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Photo – Emily Speaking (with Angus Dalgleish, Mary Burstow and Paul Scully in View) at St Christopher’s Church
Photo – Emily Speaking (with Angus Dalgleish, Mary Burstow and Paul Scully in View) at St Christopher’s Church

At last night’s hustings arranged by St Christopher’s Catholic Church in Cheam, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Sutton and Cheam, Emily Brothers set out her case for hardworking families. In her presentation and Q&A that followed, Ms Brothers criticised the Tory & Lib dem record in Coalition. She said:
“People in Sutton and Cheam tell me that they’ve had enough of Lib Dem broken promises. They have failed hardworking families by backing austerity, increasing VAT, tuition fees and ending universal entitlement to Child Benefit.
“Locally, Lib Dem £40M cuts to services are making things even tougher for hardworking families. The Coalition have closed 720 Sure Start Centres around the country since 2010, with Sutton Lib Dem Council set to add at least another 11 Children Centres to that list. With Labour’s intervention and the coming together of community groups it was possible to rescue The Secombe Theatre which Lib Dem leaders were intent on closing. You just can’t trust them to be on the side of hardworking families, to meet the needs of local children with adequate support and facilities. They simply rely on their vanity Life Centre which soaks up far more subsidy than The Secombe Theatre has done.
“The Tories continue to look out for the privileged few, failing hardworking families time after time. They cut taxes for the richest, whilst placing more burdens on hardworking families. Scrapping Education Maintenance Allowance and Child Trust Funds for the poorest in Britain, overseeing the disgraceful increase in food banks and creating a low wage exploitative economy clearly demonstrates that Tory policy is failing hardworking families in Sutton and Cheam.
“The disastrous top-down £3BN re-organisation of our NHS, coupled with new competition rules, places St Helier Hospital at risk. Only Labour will repeal these laws and integrate health and social care. The Tories have a skewed view as they want to build a secondary school on metropolitan land at Rosehill Park, whereas I want to see brownfield land used on the recently close Sutton Hospital site.
“Another five years of Tory and Lib Dem Government will result in further cuts – some £55BN by 2019, bringing public spending to 35.2% of GDP which will be the lowest share for nearly 100 years. Conversely, Labour will balance the books and tackle debt by fair means, by for example introducing a new 10p tax rate for the lowest earners and bringing back the 50p tax rate for people earning £150,000 or more each year, so the burden is proportionate. Our proposals for reform have been costed, for instance paying for more doctors and nurses with a Mansion Tax and clamping down on tax avoidance.”

Photo – Emily Speaking (with Mary Burstow, Paul Scully and Maeve Tomlinson in View) at St Christopher’s Church
Photo – Emily Speaking (with Mary Burstow, Paul Scully and Maeve Tomlinson in View) at St Christopher’s Church

Ms Brothers was joined at the hustings by Councillor Mary Burstow, who represented her husband and Lib Dem incumbent. Paul Scully (Conservative), Maeve Tomlinson (Green) and Angus Dalgleish (UKIP) also took part. Emily Brothers attacked Mr Dalgleish’s position, saying:
“All we get from UKIP is negativity - void of any sensible proposals. They bang on about coming out of Europe, but fail to provide any vision for an isolated Britain. All the hot air about defending the country doesn’t stack up when Mr Dalgleish has absolutely nothing to say about local issues. To their credit, Mrs Burstow and Mr Scully did cover some important local issues, even if their conclusions are somewhat misguided. UKIP are just parachuting into Sutton without any regard to local people’s needs and aspirations.”
Speaking about her party’s plans for families, Emily Brothers told the audience that:
“Labour’s plan will build this country’s strength by putting working people and families first, ensuring the recovery reaches kitchen tables across Britain because we know that when working people succeed, our economy succeeds too. Labour’s plan for working families in Sutton and Cheam will support parents with the cost of childcare, make sure work pays and to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.
“Parents shouldn't face the prospect of taking a job that ends up costing them more than they’ll earn. That’s why we’ll give working parents 25 hours of free childcare for three and four-year-olds per week.
“We will raise the minimum wage and give tax breaks to companies that sign up to pay a living wage. Making sure all work pays a decent wage will make our economy stronger. This is part of a national goal to halve the number of people in low pay by 2025.
“Labour will make life more affordable for millions of people. We’ll freeze gas and electricity bills until 2017 and reform the broken energy market to stop the cost of energy bills soaring.
“The Bedroom Tax is cruel, it's unfair, and it doesn't work. The Tories claim it's supposed to encourage people to move house, but the vast majority of those affected have nowhere smaller or accessible to go. The average family paying the tax is losing £720 a year – money they can ill afford.
“Labour will build the homes Britain needs by getting 200,000 homes built a year by 2020. We will get a fair deal for renters with longer, more predictable tenancies and a ban on rip-off letting fees.
“WE will reverse Coalition tax cuts for millionaires and cut spending where it is sensible to do so. That’s why Labour will cap welfare spending, tackling the root causes of social security spending, including by getting more people into work, making work pay and getting more homes built.
“Labour will ask the independent Office for Budget Responsibility to monitor and report on the Government’s progress in tackling child poverty. This should include analysing the impact of Budget decisions on the level of child poverty. Boosting the role of the OBR to monitor child poverty would make it difficult for governments to ignore the impact of their decisions, as this government has done.”

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