Monday, 2 March 2015

Labour's better plan for fairer rents and to build the homes that first-time buyers need

Labour's better plan for fairer rents and to build the homes that first-time buyers need 

Nowhere is David Cameron's failure more dismal than on housing. Young people and families starting out know the dream of having a home of their own is disappearing into the distance. We are building less than half the number of homes we need and young people are being priced out of the market with the average house price now eight times the average wage.

 

This Government has achieved nothing but record lows for house building and home ownership – and record highs for working people still living with their parents and young families having to pay rip off charges to rent.

 

We have a plan to build hundreds of thousands of new homes and give priority for those homes to young families just starting out.

 

And we have a plan for families who rent with new long-term tenancies to prevent rip-off rent rises. We will include legislation in our first Queen's Speech to ban letting agent fees charged to tenants, saving Generation Rent more than £2.5 billion over the parliament – or £625 for each family. 

 

This is a better plan to tackle the cost-of-living crisis with more homes, fairer rents and help for first-time buyers.

 

Background

 

Labour will ensure fairer rents:

  • We will legislate for 3-year tenancies giving renters security and peace of mind.
  • We will end excessive rent rises by putting a ceiling on rent increases during the new three-year tenancies.
  • We will ban unfair letting fees, saving the typical tenant £625 over the course of the next parliament and Generation Rent £2.5 billion.

Labour will increase the number of new homes built every year to 200,000 by 2020 with priority for first-time buyers by: 

  • Giving local communities stronger powers to build the homes needed in the places people want;
  • Getting the public sector back into building;
  • Tackling land banking through new "use it or lose it" powers;
  • Shaking up the housing market by backing SME builders through Help to Build;
  • Building the next generation of Garden Cities;
  • Granting first time buyers from the area priority access rights when new homes go on sale.

The Tories' plan has failed:

  • The lowest level of house building in peacetime since the 1920s;
  • The lowest level of home ownership since 1985 - with 205,000 fewer homeowners than when David Cameron came to power;
  • The lowest level of homes for social rent built in at least two decades;
  • The lowest number of affordable homes built in five years - a fall of 32 per cent since 2009/10;
  • A record number of young people - one in four - living at home with their parents into their twenties and thirties. 
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Sunday, 1 March 2015

Google Alert - Graham Jones MP


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Friday, 27 February 2015

Labour pledges to cut tuition fees to £6,000

Labour pledges to cut tuition fees to £6,000

 

Ed Miliband has today announced that the next Labour Government will cut tuition fees from £9,000 to £6,000, and provide additional grants for students from lower and middle income backgrounds. This will be funded by restricting Pension Tax Relief for those on the highest incomes.

 

Labour will build a country where the next generation can do better than the last, with tuition fees reduced to £6,000, an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the basic grades, and smaller class sizes for 5, 6 and 7 year olds.

 

Background

 

The current system is bad for students and bad for taxpayers.

  • The decision by the Tories and the Lib Dems to increase tuition fees to £9,000 means that the average student will now graduate with £44,000 of debt. And almost three quarters of students will never pay their loan back in full – having tens of thousands of pounds of debt hanging over them for 30 years. 
  • That's bad for the public finances, because the taxpayer has to meet the cost of writing off the debt. By 2030-31, the current student fee system is set to add £281 billion to the national debt.

 

Labour's better approach is fairer for students...

  • Labour will tackle spiralling student debt by cutting the tuition fee cap from £9,000 to £6,000 for all undergraduates from September 2016, and providing additional grants for students from lower-income backgrounds.
  • Cutting the tuition fee cap will reduce graduate debt by nearly £9,000. Labour will also increase student grants by £400, so that the full grant increases from around £3,400 to around £3,800, benefiting all students with a household income up to £42,620. More than half of students will benefit.

... And because our policy is fully funded, it is fairer to universities and taxpayers too.

  • Universities will not lose out because we will increase the teaching grant they receive by around £2.7 billion, the same amount that their fee income falls.
  • Our plan will reduce government debt by £40 billion by 2030-31. Over the next Parliament it will mean over £10 billion less debt.
  • Our pledge will be funded by restricting Pension Tax Relief by £2.9 billion for those on the highest incomes.
  • At the moment, people with incomes over £150,000 get tax relief on pension contributions at a rate of 45 per cent – more than twice that of basic rate taxpayers. This means that although they are only the top 1 per cent of taxpayers, they receive 7 per cent of all Pension Tax Relief. 
  • We will reduce the rate of relief for those with incomes of over £150,000 to 20 per cent – the same as basic rate taxpayers. And we will reduce the annual and lifetime allowances to cap the amount that people can put into their pensions tax free: £30,000 a year, or £1 million across a lifetime. This is far more than most people can ever afford to put into their pension pots.

