Cost of Living Crisis in Barking & Dagenham

These are tough times for many local families. Since David Cameron became Prime Minister the average wage packet in Barking & Dagenham has fallen by £1,500 a year and the cost of living has risen in 37 out of the 38 months he's been in Number 10.

Since 2010 the average household electricity or gas bill has increased by over £300 a year. At the same time profits made by Britain's big six energy companies have shot up.

More and more residents are worried about whether they will be able to make ends meet. Some people say they are being forced to choose between putting food on the table and turning off the heating.

That's why we need to freeze energy bills so that everyone gets a fair deal. Doing so would save the average family £120 and the average business £1,800 a year.

We could start by making sure our most elderly and vulnerable people are offered the cheapest energy deal. And we need to take action to break up the grip the energy companies have enjoyed.

Instead of cutting taxes for the well off, we should introduce a lower 10p starting rate of tax, paid for by a mansion tax and cut tax for small businesses.

We should expand free childcare for 3 and 4 year-olds from 15 to 25 hours a week for working parents.

We should tackle the extortionate fees charged by lettings agencies for those renting.

And we should guarantee a job for everyone who's been out of work for two or more years, and young people out of work for a year.

Any government would face tough decisions right now. We need to cut the deficit but we also need to tackle falling living standards and the daily struggle many people have just making ends meet.