When Nichola Pinder had her baby daughter Jasmine in 2012 she struggled to lift her out of her cot. She had battled back problems over the years and was diagnosed with reactive arthritis after Jasmine's birth. Not only was lifting her daughter excruciatingly painful, but Nichola was afraid the activity would make her disabilities worse...
Despite the political rhetoric, if current economic policies continue broadly as they are, the UK economy does not have a bright future. In my view, and that of many others, our economy has at least five big problems. These major challenges will end the current upturn probably shortly after the 2015 general election, no matter who wins.
Most of what costs the bulk of our spending on the welfare state - and the part whose cost is rising as the population ages - are the things that nearly everyone benefits from as they move through the life cycle - schools, the NHS and pensions, on top of child benefits and tax credits for families when they have children.
The idea of trickle-down economics, the zeitgeist of monetarism and the bug-bear of the left is dead as an idea. It's nonsensical and it never worked.
Today's announcement on new road building from the Prime Minister is further confirmation that this government is driving us into an economic, social and environmental cul-de-sac.
To pretend racism doesn't play a role in generating hostility towards, and anxiety over, immigration is naive, if not disingenuous. Those who piously claim that opposition to immigration in the UK isn't driven by prejudice, bigotry and hysteria, but rather by "legitimate concerns" over rising migrant numbers and a growing pressure on public services, should try answering the following five questions.
To give small business a chance we need to make big business and multinationals pay their fair share of taxes and give their staff decent wages and conditions. They need to treat their suppliers decently, obey the law and not act anti-socially.
The whole argument for and against immigration is way too complex for any one person to discuss in a single article but there is one area that I haven't heard people talk about in the debate and that's the creative industries.
Both the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats will go into the May 2015 general election on the basis that, if elected, they will introduce a Mansion Tax. David Cameron has ruled this out - but unless the Conservative Party wins an overall majority it is likely that some form of the policy will be introduced in the next few years.
As UK citizens we should be appalled that UK companies will accept such horrific human rights abuses within their supply chains. British American Tobacco, through its name, represents us all, whether we like it or not. They should be accountable to our ideals of fairness and justice, whether it be in the UK or abroad.
The average British family has not been anywhere near so fortunate as the highest earners, however, and will be £974 a year worse off by 2015 because of tax and benefit changes introduced since 2010... Can there be any greater fallacy than George Osborne's desperate claim that "we're all in this together"?
Expressing and debating differences of opinion is a welcome part of any healthy democracy. However, it can be hugely frustrating when opponents of a piece of legislation or negotiated agreement manufacture myths in an attempt to stifle debate.
Watching students and officers at unions around the UK become a living wage employer has inspired me, and the other officers at Sussex, to make this history. As a union we need to provide services, and don't make a profit. It's not as if labour is used to line the pockets of tax evading billionaires. But that's not the point.
The simple truth is that many employers can afford to pay more. For large companies in sectors such as food production, banking, construction and software/computing - which employ over 1 million low- wage workers - paying all staff the living wage would mean an increase of less than 0.5 per cent of the total wage bill.
Employers who do not pay at least the Living Wage, especially those who are turning a decent profit, need to wake up to the growing public outrage that so many among our workforce are expected to exist on poverty pay.
The recession means that, whoever governs we are now in the grip of austerity politics and will be for some years to come. Because we faced that challenge our economy is now recovering. But this makes that other challenge, the task of lifting children out of poverty, much harder and much more difficult.