Saturday, 23 May 2015

Fwd: Google Alert - Graham Jones MP

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Graham Jones MP
As-it-happens update May 23, 2015
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Lancashire Telegraph
INN-CREDIBLE! Villagers raise £180000 in two months to save local pub
Hyndburn MP Graham Jones described the campaigners' group, The Dog Inn Belthorn Ltd, as 'an inspiration'. The pub, in Belthorn Road, closed last ...
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Friday, 22 May 2015

FW: End Child Poverty - New Report and Local Statistics

16200 children affected by freezes to child benefit and child tax credit across Hyndburn

 

Dear Graham,

The End Child Poverty coalition exists to hold the Government, and all main political parties, to account in relation to their commitment to eradicate child poverty by 2020. With just five years to go until this deadline, it is now more important than ever for the new Government to set out clear policies through which to achieve this goal.

We know that one factor which has a major impact on the number of children living in poverty is the rate at which child benefit and child tax credit are increased each year. That's why End Child Poverty has worked with other organisations to publish "Short changed: the true cost of cuts to children's benefits" on the impact of the decision to increase children's benefits below inflation.  We are calling for the Government to ensure that child benefit and child tax credit increase in line with costs of living, and that by 2020 they are given the same protection as the State Pension. 

Our new research reveals:

·       Across the UK 4.1 million families and 7.7 million children have been affected by below inflation rises of Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit over the past three years including 16200 children in Hyndburn

·      Around 341000 children across the North West are living in families that cut back on food and 326000 that cut back on heating their home as a result of benefits being increased below inflation.

 

·      Increasing children's benefits and tax credits in line with the same "triple lock" guarantee as for pensions would lead to an estimated 280,000 fewer children living in relative income poverty and 310,000 fewer in absolute poverty across the UK by 2020, than under the Government's current policy.

 

If you have any questions about the research or would like to discuss this further please contact http://www.childrenssociety.org.uk

Kind Regards

David Holmes,

Chair

End Child Poverty



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Saturday, 16 May 2015

Friday, 15 May 2015

Thank you

Dear Graham,

This is not the email I wanted to be writing to you today. I am profoundly sorry for the defeat we suffered, and more grateful than I can express for the support that you have shown me, and our party, throughout this campaign.

I take full responsibility for the result of the election, and that's why it's absolutely right that I step down as Labour's leader today.

It has been the utmost privilege to serve this party as your leader, and to spend the last four-and-a-half years fighting for the millions of British families who need and deserve the fairness, compassion and opportunity that only a Labour government can provide.

Yet while defeats are hard, we are a party that will never stop fighting for the working people of this country. Britain needs a strong Labour Party and it is the responsibility of each of us to continue the fight. The stakes are too high to wait for others to lead.

It isn't simply leaders who achieve change, it is people that make change happen. I will never give up on that idea, I will never give up on our cause and I will never give up on our fight.

Thank you again for everything, and please, keep on fighting too. The course of progress and social justice is never simple or straightforward, and change happens because people like us don't give up.

Yours,
Ed

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Unemployment by Constituency - May 2015- JSA and Universal Credit claimant data

Unemployment in Hyndburn continues to rise as the north-south gap widens. In the last quarter unemployment rose by over 100 and had risen again. These figures are worrying given the low and falling growth we have seen and the problems the constituency faces.


Dear Graham Jones,

 

This is a personalised email from the House of Commons Library consisting of constituency unemployment figures for April 2015 which were published today at 9.30am.

 

Key facts

The total number of unemployed claimants in Hyndburn constituency in April 2015 was 1,339. This represents a rate of 3.1% of the economically active population aged 16 to 64, the 214th highest of the 650 UK constituencies. (1st = highest claimant rate, 650th = lowest claimant rate.)

 

This includes 939 people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance and 400 people who were claiming Universal Credit but were not in employment (provisional estimate; rounded to the nearest ten). Some of these Universal Credit claimants may no longer be seeking work.

 

The total number of claimants (both Jobseeker's Allowance and Universal Credit) is 227 lower than in April 2014 and 36 higher than in March 2015. These data are not seasonally adjusted.

 

Further information

Statistics on unemployment and youth unemployment by constituency from May 2010 are available from the Library's Constituency Profiles. The Library's monthly research paper, Unemployment by Constituency, will be published later today. It contains detailed analysis of labour market statistics and trends.

