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Wages in Britain today simply do not match the cost of living. The gap between the richest and the poorest continues to increase and in-work poverty is becoming a major problem all across the country.

The Conservatives simply have no interest in helping those affected. Theresa May likes to talk about helping those who are “just about managing” but takes no meaningful action to address poverty pay.

£7.50 an hour is not a real Living Wage that meets the cost of living in Britain today. Those under 25 are entitled to less, even when doing the exact same job as an older worker at the same company. It is simply unfair.

I am delighted to see that Labour have committed to take on these challenges and provide much needed help for low-paid workers.

The introduction of a real Living Wage for all adults, increasing over time to match the recommendations of the Living Wage Foundation, would be a huge step forward. This should be at least £10 an hour by 2020.

Labour’s real Living Wage would give a pay rise to the 5.6 million workers who currently don’t earn enough to meet the cost of living.

Workers over the age of 25 would get a pay rise worth £2,500 a year. Workers aged 21-24 currently on the minimum wage will also see their wages rise by over £4,500 a year.

This is a bold but realistic plan to help working people in Britain.

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A real Living Wage

  Wages in Britain today simply do not match the cost of living. The gap between the richest and the poorest continues to increase and in-work poverty is becoming a...

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Investing in support for young children and families is smart policy. It helps to reduce child poverty, improves achievements in education, and reduces inequalities in ways that benefit a generation throughout their entire life.

I am proud of the work the last Labour Government did to create Sure Start, but this should have been just the beginning. Support for early years education should have grown and opportunities expanded to more and more families.

The Tories instead have taken a short term approach, stripping away funding bit by bit until centres close or have their services cut back. Labour has revealed figures through Freedom of Information requests that show more than a third of sure start centres have closed since 2010. That’s 1,240 fewer Sure Start centres since David Cameron first became Prime Minister.

It won’t save money in the long-run: addressing avoidable education, health or crime issues later in life will be far more expensive. A helping hand to young families today lifts all of up, but the Tories have taken that away.

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I was proud to open Oxford Grove Children's Centre in 2002. The Government should not be putting services like this at risk.

Every child deserves a Sure Start

Investing in support for young children and families is smart policy. It helps to reduce child poverty, improves achievements in education, and reduces inequalities in ways that benefit a generation...

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When George Osborne was the Chancellor for the Conservatives, he outlined a plan to cut Inheritance Tax to the point where a couple could receive a £1million home without paying anything.

The current Conservative Chancellor, Philip Hammond, did nothing to cancel this in the recent Spring Budget so, starting next month, the threshold for Inheritance Tax will rise from its current £325,000 per person to £500,000 by 2020.

This change is expected to cost the Treasury £1billion by 2021. This is money that could be invested in our long term future; transport, the NHS, early years education. Instead the cut will likely benefit 0.04% of people in England.

New research revealed by my colleague, Rachel Reeves MP, shows that this tax cut will strengthen the North-South divide. Money that could have helped address inequalities across the country will now be concentrated in a small number of households in London and the South East.

In 2015-16, of the 100 constituencies with the highest number of property sales over £650,000 (the current Inheritance Tax threshold for a couple) 96 are in London or the South-East.

The average sold price in Bolton North East was £125,000. We ranked 430 out of 573 constituencies in England and Wales with just 0.7% of homes sold for over £650k.

We should be looking to end the North-South divide, not cutting services in Bolton to give more money to the wealthiest families in London.

This policy once again shows that this Conservative Government have their priorities wrong. There so many better ways to improve our economy and raise living standards.

Inheritance Tax - A cut for the South

  When George Osborne was the Chancellor for the Conservatives, he outlined a plan to cut Inheritance Tax to the point where a couple could receive a £1million home without...

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