Mar 23

Five great reasons to vote Labour

Pledge card frontLabour has a better plan – putting people first, not just the 1 per cent at the top. We understand that it is only when people succeed that Britain succeeds. That idea is at the core of each of our five General Election pledges.

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.

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.

Pledge card backAn 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.

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.

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 and 7 year-olds.

Our General Election pledges underline the choice in front of voters on May 7. Many more years of deep cuts to our public services as outlined in the Tory Budget in the last few days, or an approach based on fairness under Labour.

Our country deserves a future based on the idea that Britain only succeeds when we all succeed; the idea that has powered success for Britain throughout our history. Whenever we have prospered, whenever we have succeeded, it is not because we have been driven by the success of a few at the top but by the success of all.

Labour is different to the Tories. We believe that each of us has an interest in all of us succeeding.

Mar 21

You can’t trust the Lib Dems, no matter what they say

Lib Dem trustLib Dem attempts to differentiate themselves from the Tories aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. Even the Lib Dem’s man in the Treasury Danny Alexander admits the Tories’ record is their own.

The Lib Dems backed the Tories all the way and working families have paid the price. Thanks to the Lib Dems, working people’s wages are down £1,600 a year since 2010 and tax and benefit changes have left families £1,127 worse off.

The absurd spectacle we were subjected to on Thursday.

The absurd spectacle we were subjected to on Thursday.

The Lib Dems broke their central election promises and cannot be trusted. Rather than delivering fair taxes they hiked VAT, and rather than abolishing tuition fees they trebled them. The Lib Dems have been part of a government which imposed the bedroom tax while cutting taxes for millionaires.

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.

I spoke about this in the Budget debate, which you can watch here.

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;
  • Guaranteeing an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the basic grades and cutting tuition fees to £6,000.

You can’t trust the Lib Dems. No matter what they say, they share the Tories’ record.

Mar 19

Budget makes the case for Labour’s better plan

BudgetChancellor George Osborne spent an hour in his Budget speech 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. The Budget confirmed plans for extreme spending cuts in the three years after the election – which will put our NHS at risk.

As Labour leader Ed Miliband said, Liverpool has been ‘bludgeoned’ by the Tory cuts.

I spoke in the Budget debate and raised serious concerns about this ‘out of touch and arrogant’ government’s impact on Liverpool.

You can read what I said by clicking here or watching here.

The Office for Budget Responsibility 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.’

The General Election on Thursday May 7 is a choice between a Tory plan which is failing people and Labour’s better plan which will put people first and save our NHS.

Labour will raise living standards by increasing the minimum wage to £8 an hour and offering 25 hours of free childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds.

Labour will make the NHS safe for the future with an extra £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.

We will cut business rates for 1.5 million small business properties and get 200,000 new homes built a year by 2020.

We will balance the books in a fair way by reversing the Tory tax cut for millionaires.

Labour in government will cut tax for 24 million working people through a lower 10p starting rate of tax.

There will also be a guaranteed apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the basic grades and cutting tuition fees to £6,000.

The Budget has made the choice even clearer – years of Tory failure or Labour’s better plan.

Mar 17

Boosting collaborations and partnerships across the North

Liverpool Health PartnershipsPartnership and collaboration between the cities of the North is already paying dividends by helping to grow the health economy, and much more could be achieved in the future.

As a local MP and a Shadow Minister for Public Health I have a deep interest in the health of Liverpool and the wider region.

I spoke at a recent conference organised by Liverpool Health Partners that brought together the local Clinical Commissioning Group, the North West Coast Academic Health Science Network, Liverpool City Region’s Local Enterprise Partnership and the European Commission.

It is clear that we need to rebalance the economy so that all the health science talent and investment is distributed across our country. The health science and academic communities recognise what the North can achieve and is helping to lead the way.

I’m keen that they get the support they need to make the very best use of the opportunities to boost collaborations and partnerships across cities of the North, creating the jobs and wealth we need.

