The cuts are having a particularly savage impact on the lives of women in the North West
When the North West TUC met for its annual conference in this weekend, we welcomed Frances O'Grady, the TUC's first woman General Secretary to our region.
It was a tremendous pleasure for me to celebrate International Women's Day with Frances as part of a movement where women now play a leading role.
The cuts in public services and welfare are having a particularly savage impact on the lives of women in the North West. As partners and mothers, women feel the impact of falling living standards more than most.
Rising child poverty, the growth of food banks and the attacks on key public services, such as the NHS and the caring services, show how women in particular are paying the price for austerity.
We face a political and industrial landscape characterised by high levels of inequality and unemployment, mass privatisation of public services, cuts in benefits and an attack on workers living standards.
It is clear that this Government has an ideological commitment to destroy the welfare state and public services, under the guise of a deeply flawed economic justification.
Unemployment in the North West is higher than the national average - thats why we must continue to campaign for jobs and growth, using our charter for young people to make the case for direct intervention in the economy to create chances for young people to secure training, skills and employment.
As pay has been eroded, living standards have fallen - the workers share of the national income, paid as wages, has significantly reduced since the mid 1970's.
Underlying all of these issues, whether workplace or community, is the need for unions to develop a firm connection to the communities in which they work, which allows them to gain community respect and play an active role.
The North West TUC has its work cut out over the next 12 months to make a difference to all of those affected by the attacks on jobs, wages and rights.
But as a united movement, working together on common campaigns, we can build a better future for working people in the North West.