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Suzy Stride – Parliamentary Labour Candidate

It’s been another busy and exciting few months in Harlow which has also brought its challenges for the community. Many have noticed things getting financially tighter in the last few months. Particularly of concern has been the threat of rising rail fares. An increase of 4.1 per cent has been forecast next year. This will increase the financial pressure on already squeezed working people in Harlow. I have been campaigning against rail fare increases and will continue to do so until there is a change in policy.

The work of other local organisations in Harlow has also been invaluable to supporting those most

in need. One example of this is Harlow Food Bank. As many of you will know this organisation works with local churches, schools, supermarkets and businesses to provide individuals and families in crisis with free emergency food until the appropriate agencies are in a position to assist. Services like these have become ever more important during the financial crisis. Having volunteered with the foodbank I know how incredibly hard-working the staff are and want to thank them for all they do to serve hard working people in Harlow Another organisation making a real difference is Streets 2 Homes, which I had the privilege to visit

earlier in the year. Streets 2 Homes manages a day centre for those facing homelessness in Harlow, providing housing advice, training sessions, employment advice, health services, washing facilities, food, and clothing. My visit provided a real insight into the hard work undertaken across Harlow to support those who are suffering under the coalition’s dangerous economic and social policies. It was also great to take part in the charity football match for Princess Alexandra in May to raise

money for our local hospital. It is always great to play some football for a good cause and events like this always bring the community together. The match coincided with a celebration in the town centre for the NHSs 65th anniversary which I

attended. This gave me a real opportunity to hear what you all feel about the on-going NHS reforms. It really highlighted to me how important the NHS is to our local community and the potential damage these Conservative led reforms could cause. Here in Harlow, staffing shortages have left Princess Alexandra’s A&E Department overstretched. Experts are warning that services across the country could fail by the winter if action isn’t taken. As a result I endeavour to redouble my efforts to protect our local services It was also good to visit Occasio house in July. Although it was heart breaking to hear young

people's stories of desperately looking for work but being unable to find any. I will continue my campaigning around youth unemployment and fighting for a banker’s bonus tax to provide Labours youth jobs fund for jobs in Harlow. I also volunteered with the Streets Pastors recently and saw the fantastic work they do serving

people in Harlow. It was also great to support the Harlow Business Exhibition and meet many of Harlow's business

leaders. Toby Perkins, shadow minister for small business, visited and held a roundtable with business leaders, which was great. We will be holding another small business roundtable in the autumn. It was also fantastic to be part of the Heart4Harlow festival which brought together people from all across Harlow and was a real celebration of the fantastic community spirit it has. Finally, jobs remain a key concern for Harlow, especially with the closure of Tesco’s distribution

centre and loss of 800 jobs. I, as has Bill Rammell, worked hard with the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) to protect the employment terms and conditions of local workers - we know more can be done. I look forward to continuing to represent and work with those people struggling as a result of Tesco’s decision. Hopefully, the news that a new regional distribution centre for Poundland, which has been approved by Harlow Councillors, will help provide the region with more jobs in future.

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