Saturday, 28 March 2015

More desperate unfunded spending from the Tories

The Tories won't deliver a 7-day a week NHS, they'll cut it

At the last election, David Cameron promised seven-day NHS services in his manifesto. Five years on, he's making the same promise again. Not only has he failed to deliver on that promise, he made it harder for people to get a GP appointment from Monday to Friday.

With the NHS in increasing financial distress, David Cameron must set out clearly how it will be paid for. His extreme plans for spending cuts will mean they won't be able to protect the NHS.

The NHS as we know it can't survive five more years of the Tories. David Cameron's plans are simply not credible without the extra staff the NHS needs so it has time to care. Labour will invest £2.5 billion extra each year from a mansion tax to recruit 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs and guarantee appointments within 48 hours.

Google Alert - Graham Jones MP




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Thursday, 26 March 2015

Fwd: Malaria update: you have helped halve child deaths

Download Document(s): MNMUK Parliamentary Update_March 2015.pdf

Dear Graham,

Thank you so much for your support over the past five years.

As this parliamentary term comes to end, we have looked back over the remarkable progress the UK has achieved in the fight to end malaria in our final Malaria No More UK Parliamentary Newsletter, available below this email and attached.

The NHS has gone backwards under the Tories

The NHS has gone backwards under the Tories
The independent King's Fund have found that the NHS has gone backwards under the Tories, with an A&E crisis, the cancer target missed and NHS trusts in deficit.

The Tories spent £3 billion on a reorganisation that the independent experts have said today "was damaging and distracting". Now it is clear that the NHS can't afford the Tories' plan for deeper care cuts in the next Parliament. It urgently needs new leadership and a change of course.

Labour has set out a better plan to rescue the NHS, rebuild it as a national health and care service and invest £2.5 billion extra a year - on top of Tory spending plans - to fund 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Nobody will believe the Tories on VAT. Labour won't raise VAT, and under us National Insurance won't go up either.


Nobody will believe the Tories on VAT. Labour won't raise VAT, and under us National Insurance won't go up either.

Nobody will believe David Cameron on VAT. He broke his promise on VAT last time, and given half a chance he'll do it again.
  • The Tories said they weren't going to raise VAT before the election in 2010, and then put it up from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent a few weeks later.
  • They said they weren't going to raise VAT before the election in 1992, and then put VAT on domestic fuel after the election.
  • They said they had no intention of doubling VAT before the election in 1979, and then raised it from eight per cent to 15 per cent after the election.
Their promises can't be trusted now, because the Tories still have £10 billion of unfunded tax promises to pay for, and extreme spending plans which can't be delivered. 
Yesterday, George Osborne refused five times to rule out increasing VAT. The Tories are making it up as they go along.
We have no unfunded pledges - that's why we have absolutely no need to raise National Insurance. Under us it's not going to go up, and our manifesto will make that clear. In fact we want to cut taxes on working people, through a lower 10p starting rate of income tax. We've said where the money is coming from for that - scrapping the Tories' unfair married couples allowance.

Next time, they'll cut to the bone

Labour has today launched its first poster of the 2015 general election campaign.

The poster, which warns "Next time, they'll cut to the bone. The NHS can't afford the Tory cuts plan", follows this week's Budget which set out plans for deeper cuts to public spending in the next three years than the last five years.

Following the Budget Labour is also publishing new analysis of Tory spending plans which takes into account their planned welfare reductions and promised tax cuts.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Labour will not raise VAT. The Tories will.



Today Labour announces a clear pledge to the British people. The next Labour government will not raise VAT.

VAT is the tax that hits everyone – with the same rate paid by the pensioner as the millionaire. It is the tax that every Tory government in the last forty years has raised. But no Labour government has ever hiked up the main rate of VAT.

So we will not put up VAT. And we will not extend it to food, children's clothes, books, newspapers and public transport fares.

THE NHS AS WE KNOW IT WON’T SURVIVE FIVE MORE YEARS OF DAVID CAMERON

Our national health service is in crisis. But the Budget this week said nothing about the NHS.

Instead, the Tories confirmed plans for extreme spending cuts in the three years after the election which will put our NHS at risk

The NHS as we know it won’t survive five more years of David Cameron

The Tories plan is failing the NHS: more patients are waiting longer and it’s harder to get the care you need: there is a crisis in A&E, waiting lists for treatment are growing, it’s getting harder to see a family doctor and more than half of nurses say their ward is dangerously understaffed.

The Tory plan is failing older people too. Cuts to elderly care are making it harder for to get the care at home that many need, meaning more people end up in A&E.

Labour has a better plan, to invest in and improve the NHS so that it has time to care for you and your family.

