May 06

We can make a real difference – please use your two votes for Labour

Luciana full faceThursday May 7 is the day when we can make a real difference.

We can vote for a Labour government pledged to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, rescue the NHS, bring down the deficit in a fair way, boost jobs and build houses.

Don’t wake up to a Tory government on Friday – vote Labour when the polls open on Thursday May 7.

Here are four things to remember:

First, you don’t need your polling card to vote.Pledge_Card_Front

Second, polls open from 7am-10pm. If you have a postal vote, but haven’t sent it back yet, you can take it to any polling station before 10pm on Thursday May 7.

Third, if you need a lift to the vote, call our campaign hotline on 07793 534 304.

Fourth, there are two elections – one for your MP and one for your councillor. Please use both your votes for Labour.

If you would like to volunteer on polling day and join me and the Labour Team to help Labour win this vital election, then please call our campaign co-ordinator on 07793 534 304.

May 02

Four million conversations on the doorstep

In conversation across Liverpool Wavertree

In conversation across Liverpool Wavertree

Labour campaigners have held over four million conversations on doorsteps across Britain in the run up to the crucial vote on Thursday May 7.

A huge thank you to everyone who has joined me across Liverpool Wavertree already and I am determined that together, between now and Thursday, we will reach as many more people as possible.

Those four million conversations have happened since January 1, an unprecedented figure for any political party, but we need to have one million more face-to-face conversations to make sure everyone knows the stark choice facing us on Thursday.

This is the closest General Election anyone can remember. It is Britain’s big chance to make a big choice.

The choice between putting the many first with Labour or putting the wealthiest and most powerful first with the Tories.

It is a choice is between investing in the NHS and our children’s education or a Tory plan for extreme cuts.

We can’t afford five more years of putting the wealthiest first and the Tories’ extreme spending cuts.

Labour has a better plan, based on the simple truth that when people succeed, Britain succeeds.

I look forward to meeting even more voters over the next few days.

 

May 01

Labour will abolish the bedroom tax

We will abolish the bedroom tax from day one of the next Labour government.Luciana Berger with Rachel Reeves and Bedroom tax poster (800x584)

The bedroom tax is indefensible, cruel and it doesn’t even work. It hits half a million families across the UK, two thirds of which include a disabled person. It hits 200,000 children and 60,000 carers. These are people any government should help not hurt.

I know from speaking to people across Liverpool Wavertree that is causing untold misery. Under the Tories, a million more people could be hit by the tax in the next five years.

From day one of the new Labour government, new funds will be made available to offset the full costs of the tax for all families currently paying it, with these funds distributed through local authorities.

This will end hardship while a new Labour government passes rapid legislation to put an end to David Cameron’s Bedroom Tax once and for all.

We will legislate straight away to abolish the Bedroom Tax – in England, in Wales, in Scotland, right across the UK.

So on day one of a Labour government, we will free people from the burden of the bedroom tax.

 

May 01

Labour will get people into decent homes

HousingLabour has a comprehensive plan to help people get the decent homes they deserve.

Labour will reduce stamp duty to zero for first time buyers of homes worth up to £300,000 – a saving of as much as £5,000 for people seeking to get on the property ladder.

We will give first time buyers that have lived in an area for more than three years ‘first call’ on up to half of homes built in their area.

Labour will stop foreign buyers buying up properties before local buyers get a look in by ensuring they are advertised in local areas, increasing taxes paid by foreign buyers and council tax for empty homes.

We will launch the biggest house building programme in a generation and will start construction on 1 million new homes by 2020. Councils will have new with ‘use or lose it’ powers, ensuring developers build on land rather than hoarding it.

There will be more affordable social housing under Labour. We will strengthen affordable housing obligations on developers which have been watered down by the Tories, prioritising capital investment and allowing Labour’s £5 billion Future Homes Fund to invest in housing associations developing affordable homes.

For people who rent, we will introduce secure three-year tenancies for those who want them and cap rents so they cannot rise by more than the rate of inflation during this period.

