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

Google
Graham Jones MP
As-it-happens update February 25, 2015
NEWS
Lancashire Telegraph
Campaigners hoping to save village's only pub win backing of politicians
Labour's Hyndburn and Haslingden MP, Graham Jones, and his Conservative counterpart, Jake Berry, who represents Rossendale and Darwen, have ...
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Accrington Observer
Homeless Accrington man thanks community for raising funds to replace possessions destroyed in ...
Hyndburn MP Graham Jones said he has been 'overwhelmed' by the public response. He said: "It just shows what a special place Hyndburn is and ...
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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.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Google Alert - Graham Jones MP

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Graham Jones MP
As-it-happens update February 23, 2015
NEWS
Lancashire Telegraph
Service held to honour men 100 years after Accrington Pals went off to war
Hyndburn MP, Graham Jones, attended the service and said: "These events serve as a good teacher and a reminder as to what happened 100 years ...
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Fwd: Google Alert - Graham Jones MP


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Graham Jones MP
As-it-happens update February 23, 2015
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Lancashire Telegraph
Council U-turn on road safety
Lancashire County Council Tory leader Geoff Driver and Hyndburn Labour MP Graham Jones hailed the Citizen's sister paper, The Lancashire ...
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Labour delivers for hardworking families

The next Labour government will deliver an additional 50,000 childcare places, and increase paternity leave and pay.

This commitment would tackle the shortage of childcare places and give families more choice about how they manage work and care.
Under the Tories, the cost of childcare has risen by 30 per cent – faster than pay.

Since 2010, 720 Sure Start children’s centres have also been lost, and there are over 40,000 fewer childcare places across the country.

Labour will deliver more childcare places by making sure that children’s centres are using their buildings either to offer childcare directly, or by allowing local providers to use their premises.

Labour will also double paid paternity leave from two weeks to four weeks, and increase paternity pay by more than £100 a week to over £250 a week.

Labour has a better plan for a better future.

We’ll take pressure off families facing the cost of living crisis by increasing the minimum wage to £8 an hour, freeze energy bills until 2017, and also extend free childcare for working parents of three- and four-year-olds to 25 hours a week.

Labour will also invest in an NHS with the time to care, with 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more doctors so everyone can get the care they need, when they need it.

Only Labour will build a better, fairer Britain.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Owner of derelict house ordered to pay £1300 after refusing to carry out repairs

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Graham Jones MP
As-it-happens update February 21, 2015
NEWS
Lancashire Telegraph
Owner of derelict house ordered to pay £1300 after refusing to carry out repairs
THE owner of a derelict house in Rishton has been ordered to pay £1,300 after refusing to carry out repairs. Antony Ridgway Faulks, of Sands Road in ...
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Google Alert - Graham Jones MP


Google
Graham Jones MP
As-it-happens update February 20, 2015
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The Independent
Government accused of spending taxpayers' money on banners featuring Tory election slogans
Labour MP Graham Jones said the publicly-funded banners amounted to "Tory propaganda" at taxpayers' expense. "The Government seem to be ...
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David Cameron is 'badly letting down working families', says Hyndburn MP
GRAHAM Jones has turned his attention to childcare costs, which he said ... The Labour MP said families were now spending £1,533 more this year ...
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Thursday, 19 February 2015

Childcare costs soar under David Cameron

Childcare costs soar under David Cameron 

 

New figures out today show that the cost of childcare has soared by 33 per cent under David Cameron, with families spending £1,533 more this year than they did in 2010, while wages have remained largely static.

 

The Labour Party's analysis of the report from the Family and Childcare Trust shows that in some parts of the country the cost of childcare has rocketed by as much as 53 per cent over the Parliament.

 

These figures lay bare the extent of David Cameron’s failure – he is badly letting down working families. Since 2010 the failing Tory plan has seen the costs of childcare soar. On top of this, there are over 40,000 fewer childcare places and wages are down £1,600 a year on average.

