This article is from Alison's weekly column for the Wirral News. This is her post from 30th April, and it can be read on the Wirral News website here.
The government will claim that with the release of the GDP figures this week that the economy is on its way to recovery and that Britain is heading in the right direction as it was announced that the economy has grown by 0.8 % in the first quarter of this year.
I welcome any sign that the economy is growing but I am concerned about where this growth is being felt. We still have a big problem with unemployment, living standards and there has also sadly been a reported rise of food bank use here in Wirral. It’s not just economic growth we need. It’s growth that is built on a basic standard of living for everyone.
Last week Ed Miliband made a further commitment to clamp down on exploitative use of zero hours contracts. Whilst flexibility can work if its desired, I am concerned about their overuse, particularly in the care sector. Labour understand the living standards problems faced by people at the moment, this is how we would act if elected to form a government next year. Meanwhile Labour’s councillors in Wirral have already shown the way forward by stopping the reliance on zero hours and 15 minute appointments, and adopted the Ethical Care Charter that should improve standards for those receiving support in our borough.
It is important to recognise signs of growth, but I think it is just as important to want people to be better off and feel the benefits of economic growth in their everyday lives. This is what a Labour government would focus on as at the moment I don’t think many people in Wirral can feel the growth trickling down to them.
I would also like to congratulate Manna Foods which is a new food business that has opened in New Ferry. I launched the official opening for Manna Foods and wish them continued success with their business. I think it is a great step forward for New Ferry and it is a welcome addition to the likes of Edge and Son Butchers and the Wirral Farmer’s Market which both sell quality food products in New Ferry.