Labour Leader Ed Miliband has pledged to take action on the cost-of-living crisis facing many families, and has set out a contract stating what Labour will do to improve the lives of people across Britain. This week Owen Smith MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, explained how the actions in the contract would put money in the pockets of Welsh families. 

Owen Smith expanded on a number of key pledges in yesterday’s Welsh Grand Committee meeting, including freezing gas and electricity bills, reinstating the 10p starting rate of tax, banning exploitative zero-hour contracts and strengthening the Minimum Wage.

Labour MPs joined in the debate to remind Chancellor George Osborne and David Jones, Secretary of State for Wales, that a return to boom time pay for bankers is not the same as a real economic recovery for the people of Wales.

Owen Smith MP said:

“We are in the midst of a cost of living crisis that has left wages down by £1,600 a year since the last election, with people experiencing a four-year squeeze on living standards. Yet the Tory government showed their complacency in this debate, spinning a line that the crisis is over and people have never had it so good. At the same time they are lobbying for bankers’ bonuses in the EU and even defending the indefensible remarks by some Welsh Tory MPs about people using food banks due to drug addiction or while subscribing to Sky TV. 

“In contrast I set out the ways in which Labour’s ‘cost of living contract’ will help put money in the pockets of Welsh people, so we can earn our way to higher living standards and end this deep-seated cost of living crisis.   

“Freezing gas and electricity bills will benefit over a million homes in Wales, saving families an average of £120 and small businesses over £5,000. Labour will also tackle low paid and insecure employment, by reinstating the 10p tax ratebanning exploitative zero-hour contracts and strengthening the Minimum Wage. While our decision to reintroduce the 50p top rate of tax shows Labour’s commitment to making sure the richest pay their fair share.

“There are more than 300,000 Welsh workers getting paid below the living wage. Labour will help them by introducing a ‘Make Work Pay’ contract. This new deal will drive up pay in Wales by offering companies tax incentives to become Living Wage employers, paid for by higher tax receipts and lower social security payments.

“The Tories are banking on the Welsh people settling for less, content to keep struggling through on low wages, in insecure work and happy to see the UK economy run in the interests of the super-rich. In stark contrast, Labour’s cost of living contract offers Welsh people a credible and optimistic alternative.” 

We have a year to get out into our communities, share the Labour message and make sure people are aware that Labour offers a fair future, and an alternative to the Tory/Lib Dem system of government, and we will take real action on the cost of living crisis.

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