This week, two major reports were published and were both difficult reading from an Ipswich perspective.

‘Cities Outlook 2024’ by Centre for Cities, a leading think tank, revealed that Ipswich residents have, on average, £17,390 less in their pockets than if disposable incomes had grown at pre-2010 rates. It put Ipswich in the top 10 worst affected towns or cities in the country after a decade and a half of stagnant growth and flat lining wages.

Shortly after, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s ‘UK Poverty 2024’ laid bare the breadth and depth of poverty that has become ingrained in our society. A third of all children in Ipswich are now estimated to be living in poverty. It is the Conservative Party’s shameful epitaph.

I regularly get asked what ‘the mood is like on the doorstep’ and I reply honestly. Many people are exhausted, beaten down and feel like the problems facing us are so deep and widespread that they can’t be fixed. Nothing feels like it works anymore despite the tax burden being hiked to its highest level in 70 years. The Conservatives’ never ending cost-of-living crisis has drained people’s bank accounts and eroded hard-earned savings built up over a lifetime.

Rishi Sunak’s claim that ‘things are improving’ is completely removed from the reality endured by people in Ipswich and across the country.

However, we can look to the past for some encouragement. This week marked 100 years since the Labour Party formed its first government. While it lasted just under a year, it achieved much: the Wheatley Housing Act saw half a million council homes built over the following decade, educational opportunities were greatly extended, pensions and benefits were improved, and the foundations for the extension of voting rights to millions more were laid.

Other Labour governments have continued to change Britain for the better over the past century. Clement Attlee’s 1945 Labour government inherited a country needing to be rebuilt after the trauma of the Second World War. His visionary government introduced the National Health Service, revolutionised social security, and embarked on a major programme of house building, providing safe and secure homes.

In the 60s and 70s, Labour under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan ushered in great social change, ending the death penalty, decriminalising homosexuality, legislating to outlaw racial discrimination, and, spearheaded by Barbara Castle, introducing the groundbreaking Equal Pay Act.

Then with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, Labour’s job was to transform a crumbling public realm. What followed was a record investment in the NHS, the police and education, driving NHS waiting lists and crime down, and achieving record results in schools. The establishment of the National Minimum Wage meant more people were paid a decent wage.

The Winter Fuel Allowance. The creation of Sure Start. Half a million children lifted out of poverty. Devolution, the Good Friday Agreement, Civil Partnerships, the Equality Act, the Human Rights Act, debt cancelled for the world’s poorest countries, the world’s first Climate Change Act…the achievements were many, and life-changing for millions.

Yet, while we can take inspiration from the past, nostalgia alone won’t repair the damage of the past 14 years. A future Labour government under Keir Starmer will be just as ambitious as the Labour governments of old, but will reflect modern Britain too. We will get building again and make our country a clean energy superpower. We will get our NHS back on its feet and take back our streets. And we will break down barriers to opportunity for children and young people.

Just as we have done time and time again, Labour will get Britain’s future back.

Jack Abbott is Labour prospective parliamentary candidate for Ipswich