Family Life & Cost of Living

Many of us are struggling to make ends meet and pay the ever rising household bills, child care costs or travel costs to get us to work.

The energy market isn’t working for us – the customers. It’s simply not competitive. That’s why a Labour government would tell companies to freeze our electricity and gas bills for three years, while it reviews and reforms the market.

For parents the decision about whether to go back to work is often a financial one, and when you take into account the cost of childcare, the sums simply don’t add up. A Labour government would guarantee parents of all three and four year olds, 25 hours of free childcare a week. But we also need to review our system of childcare and why it is so expensive, compared to other countries, when we spend similar amounts of taxpayers’ money.

For those of us – including me -- who commute to work by train, it’s a costly experience. We’re now paying some of the highest ticket prices in Europe. That’s why a Labour government would simplify the fare structure and cap how much tickets could go up by.

Posts on this issue

Waiting to hear whether you’ve been given your preferred choice of school can be a stressful time for parents and children.

However, it seems that Kent County Council’s policy of accepting more applications from outside the county is creating extra stress for families in Dartford.

Dartford’s successful secondary schools and the town’s close proximity to London can make an attractive alternative for parents living in the capital.

There were 2,299 applications for places in Kent’s schools this year from parents living outside the county and a third of those have been offered places.
Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Dartford, Simon Thomson, has been made aware of several cases where local families have missed out on all their preferred choices of local secondary school.

Simon Thomson says “the situation is absurd. KCC seems to be giving an increasing number of places in Dartford schools to families not living in Kent. And that means local schoolchildren in Dartford are missing out.”

“In one case, KCC are expecting a family to get their child to a school outside of Dartford, with the journey involving three different buses. That’s crazy.”

“I want to see KCC give priority for places in Dartford’s secondary schools to families living in Dartford. And I hope the county council will address these absurdities on appeal.”

“But there simply aren’t enough school places in Dartford, especially with all the development being planned for the area. Instead of being obsessed with opening more free schools, the government should be working with KCC to create more places at good schools in Dartford as a matter of priority.”

Simon Thomson can be contacted on 07941 679353 or via email:

Mon 09 March, 2015

Dartford’s children being let down over local school places

Waiting to hear whether you’ve been given your preferred choice of school can be a stressful time for parents and children.However, it seems that Kent County Council’s policy of accepting more applications from outside the county is creating extra stress... Read more

Increasing numbers of people in the Dartford area are struggling with debt and are only just able to meet their living costs, according to new figures released by StepChange, a Debt Charity. The figures are released as part of the charity’s Debt Awareness Week. 

During 2014, the charity’s helpline was contacted by 1476 people from the Dartford postcode area. Those contacting the charity’s helpline on average owed £12,970 in unsecured debt such as credit cards, personal loans and overdrafts and they only had £36 left each month after paying their debts and household bills.

Mike O’Connor, chief executive of StepChange Debt Charity said:

“More and more families in the Dartford area are falling into debt and struggling to make ends meet. For those living on the edge of their financial means, taking control of the situation can seem a daunting, if not impossible, prospect, but taking positive steps towards tackling debt is crucial to getting back on your feet. We urge those who are worried about their debt problems to seek free confidential advice as soon as possible."

Simon Thomson, Parliamentary Labour Candidate for Dartford said:

“StepChange provide vital support for people in Dartford struggling with debt. This a problem that has got worse in the last four years and shows that too often the economy is just not working for local people.”

“Working people are £1600 worse off under the Conservatives and these figures highlight what many people have told me on the doorstep - far too often it’s still a struggle to make end meet. Dartford needs a pay rise and real help with the cost of living. That’s why a Labour government would deliver a fairer economy by raising the minimum wage to £8 an hour, freeze energy bills until 2017 and create more jobs, including a jobs guarantee for young people out of work."


Notes for Editors:
Figures from StepChange Debt Charity, based on helpline calls in 2014.
Simon Thomson is the Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate for Dartford. He can be contacted for further comment on 07941 679353
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