Ian Austin

Independent for Dudley North

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Conference Diary, Monday 22 September

Monday saw Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls announce tough decisions to balance the books and make working people better off.

Today Ed Balls set out his plan to balance the books and make working people better off.

That meant tough decisions to deal with a deficit of £75 billion, the result of three years of lost growth instead of the balanced budget George Osborne promised by 2015.

Labour would cap rises in child benefit at one per cent and make sure that those who have the most make the biggest contribution by reversing the Government's tax cut for millionaires.

And we would also cut the amount paid to Government Ministers by five per cent. That's the right decision when many people in Dudley have seen their wages fall, and it's also why I want the planned MPs' payrise to be stopped. I think that plan is completely bonkers and if it goes ahead I will use the money to increase my support good causes and organisations in Dudley.

He also set out how Labour will make people better off with plans to guarantee jobs for long-term unemployed young people, an £8 minimum wage and 200,000 new homes built every year to make new homes affordable.

It was also great to listen to local woman Natasha Millward, Labour's candidate for Dudley South, speak about her campaign on childcare.

She recently carried out a survey of local residents in Dudley. She'd heard from lots of working parents who were struggling with the cost of childcare, and wanted to do something about.

She met Labour's education spokesman Tristram Hunt to raise the issue and push for the expansion of free childcare on offer.

Thanks to the work she has done together with local campaigners Labour has now committed to offering free childcare for three and four year olds, paid for by a levy on the banks. That's a great example of what a hard working campaigner can do to influence party policy.

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