YOUR MP WRITES: Newport East MP Jessica Morden
WHEN David Cameron entered Downing Street in 2010. he said that he wanted to create an economy where people's standard of living "rose steadily", and promised action to help working families with the rising cost of living.
Putting Party politics to one side, it was an aspiration that politicians of all persuasions supported.
All of which makes the press coverage in the last month about the huge fall in living standards across Wales all the more depressing.
The figures released show that, after inflation, working people in Wales are an average of 1.669 worse off a year since 2010, when the prime minister made his pledge.
Over the past three years, prices have risen faster than wages in all but one month.
That means 36 months of falling living standards here in Newport.
Even worse, in the one month that wages rose faster than prices - April this year - it was because bank bonuses soared to take advantage of David Cameron's tax cut for millionaires.
But what is most worrying for families across Newport are the indications that the situation is only going to get worse.
Analysis of forecasts by the House of Commons Library shows that, with wages set to plunge further in the coming years, the average worker will have lost 6,660 in real terms by 2015 - enough to pay for the average family weekly shop for almost a year and a half.
My surgeries are regularly attended by people who are, quite literally, struggling to feed themselves and their families, while other changes to social security and emergency support mean getting help is more difficult than ever.
The increasing reliance on foodbanks, meanwhile, is a testament to the kindness and generosity of local people, but also a stark reminder of the sheer desperation many people are in.
There are some sensible steps that could help those hardest hit.
For example, you could help middle- and low-income families by reintroducing a 10p starting rate of tax, paid for by a mansion tax on homes worth over £2 million.
This would benefit 1,170,000 people across Wales, many of them here in Gwent.
We would also act to tackle the energy bills that just seem to keep on going up by forcing the big energy companies to use their profits to keep bills down.
Any constituents who are facing challenges like these can contact my office for a surgery appointment.
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