Thursday, 22 August 2013

David Cameron’s Tory-led Government are pushing ahead with plans to privatise the Royal Mail

David Cameron’s Tory-led Government are pushing ahead with plans to privatise the Royal Mail – despite the fact it made a £403 million profit last year.

David Cameron’s plans reveal once again how he stands up for the wrong people. His Government wants to sell off Royal Mail on the cheap in order to plug a financial hole in the British economy caused by George Osborne’s failed policies as Chancellor. It is an unnecessary step, which is not in the long term interests of anyone – selling off the Royal Mail will lead to poorer service and one which is aimed at providing profits to shareholders, not serving the UK.

We all rely on a daily delivery service but places where it is expensive or complicated to deliver the post every day could be made vulnerable. Many of us might also find ourselves having to travel miles to pick up our large parcels as a privatised Royal Mail could choose to sell off its assets such as nearby delivery offices and local post offices that rely on the Royal Mail for much of their business could be under threat as they look to cut costs. 96% of Royal Mail workers are opposed to these plans.

The worst part is that there is no need to do this. The Royal Mail made a £400m profit last year. But while we could all pay more for the cost of postage, there’s a real risk this extra money will just line the pockets of private investors and not be invested back into the service. The taxpayer has already taken on the Royal Mail pension losses and the Government want the taxpayer to also give away the profit – it is the taxpayer who should benefit from a modernised, profitable Royal Mail, not private investors.

We all take our daily delivery for granted but for the sake those of us who rely upon it, I hope you will support my calls for the Government to think again about selling off a successful, long-standing British institution. The British public should not lose an important asset, especially at a time when it is making a good return on taxpayer’s investment. I opposed the Postal Services Act 2011 when the Government legislated for this privatisation and I remain opposed to the plans.

The Care and Urgent Needs Support Scheme

And please circulate to community groups, agencies, faith groups, voluntary groups and anyone who may have clients/service users who may need to access this service.It was launched in April this year.

LCC complete the referral forms and these are then sent to HUFS (facebook: hufs.beds website:

HUFS then put together the package of goods and deliver to the resident.

DVLA, misuse of data & lack of checks

Following the Eastgate car parking rip off and the work done with the National Motorists Action Group, I have been in touch with DVLA regarding the checks that should be in place to make sure data is not misused.

NAMG have pursued Eastgate car parking on behalf of Hyndburn residents and won their case against fines issued.

How these companies have access to data and how they operate has questioned DVLA processes.

Here is the later reply regarding this issue.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Haslingden Post Office under threat

As part of an exercise which was undertaken earlier recently, subpostmasters were asked if they wished to:
convert to one of the new branch models with investment for their shop;
stay as they are, or leave the business with compensation, if we can find identify a suitable alternative operator to run one of our new style branches.

The agent at Haslingden Post Office (48-50 Deardengate, Haslingden, Rossendale, BB4 5SP) has requested that we look to find a replacement operator.

Consequently, we are currently assessing the interest locally in running a new Main Post Office in the area

I will keep you informed of any developments with the branches.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Sent on behalf of Julia Harrison, Senior Stakeholder Manager
1ST Floor, Camden Post Office, 112-114 Camden High Street,London,NW1 0RR
0207 5219 216 Postline 5031 2216

Insecurity, low pay and few hours – Cameron’s unemployment policy

In Cameron’s Britain job insecurity and low pay are becoming a way of life for more and more people.

An issue which has been getting a lot more media attention in recent weeks has been the dramatic rise in zero hour contracts. These are contracts where you are not guaranteed work, but where you are expected to be available to work whenever your employer needs you. It is an incredibly insecure way of working, whereby the employer gets all the benefits of flexible labour, but the worker gets none of the security of income. The rise in these contracts exposes the reality of the Government’s claims about the job market in the UK.

Of course any fall in overall unemployment is welcome, but we must not blind ourselves to the reality of underemployment – as simple employment statistics often can. There are now estimated to be around 1,000,000 people in the UK of working age who are on zero-hours contracts, alongside a rapid increase in temporary and casual work which accounts for around half of the rise in employment since 2010 according to the TUC.

Quality of life, living standards and job security are three things that are not even on Cameron’s policy radar.

If you are on a zero hours contract – please get in touch with me at and let me know about your experience.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Cameron's out of touch - and you're out of pocket

David Cameron has overseen a higher fall in living standards than any Prime Minister on record. He has seen living standards fall for 35 consecutive months.