 

Labour gets that Britain only succeeds when working families succeed. Our plan offers a better future for families struggling against the soaring cost and lack of availability of childcare.

 

Background: Labour's better plan for working families

  • We will extend free childcare from 15 to 25 hours for working parents with three and four-year-olds paid for by an increase in the bank levy. This will benefit nearly half a million three and four-year-olds and their families and help parents overcome the barriers to getting back to work or working more hours.
  • We will introduce a primary childcare guarantee – a legal guarantee that parents of primary-aged children can access childcare from 8am to 6pm through their local school, helping families tackle the logistical nightmare that before- and after-school childcare can become.
  • We will double paid paternity leave for fathers from two to four weeks so they can spend time with their children, helping more than 400,000 families a year, and raise paternity pay by more than £100 a week to at least £260 a week – the equivalent of the minimum wage – so that working Dads can afford to take time off.
  • We will save Sure Start and tackle the shortage of childcare places by doubling the number available at Sure Start centres – at least 50,000 more places – and ensure Children's Centres are properly used rather than being mothballed. 

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, 18 February 2015

The Tories are letting down our young people in Hyndburn Haslngden...


The Tories are letting down our young people in Hyndburn and Haslingden.

The latest figures for young people, 16-18 year old cohort not in Education, Employment or Training - or listed as unknown - is shocking.

Whats worse is that 17 years olds must be in Education, Employment or Training by law and that is extended to 18 year olds this September.

In 2008 the last the last Labour Government made it mandatory that every young adult have some learning element within their chosen path, education or training from 2015 (2013 for 17 year olds). No dead end jobs without an element learning.

These figures are terrible. What is most alarming is the government arrogance. Whilst claiming (1) the number of NEETs is going down but (2) ignoring the numbers of unknowns which is rising and (3) failing to monitor those who have started a learning pathway but discontinued it.

The Government is failing in it's duty to educate the most vulnerable young adults storing up problems for those young people, their families and the economy in the future.

Raising the Participation was supposed to be about 'improving the quality of education will help to make study more attractive to young people'. The government has failed to meet it's promises to:
  • raise the participation age in 2013 and 2015, requiring young people to remain in some form of education or training until their 18th birthday
  • make sure that young people have the information they need to make good choices by extending the duty on schools and colleges to secure independent, impartial careers guidance
  • provide targeted financial support to young people who need it through the £180 million 16 to 19 bursary fund
  • support 16- to 17-year-olds who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) and have few qualifications to move into education or training through the Youth Contract
The latest figures for Hyndburn are shocking. Too many youngsters are not being left on the scrap heap. Up to 516 officially but many more unaccounted for.

The changes to further education funding have only added to the problems

It's not just funding a crises in funding of further education, a crises in that young adults are being thrown on the scrap heap aged 16, a crises in careers advice, it's a government that isn't interested in looking at the facts in the first place.

The government simply aren't taking this issue seriously and with so many Hyndburn youngsters left behind, it is simply a government that doesn't seem to care.

People involved in providing training say the numbers of unrecorded drop outs could be as high as 20% or higher in some cases. Young adults who are recorded as having started but aren't recorded when their attendance falls away.

It may be the case that many unknowns are in some form of education of training or that the numbers of drop outs is much lower but without a commitment from the government to helping young people starting with collecting the right information we won't know.

Even those trying to make a difference are being undermined. Training providers and colleges are being denied the names and addresses of those not officially in education or training and as such they are unable to engage directly with those young people and offer them an opportunity.

Don't let ever be said the Tories care about young people. Based on the evidence they don't.

Below is the details on (just the) NEETs in Hyndburn







BETTER CHILDCARE IS KEY TO LABOUR’S PLAN TO HELP WORKING FAMILIES SUCCEED

At the heart of Labour’s plan is the belief that Britain succeeds when working families succeed.

Families today are frustrated with a childcare system that hasn’t caught up with the realities of modern life, with parents increasingly struggling to balance the demands of work and family at a time when they are facing a cost of living crisis.

