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Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary in Amber Valley

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Ahead of the second anniversary of the introduction bedroom tax, Rachel Reeves, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary was in Amber Valley yesterday, Tuesday 31st March, to visit the home of a local resident who has been adversely affected by the introduction of the tax.

Rachel, who was joined by Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Amber Valley, Kevin Gillott, visited the home of local resident Steven Bower in Heanor, to discuss how the tax has impacted on their lives. 

Figures from the House of Commons Library show families in the East Midlands hit by the bedroom tax would pay a further £3,500 under five more years of the Tories. 

Speaking after the visit, Rachel said: “Over 30,000 people in the East Midlands have been forced to pay David Cameron and Nick Clegg’s bedroom tax. Another five years of David Cameron would mean thousands of people forced to pay the bedroom tax, costing them £3,500 

“Today I’ve been to see Steven Bower and his wife in Heanor. Steven, a former member of the TA, is now caring for his wife and is unable to move due to a lack of smaller properties being available. 

“They told me today that with the cost of heating their home and feeding themselves, they don’t have a lot of money left over each month. The extra burden of the bedroom tax is punishing them even further. 

“The bedroom tax shows the big choice our country faces in May. Ed Miliband will scrap the bedroom tax, David Cameron and Nick Clegg will continue to force hundreds of thousands of families to pay this cruel and unfair tax. The bedroom tax is cruel, unfair and will be scrapped if Labour wins in May.” 

Rachel also joined Kevin for a visit to Future Textile, a living wage employer in Alfreton with a pledge to make work pay

Rachel said: “I was delighted to visit Future Textiles, a living wage employer, who under the leadership of Aidan, has built a successful company with a dedicated and skilled workforce. 

“However chatting to Aidan and his staff, it’s clear that the result of this government is a cost-of-living crisis for millions of hard working people, who are left feeling precarious and insecure. 

“People in Amber Valley are working harder than ever, but since 2010 wages have fallen by £1,600 per year and one in five working people in this area are paid below the Living Wage. Rising levels of low pay show the Tory plan is failing and another five years of the  Tory low-wage economy would be a disaster for working families in Amber Valley and across the country. 

“I promise a Labour government will make work pay for people in Amber Valley. We’ll give tax rebates to firms in Amber Valley who follow the example set by Future Textiles and pay their staff a Living Wage. We will raise the minimum wage to £8 an hour and ban exploitative zero hours contracts. Labour has a better plan to make work pay and raise living standards for working families in Amber Valley. 

Speaking after the visit, Kevin Gillott said “I was delighted to welcome Rachel to Amber Valley today. Over the last year I have been listening to thousands of local people in Amber Valley and I know that, like me, local people are crying out for change and for a better future. 

“I am delighted that Labour is pledging to abolish the bedroom tax, raise the minimum wage, ban exploitive zero-hours contracts and make work pay for hard working families. 

“I want to work with the people of Amber Valley to deliver an ambitious plan that tackles the cost-of-living crisis and gives local people a much needed pay rise. It’s only Labour that will deliver for local people here in Amber Valley.”

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