In South Wirral there are large manufacturing employers like Unilever and nearby General Motors and Airbus. So I have worked with businesses and trade unions to support the development of apprenticeships. When Labour rescued apprenticeships in 2003 - through the creation of the modern apprenticeship - years of neglect through the 1980s and 90s left a skills shortage. But steadily we have reversed this trend. I would like to see us go further and make sure that working and learning is a genuine route to success for young people.
I have campaigned to end the abuse of zero hour contracts and Ed Miliband has made a commitment that this will be a priority to tackle in the next Labour Government.
The visitor economy is also a important in Wirral. We have great restaurants, pubs, parks and coastline. The Beatles played their first gig (with Ringo) at Port Sunlight’s Hulme Hall, and the village is now host to various festivals and events. The Lady Lever Art Gallery contains world renowned works of art and I have supported its development over the past few years, with more to come.
I’ve worked with small traders in to protect and improve our shopping parades. In Bromborough, a new parking scheme I promoted is giving the village a new lease of life, and in New Ferry, with the Town Team I chair, we look to be on the verge of a proper regeneration for the first time in decades.
Cuts to our local authority have hit Wirral hard, however, and we risk the problems of the past if we are unable to make sure that everyone benefits from economic growth, when it comes. I support more pro-active measures to move towards full employment, with no one left out. It’s through the dignity of work that Merseyside families will be successful and happy, and I want to make sure that the mistakes of the past are never repeated. This is why I have spent time on the front line in job centres and Wirral Social Services to understand the challenge those tackling the consequences of austerity face.