Jo McCarron was joined by Jan Royall – Labour’s leader in the House of Lords – and Clare Moody – Labour’s lead South West candidate in the European Elections this May – in Hanham to meet with local women in advance of International Women’s Day on Saturday 8th March.
Jo spoke about how she got involved in politics and became Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Kingswood, and described some of the concerns she and the Labour team hear about out on the doorstep speaking with hundreds of women every week, from the growing pressure on household budgets to what’s happening to our NHS to the rising cost of childcare in particular, with 550 residents across the constituency already signed up to Labour’s petition calling for the Government to fund more free childcare for working parents.
Then in small groups the residents spoke to Jo, Jan and Clare about their experiences and the issues they want Labour to focus on.
A number of residents talked about how shocked they are that families are now having to turn to foodbanks in areas like Mangotsfield and Cadbury Health. They said they feel let down by the uncertainty now hanging over the Minor Injuries Unit promised at Cossham Hospital. They said it was a problem for mums but also the economy that childcare costs make it so difficult for parents to go to work, unless they have relatives they can rely on to help look after the kids.
One resident, who has an undergraduate degree, an MA and a PHD, explained how as a working mum she’s still finding it tough to cope with the rising cost of food, energy bills and other essentials.
After the meeting, Jo McCarron said:
“I grew up in Hanham. I’m a working mum. So I can really identify with a lot of the concerns people were raising today, and I will be doing all I can to push for the kind of clear, straightforward measures Labour has already put on the table – a freeze on energy bills, more free childcare funded by an increase in the banking levy, a reintroduction of the 10p tax rate funded by a new mansion tax. And I’m working hard to make sure residents have their say over the Minor Injuries Unit at Cossham.
“These sorts of opportunities to sit down with people and hear their concerns and experiences over a cup of coffee are really important, and I hope International Women’s Day tomorrow helps put some more focus on these issues – the cost of living, childcare, the NHS – which are affecting women right across this constituency and beyond.”