 

From November 2014 the Library has included out-of-work Universal Credit claimants within its headline claimant count and rate in addition to people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance. The inclusion of Universal Credit claimants in the claimant count figures is explained in more detail in Library standard note, Unemployment by Constituency: Changes in methodology 2014.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Yet another uncosted, unfunded and unbelievable announcement from the Tories

The Right to Buy

 

This announcement is yet another uncosted, unfunded and unbelievable announcement from the Tories.

 

Having exhausted the magic money tree, they now want people to believe that they can magic up billions of pounds a year from selling off a few council homes. Last year that raised just over £100 million, while this policy costs £4.5 billion a year.

 

The test of any Government serious about restoring the dream of home ownership is to build more homes but the Tories are failing on every count.

 

·           Under David Cameron, house building is at its lowest level in peace time since the 1920s.

·           Home ownership is at its lowest level since 1985 with 205,000 fewer home owners than when David Cameron came to power.

·           Under David Cameron the average number of families claiming their right to buy each year has fallen by two thirds compared to under Labour.

 

Labour supports home ownership which is why we back the Right to Buy and we will look at options to help more tenants buy their own home.

 

But in the 21st Century that means building homes and not forgetting the vast majority of people that want to buy their own home but currently rent privately or live with their parents.

 

Labour's better plan for housing will get 200,000 new homes built a year by 2020 in the places where local communities want them by:

·           Give first time buyers on new homes in areas of housing growth

·           Tackle landbanking through new lose it or lose it powers

·           Unlock a new Future Homes Fund by requiring that the billions of pounds saved in Help to Buy ISAs is invested in building homes

·           Shake up the housing market by backing small builders

·           Build a new generation garden cities and suburbs creating over half a million new homes

·           Prioritise capital on housing so it's at the top of the list for investment

 

Q&A

 

Will you match this commitment to extend the right to buy?

We support right to buy and we will look at proposals to help more social tenants to buy their own home but unlike the Tories we won't make promises we can't keep and the Tories can't explain how they will fund this proposal.

 

The truth is to tackle the housing crisis and restore the dream of home ownership we need to build more homes and that is exactly what Labour's better plan will do.

 

You say this policy is unfunded but the Tories have said councils will be forced to pay by selling expensive social homes?

The Tories have spent the last few days spraying around unfunded, uncosted and unbelievable policies. They originally said this policy would be funded by the taxpayer, now they say the £4.5bn cost will be paid for by selling off a few council homes – no one will believe a word. Having exhausted their magic money tree they're now just making it up.

 

Do you support selling off expensive social homes?

Of course it's right that councils and housing associations manage their stock and make sensible disposals but having exhausted the magic money tree, the Tories have now resorted to making it up. The Tories can't explain how they'll pay the £4.5bn billion.

 

The Conservative Party have not stood up and will not stand up for working families.

Conservative manifesto

 

The Conservative Party have not stood up and will not stand up for working families.

 

It is working people who have paid the price of the last five years, with higher taxes and wages down £1,600.

 

And it is working people who will pay the price of the Tories’ desperate campaign.

 

There is nothing more dangerous to the NHS than saying you will protect it, without being able to say where the money will come from.

 

And their flaky election bribes from housing to childcare will leave working people paying the price in higher taxes. Their manifesto confirms that the Tories have £25 billion of promises which they have no way of paying for, while refusing to rule out extending VAT to areas such as food and children clothes. That means higher taxes for every working person in this country.

 

This is why the head of the IFS said today that the Tory plan “requires really very dramatic spending cuts or perhaps tax increases between now and 2018, at least on the scale that we’ve seen over this Parliament”.

 

Yesterday Labour showed that it was the party of change and the party of responsibility with a fully funded manifesto that does not require any extra borrowing. The Conservative manifesto today shows once again that working people can’t afford five more years of the Tories.

 

 

Childcare

 

The Tories' childcare policy is unravelling because their sums don't add up. They claim that Labour's plan for 25 hours free childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds would cost £800 million – but they say their own policy would only cost £350 million.

 

Unlike the Tories' policy, Labour's plan is fully costed, deliverable and ready to go. Labour has a better plan for supporting working families

 

Labour’s better plan for supporting working families

 

This is what a real manifesto for families looks like:

·         Labour will protect tax credits rather than cut them supporting the living standards of four million families with kids, over half of families in the country.