Our £2.5 billion Time to Care Fund will recruit 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs, 5,000 new home care workers and 3,000 more midwives, funded by a mansion tax on properties worth over £2 million, cracking down on tax avoidance and a levy on tobacco companies.

This week’s budget confirmed something I already knew. You can’t trust the Tories with the NHS.

Response from Yvette Cooper to Theresa May’s speech

Response from Yvette Cooper to Theresa May's speech

 

Colleagues may wish to note the response from Yvette Cooper to Theresa May's speech today. This is copied below and a link here: http://press.labour.org.uk/post/114409967249/response-from-yvette-cooper-to-theresa-mays

 

"Every day we hear of more British citizens being groomed, radicalised and trying to travel to Syria to join a vile barbaric organisation. Yet Theresa May's strategy has failed to tackle the problem. She has had five years as Home Secretary to do all these things, yet too many of her promises are the opposite of what she has done in Government.

 

"She says she wants a partnership between government and community to prevent extremism. Yet she cut the community-led Prevent programme from £17 million to £3 million and there has been hardly any work by Government to develop community programmes in four years. Indeed one of her first decisions as Home Secretary was to cut the number of areas included in the Prevent programme from 93 to 23. Five years on she has been forced to backtrack and reverse her decision.

 

"She says she wants stronger powers but she abolished control orders and relocation powers which made it easier for terrorists to organise and send people to Syria. Once again, five years on, she has been forced to backtrack and reverse her decision.

 

"And she still hasn't made it compulsory for people returning from Syria to go through the Channel de-radicalisation programme.

 

"She could have had banning orders, reviewed sharia courts, and insisted preachers speak English five years ago, rather than leaving it until now.

 

"Everyone other than the extremists agree that we should robustly defend and actively promote the pluralistic values our society rightly holds in esteem. But it isn't enough for the Home Secretary to say it, she needs to act. We need to work in as many communities as possible, throughout the UK, to support civil society and defeat extremism. And we should never tie the hands of our agencies and the police in confronting dangerous, violent extremists. The Government's record is one of making that harder, not easier."

Councillors call on new Accrington rail link to be extended to Manchester Airport


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Monday, 23 March 2015

HASLINGDEN & HYNDBURN NEEDS A BETTER PLAN AND A LABOUR BUDGET


The Tory plan has failed. This week’s Budget changed nothing for working people in Haslingden and Hyndburn

George Osborne told people they’ve never had it so good. But after five years working people are still an average £1,600 a year worse off.

The Tories promised they would protect our NHS and balance the books. But their plan has failed and I’m worried that the NHS as we know it won’t survive five more years of the Tories.

The Tory government started Budget day with plans for extreme spending cuts and they ended Budget day with plans for extreme spending cuts which go beyond simply balancing the books.

This would mean deep cuts to police, defence and social care which are almost impossible to achieve. That’s why I believe the Tory plans can only be achieved by putting the NHS at risk and raising VAT again.

That’s what you get from a Tory Chancellor who gives with one hand and takes away much more with the other.

Labour has a better 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 next Labour Government will raise living standards by increasing the minimum wage, 25 hours of free childcare for working parents, and a freeze in energy bills until 2017 – alongside powers for the regulator to cut bills this winter.

We will give our NHS time to care, with 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 GPs and cancer tests guaranteed in one week, paid for by closing tax loopholes and a mansion tax on properties over £2 million.

We will cut business rates for small firms, reduce tuition fees to £6,000 a year and guarantee an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the grades. We will cut taxes for millions of working people through a lower 10p starting rate.

And we will balance the books in a fairer way by reversing the Tory tax cut for millionaires and scrapping the Bedroom Tax.

That’s the kind of plan we need. Not a Budget flop from a Chancellor whose plan is failing working families here in Haslingden and Hyndburn.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Google Alert - Graham Jones MP

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Grant Shapps' personal website is registered to his businessman alter-ego 'Michael Green'
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Haslingden & Hyndburn needs a better plan and a Labour Budget

This week’s Budget changed nothing for working people here in Haslingden and Hyndburn.

George Osborne spent an hour telling people they’ve never had it so good. But after five years of the Tory government, working people are still an average £1,600 a year worse off.

The Tories came into office promising to protect our National Health Service, make people better off and balance the books. But their plan hasn't worked and the Budget said nothing about the NHS. I’m worried that the NHS as we know it won’t survive five more years of the Tories.

The Tory government started Budget day with plans for extreme spending cuts and they ended Budget day with plans for extreme spending cuts which go beyond simply balancing the books.

