January 27, 2015

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Living standards have fallen since the financial crisis. On average, people in Formby, Crosby and Maghull are £1,600 worse off than they were five years ago. 

And in Sefton Central as a whole, 15,300 people are paid less than the living wage. 
Many of you are in low paid jobs, with part time hours, on zero hours contracts. And many of you are paid at the minimum wage. 
Many of you are self employed which often is even worse as there is no minimum wage. 
And if you are self employed, you are not protected by legislation. 
My wife runs her own business in Maghull and before I became an MP, I was self employed. If there is no money coming in to your business, times are very hard indeed.

The fall in living standards and the growth in the number of people on low pay means that many of you face a really tough time. But that fall in living standards has also harmed the wider economy. 
Any recovery in the economy has only helped a few people, mostly those at the very top. And at the same time, the growth that has resulted from economic recovery has not been sufficient to help reduce the deficit.

The government has cut public services to the bone, especially here in Merseyside but it hasn’t led to growth. 
So as a policy it has failed both those of you facing the insecurity and poverty of low pay but also the rest of us due to the impact on services and on wider economic success.

That is why we need a shift of approach. An approach which, which concentrates on growth and an approach which helps the majority of people to benefit from greater prosperity and rising living standards. 
If the economy grows by 0.25% more than this government is planning, that will boost the economy and pay for better public services. 
It will reduce the need for cuts as more taxes will be collected. 
That is why I will be arguing for an economic policy that makes growth a priority through better skills and quality apprenticeships for your people, through a British investment bank to help small businesses and through tax rises for the wealthiest to help everyone else. 
That is Labour’s approach and it is in stark contrast to the programme of austerity and cuts that has seen falling living standards for the many, while just a few have benefited.

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