David Cameron has failed to give working families the support they need, with families £1,127 worse off on average as a result of tax and benefit reforms introduced by his government.

The next Labour government will help families cope with the pressures of juggling work and care in modern life today; tackling the shortage of childcare places by doubling the number available at Sure Start - at least 50,000 more – and support for new dads through a doubling of paternity leave and an increase in paternity pay.

The Tories’ plan is failing working families because they chose to prioritise helping a few at the top. They just don’t understand that Britain only succeeds when working families succeed.

Labour’s Plan to Tackle Tax Avoidance

Labour is setting out the measures it will take to tackle tax avoidance in the first months of a Labour Government.

With campaigners and NGOs backing calls for a “Tax Dodging Bill”, Labour’s first Finance Bill will act to tackle tax avoidance. Labour will set out the measures in an Opposition Day Debate on Wednesday 11th February.

Labour’s motion also notes that just one out of 1,100 people who have avoided or evaded tax have been prosecuted following the revelations of malpractice at HSBC bank, which were first given to the government in May 2010.


Labour Market Statistics

Today’s fall in overall unemployment is welcome but five years of the Tories’ failing plan has left working people £1,600 a year worse off since 2010.

Worryingly in Hyndburn the unemployment register is beginning to rise again. The total number of claimants (both Jobseeker's Allowance and Universal Credit) is 111 higher than in December 2014.

Low pay has left millions of working families struggling to make ends meet and has led to billions more spent on the housing benefit bill. Today’s rise in youth unemployment is extremely worrying and shows the Tory plan is failing the next generation.

David Cameron should introduce Labour’s Compulsory Jobs Guarantee to give young jobseekers the chance to learn, earn and contribute through six month paid starter jobs. Labour’s better plan for working families will raise the minimum wage, create more good jobs, build more homes, extend childcare and guarantee apprenticeships for every school leaver in England who gets the grades.

Stephen Timms article can be read here: http://press.labour.org.uk/post/111362896284/fall-in-overall-unemployment-welcome-but-five

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

LABOUR WILL CRACK DOWN ON TAX AVOIDANCE AS PART OF A BETTER PLAN FOR WORKING FAMILIES

Labour has this week set out the measures it will take to tackle tax avoidance in the first months of a Labour Government. David Cameron and George Osborne have failed to deliver on tackling tax avoidance in the last five years.

They have failed to close the loopholes Labour has highlighted and the amount of uncollected tax has risen under this Government.

And this week in Parliament Tory MPs voted against Labour’s plans to crack down harder on tax avoidance.

Hard working families have had enough of David Cameron’s failing economy, and his economic plan which doesn’t work for them because it always prioritises helping a few at the top.

A Labour government will act where the Tories have failed.

We will use our first Finance Bill to close loopholes that cost the exchequer billions of pounds a year, increase transparency and toughen up penalties.

The choice at this election is between a failing plan and a better plan for working families. The Tories just don’t understand that Britain only succeeds when working families succeed.

That’s why Labour’s plan offers a better future: for living standards, for the next generation and for the NHS.

LABOUR’S PLAN FOR EDUCATION TODAY WILL DRIVE OUR ECONOMY TOMORROW

We all want our children to get a good education so they can get on in life. But to do that we have to make sure they have the high-quality teaching and resources they need.

That’s why I’m backing Labour’s plan for an education system that equips young people with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the future.

Unlike the Tories, Labour will not only protect the schools budget but the entire education budget, increasing it in line with inflation, ensuring that we invest in our young people who will drive our future economic success.


Monday, 16 February 2015

Labour’s plan for banking reform

Ed Balls: Labour publishes banking reform plans with new rules on bonus clawback and funding for a British Investment Bank

Today Ed Balls and Cathy Jamieson have published Labour's plans to reform the banking sector so that it better supports growing businesses, economic growth and rising living standards.

The banking reform paper is part of Labour's economic plan and sets out a series of measures the next Labour government will take, including:

Labour: A Better Plan for Britain's Prosperity

A Better Plan for Britain's Prosperity

Labour has today published our approach to building prosperity in 21st Century Britain - a different approach to creating prosperity, not relying on a few but boosting productivity across Britain's firms and workforce.