·         Labour will introduce a legal guarantee for parents of access to wraparound childcare from 8am to 6pm through their local primary school, underpinned by a new not-for-profit National Primary Childcare Service

·         Labour will extend free childcare from 15 to 25 hours for working parents with three and four-year-olds, paid for with an increase in the bank levy.

·         Labour will tackle the shortage of childcare places by doubling the number of places available at Sure Start centres - at least 50,000 more.

·         Labour will increase the minimum wage to more than £8 by October 2019 to ensure hard work is rewarded.

·         Labour will freeze energy bills until 2017 and give the regulator the power to cut bills this winter.

·         Labour will double paternity leave to four weeks, paid at the minimum wage.

 

Q&A

 

This is more generous than Labour’s offer?

·         No. The Tories’ offer isn’t real because it is unfunded and undeliverable.

·         Labour has a fully-funded plan to deliver £800 million investment in childcare, paid for by increasing the bank levy. The Tories have only allocated £350 million for their offer.

 

 

Income tax threshold and minimum wage

 

David Cameron said nothing new today on the minimum wage. This was simply a re-announcement of his policy to increase the personal allowance – and he still hasn't explained how he'll pay for it. It's a £6.5 billion spending commitment that can only be paid for by tax rises elsewhere, or even deeper cuts to public services.

 

Taken with their policy on the higher rate threshold, that’s £10.4 billion of unfunded tax cuts.

 

Labour will cut taxes for people on low and middle incomes with a lower 10p rate of tax, paid for by reversing the Tories’ Marriage Tax Allowance. We will also increase the minimum wage to more than £8 by October 2019 to ensure hard work is rewarded.

 

Q&A

 

Will you match the increase in the personal allowance?

·         The Tories’ claims about further rises in the thresholds are completely unfunded.

·         Labour will go ahead with the uprating of Income Tax thresholds announced in the March budget. We will also increase the minimum wage to more than £8 by October 2019 to ensure hard work is rewarded.

·         If we can go further than raising thresholds in line with inflation, we will do so, but unlike the Tories we’re not going to make promises which are unfunded and where we can’t say where the money is coming from.

 

Are the Tories more ambitious than you on the minimum wage?

·         No. Under our plans the minimum wage will rise by at least twice as much as it has under the Tories. It will mean someone working full time will be £800 a year better off compared to continuing with the rate of increases under the Tories.

 

 

Housing – right to buy for Housing Association tenants

 

Over the last 24 hours the Tories’ housing plan has fallen apart.

 

We support people's right to buy homes. But a right to buy is a fraud if you fail to find the money to fund it or build the homes.

 

The Tories once again have no idea where a penny of this plan is coming from. They want people to believe that they can magic up billions of pounds a year from selling off a few council homes. Last year that raised just over £100 million, but now they say it can raise £4.5 billion a year.

 

The Tories are once again doing nothing to build the homes our country needs.

·         Under David Cameron, house building is at its lowest level in peace time since the 1920s.

·         Home ownership is at its lowest level since 1985 with 205,000 fewer home owners than when David Cameron came to power.

·         Under David Cameron the average number of families claiming their right to buy each year has fallen by two thirds compared to under Labour.

 

The test of any Government serious about restoring the dream of home ownership is to build more homes for first time buyers. Labour’s better plan for housing will get 200,000 new homes built a year by 2020 in the places where local communities want them. We will:

·         Give first time buyers on new homes in areas of housing growth

·         Tackle landbanking through new lose it or lose it powers

·         Unlock a new Future Homes Fund by requiring that the billions of pounds saved in Help to Buy ISAs is invested in building homes.

 

The Tories have failed that test and therefore fail first-time buyers at every count. That's why they can't stand up for working people.

 

Q&A

 

Will you match this commitment to extend the right to buy?

·         We support right to buy and we will look at proposals to help more social tenants to buy their own home but unlike the Tories we won’t make promises we can’t keep and the Tories can’t explain how they will fund this proposal.

·         The truth is to tackle the housing crisis and restore the dream of home ownership we need to build more homes and that is exactly what Labour’s better plan will do.

 

You say this policy is unfunded but the Tories have said councils will be forced to pay by selling expensive social homes?

