Coalition policies 'hitting Hull hard', Karl Turner tells Labour conference
COALITION policies are "hitting Hull hard" and taking the country "back 100 years", according to city MP Karl Turner.
Speaking at the Labour Party conference in Manchester, the Hull East MP said consumer debt and poverty were problems blighting Hull.
Mr Turner said: "A loss or reduction in household income is the number-one factor creating rising levels of consumer debt and poverty in the city.
"Government policies are hitting Hull hard. Youth unemployment is at record levels, long-term unemployment increases quarter-on- quarter and unemployment, overall, is at a 16-year high."
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This stark assessment was made during a Labour Left fringe event on the second day of the Labour Party's annual conference.
It came after Labour launched a new Youth Jobs Taskforce to tackle ten areas of the UK with the highest joblessness rates among young people.
The scheme – which does not include Hull – will see local Labour leaders team up with union leaders and experts to come up with new ideas to boost employment.
Mr Turner said the roots of debt and poverty were "complicated and complex".
He said: "In my constituency, almost one in three children live in poverty.
"Sadly, the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) has forecast that coalition policies will cause a further rise in child poverty, and estimates show 300,000 more children will be in poverty in 2015 than they do now.
"Independent figures from the IFS found families with children in Hull will be an average of £511 worse off this year.
"Debt and poverty go hand-in- hand. Poverty makes you vulnerable to taking out unaffordable debt and unmanageable debt compounds poverty.
"It is, therefore, no surprise that independent figures show soaring levels of debt and poverty under this coalition."
Mr Turner also welcomed a conference pledge from Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls to build 100,000 affordable homes and introduce a two-year stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers in order to kick- start the economy.
It would cost £3 to £4 billion, cash Mr Balls said should come from the sale of the 4G mobile spectrum.
Mr Turner said it was "exactly the kind of policy that will see demand in our economy", creating the "jobs needed to bring people out of poverty and debt".
He said: "The Government should also reverse the VAT increase for a temporary period to help families struggling with energy and fuel bills.
"It is a sign of the times when Save The Children has recently launched its first UK food appeal and media reports say the Department for Work and Pensions is sign-posting struggling families towards food banks.
"This should not be happening in the 21st century and I am fearful that the coalition is taking us back 100 years."