 

Labour has set out a new plan for Britain's future, a plan that works for ordinary families, rewarding the hard work they do and saving the NHS they rely on.

 

The Tories can't build a better future for working people because they stand up only for a privileged few. With the NHS going backwards and a recovery which works just for a few, working people can't afford five more years of David Cameron.

 

You can't trust Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats. They broke their promises and have been too weak to stand up to the Tories.

 

UKIP can't stand for working people: they're more Tory than the Tories, a party made up of Tory people, promoting Tory policies, bankrolled by Tory donors.

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Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Zero-hours figures expose reality behind UK 'jobs miracle'

Zero hours figures expose hand to mouth existence of millions behind UK's 'job miracle'

Latest figures on zero hours contracts expose the hand to mouth existence of millions of people behind the UK's much vaunted 'jobs miracle'.

Responding to today's official figures showing an increase of the use of zero hours contracts to 1.8 million, Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey said:

"These figures make an utter mockery of the government's claim to have inspired a 'jobs miracle'. Ever increasing numbers of people are being forced into a hand-to-mouth existence with no guarantee of work, not knowing from one week to the next whether they will be able to pay the bills.

"What the ONS figures do not reveal is that we also have record levels of self-employment in this country. Combined with this, the increase in zero hours jobs exposes a labour market where insecure work is becoming an employment model of choice.

"The prevalence of zero hours work in bigger employers indicates that this rise is not so much about employers trying to weather the downturn, but more about businesses enjoying the freedom this form of employment affords them from the fundamental rights and decent wages that ought to accompany responsible employment.

"An economy based on low paid insecure work shuts people out of the economy – you cannot hope for a home or save for the future when you don't know if you will have a wage, let alone what it will be. Such employment will not deliver the sustainable recovery our nation desperately needs.

"We need urgent, meaningful action to rebalance our economy. A ban on zero hours contracts and the return of collective bargaining must be the basic first steps to put a floor under the ever-falling living standards for millions in this country."

Copyright © 2015 Unite the Union, All rights reserved.

David Cameron refuses to act on MPs' second jobs

David Cameron refuses to act on MPs' second jobs

At Prime Minister's Questions today, Ed Miliband challenged David Cameron six times to take action to end MPs' second jobs - and six times he refused to say he would.

The House of Commons will vote later today on Labour's proposal that MPs should be barred from holding paid directorships or consultancies. But David Cameron won't back change.

Before he became Prime Minister, David Cameron said that "Being a Member of Parliament must be a full-time commitment... The public deserves nothing less". But in Government, he has done nothing to deal with what he once called "the far-too-cosy relationship between politics, government, business and money".

On second jobs the difference is clear: Labour wants to change a broken system, the Tories want to cling to it.

Today: Rise in zero-hours contracts shows the recovery isn't working for working people

The ONS has published new figures today showing that there are now 1.8 million zero hours contracts and that the number of people reporting they are on a zero-hours contract for their main job has risen by almost 20 per cent.

This is yet another stark illustration of a recovery which is not working for working people.

The Tories' plan is failing working families. While they prioritise a few at the top, for others there's a rising tide of insecurity. Ministers have watered down every person's rights at work and zero-hours contracts have gone from being a niche concept to becoming the norm in parts of our economy.

Labour's better plan would ban exploitative zero-hours contracts, prohibit employers from requiring workers to be available on the off chance they are needed, ensure zero-hours contract workers who have shifts cancelled at short notice receive compensation and give employees who consistently work regular hours the right to a fixed-hours contract.

Only Labour will deliver a recovery that works for all, restoring security and dignity at work.

Labour has set out a new plan for Britain's future, a plan that works for ordinary families, rewarding the hard work they do and saving the NHS they rely on.

The Tories can't build a better future for working people because they stand up only for a privileged few. With the NHS going backwards and a recovery which works just for a few, working people can't afford five more years of David Cameron.

You can't trust Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats. They broke their promises and have been too weak to stand up to the Tories.