Our Northern renaissance will be powered by the brilliance of individual entrepreneurs, inventors, and business leaders and by the resilience of the people of the North.

We need partnerships across sectors and across the region like we have never experienced before.

The partnerships between the great universities of the Northern cities provide a good example for other institutions and sectors to learn from. But we also need real partnership between the cities of the North and central government.

I believe that Labour’s policies to promote long-term health and wellbeing can support and be supported by the innovative health science partnerships developing across our cities.

We need robust partnerships between the world of research and academia and the world of business and between central and local authorities to ensure that our great cities and people thrive in the future.

And we need a Labour government to make those partnerships a reality.

Mar 16

Labour will protect older people from Tory rip-offs

Older peopleThe Tory-led government has failed to protect older people and prevent them from being ripped off.

Pensioners’ living standards have been hit hard by the Tories’ refusal to act against rip-off energy bills and pension charges, while social care funding has been slashed.

Typical energy bills have risen by £300 a year since David Cameron became Prime Minister and nearly one in 10 older households now face fuel poverty.

Delayed action to cut pension fees has left savers worse off while cuts to elderly care, making it harder for older people to get the care they need at home, have resulted in more people going to A&E.

Older people are tired of being let down by the Tories.

That’s why Labour has a better plan for pensioners and older people.

Labour will protect the ‘triple lock’ that ensures pensioners’ incomes keep pace with the cost of living.

We have taken the tough decision to restrict Winter Fuel Allowance from the richest 5 per cent of pensioners but can guarantee that there will be no further changes to the Winter Fuel Allowance or to universal free TV licenses or bus passes for pensioners.

We will help pensioners struggling with energy bills by freezing gas and electricity prices until 2017. We’ll also offer free efficiency improvements to at least 200,000 households at risk of fuel poverty.

We will improve social care to keep people safe and healthy at home, driving out the culture of 15 minute care slots by bringing in 5,000 new homecare workers.

Labour will invest in our NHS with more doctors and nurses so they have time to care for you and your family.

Older people can’t afford five more years under the Tories. Labour has a better plan to protect older people’s living standards and the NHS that they and their families rely on.

Mar 15

Happy Mother’s Day

Mother's Day cardLabour has a better plan to help families, by dealing with the Tories’ cost-of-living crisis, providing more doctors and nurses, and delivering 50,000 new childcare places.

Since 2010 working people are £1,600 a year worse off and families are struggling to meet the challenge of managing work and childcare.

Under the Tories, the cost of childcare has risen by 36 per cent – more than six times faster than wages.

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

Labour has a better plan for a better future. We can see that here in Liverpool where our Labour council has worked desperately hard to protect our most vital services such as Sure Start Centres from the pain of central government cuts.

In government, Labour will help families with childcare by creating 50,000 new childcare places, expanding free childcare to 25 hours a week for working parents with 3 and 4-year-olds, and guaranteeing wraparound childcare from 8am to 6pm through every primary school.

We will double paid paternity leave from two weeks to four weeks, and increase paternity pay by more than £100 a week to at least £260 a week.

We will also take pressure off families facing the cost of living crisis by increasing the minimum wage to £8 an hour and freezing energy bills until 2017.

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, and guarantee a GP appointment within 48 hours, or on the same day for those who need it.

Only Labour will build a better, fairer Britain for all.

Mar 14

Labour to act immediately to end energy price rip offs

ElectricityLabour will bring in new powers to cut energy bills and freeze prices until 2017 – and we will act as soon as we are in government.

New legislation is being drafted now 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 government has admitted there is a problem with rip-off prices, 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 just between 1-5 per cent while electricity bills have not been cut at all.

Our price freeze promise means that prices can only fall and not rise – for 20 months while the energy market is reset.

Now we are going 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 the energy regulator Ofgem a legal duty to review prices by the autumn – and the power to order price cuts in time for the winter.