They would mean deep cuts to police, defence and social care which are almost impossible to achieve. That’s why I believe the Tory plans can only be achieved by putting the NHS at risk and raising VAT again.

That’s what you get from a Tory Chancellor who gives with one hand and takes away much more with the other. The Tories can’t build a better future for working people because they only stand up for a privileged few.

Labour has set out a better 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.

So a Labour Budget will raise living standards by increasing the minimum wage and with 25 hours of free childcare for working parents.

We will save our NHS from the Tories with 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 GPs and cancer tests guaranteed in one week, paid for by closing tax loopholes and a mansion tax on properties over £2million.

We will cut business rates for small firms, reduce tuition fees to £6,000 a year and guarantee an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the grades. We will cut taxes for millions of working people through a lower 10p starting rate.

And we will balance the books in a fairer way by reversing the Tory tax cut for millionaires and scrapping the Bedroom Tax.

That’s the Labour Budget we need; a better plan that puts working families first and saves our NHS. Not a Budget flop from a Chancellor whose plan is failing working families here in Haslingden and Hyndburn.

WE NEED A BETTER PLAN TO TACKLE THE HOUSING CRISIS.

LABOUR WILL RECAPTURE THE SPIRIT OF POST WAR HOUSE BUILDING

The next Labour Government will make tackling the housing crisis a national priority – recapturing the spirit of post war house building.

David Cameron’s housing plan has failed. Over the past five years, David Cameron has presided over the lowest levels of house building in peace time since the 1920s.

Britain needs a better plan because we can’t afford another five years of gimmicks and half- baked schemes which has left a record number of young people still living at home with their parents in their twenties and thirties because they can’t afford to get on the housing ladder.

New figures out this week confirm things are set to get worse under this failed plan. Home ownership levels will fall to their lowest levels for 40 years with more than two in five people expected to rent. Only one in five people under the age of 35 will own their own home, half as many as in 2010.

Labour has a better plan for working people, which will get 200,000 homes built a year by 2020.

We will make tackling the housing crisis a national priority but give local communities stronger powers to build the homes they need in the places people want to live. Labour’s plan will be better for first time buyers too giving them priority access rights in new ‘Housing Growth Areas’.

The time has come for Labour’s better plan and a better future for young people and their families.

Labour's 5 Election Pledges

Labour's election pledges

  1. A strong economic foundation: Balance the books and cut the deficit every year while securing the future of the NHS. None of our manifesto commitments require additional borrowing.
  2. Higher living standards for working families: Freeze energy bills until 2017 and give the regulator the power to cut bills this winter, ban exploitative zero-hours contracts, raise the minimum wage to £8 and provide 25 hours free childcare a week.
  3. An NHS with the time to care: 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs. We will join up services from home to hospital, guaranteeing GP appointments within 48 hours and cancer tests within one week.
  4. Controls on immigration: People who come here won't be able to claim benefits for at least two years and we will introduce fair rules making it illegal for employers to undercut wages by exploiting workers.
  5. A country where the next generation can do better than the last: Tuition fees reduced to £6,000, an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the basic grades, and smaller class sizes for 5, 6 & 7 year-olds.

http://www.labour.org.uk/pledges

Update: Budget response

Budget response

George Osborne spent an hour telling people they have never had it so good. But the truth is working people are £1,600 a year worse off after five years of the Tories.
 
Our National Health Service is in crisis, but the Budget said nothing about the NHS. And the Tories today confirmed plans for extreme spending cuts in the three years after the election - which will put our NHS at risk.
 
The OBR says these Budget plans will mean "a much sharper squeeze on real spending in 2016/17 and 2017/18 than anything seen over the past five years" and "a sharp acceleration in the pace of implied real cuts to day-to-day spending on public services".
 
So the election remains a choice between a Tory plan which is failing working families and Labour's better plan which will put working families first and save our NHS.
 
Labour's better plan will put working families first and save our NHS:
Raising living standards by increasing the minimum wage to £8 an hour and 25 hours of free childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds.
Saving and transforming our NHS with a £2.5 billion a year Time to Care Fund which will pay for 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs and a guarantee of cancer tests in one week.
Cutting business rates for 1.5 million small business properties and getting 200,000 new homes built a year.
Balancing the books in a fair way by reversing the Tory tax cut for millionaires.
A tax cut for 24 million working people through a lower 10p starting rate of tax.
And guaranteeing an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the basic grades and cutting tuition fees to £6,000.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

We need a better plan and a Labour Budget

We need a better plan and a Labour Budget

This Budget cannot hide the fact that after five years of the Tories, working families are worse off and our NHS is going backwards. Later today, when the Chancellor claims otherwise, he simply won't be believed.

