Jul 21

Tackle the mental health crisis to save lives

CQC mental healthThe government’s failure to live up to its promises is starkly exposed by its inability to tackle the crisis in mental health.

Despite repeated claims by the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt and successive Tory Prime Ministers that mental health is a priority that would achieve parity with physical health and that billions of pounds of new money were being sent to the frontline, the health regulator the Care Quality Commission has this week exposed the reality on the ground.

Too many people can’t get the help they need at all. Now the CQC has shone a light on long waits to get treatment and the lengthy stays on hospital wards that are too restrictive for those that do manage to access a bed.

In short, too many patients are being failed and services neglected. The Tories have failed to deliver the leadership, the funding and the staff needed to turn mental health around.

The CQC found examples of ‘outdated and sometimes institutionalised care’ taking place in hospitals that are often a long way from home, leaving people isolated from support networks of friends and families.

It also found serious shortages of:

  • mental health nurses, whose numbers have fallen by 12 per cent since 2010;
  • Psychiatric beds – down by 4 per cent since 2014.

Staff are rightly praised for providing compassionate care, but this against a background of rising demand, with detentions under the Mental Health Act up 26 per cent since 2012.

In fact, ‘high demand, workforce shortages, unsuitable buildings and poor clinical information systems’ pose serious challenges to any kinds of improvement in mental health services

This is a terrible record chalked up by a failing government.

Labour’s manifesto at the last General Election recognised the scale of the problem – ‘mental ill-health is the biggest unaddressed health challenge of our age’ – and set out how a Labour government would keep its promises.

A Labour government would ring-fence mental health budgets to ensure that funding reaches the frontline and bring treatment closer to home by ending out-of-area placements.

Most importantly of all, a Labour government would invest in prevention and early intervention, tackling problems early to stop them becoming crises later.

Under Labour, the proportion of mental health budgets spent on support for children and young people would rise and all children in every secondary school would have access to a counselling service.

Tory failings have a high human cost. We must never forget that suicide is the leading cause of death among young people between 20-34 in the UK, and the single most common cause of death in men under 45.

Tackling the crisis in mental health and making a genuine commitment, backed up by a properly-resourced plan, to achieve parity with physical health saves lives.

It is that important. And Jeremy Hunt and his government is letting use down.

Jul 14

Tory promises lay in tatters

A year ago, Theresa May promised to make Britain a country that works for everyone. After just one year and a day as Prime Minister that promise lies in tatters.No Mandate logo

On June 8, Theresa May lost 13 seats and lost her parliamentary majority.

With no mandate Theresa May delivered a threadbare Queen’s Speech which left out key Tory election pledges to scrap universal free school meals, expand grammar schools, means test Winter Fuel Payments, hold a vote on the fox hunting ban and make those who need social care pay for it with their homes.

It is good news for the country that these damaging policies are off the agenda for now, but the country needs more that a rudderless government as the storm clouds of a botched Brexit negotiation loom over the horizon.

School class sizes are soaring, NHS waiting lists are up and people’s real wages are now lower than before the economic crash. Tory tax breaks have benefited the already wealthy while everyone else has been left to pick up the bill.

The Tory government has no proper mandate and no legitimacy and its policies do not have the support of the majority of the British people. The Prime Minister has had to ditch their plans following a General Election that saw her majority vanish. The Tories rely on unstable coalition with the DUP while taxpayers are having to pick up the £1.5 billion bill for the privilege.

Just look at the Tory record on our National Health Service – Theresa May claims that the NHS has more staff than ever and ‘record levels of funding.’ But one year on, funding per head is being cut for the first time in history next year and the NHS faces a shortage of 24,000 nurses and 3,500 midwives.

That means that more people are waiting longer for treatment. In fact, there are now a million more people waiting for treatment than when Labour left office in 2010.

The Conservatives have no plan for Britain. Labour is ready to fight the next election, whenever it may be.

Jun 30

Labour is offering the alternative

The Tories have lost their mandate – yet they push ahead with cuts to our NHS, schools and police, and, while paying lip-service to the fantastic work of our public sector workers, refuse them even a cost-of-living pay increase.

I voted for the Labour motion to lift the public sector pay cap. Unfortunately, the grubby deal done between the Tories and the DUP meant that the vote was lost by just 14 votes.

That is why we need to keep up the pressure on this weak Tory government. This weekend, Labour members will be out across Liverpool and the country putting forward our case for a labour alternative.

People working in the public sector have seen their pay stall since the Tory-Lib Dem Coalition government of 2010. They are paying a high price for the Tories’ failure to grow our economy.  And change a path of austerity.

For instance, nurses have experienced a 14 per cent real-terms fall in pay since 2010, while Fire Service pay has slumped by £3,000 at the same time as the number of firefighters has been cut across the country.

Our vote in Parliament this week showed that Labour is determined to get back into government and tackle the public sector pay issue.

