LABOUR leader Ed Miliband says the people of Doncaster are helping him formulate policies he hopes will take him to Downing Street at the next election.
Mr Miliband, who today celebrates the first anniversary of his election as party leader, will oversee the Labour Party Annual Conference in Liverpool from today until Thursday.
And he told The Star how talking to residents of his Doncaster North constituency is the best way to find out what the country wants from its government.
Speaking from his Bentley office, he said: “It is so important that I come here regularly. Through my own party members and contact with the voters I make sure I am in tune with people. I think it is very important to reflect what I have heard on the doorsteps.”
Mr Miliband is aware the big issues for people in Doncaster are jobs, housing and the cuts introduced by the Coalition Government.
“First of all I am the MP for Doncaster North and that is something I will always remember,” he said.
“I hope to use the platform of being leader to get attention for local causes and I won’t forget that. I hope it can be an advantage.
“It is always a challenge because of the huge amount of demands on my time but I try to be here as often as I can.”
Mr Miliband points to some of the local issues he has campaigned hard for, such as the fight to keep Doncaster branch libraries open and the battle to stop Mexborough market stall rents rising by an astronomical amount.
He also expressed sympathy for the plight of public sector workers and their reduced pensions due to the Government austerity measures, but does not feel it was right for them to strike over the issue.
Mr Miliband spoke of his deep regard for the people in his constituency who have provided him with a warm welcome since his election as MP.
“I would like to thank people for the strong support they give me,” he said. “People here are unfailingly friendly and I owe them a big debt of gratitude.
“People are always keen to meet me and share their views - it’s how you get things right as a politician.”
The views of Doncaster people have helped him realise that affordable housing is a major issue the last Labour Government did not address properly.
And he has been made aware of people’s views on immigration and those who are not deserving benefits.
On the local employment front Mr Miliband is still a firm believer in clean coal technology and is hoping the Hatfield pit project will come to fruition.
He expressed pleasure earlier this month at the opening of the new anaerobic digesting plant at Bentley which will convert food waste into renewable energy.