We will also ban letting agent fees – saving the average household £625 over the next parliament – and introduce a national register of landlords so that a minority of rogue owners can be identified, with tax relief restricted for those who do not meet basic standards.

The next Labour government will make sure there are homes to buy and take action on rents. It is a better deal for housing and a better start for the next generation.

 

Apr 30

Making a real difference to people with disabilities

Voting LabourLabour in government will make a huge difference to the lives of people with disabilities.

Our country will only succeed when everyone has the opportunity to achieve their potential, and where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

Over the last five years much has got worse. For instance, the disability employment gap has flatlined after falling consistently throughout the last Labour government. Disabled people have experienced a cost-of-living crisis, with energy and housing costs leaving their budgets increasingly squeezed. Thousands have had their incomes hit further by the cruel and unfair Bedroom Tax.

There has also been a worrying rise in the incidence of hate crime against disabled people, creating a climate in which it is harder for disabled people to make their voice heard.

This is unacceptable and the next Labour government will turn this around.

We will restore the concept of independent living to the heart of our public services, tailoring our health, education and care systems to disabled people’s needs.

We will ensure that our social security system always treats disabled people with dignity, and does more to support those who can to work. Our plans to address the cost of living crisis will raise the living standards of disabled people across the country. We will take action to realise the long held goal of the disability movement of ‘nothing about us without us’, ensuring that disabled people can participate fully in public life.

In government, Labour will make sure that young disabled people have the same chances as non-disabled people to study for the vocational or degree qualifications that lead to decent jobs.

Mental health will have the same priority as physical health and all NHS staff will have mental health training.

Health and social care will be brought together, offering people with disabilities an entitlement to a personal care plan, the option of personal budgets where appropriate, and a single named person to co-ordinate care.

We will set up a new specialist Work Support programme to help disabled people into jobs and protect the role of specialist Employment Advisers. We will deliver a new, locally commissioned specialist employment programme for sick and disabled people.

We will overhaul the failing Work Capability Assessment and get tough on failing contractors with penalties if they get assessments wrong, while offering disabled people a real say in how Work Capability Assessments are improved. Alongside this we will get a grip of the Tory-led government’s huge Personal Independence Payments backlog.

The cruel and unfair Bedroom Tax imposed on hundreds of thousands of disabled people and carers will be scrapped.

We will make disability hate crime a specific criminal offence.

Our manifesto for people with disabilities can be read online by clicking here. You can download a copy of the manifesto by clicking here.

An easy-read version of the manifesto is available by clicking here.

You can listen to a summary of our manifesto on audioBoom:

https://audioboom.com/boos/3102178-summary-of-labour-s-2015-manifesto

Our manifesto makes clear that people with disabilities will in future have a voice at the heart of government sitting on the cross-government committee that develops disability policy.

For the full range of accessible Labour Party materials, please click here.

If you require Labour materials in additional formats, please contact the Labour Party on campaignresources@labour.org.uk. We will do our very best to provide a version that will work for you.

 

Apr 30

Tories plan raid on child benefits

Child benefitThe Tories have drawn up plans to take thousands of pounds away from millions of families.

They plan to cut £3.8 billion from the Tax Credits working families rely on.

They plan to include Child Benefit in Universal Credit, meaning a cut of more than £1,100 a year for 4.3 million families.

They also plan to double the pace of cuts next year.

They will put their plan into practice in just seven days’ time if they get the chance. It’s the final proof that working families can’t afford another five years of the Tories.

The Tories’ secret plan is to cut family budgets. As well as planning a £3.8 billion raid on families’ tax credits, they want to make deep cuts to Child Benefit too.

Labour has a better plan for a better future. Labour will not cut the tax credits that working people rely on. Labour will raise them at least in line with inflation in every Budget. And we reject the Tory plans to attack child benefit.

We do so because we will make different and fairer choices.