But there is so much more to do as well, because the Tories are divided, depend on the DUP for survival and will not provide the political leadership our country needs.

Labour in government would invest in our National Health Service and deliver genuine equality of treatment between mental and physical health.

Labour would invest in an economy that puts working people first by introducing a Real Living Wage of £10 an hour by 2020.

We would tackle the housing crisis by building a million new homes and introduce security for private renters.

Our children’s futures would be protected in a new National Education Service that would reduce class sizes, offer universal free school meals for all primary school pupils and provide quality education for all.

It is clear after just one week of the new Parliament that our country needs Labour’s alternative plan. To find out more, please click here.

Jun 27

Putting local creative talent centre stage

Film the houseLocal film-makers are being offered a great chance to make direct contact with movers and shakers in the film industry.

The Film the House initiative aims to uncover the best of UK creative talent and put it front and centre stage.

There are four categories:

  • Best short film  – under 16
  • Best short film – 16 and over
  • Best original film script – under 16
  • Best original film script – 16 and over

Scripts can be from three to 20 pages long and films from three minutes to 15 minutes long. Entries must be received by July 31 2017.

Local Members of Parliament make recommendations to be judged by the leading figures in the film industry, with prizes that include: mentoring from Lord David Puttnam, advice from screenwriters, a day on a film set and the winners’ films being publicly screened.

The creative industries are one of our country’s success stories. According to the British Film Institute, UK film contributes over £4.6 billion to the economy and supports over 117,000 jobs.

The Film the House competition aims to raise awareness amongst up and coming talent of their creative rights as well as inform parliamentarians about the need for any new legislation to support the fast-moving industry.

If you are interested, you can find all the rules and how to enter by clicking here.

Jun 24

Thank you to our Armed Forces

Today Liverpool becomes the national focus of Armed Forces Day. It is a great honour for our city to lead a national thank-you to the men and women who daily defend our country.Armed forces day

Serving members of the armed services and veterans should be honoured, not just in word but in deed.

After redundancies and years of pay restraint, morale amongst our armed services and their families has sharply declined. The government needs to invest in the people who protect us and demonstrably show they’re valued.

A career in the Armed Forces must continue to attract people with the skills and dedication a modern service demands. That means rewarding skill and dedication with proper pay.

Labour would lift the public pay sector pay cap and allow the Armed Forces Pay Review Body to make recommendations on rises for our Armed Forces without that restriction.

Labour is also committed to ensuring that there continues to be access to high standard Service Family Accommodation at a reasonable cost for service personnel. We will drive up standards in all Service Accommodation and take action where private companies have failed to deliver.

Service personnel must be properly supported in the transition back to civilian life and protected against discrimination. Labour would introduce an Armed Forces (Prevention of Discrimination) Bill within the first year of forming a government, legislating to outlaw discrimination against and abuse of members of the Armed Forces.

As our city hosts the national celebrations for Armed Forces day, let us rededicate ourselves to ensuring that service personnel are properly recognised and thanked.

Jun 23

The Tories are failing the country – again

Luciana-Logo New Year (2)The Tories’ Queen’s Speech shows that the Conservatives are unable to put together a proper programme for government.

The Tories are incapable of taking the decisions needed to build a better Britain. Flagship Tory promises from their manifesto have been dropped and they have proved incapable of negotiating a deal with the DUP to keep them in office. What hope is there that they can negotiate a deal with the EU that will protect jobs and the economy during Brexit?

It is welcome that Labour’s General Election result denied the Tories the majority in Parliament they were looking for. It means that a raft of harsh and hurtful policies have been dropped. These include:

  • Slashing winter fuel payments for many older people
  • Funding new grammar schools while slashing funding for students in existing schools
  • Bringing back fox hunting.

But it is also the case that the sorry performance of the Tories have left the country rudderless as it enters the choppy waters of Brexit negotiations.

It is also the case that the Tories have had to backtrack and delay on important measures to right social injustices when they could have sought a consensus. For instance, the government continues to claim that it is committed to parity between mental health and physical health.

The Tory manifesto even promised to introduce a new Mental Health Bill in an attempt ‘to put parity of esteem at the heart of treatment’, even though it is already in law. However, the Queen’s Speech says only that government will ‘begin to consider what further reform of mental health legislation is necessary’.

In the coming days as the Queen’s Speech is debated in detail in Parliament, it will become clear that only Labour has the vision and aspiration to build a Britain for the many not the few.

Jun 17

Let’s get together to remember Jo Cox

Copy of TGGT_Logo_Header_JCToday’s Great Mersey Get Together is part of a national network of events to remember and honour my former colleague Jo Cox.

Jo, the MP for Batley and Spen, was murdered on the way to meet her constituents a year ago. Her family has organised The Great Get Together to mark the first anniversary with community events in every corner of the country and remind us that there is a real alternative to hate.

Across the country, people are getting together with neighbours and friends to share food and celebrate all that we hold in common. Here in Liverpool, there is a symbolic ferry across the Mersey showing how we pull communities together, and many other events.

