Families are paying the price

The Chancellor delivered his Budget statement this week and unfortunately it was more of the same.

Total failure on the economy with growth down and borrowing up, while families are paying the price as unemployment is rising and prices are rising faster than wages.

In the face of all of that there was no change on anything important and the Chancellor is still going ahead with a tax cut for millionaires in two weeks’ time.

What we needed was a change of direction and bold action to kick-start our flatlining economy and give real help to families on middle and low incomes, not more of the same failing policies and a huge tax cut for millionaires.

The Government’s economic plan has completely failed, with families, pensioners and businesses paying the price.

Earlier this week, alongside other South Yorkshire MPs, I met with the Transport Minister to discuss the likely timetable for HS2 Phase Two.

It looks as though the preferred route for HS2 Phase Two will not be known until the end of 2014, once it has been agreed an environmental impact assessment will be carried out and community forums organised. At the meeting I raised issues relating to noise abatement and blight.

Details regarding compensation for those affected are still to be decided following last week’s judicial review ruling.

New research by the Children’s Society shows more than half of all school-age children living in poverty are not getting free school meals, including approximately 700 children in the Rother Valley.

It is unacceptable that so many children are missing out on this vital support. I support the Children’s Society’s Fair and Square campaign calling for the Government to make sure all children living in poverty can get a free school meal.

As the Government is soon to consider the future of free school meals as it overhauls the welfare system, I have written to the Education Secretary to ask him to use this opportunity to ensure free school meals are made available to all children in poverty.

Government proposals that could see South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service privatised are totally unacceptable.

It was revealed last month that Fire Minister Brandon Lewis had unsuccessfully sought support for the proposals from the House of Commons’ Regulatory Reform Committee, but the minister has refused to drop the idea.

Our fire services have already faced irresponsible cuts which have left them in a precarious position when it comes to saving lives and helping people to feel safe when they sleep at night. According to Government data, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has already suffered a 14.63 per cent reduction in the number of wholetime and retained firefighters. The Government plans to cut more than 5,000 firefighters and 1,000 support staff by 2015.

This proposal is surely a step too far, even for this Government. The very idea of privatising one of our emergency services is horrifying. We simply cannot accept private profit being put before public safety when it comes to our fire and rescue services.

Earlier this week a Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) scheme was launched in Dinnington. Following successful trials in a number of areas the CAP aims to promote responsible drinking and to reduce young people’s access to alcohol.

One of the many partners involved in this scheme is Lifeline Rotherham, who have recently started holding family-orientated drop-in sessions in Dinnington for people with concerns about themselves, family or friends in relation to alcohol or drug dependency.

For more information call 01709 364804 or visit www.lifeline.org.uk