UKIP can't stand for working people: they're more Tory than the Tories, a party made up of Tory people, promoting Tory policies, bankrolled by Tory donors.


Sent from my iPhone

MPs and second jobs

ARTICLE BY MICHAEL DUGHER FOR THE HUFFINGTON POST

Anyone who knocks on doors knows that one of the most depressing, but all too often, comments from the public is: "You politicians are just in it for yourselves". And at a time when trust in politicians and politics remains perhaps at an all-time low, this week has been another bad week for Westminster. 

That's why Ed Miliband has been absolutely right to repeat his call to do something about MPs so-called "second jobs".

Labour MPs and Prospective Parliamentary Candidates have already been put on notice that from the coming General Election, the party's Standing Orders will be changed to prevent them holding second jobs involving consultancies and paid directorships. The party is now consulting on legislation to make this a statutory ban, as well as imposing a strict cap on all outside earnings by MPs. And this week, Ed Miliband confirmed that these measures will be included in Labour's General Election manifesto. 

The fact we have seen yet further allegations in recent days goes to reinforce why Labour has been right to call for new rules and new limits on MPs' outside earnings. The perception that some MPs are only in it for what they can get, not for what they can give, merely serves to further undermine Parliament. 

MPs are dedicated to the service of their constituents and the overwhelming majority follow the rules. But as Ed Miliband has said: "The British people need to know that when they vote they are electing someone who will represent them directly, and not be swayed by what they may owe to the interests of others."

Decades ago, being an MP was seen as a second job, but it is impossible to deny that things have moved on and that the public's expectations have rightly changed dramatically. Of course it is good for MPs to keep connected to the world beyond Westminster and to have outside interests, but being in touch does not depend on the ability to earn large amounts of money from the private sector. 

Despite what many Conservative MPs will tell you, it is perfectly possible to have "outside interests" without having unlimited outside financial interests.

The current rules are clearly not fit for purpose for current times. And a quick scan through the Register of Members' Financial Interests reveals the extent of the problem. Over 90 Tory MPs hold second jobs, meaning almost one in three Tory MPs has a second job. And Tory MPs with second jobs last year declared £4.4million of earnings in the register of members' interests. 

There is no doubt that Labour's measures would make politics more open, transparent and trusted. They would not prevent MPs from doing a certain amount of work to retain any skills they had acquired before entering Parliament, such as working as an engineer, doctor or a lawyer. But there would be a reasonable limit, as is the case in many other countries, to how much they could earn. For example, the American system includes a cap of 15 per cent of an equivalent Minister of State level salary.

This week is not the first time that the Tories have come out against the proposals. Regrettably, but not surprisingly, the Government - including Tory and Lib Dem MPs - voted against the reforms in a Commons vote forced by Labour back 2013. It is clear that David Cameron wants to see business as usual for MPs. But the status quo is becoming more and more unsustainable and indefensible. 

There will be a clear choice at the next general election: between the Labour Party, which wants big reforms, our politics opened up, and big money taken out of politics - including new rules and new limits on second jobs; or the Tories and Lib Dems who want to keep things the way they are. 

The truth is outside interests contribute not to the richness of debate in the House of Commons, but simply to the richness of individual MPs. It's time we did something about it. Every time the Tories and Lib Dems defend the status quo, their MPs may be richer, but our politics is all the poorer.

Fwd: Google Alert - Graham Jones MP

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Labour's Hyndburn and Haslingden MP, Graham Jones, and his Conservative counterpart, Jake Berry, who represents Rossendale and Darwen, have ...
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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Labour: It's time to rebuild trust in politics by making sure MPs work for the people who elect them

It's time to rebuild trust in politics by making sure MPs work for the people who elect them
 
David Cameron has rejected Ed Miliband's call for him to follow Labour's lead in banning MPs from holding paid directorships and consultancies.
 
MPs are dedicated to the service of their constituents and the overwhelming majority follow the rules. But the British people need to know that when they vote they are electing someone who will represent them directly, and not be swayed by what they may owe to the interests of others.
 
Labour MPs and Prospective Parliamentary Candidates have already been put on notice that from the coming General Election the Party's Standing Orders will be changed to prevent them holding such second jobs.
 
It is deeply regrettable that the Tories have rejected important measures which would help restore trust in politics.
 
David Cameron once promised change but now defends a discredited status quo. Faced with big challenges, David Cameron's leadership has again been found wanting.