”. .

However, Labor accuses the government of not supporting its ‘red wall’ areas and has criticized its race-to-the-top strategy.

The once thriving steel town and industrial port was recently named the 10th most deprived city in England and has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

Mr Ashworth accused the PM of letting residents down and pledged himself to support workers, families and pensioners.

It comes as Chancellor Rishi Sunak was forced to defend his spring statement saying it failed to help the poorest. Mr Sunak chose to give workers a £6billion tax hike rather than boost welfare benefits but came under fire after a warning that his measures could sink 1.3million people, including 500,000 children, in poverty.

For Labour, Mr Ashworth said his party would have taken a different approach. “We wouldn’t have made the biggest cuts in pensions, deep cuts in Universal Credit, and we wouldn’t have imposed these punitive tax hikes,” he said.

“We can reindustrialise the North East by investing in green energy and renewable energies. Not only is it good for jobs, but it’s also essential for investing in the future.

“Boris Johnson betrayed their trust – he let them down. All the promises he made to them turned out to be a web of lies. When I talk to people, I think people are tired of 12 years of conservatives.

Read more: Hartlepool awaits Boris Johnson’s cash leveling

Child poverty is growing faster in Hartlepool than in almost any part of the country. The 2019-2020 research estimated that 37.8% of children in Hartlepool live in poverty, the second highest in the Tees Valley behind Middlesbrough, which at 39.4% is in the top 20 rates on a national level.

Figures are calculated by looking at the percentage of children in households with median income below 60% after housing costs.

Child poverty did not feature in the government’s leveling white paper at any time, Mr Ashworth pointed out, which would change under a Labor government.

The Northern Echo: Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Jonathan Ashworth in HartlepoolShadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Jonathan Ashworth in Hartlepool

Labour’s plan, he says, would be to ensure everyone has a good standard of living, a well-paid job and that every pensioner receives “dignity and security” in retirement.

“In places like Hartlepool, you have working families who are in poverty, struggling and making choices between feeding their children or their meter,” Mr Ashworth added.

“If you want to take it to the next level, you have to give people a good salary, help people raise their children in a thriving environment, and you shouldn’t have a situation where retirees are giving up hot showers because they don’t cannot pay the associated bills.

“We will deliver policies that improve the lives of people in this region, expand opportunities and ensure that people in Hartlepool, Sunderland, Durham and elsewhere enjoy the same life chances that others in the country take for granted.

“I strongly believe that if you really want to take it to the next level, you give people good jobs and a decent income, but you also give every child the best possible start in life”

Looking ahead to upcoming local elections across the country, Mr Ashworth said he believed now, after 12 years of Tory rule, the time had come for change.

He said: “When there is a crisis in the cost of living and people are struggling to feed their children; it shows that it is time to change.

“We need to get rid of all that power and put in place a Labor government that is on the side of the people of Hartlepool.”

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