John McDonnell MP
A new year message to Gazette readers by John McDonnell MP for Hayes and Harlington.
OF COURSE we were all cheered by the Olympics and especially by the Paralympics, and enjoyed witnessing the torch come through Hayes. But the last year has been tough for many families in our area.
Unemployment has risen, wages have been cut or frozen and basic costs like rent and fuel have soared.
The cuts in local services, the threats to our NHS, the cutbacks in local police numbers and the council continuing to sell off many of our local assets have all contributed to the feeling of a community under pressure.
Losing the Nestle factory in Hayes is typical of the job losses that have hit us as a community over the last year, as the recession continued and companies rationalised and cut back on staffing.
My advice surgeries are packed with people facing real difficulties in just keeping their head above water. Too many have lost their jobs and fallen into debt, often at the hands of the extortionate payday loan companies. In the south of our borough we are facing the worst local housing crisis since the Second World War.
I never thought I would see the day when in this country, like in the US, we would see families dependent on collecting food from food banks so that their children could eat a decent meal.
The shocking fact is that many of these people that are suffering from this poverty are actually in work. They are doing the right thing to support themselves and their families but their wages are too low and their rent and other basic costs are too high.
Despite all this, I am confident that in this coming year we will pull together as a community to help each other get through this recession. There are some real opportunities in 2013.
The welcome redevelopment of the EMI site offers us a real chance of decent jobs for local people, and the exciting regeneration of this area that I have campaigned for for so long.
We will be working on many more regeneration initiatives to promote employment and environmental improvements.
To lift people’s spirits we are also bringing local groups together to promote a ‘Made in Hayes’ festival of events throughout the year.
In wishing all my constituents a happy and peaceful New Year, I also want to say thank you to all of those people who have contributed to our local community over the last year. I look forward to working with them all in 2013 to see our community through this difficult period.