If you listened to Cameron in the past you could be forgiven for thinking living standards were an issue that concerned him. The Tory manifesto stated that they wanted to see an economy where standard of living “rises steadily and sustainably”. And in January last year Cameron claimed that “We helped where can with the cost of living”.

These are not statements that I can recognise as having any bearing on reality whatsoever.

The North West has seen one of the biggest falls in the country – since Cameron got the keys to Number 10, our region has seen an average 7.8% real terms fall in wages. That is the equivalent of £1,685 less per year on average that my constituents have to feed and clothe their families.

We compare very badly internationally, as the graph below shows, the UK has fared worst in the G7 group of countries in terms of income since 2010:

This has happened in part because of the Government’s decision to put VAT up to 20%, which has pushed up prices across the board and means that inflation has consistently been above the Bank of England’s 2% target. When this is combined with the very low growth figures Cameron and Osborne have overseen since taking office – wages have not been able to keep up, and my constituents are suffering.

However there is a one group that is doing well – the super-rich. Since David Cameron’s decision to reward his friends in the banking sector with a tax cut, bonuses in the financial and business services sector rose by 82.2% compared to the same month last year. As you can see from the graph below, this was because bankers delayed their bonuses until the tax cut came into effect in order to take advantage of Cameron’s tax cut handout:

Cameron is out of touch, and you are out of pocket.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Gambling machines FOBT's- Press Statement

I've long campaigned against the proliferation of fixed odds betting machines as they are a blight on our high streets and can be part of a spiral of addiction.

Evidence shows the average bet is £19 and the spin lasts as little as 20 seconds. That the poorest people use these machines the most often. They are also highly addictive. People can lose an awful lot of money that can ill afford to lose in a very short time on one of these machines.

Whilst any effort to regulate their use is welcome, I feel much more can be done to help local authorities in reducing the numbers that proliferate by reducing council restrictions on annual licence fees and licencing and planning criteria. The government must also reduce the maximum stake to a very small amount.

These proposals will only be beneficial if there is a commitment from government to make these changes and enforce the code ensuring that book makers are adhering to the regulations.

Saturday, 3 August 2013


The recent Keogh review contained challenging but accurate picture of care standards and failings at 14 NHS trusts. We must, however, remember that the problems identified in these hospitals are not typical of the NHS or of the care given by NHS staff. We should seek to learn from this report and not use it to tarnish the many doctors, nurses and NHS staff who look after us in our NHS. The vast majority of doctors and nurses working in the NHS perform to a very high standard day in, day out, but everyone in the country will be worried that some hospitals are letting people down. Sir Bruce Keogh’s excellent and important report found “frequent examples of inadequate numbers of nursing staff”.

The Tories’ record on the NHS is shameful. David Cameron promised “I'll cut the deficit, not the NHS”. He assured nurses there would be no top-down reorganisations. He went round hospitals promising patients he would save A&Es from closure. And what happened? The deficit went up last year while over 4,000 nurses have been cut. £3 billion has been wasted on a top-down reorganisation. And A&E units David Cameron promised to save are closing down.

Labour on the other hand has a proud record on the NHS. We inherited a service on its knees in 1997 – with patients waiting literally years for operations, and crumbling hospitals which had been built before the NHS was founded in 1948. Labour rebuilt and reformed the NHS, with more nurses, more doctors, more operations, shorter waiting times and over 100 new hospitals

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Questions over lobbying at the heart of David Cameron’s Government

Before the election, David Cameron used to say that lobbying was “the next big scandal waiting to happen” and promised to clean it up so politics wasn’t open to undue influence. But far from doing so, we’ve this week seen increasing questions about the role of a tobacco lobbyist right at the heart of Downing Street. In recent times David Cameron has appointed a new strategist to help him win the next election. And the man he has chosen for the job, Lynton Crosby, is himself a lobbyist, a man who we now discover has worked for tobacco companies. And we heard this week that the Government has now dropped their plan to introduce standardised packaging for cigarettes – despite the Government’s own Public Health Minister previously saying she was persuaded of the case for it.

Smoking remains by far the largest preventable cause of cancer and we need to do all we can to protect people, especially our children, from taking it up. Serious questions need to be asked about the role and influence of this man Lynton Crosby, a tobacco lobbyist brought in to the heart of the Prime Minister’s operation. We need openness and answers but the Prime Minister has repeatedly refused to answer questions about his role and influence.

People are now wondering why David Cameron can’t answer a straightforward question: if he’s never had a conversation about cigarette packaging with his lobbyist employee, why won’t he say so?