George Osborne gives with one hand, but takes away much more with the other hand. The IFS says his tax and benefit changes since 2010, including the big VAT rise, have cost families on average £1127 a year. No pre-election tax cut can make up for that.

And the Tories are planning more extreme spending cuts after the election, which go way beyond balancing the books and will put our NHS at risk.

We need a better plan and a Labour Budget which puts working families first and saves our NHS.

Background: Labour's better plan

Labour will raise living standards with an £8 minimum wage, 25 hours of free childcare for working parents and by freezing energy bills until 2017.

We will guarantee apprenticeships for every school leaver, cut tuition fees to £6,000 and reduce business rates for small firms.

We will rescue our NHS from the Tories with 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 GPs and cancer tests guaranteed in one week - paid for by closing tax loopholes and a mansion tax on properties over £2 million.

We will cut taxes for 24 million working people with a lower 10p starting rate of tax and scrap the bedroom tax. And we will reverse the Tory tax cut for millionaires to help balance the books in a fairer way.

That's the Budget we need.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Lancashire Fairness report

Lancashire Fairness report

I recently received a letter from the Very Reverend Christopher Armstrong, the Dean Blackburn and Chair of the Lancashire Fairness Commission regarding their new report: Fairer Lancashire, Fairer Lives.

 

The report is a very timely piece of work and puts front and centre some of the most important issues which are facing Lancashire as we head into the General Election period. I thoroughly recommend that everyone who cares about fairness in the economy and in society from a Lancashire-wide perspective, takes a look at the report.

 

The report makes three key findings – first of all, the importance of 'starting well'. This means ensuring children have the best start in life, so that they can go on to fulfil their potential as adults and live happy fulfilling lives. I know for instance how many parents struggle to find childcare that meets their needs, as well as concerns about investment in our local schools.

 

Secondly, that everyone ought to be able to live well. This means fair access to education, jobs and services, and importantly that their life expectancy should not be based on their household income or where they live in the UK. Hyndburn has been hit hard by government cuts, the borough is in the highest bracket for government cuts, and our NHS locally is under huge strains.

 

Thirdly, the report highlights the importance of aging well. Whilst things such as the cost of living and access to public services are of course incredibly important to older people, so too are non-material concerns such as social isolation and ensuring that older people are able to play an active role in the community.

 

Going into the election I believe that only the Labour has the policies to make the vision of the Lancashire Fairness Commission a reality.

 

1.     A STRONG ECONOMIC FOUNDATION: Balance the books and cut the deficit every year while securing the future of the NHS. None of our manifesto commitments require additional borrowing.

 

2.     HIGHER LIVING STANDARDS FOR WORKING FAMILIES: Freeze energy bills until 2017 and give the regulator the power to cut bills this winter, ban exploitative zero-hours contracts, raise the minimum wage to £8 and provide 25 hours free childcare a week.

 

3.     AN NHS WITH THE TIME TO CARE: 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs. We will join up services from home to hospital, guaranteeing GP appointments within 48 hours and cancer tests within one week.

 

4.     CONTROLS ON IMMIGRATION: People who come here won't be able to claim benefits for at least two years and we will introduce fair rules making it illegal for employers to undercut wages by exploiting workers.

 

5.     A COUNTRY WHERE THE NEXT GENERATION CAN DO BETTER THAN THE LAST: Tuition fees reduced to £6,000, an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the basic grades, and smaller class sizes for 5, 6 & 7 year-olds.

 

These are policies that will directly help people living in Haslingden and Hyndburn – they will make our society fairer and our economy stronger, and provide an alternative vision to the Tories' plan to cut to 1930s levels, to a time before the NHS even existed.

Why the the 'Bedroom Tax' must be scrapped

The bedroom tax is one of the Tories' flagship welfare policies whereby people living in social housing are charged for having a spare bedroom – even if they have nowhere else to move.

 

There are 74031 people affected by the bedroom tax across the North West – the highest number in the UK – and it is going to cost £3,700 to each household affected over the next Parliament.

 

If I was being kind about the bedroom tax, I would say it was an example of Tory Welfare waste – a policy which could end up costing more than it saves by pushing more people into poverty. But being honest, I would describe it as an intentionally pernicious attack on people who have nowhere to go. Even The Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation has described the policy as "an unfair, ill-planned disaster that is hurting our poorest families."

 

It was never possible for this policy to work, which is why it is right to call it a tax, because it is unavoidable.

 

For instance just 4.5 per cent of affected tenants were able to move to smaller accommodation within the social sector – there is simply nowhere for them to go. The result of this is financial problems, with 60% of affected tenants in arrears after just 6 months, and the flipside of this is that 57% of affected tenants are cutting back on household basics as a result of having to pay the bedroom tax.

