I confess to being an “Archers” fan. Despite an uneasy feeling I will become the next Linda Snell when I retire; I just can’t help tuning in.
On the day of the Corby bye-election, I sat with Diane Abbott eating our packed lunch, listening to the problems of young Ed and Emma Grundy. The story was too familiar to us both.
The sad reality is that young couples are besieged: in debt, struggling to feed the children, with childcare costs too high to make work pay.
More and more MPs are hearing how hard people are finding it. Skyrocketing energy, food and fuel prices, take their toll on families.
Energy bills have already risen over £200 since 2010, with the latest hikes adding another £100 this winter. Cuts in family incomes and rising gas and electricity prices mean many people choose between heating or eating.
Official figures say almost 6,000,000 people can’t afford to keep warm. In Newham, that’s one-in-15 households. Weather forecasters predict a harsh winter.
Now we learn of allegations of a conspiracy among big power companies to keep gas prices artificially high. If true, I hope we see criminal prosecutions. Unaffordable gas bills can force families to economise to dangerous degrees, contributing to ill-health and premature death.
We need a Government that understands the realities that accompany stagnant and falling incomes and rising prices, but George Osborne and the Treasury team refused to appear before a Parliamentary Committee, or provide evidence requested on energy prices. Why?
Surely Governments should do all they can to make people’s lives easier. This Government don’t seem to understand real life and can’t or won’t, change their discredited policies. This Government is failing us.
They say, ”We’re all in this together.” The truth is, we never were and never will be.