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.

Mar 03

Let’s make every daffodil count

Despite the torrential rain and winds of the last few days, March is, as always, seeing a profusion of daffodils poking through in our gardens to remind us that spring is just around the corner.Marie Curie Jason Issacs Westminster

It is a great time to be reminded of Marie Curie’s annual daffodil appeal.

This year, the cancer support charity’s Make Every Daffodil Count is designed to raise awareness of the care and support available to people living with a terminal illness.

I met long-term Marie Curie supporter and actor Jason Isaacs, who plays Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, with Marie Curie Nurses, Sally Monger-Godfrey and Lib Wolley (left) to celebrate the launch of the Great Daffodil Appeal, Marie Curie’s biggest annual fundraising campaign.

The appeal is encouraging people across the country to support the charity by wearing a Marie Curie daffodil pin, available from volunteers across the country, or Superdrug, Spar and Poundworld stores, and Wyevale Garden Centres, during March.

One in four people miss out on the care and support they need at the end of life, and that is not good enough. Taking part in the Make Every Daffodil Count initiative will help more people be cared for in their own home, and be there for them through the night at the end of their lives.

 

Feb 27

We need to properly fund and integrate health and social care

The future funding of health and social is a vital issue. The failure of the Tory government to properly fund our NHS and the decision to deprive councils of the resources needed to properly fund social care has created a crisis.Liverpool NHS banner

I stood at the 2015 General Election on a manifesto that pledged to properly integrate physical health, mental health and social care so that every individual could be treated as a whole person, and not fall through gaps in provision.

Under the Tories, our NHS is in crisis. Patients are waiting for hours in overcrowded A&Es, waiting lists are rising and hospitals are facing huge financial problems.

For instance, since 2010, the number of people waiting longer than four hours in A&E has soared. Spending on mental health fell by £600 million in the last parliament and there are over 6,600 fewer mental health nurses today than in 2010.

Last year, 1.8 million people waited four hours or longer in A&E compared to just over 350,000 in 2009/10. Waiting lists are soaring with an estimated 3.8 million people in England waiting for treatment. In social care, the Tories cut £4.6 billion from budgets in the last parliament and they’ve completely failed to set out a proper plan to fund it, now and into the future.

Behind every statistic is a real person being denied the treatment and care they need and increasing concern and worry for their family and friends.

Today’s debate in Parliament covers a number of aspects of Health and Social care, with reference to six Select Committee Reports which were published in 2016/17 Session:

  • Impact of the Spending Review on health and social care
  • Personal budgets in social care
  • NHS specialised services
  • Discharging older people from acute hospitals
  • Improving access to mental health services
  • UnitingCare partnership contract

The crowdfunded research paper produced through 38 Degrees is a valuable contribution in the continuing debate about many of the issues raised in these reports and how integration between mental health, physical health and social care can be achieved. I believe that what we need now is concrete action from government and firm proposals about how it intends to solve the long-term funding of health and social care in our country.

As a member of the Health Select Committee, I know that many of the ideas contained in the paper will be discussed and used to hold the government to account.

Feb 27

Police face a new round of cuts

police logoMerseyside police face another year of Tory cuts after the government forced through a Police Grant Settlement confirming that our police are going to be denied the resources they need to do the best possible job.

New threats are emerging from cybercrime and an increase in hate crime following the Brexit vote, while the reductions in the most serious and violent offences seen under the last Labour government are on the rise again.

This is the worst possible time to cut resources from our police, but that is what this Tory government is doing.

The Tories claim to be the party of law and order, but under Theresa May as both Home Secretary and now Prime Minister, their record is one of failure, letting down victims and the police, with no answers to the long-term challenges we face.

Merseyside Police have been working hard with Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy and local communities to prepare for the cuts. Together, they have agreed to offset the impact of the £3.3 million government funding shortfall by increasing the amount paid towards policing by people locally through their Council Tax bill by 1.95 per cent.

That’s an increase of £2 a year for a Band A property – the lowest category of Council Tax and the amount paid by the majority of tax payers on Merseyside.

However, even with this careful planning, the police will still have to find £6.8 million of cuts in the next financial year.

The Police and Crime Commissioner says that the service is underfunded by at least £21 million and by March next year, the service will be reduced to 3,580 police officers – 420 fewer than the 4,000 it needs.

I will work with the Police and Crime Commissioner, the police, other Merseyside MPs and our local communities to press the government to provide the necessary funding to prioritise neighbourhood policing and to tackle crime and its causes.

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