Today I co-chaired a cost of living roundtable with the Labour parliamentary candidate for Norwich North, Alice Macdonald.

    I’ll be frank with my constituents.

    Listening to these charities and social enterprises explain just how bad things have got for too many of my constituents made my piss boil. Go out this week and do a headcount of the children you see when you‘re out and about. Count ten of them and there’s a good chance 3-4 of those children will have gone to bed hungry.

    See that person with a disability? Know someone with long COVID that can’t work? They’re in all likelihood facing a sentence of impoverishment, debt degradation and mental health deterioration.

    We were told ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ and ‘Hostile Environment’ was for ‘others’, for immigrants and asylum seekers. Well yes, it is. And they now face hunger, destitution and early death as a result. But as ever the choice the Tory govt gave us was, ‘it’s them or you!’. After 13 years of ‘them’ we can see it’s actually all of us.

    The message today: There is no system. There is no ‘social security safety net. Instead, there is debt, poverty, hunger, destitution, desperation and if you’re lucky the thin gruel of workfare in insecure, low-paid work.

    As large, powerful, unaccountable corporations cream vast profits on food, energy, adult social care, water – basically every imaginable aspect of our lives; as the planet burns at their hands; as the wealthy leave the rest of us behind – we must draw a line and say: NO. MORE!

    There is money. There is wealth. There is a way to fix our country to ensure everyone has a secure home, job and joy in their lives. But it will take ALL of us to demand it. Voting the Tories out is just the start because power, whoever wields it, concedes nothing without demand.

    Let’s start demanding.

    *Attendees included representatives from Norfolk Community Advice Network (NCANN) amongst some of their partnered charities.

    Norfolk Citizens’ Advice was also in attendance and stated that there has been a 25% increase in cost of living concerns being raised within their organisation in Norwich South. This shows the urgency of this roundtable and that the Government is not doing enough to help my constituents.

    This roundtable was hosted to identify the main pressures that Norfolk-based charities have been seeing in their organisations since last winter, to highlight any services that are being offered this winter, and to discuss what action should be taken now to address cost-of-living pressures.

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