AS WE go into the New Year my thoughts are with the people and families here in Wirral for whom 2013 has been a difficult year.
Living standards have got worse, not better, wages have fallen, while prices of food and energy rise. Unemployment still remains too high.
All of this is a direct consequence of this Tory-led government’s irresponsible and reckless management of the economy. People here don’t see a government that is on their side and do not hold out much hope of David Cameron and George Osborne changing course in 2014.
Many people feel powerless in the face of decisions that are affecting their lives, families and communities.
Labour's challenge and duty in 2014 is to be the people's voice in tough times and show that these are changes born of political choice by those in power not necessity. And we need to demonstrate that the next Labour government will be a change for the better.
Already, Ed Miliband has announced a number of policies that will help hardworking people and families. We will freeze gas and electricity bills for 18 months and use that time to reform the system so that customers can no longer be ripped off, we will abolish the wicked bedroom tax and we will introduced free extra child care for all 3 and 4 year olds to help working parents. All of this will help with the cost of living crisis that has been created by this government.
In 2014 Labour will take the next steps on the journey to win people's trust that we offer a better, more optimistic future for Britain. I wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.