It is a fitting tribute to a Member of Parliament – Jo – who dedicated her all too short life to breaking down barriers and recognised that we have more in common than divides us.

Jun 16

Thank you for all your support

It is such an honour and a privilege to be returned as the Labour and Co-operative MP for the third time – and on an increased majority.

Thank you for the wonderful support I received during the General Election. I will keep the promise I made during the campaign to work tirelessly to fight with you for our health service, our living standards and our children’s futures.Twitter banner

Thank you to every one of the 34,717 people who voted for me on June 8. That is a 6,300 increase on 2015 and a 14,600 increase on 2010.

I am delighted that the turnout has increased at every election – from 60.6 per cent in 2010 to 69.9 per cent this year. People are becoming more engaged in politics locally, and that is vitally important.

If you voted for me, thank you again. If you didn’t, I hope that I will be able to persuade you to do so in the future. Either way, I will always stand up for all my constituents.

There are huge challenges ahead, but together, I know that we can deliver for all the people of Liverpool Wavertree.

Over the summer, I will be holding Luciana Listens events across every ward in the constituency. I want to hear about your experiences, your aspirations for yourself and your family and your expectations of me as your Member of Parliament.

I want to make sure that I continue the conversations from the General Election so that everyone who lives, works or plays in Liverpool Wavertree knows that I am here for them.

These are uncertain times but I am determined that as your local, listening MP, I will ensure that the voice of Liverpool Wavertree is heard in Parliament.

I organise regular surgeries at different venues across the constituency to meet with constituents who need my help. Sometimes, all it takes is for an MP to make contact and service providers can quickly work with you to solve a problem.

If you would like to make an appointment, please call 0151 228 1628. You can also email luciana4wavertree@hotmail.co.uk or write to 21 Sandown Lane, Liverpool L15 8HY.

You can also stay in touch on social media: Twitter: @lucianaberger or Facebook: luciana4wavertree.

Thank you again for your support, and please stay in touch.

Mar 08

We need an International Women’s Day Budget for all

The United Nations theme for International Women’s Day today is the Changing World of Work. It seems doubly inappropriate then that the Tory government’s Budget today is likely to include more cuts to the services women, in particular, rely on to get and keep well-paid, stable jobs.Budget logo

The underfunding of health and social care hurts everyone, but the impact falls disproportionately on women, both as users of these services and as family carers.

The cost of living is rising and wages are stagnant, hurting women in particular who still take home less than men for doing equivalent work.

And because women work in and use public services more than men, cuts to these vital services have had a huge impact on women.

For all the government’s claims of ‘resetting’ its economic policy last summer, it is clear that Chancellor Philip Hammond is delivering more of the same, with an extraordinary 86 per cent of tax and benefit savings to the Treasury coming from women, people with disabilities and the poor.

Of course, the cuts and Tory policies ultimately hurt all of us, women and men alike, because our communities suffer and the social fabric begins to fray.

Here, Liverpool City Council is faced with making £90 million more cuts over the next three years, bringing the total amount of central government spending cuts since 2010 to £420 million.

And in Liverpool Wavertree one in three children in our constituency – 6,119 – are living in poverty, almost half of them in families where at least one parent is in work.

In Picton ward, over half the children – 52 per cent are living in poverty. In Kensington and Fairfield it is 43 per cent, and in Old Swan it is 34 per cent. For comparison, in the Prime Minister’s constituency the figure is 13, and in the Chancellor’s constituency the figure is 16 per cent.

Across the country, real hourly wages are 10 per cent lower now than before the crash, leaving too many people unable to make ends meet.

That is the reality of having the Tories in government for seven long years – an economy built on causualised, low-paid, temporary and precarious work, poverty for children, and underfunded schools, hospitals and social care.

That is why Labour is today calling for a Budget that reverses the trends of recent years and invests in our health and care services, encourages businesses to invest in jobs and generates the economic growth we need to properly fund our schools and other public services.

We need an International Women’s Day Budget for all.

Mar 06

We are moving, but staying close

Luciana-Logo New Year (2)The Liverpool Wavertree constituency office is moving today. The move follows the merger of construction union UCATT, in whose building the constituency office was based, with Unite. UCATT will be joining Unite at its offices in Jack Jones House in the city centre, which is outside the Liverpool Wavertree constituency.

Obviously, it is vital that as a local MP I provide local access to all my constituents and so the office and my team are moving to the new central Wavertree office.

My telephone number and email details remain the same, as does my website and social media contacts. These contacts are:

Telephone 0151 228 1628

Email: luciana4wavertree@hotmail.co.uk

You can also visit my website at: www.lucianaberger.com

Follow me on twitter: @lucianaberger and facebook: facebook.com/luciana4wavertree

There is a strict Parliamentary protocol that Members of Parliament can only take up matters on behalf of their own constituents, so please include your home address and postcode in any contacts.

Older posts «