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

A reduction on that level would save the typical family at least £100 this winter, on top of the savings from Labour’s plan to freeze gas and electricity bills until 2017.

We will stand up to the big energy companies.

We will go ahead with our price freeze. We will reset this broken energy market for the long term. We will pass a law to ensure falling costs are passed on to the consumer this coming winter.

Mar 13

Labour will increase nurse numbers in our NHS

NHS_PledgeUnder this government, nurse numbers have failed to keep pace with demand while more than half of nurses say their ward is dangerously understaffed.

Labour will protect the NHS and ensure we have a health service ready to meet future challenges.

The next Labour government will provide these much-needed extra nurses – 20,000 across the country.

Here in the North West, that will mean 3,200 extra nurses to help ensure safe staffing in hospitals and provide personalised care outside hospitals.

They will help 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 £2 million, cracking down on tax avoidance and a new levy on tobacco firms

If we want a world-class NHS then we need enough nurses with the time to care for patients.

Our plan is a blueprint to raise standards of care and ensure our health service is sustainable in the 21st century.

 

Mar 12

Prospect of extreme Tory cuts

IcebergConservative spending plans will mean £70 billion of cuts to public spending if the Tories win the election. That is more than double the amount admitted to by David Cameron and George Osborne.

The extreme scale of these spending cuts would pose a major risk to the National Health Service, if the Tories were to win on Thursday May 7.

Spending reductions of this magnitude would lead to unprecedented cuts to vital public services such as policing, defence and social care.

In fact, the cuts would be so extreme that they would lead to the smallest police force since comparable records began, the smallest army since Cromwell and over a third of older people receiving social care losing their entitlement to it.

The Tories could only avoid these extreme and close to impossible cuts by raising VAT again or by cutting the National Health Service in real terms by over £10 billion by 2019-20.

The choice for the British people is clear.

A balanced and fair plan to deliver rising living standards and get the deficit down with Labour.

Or an extreme and risky plan under the Tories for bigger spending cuts in the next Parliament than the last, which would cause huge damage to our public services and put our NHS at risk.

Mar 08

Tackling inequality on International Women’s Day

On the campaign trail with Labour women

On the campaign trail with Labour women

Today is International Women’s Day, a chance to celebrate what has been achieved and also reflect on what is still to be done.

The United Nations is focussing on what needs to be done across the world to ensure that each woman and girl is able to exercise her choices, such as participating in politics, getting an education, having an income, and living in societies free from violence and discrimination.

For too many women, especially in the least-developed countries, progress is too slow. For instance, in Africa, 70 per cent of crop production depends on women yet women still own only 2 per cent of the land.

The UN is calling on governments around the world to end the ‘slow and uneven’ progress to ending discrimination against women and commit to achieving gender equality by 2030.

Here in the UK, we know that women will pay a price for another five years of Tory government. Just look at what has happened over the last five years:

  • Independent House of Commons research has found £22 billion out of the £26 billion of cash raised from tax and benefit changes has come from women;
  • Women still earn just 81p for every pound a man earns and progress on closing the gender pay gap has actually slowed under this government;
  • Over a quarter of all working women are now on low pay and make up the majority of workers on zero-hour contracts.

Indeed, wherever you look – across the justice system, balancing work and home life, those hit hardest by the bedroom tax – this Tory led government is happy to let women carry the greatest burden.

Labour in government will act differently.

  • Companies with more than 250 workers will have to publish their hourly pay gap in their annual report. Shining a light on the problem will encourage us all to tackle it;
  • An £8 minimum wage for all will mean that 3.9 million women in low pay will get a pay rise;
  • A Labour government will ban exploitative zero-hour contracts so if you’ve been working regular hours on a zero-hours contract, you will have a right to a regular contract under Labour;
  • Labour will scrap the Bedroom Tax.

A Labour government elected in just two months’ time on May 7 will make a real difference to women in Britain.

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