It sets out a different approach for Labour; supporting working families by reforming our economy so it produces a more inclusive prosperity rather than relying on redistributing through tax and spend.

This plan learns the lesson of the slow recovery, stagnant living standards and stubbornly high deficit of recent years - that we need to build a more productive, higher skill, higher wage economy.

The Tories' failing plan

The Tories believe that the route to prosperity is to support a few people and firms at the top with tax cuts, and hope that wealth trickles down to everyone else.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Labour's plan to reform the banking sector

Labour's plan to reform the banking sector

Labour is today publishing its plans to reform the banking sector so that it better supports growing businesses, economic growth and rising living standards.

Too often in recent years our banks have fallen far short of the standards expected of them. After so many scandals we need major reforms and long-term cultural change to restore trust and ensure our banks start working for consumers and businesses again.

We need much more action than this government has been prepared to take. So Labour's banking reform paper sets out how we will change rules on bonuses, increase competition and get more lending to small and medium-sized businesses.

We will extend to at least ten years the period bank bonuses can be clawed back in cases of misconduct.
As we have seen in recent days, wrongdoing can take years to uncover. The current proposals to claw back bonuses are too weak and do not cover a long enough period of time. We will ensure people involved in misbehaviour and misconduct would have to give back their bonuses for at least a decade after they have been paid out.

And we will establish a proper British Investment Bank to help growing businesses get the funding they need to expand and create jobs. Because it's only when working people and businesses succeed that Britain succeeds too.

Background

The banking reform paper is part of Labour's economic plan and sets out a series of measures the next Labour government will take, including:
• Extending clawback of bank bonuses that have already been paid in cases of inappropriate behaviour to at least 10 years and enacting legislation, passed by the last Labour government, to require banks to publish the number of employees earning more than £1 million.
• Creating a proper British Investment Bank to provide vital funding for small and medium-sized businesses. All funds raised from the planned increase in the licence fees for the mobile phone spectrum - estimated to be up to £1 billion in the next Parliament, subject to Ofcom consultation – will be allocated to the British Investment Bank.
• Introducing a one-off tax on bankers' bonuses to help pay for Labour's Compulsory Jobs Guarantee – a paid starter job for all young people out of work for 12 months or more, which people will have to take up or lose their benefits.
• Addressing the lack of competition in the sector. We welcome the Competition and Markets Authority inquiry which we called for and want to see at least two new challenger banks and a market share test to ensure the market stays competitive for the long term.
• Extending the levy on the profits of payday lenders to raise funding for alternative credit providers.

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.

Supporting Fairtrade Fortnight



This Fairtrade Fortnight (23rd February - 8th March), [MP/PPC] is an opportunity to remind ourselves of the importance of Fairtrade and to choose a shopping list that changes lives.

Fairtrade products have been produced by small-scale farmer organisations or plantations that meet Fairtrade social, economic and environmental standards. The standards include protection of workers’ rights and the environment, payment of the Fairtrade Minimum Price and an additional Fairtrade Premium to invest in business or community projects.

You can visit www.fairtrade.org.uk/fortnight to see how Fairtrade is changing lives in those areas and to get involved in Haslingden and Hyndburn.

Tackling poverty isn’t just about giving aid and Government assistance, it is about increasing trade opportunities and ensuring that producers are paid a fair price for their work. Fairtrade Fortnight reminds us all that by making a few small changes to our shopping habits we can make a real difference to producers in the developing world. I hope that people in Haslingden and Hyndburn. will choose to play their part and opt for fair trade products whenever they can.

Mary Creagh, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for International Development speaking at the start of Fairtrade Fortnight said:

“The UK should be proud that even in these challenging economic times we are choosing to spend more on fair trade products. It is a testament to the British values of social justice that last year we spent over £1.5bn on fair trade products, allowing producers in the developing world to invest in their businesses and local communities.”