No getting away from the facts

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May I start my final column for 2013 by wishing all my constituents and indeed all the readers of the News Post Leader, my warmest greetings for Christmas and a happy, healthy and successful New Year.

The festive season is not the time for doom and gloom but there is no getting away from the fact that the past 12 months have been difficult and challenging ones for all.

There may be a faint glimmer of hope on the horizon for an improvement in the economy but many people are still going through very tough times because of rising prices and falling living standards, with wages certainly not keeping pace with inflation.

I have written before in this column of my concerns at the way the energy companies have all recently raised their charges and the impact that will have on households.

Mercifully we have had a relatively mild winter so far, but no doubt that will change and people will be faced with the dilemma of keeping their homes warm whilst making sure their bills remain manageable and affordable.

My hope for the New Year is for a period of stability as well as growth from investment that will bring real hope of a job for the many currently looking for work in this area.

In Parliament my fellow Labour MPs believe the best way to ensure this happens will be to elect a Labour government at the 2015 general election.

In the meantime, my fellow Labour MPs and I will press the coalition at every opportunity we can to ensure people all over the country are treated fairly and equitably.

2014 will be the last full calendar year for this Conservative/Liberal Democrat government and we will be working hard over the next 12 months to ensure that a Labour government is returned at the next general election.