Jo McCarron PPC was joined by Jan Royall – Labour’s leader in the House of Lords – and Clare Moody – Labour’s lead South West candidate in the European Elections this May – in Hanham to meet with local women in advance of International Women’s Day.
Jo spoke about how she got involved in politics and became Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Kingswood, and described some of the concerns she and the Labour team hear about out on the doorstep speaking with hundreds of women every week, from the growing pressure on household budgets to what’s happening to our NHS to the rising cost of childcare in particular, with 550 residents across the constituency already signed up to Labour’s petition calling for the Government to fund more free childcare for working parents.
Then in small groups the residents spoke to Jo, Jan and Clare about their experiences and the issues they want Labour to focus on.
A number of residents talked about how shocked they are that families are now having to turn to foodbanks in areas like Mangotsfield and Cadbury Health. They said they feel let down by the uncertainty now hanging over the Minor Injuries Unit promised at Cossham Hospital. They said it was a problem for mums but also the economy that childcare costs make it so difficult for parents to go to work, unless they have relatives they can rely on to help look after the kids.
One resident, who has an undergraduate degree, an MA and a PHD, explained how as a working mum she’s still finding it tough to cope with the rising cost of food, energy bills and other essentials.
After the meeting, Clare Moody said:
“Things have never been so tough for women and their families. Nationally women’s wages are worth £26 less a week since 2010, but here in the South West, that figure is a whopping £32.33. Women are at the sharp end of the cost of living crisis, they know what it means to have to make the weekly shop stretch that little bit further, or to have to choose between their career and family because the cost of childcare is just too high. For women across the UK this is no recovery at all.
"Labour will help make work pay for women and their families and we will give mums and dads real support to balance work and family life by expanding free to help parents manage the logistical nightmare of before-and-after school care."