January 8th, 2023
Written by John Grogan
John Grogan told a coffee morning of the Ilkley Women’s Labour Group at the Outside the Box cafe in Ilkley that the average wage in Keighley and Ilkley Constituency had fallen in real terms after inflation by £1388 or 4.3% since 2010. The figure is based on Labour Party analysis of Office of National Statistics Data.
"The human consequences of this fall in living standards are around us in the towns and villages which make up our constituency. The latest analysis from the House of Commons Library suggests over a quarter of children in Keighley and Ilkley grow up in what is classed as absolute poverty. In practical terms this means their parents are having to choose every day between feeding them properly or keeping them warm.
"Obviously Keighley town is harder hit than Ilkley and Addingham but behind closed doors even in the more affluent areas there are families who are struggling on a daily basis.
"We need a change in our national economic policy. It is no good blaming Covid, Brexit or President Putin when the answer lies in our own hands. One crucial component of getting wages up and improving living standards is growing the economy by investing in the green industries of the future. Local businesses tell me that what is needed above all is a long term economic plan and stability so that investment decisions can be made with confidence.
"2022 was characterised by frequent dramatic switches in economic policy at a national level and we are still paying the price. The second boost to growth could come from devolving economic powers and decisions from Whitehall to Yorkshire. When it comes to issues like transport and skills in our county Ministers from whatever party do not know better than local elected representatives"
Ilkley Labour Party Women's officer, Lorraine Dowson said:
"It was great to discuss with John the national and local matters that concern us as Ilkley women.
"Of particular concern was the impact on local families of over a decade of worsening pay: too many children and parents in our area are left with stress, anxiety, and instability. Something has to give."
Notes to Editors