·         There is no evidence the Tories can raise the money they claim. The Chartered Institute of Housing have said "the figures simply won’t stack up".

 

Do you support selling off expensive social homes?

·         Of course it’s right that councils and housing associations manage their stock and make sensible disposals but having exhausted the magic money tree, the Tories have now resorted to making it up. The Tories can’t explain how they’ll raise £4.5 billion a year from the sale of council houses.

 

 

NHS funding

 

The Tories have not got a single penny of extra money for the NHS.  They can’t explain how the £8bn they claim to be offering would be paid for.

 

As David Cameron said himself in January, "the real risk to the NHS is the risk of unfunded spending commitments bringing chaos to our economy, which would wreck our NHS". That's exactly what he's offering.

 

The Tories have taken the NHS backwards. After five years of this Government there’s a crisis in A&E, waiting lists are at a record high and it’s harder to see your GP. The NHS can’t survive five more years of David Cameron.

 

Labour has a better plan for the NHS. Only Labour has a plan to put real money into the NHS from the start of the parliament to meet our commitments to it. We have a fully-funded plan to invest £2.5bn in 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more doctors so the NHS has time to care. This will also include 3,000 more midwives to meet our guarantee being announced today for one-to-one maternity care.

 

Q&A

 

Will you match the Tories on the £8bn?

·         The Tories haven’t set out a penny of extra funding for the NHS because they have no idea where the money will come from. David Cameron said that approach would “wreck our NHS”.

·         The Tories plans for extreme cuts – cutting double next year than this year – means no-one will believe a word of this.

 

Is your £2.5bn on top of Tory plans?

·         Yes. The Tories haven’t got a penny of extra funding for the NHS, while Labour will give the NHS the funding it needs. We have a clear plan to raise more money for the NHS above Tory plans from the first year of a Labour government.

 

But Simon Stevens’ NHS Forward Look says £8bn is needed?

·         Labour will give the NHS the funding it needs. People know this because of our record, because we have a clear plan to raise money for the NHS from the first year of a Labour government and because we don't have extreme spending plans or unfunded promises.

 

Rail – five-year rail fare freeze

 

This is another unfunded promise from the Tories.

 

There is no detail on how this will be funded. In August last year, however, the Tory Transport Secretary put a £1.8 billion figure on a fares freeze across the lifetime of the Parliament - that's £360 million a year.

 

Labour has a better plan for the railways to get a better deal for passengers and taxpayers. Instead of a Tory promise of a rail freeze they have no way of paying for, we will freeze rail fares next year paid for by reprioritising within the Transport budget – delaying road schemes where the economic case is still uncertain. During the freeze we will review the franchising process as a priority to bring an end to the Conservatives’ franchising fiasco and put in place a better system.

 

Q&A

 

This is more generous than Labour’s one-year freeze?

·         The Tories’ claim is unfunded and unbelievable.  By contrast, Labour’s one-year real terms freeze is fully funded.

·         The House of Commons Library estimate, based on Treasury numbers, is that Labour’s pledge will cost just over £200 million. We will pay for this by switching spend within the transport budget. So this requires no extra borrowing or spending.

·         The government have allocated funding for road projects in the next parliament. Whilst we support the idea of long term investment on roads, there are a couple of schemes where the case still needs to be made. We will delay the A27 Arundel Bypass and the Taunton A358 until the next road investment period. This will unlock £600 million in the next parliament which we will use for other priorities, like the fares freeze.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

5-a-side Competition at the Accrington Lions Carnival

I have always been a passionate supporter of football at all levels, and this year I am proud to be sponsoring 5-a-side football competition the Accrington Lions carnival which is taking place on Saturday 13th June on the King George Playing Fields in Accrington.

The event is a great local fundraiser, and every penny raised by the Accrington Lions goes to worthy causes in the community as they have no administration expenses. The event will also feature a parachute display, a Viking display as well as live bands and loads of events and activities for children.

For just £10, you can enter your 5-a-side team and you will be supporting the Accrington Lions to raise funds for worthy causes – plus you will have the opportunity to win £100.

To express an interest please contact Lion Jaqui at jaquicollins@yahoo.co.uk message the organisers via the Facebook page The Famous Accrington Lions Community Carnival or phone 0845 8337386 for further information. Closing date for applications is Saturday 30th May 2015.

I am really looking forward to the event, and hope for a huge turnout on the day.