Lucy Powell MP
Rt Hon George Osborne MP
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Horse Guards Rd
The Conservative Conference is opening in Manchester at the weekend and I am writing to invite you to come and visit the real Manchester Central.
Whilst you are entertaining Tory donors in the Manchester Central conference centre, after three years of a stagnant economy the real residents of my Manchester Central constituency are struggling to pay their bills, balance the books and put food on the table for their children.
Your failed economic policies have led to no growth, a rising debt and three years of devastating cuts. This is having dire consequences for the people I represent. Whilst your friends are rubbing their hands with glee as the millionaires tax cut swells their bank accounts, most in my constituency are rubbing their hands to keep themselves warm, too scared to put the heating on because they fear they won’t be able to pay their electricity bills come January.
I’d like to invite you to meet with Elizabeth and Ryan. Victims of the failing and incompetent bedroom tax. Ryan is a severely disabled adult who lives with his mother Elizabeth. She cares for him round the clock but requires additional overnight care to help. Your Government’s bedroom tax rules allow an additional bedroom where the claimant or claimant’s partner requires overnight care but not where a disabled child does.
Elizabeth has been battling in incredibly difficult circumstances to do the right thing for her and her son and she tells me she is now forced to consider putting her son into residential care. It cannot be right to force people into this against their will and it will actually cost the system more.
You could also meet Maggie – a working single mother who stands to lose a staggering £1255 a year once universal credit changes are added to the amount she has already lost due to cuts to tax credits and other support for working parents. Maggie doesn’t earn enough to benefit from your uplift in tax allowances. She is typical of the hard working mums that society should be supporting in work, not penalising.
Donna, who is a leading member of the campaign to save Miles Platting baths would also be happy to meet you. In one of the most deprived areas of the country, the community are fighting the axing of their local pool because of the hugely unfair and disproportionate cuts affecting Manchester. Your next round of council cuts in 2015 will further decimate town hall budgets. Manchester City Council will lose another £52 million on top of the quarter of a billion pounds you have already stripped from budgets here. Manchester’s spending power – which includes the money available from council tax and business rates – will take the sixth biggest cut in the country; with Liverpool seventh yet some Southern shire authorities will not lose a penny.
Or come and meet young people from Manchester Young Lives who are seeing their youth services disappearing, leaving them with very little to do in the evenings, at weekends or during the holidays. Kids in Moss Side and Hulme really want to get on in life but have little opportunity to fulfil their potential. It is surely shortsighted to take away provision that supports them.
I know you will be trying to paint the picture of a positive economic recovery when you stand up to speak at Manchester Central Conference Centre but for thousands of my constituents in the real Manchester Central this could not be further from the truth. You are presiding over an unequal recovery which benefits your friends at the top whilst leaving the rest of the country to struggle.
Given the interest in Conservative conference I am releasing this letter to the press. I look forward to hearing from you.
Lucy Powell MP
Labour and Cooperative Member of Parliament for Manchester Central