This MP's column comes from Naz Shah, Labour MP for Bradford West 

The Conservatives are out of touch with the struggles of every people,

At present food inflation is at a 50-year high and families are being forced to spend £900 or more on energy bills.

Rather than dealing with the cost-of-living crisis, and rising inflation through a comprehensive economic plan, current and former Tory MPs have opted to give people budgeting advice and have advised them to ditch cheese sandwiches and buy value beans to cut costs.  

Currently, 16 per cent of people in the UK are already skipping meals and those in 61 per cent of the most deprived areas are buying less food compared with previous years.

In terms of mortgages, according to the Resolution Foundation, more than 1.6 million homeowners are expected to re-finance their fixed-rate loans this year, forcing them to pay an average £2,300 extra a year in interest payments, adding further pressure on families.  

If that wasn’t enough, people up and down the country have been forced to abandon their broadband too.

According to Citizens Advice, up to one million homes have been forced to cancel their broadband to make ends meet.

Without broadband, people are stuck in a cycle of poverty and deprivation- unable to manage their benefits, apply for jobs online, attend virtual doctors’ appointments, access educational material and so on.

Yet instead of the Conservative Government taking accountability for the mismanagement of the economy, they continue to blame everyone else but themselves, and continue to use the same old sticking plaster politics.

In my constituency of Bradford West, the impact of economic failure and the rising cost of living is being felt deeply, 51.7 per cent of children are currently living in poverty, and the Bradford district is the second most deprived local authority in the Yorkshire and Humberside region.

The reality in Bradford West and, indeed, in other parts of the country is radically different to the reality being told by the Conservative MPs in Westminster.

For the average working family, food prices are at an all-time high, energy bills have slashed their savings, mortgage rates are impacting their earnings and most people are simply surviving.

But tragically some people are now even struggling to survive. Just a few months ago I heard a first-hand account of a woman from Bradford that was in hospital with her child and was surviving on water and free coffee for days as she had to choose between feeding herself or having money to feed her child.

Hearing this real-life account was heartbreaking but sadly it is not uncommon.

Recently, I have learnt that Bradford Maternity Services have a campaign under the banner of 'Ask for Betty'.

This campaign is like the 'Ask for Angela' campaign that operates in clubs and pubs for women to discretely ask for support if they feel intimated or harassed.

In the same way, the 'Ask for Betty' campaign allows pregnant women struggling with their basic food needs to discretely ask for food packs provided by the Metropolitan Foodbank in Bradford.

Whilst I am extremely proud of Bradford Maternity Services for providing this much-needed support, I was deeply saddened to learn that service must exist in the first place.

Furthermore, the food bank has to stock two types of food parcels, one for ‘kettle only’ and the other for ordinary cooking. The notion that people can’t even afford to use a cooker highlights the worrying reality that most people are facing.

But amidst the economic uncertainty one thing is clear, a multi-millionaire Prime Minister cannot understand let alone fix the cost-of-living crisis.

Just yesterday, the International Monetary Fund reported on the fragility of the UK economy and the slowdown of our economic activity since the former prime minister Liz Truss used the British economy as a gambling chip and completely trashed it.

It is clear the Tories cannot be trusted to lead and manage the economy, only Labour will ensure a stable economy with a long-term plan for growth.

As a Labour Party we have committed to cutting VAT on home energy bills, insulating millions of homes, cutting small business rates, and supporting businesses through the cost-of-living crisis and making more in Britain.

Now more than ever, I know how much the people of our nation need a Labour Government.