 

Abolishing the Bedroom Tax is a priority and we will do it as quickly as possible. We will fund any costs of cancelling the Bedroom Tax by reversing George Osborne's recent tax cut for hedge funds announced in Budget 2013; reversing George Osborne's shares for rights scheme which , has opened up a tax loophole, and will lead to £1bn being lost to the Exchequer according to the Office for Budget Responsibility ; and tackling disguised employment in the construction industry.

 

Two thirds of the households affected include a person with a disability and the tax also hits 60,000 carers. Is this really the Britain that we want to see? Where the Government is punishing the poorest, but giving huge tax cuts to millionaires?

 

Only a Labour government will abolish the Bedroom Tax. 771,000 people in social housing are already affected by the Bedroom Tax, and many more will become liable over the next Parliament if the Tories win.

LABOUR WANTS THE NEXT GENERATION TO BE THE FIRST THAT IS SMOKE FREE

I welcome this week’s vote in favour of standardised packaging of tobacco. It is a fantastic victory for children’s health and experts say it will make children less likely to take up smoking, and so will ultimately save lives.

This measure is endorsed by health experts and has the overwhelming support of the public and Parliament. It’s a shame that it has taken years of delays, prevarication and squabbling amongst Tory MPs for us to reach this point.

David Cameron has been reluctant to stand up to big tobacco firms and their lobbyists, and has failed to show leadership on this issue. In the time that has passed since Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of this over a year ago, experts say over 200,000 children would have taken up smoking.

One child taking up smoking is one too many.

Labour wants the next generation to be the first that is smoke-free. The Government must now press ahead without delay to ensure that glitzy packaging for cigarettes becomes a thing of the past.

Monday, 16 March 2015

20,000 more nurses for a 21st century NHS

I am proud to be backing Labour's plans to recruit 20,000 more nurses by 2020, including 3,200 in the North West.

Under this Tory-led government, nurse numbers have failed to keep pace with demand while more than half of nurses say their ward is dangerously understaffed. Unlike the Tories, Labour will protect the NHS and ensure we have a health service ready to meet future challenges.

That's why the next Labour government will provide these much-needed extra nurses. They will help ensure safe staffing in hospitals and provide personalised care outside hospitals – helping us to transform services so the NHS can meet the care needs of the 21st century.

These extra nurses will be funded through the Time to Care Fund – raised from a mansion tax on properties over £2m, cracking down on tax avoidance and a new levy on tobacco firms.

The NHS is in crisis under the Tories. The NHS as we know it cannot survive another five years of David Cameron. If we want a world-class NHS then we need enough nurses with the time to care for patients. Labour's plans would mean 3,200 new nurses for our area – the highest increase outside of London.

I would like to echo the words of Andy Burnham, Labour's Shadow Health Secretary, who said this week:

"David Cameron has brought the NHS to the brink. There are too few staff on our wards, the bill for agency nurses is out of control and hospitals are forced to travel overseas to recruit nurses because of Cameron's cuts to nurse training places."

"This will help build an NHS with time to care, that starts in people's homes, ends the scandal of 15-minute visits and helps keep people out of hospital."

 

Labour will bring in new powers to cu​t your energy bills – and freeze prices until 2017

LABOUR WILL BRING IN NEW POWERS TO CUT YOUR ENERGY BILLS – AND FREEZE PRICES UNTIL 2017

I’m delighted that Ed Miliband today announced that Labour will give the energy regulator the legal duty to ensure prices are fair and the power to cut energy bills this winter.

The new legislation is being drafted to put an immediate end to the overcharging by the Big Six energy firms which consumer groups estimate is costing families and businesses £2.5 billion a year.

The Tory-led Government has admitted there is a problem with consumers being ripped off, but it has refused to act against the big energy firms.

Over the last year wholesale energy prices have fallen by an average of 20 per cent but the Big Six energy firms have reduced gas bills by a meagre one per cent to five per cent - while electricity bills have not been cut at all.

Labour has already declared that it would freeze prices – so they can only fall and not rise - for 20 months while the energy market is reset.

But the new plan announced today goes further by setting a clear timetable for changes so that consumers pay fair prices this coming winter.

In one of the first Bills of the new Parliament, Labour will give Ofgem a legal duty to review prices by the autumn – and the power to order price reductions in time for the winter.

The consumer group Which? says that further cuts of up to 10 per cent in gas and electricity bills should be made this year.

Such a reduction would save the typical family at least £100 this winter, on top of the savings they will get from Labour’s plan to freeze gas and electricity bills until 2017.