The choice is clear: a Tory plan that puts family budgets at risk, or a Labour plan that puts working families first.

 

 

Apr 24

Labour has a better plan for women and equality

On the campaign trail with Labour women

On the campaign trail with Labour women

Labour has a better plan for women and equality that will make a real difference to millions of lives.

One in four women are paid below a Living Wage and 60 per cent of the jobs created for women since 2010 have been in low paid sectors.

Labour will increase the National Minimum Wage to more than £8 an hour before October 2019. We will also promote the Living Wage with tax rebates for firms who sign up in the first year of a Labour government.

Childcare costs have risen by over 30 per cent since 2010, while childcare support through tax credits has been slashed.

In government, we will extend free childcare from 15 to 25 hours a week for working parents of three and four-year-olds, guaranteeing 8am-6pm wraparound childcare for parents of primary-age children. We will also protect the Sure Start budget and open up an additional 50,000 childcare places.

Parents are increasingly relying on other family members to help them juggle work and childcare, particularly grandparents. In fact, more than half of mothers rely on grandparents when they go back to work. That is why Labour will consult on allowing parents to transfer some of their unpaid leave to grandparents who want to help care for their grandchildren.

Labour will also double paid paternity leave from two to four weeks, and increase pay to the equivalent of a full week’s work at the National Minimum Wage so that more families can take up their entitlements.

We will put tackling violence against women and girls at the heart of government.  We will appoint a new commissioner to enforce national standards on tackling domestic and sexual abuse, strengthen the law and provide more stable central funding for women’s refuges and Rape Crisis Centres. Age-appropriate compulsory sex and relationship education in schools will include work to prevent violence.

The suffragettes gave women the right to vote. Labour in 2015 is giving women the reason to vote.

Apr 23

Labour has a better plan for the NHS  

The National Health Service is one of our country’s very proudest achievements and the envy of the world. However, our health service has been going backwards under this Tories.NHS ticks

Two-thirds of nurses say patients are losing out because there aren’t enough staff on wards. Patients have been stuck in ambulances outside hospitals because their A&E can’t cope with demand.

This is happening because the Tories and Lib Dems got it wrong on the NHS, wasting billions of pounds on an unwanted, top-down re-organisation.

Labour will rescue our NHS from David Cameron and his government. If the Tories are back in government for another five years, our NHS will not get the money it needs and will face a rising tide of privatisation.

Labour’s better plan puts the right values back at the heart of the NHS – care, compassion and co-operation; not competition, fragmentation and privatisation. Our Time to Care plan is fully funded and based on the principle that those with the broadest shoulders should bear the greatest burden.

Our £2.5 billion Time to Care fund will be built up through a mansion tax on properties worth over £2 million, cracking down on tax avoidance and a levy on tobacco companies.

If Labour wins this election, we will get extra resources into the NHS immediately:

  • We will bring a mansion tax and tobacco levy into effect in the very first year — enabling us to train and hire thousands more doctors, nurses, care-workers and midwives;
  • We will immediately halt the cost and chaos of privatisation;
  • We will cap the profits private companies can make;
  • We will repeal the Tories’ Health and Social Care Act within the first 100 days of a Labour government.

From May 8, we will end the scandal of patients having to wait hours to be seen in A&E, days for a GP appointment and weeks for vital test results.

People will be guaranteed a GP appointment within 48 hours, and on the same day for those who need it. People will have a new guarantee of cancer tests carried out and results back within one week. Mental health will have parity with physical health in a system integrated with social care.

Apr 20

Protecting neighbourhood policing

In government, Labour will protect neighbourhood policing with a plan to safeguard over 10,000 police officers over the next three years.Policing

We will introduce a new ‘Local Policing Commitment’, which makes sure police forces guarantee neighbourhood policing in every area.

Our £800 million worth of efficiency savings a year will enable Chief Constables to safeguard over 10,000 police officers in the first three years of the next Parliament from extreme Tory cuts.

The savings – all of which have been ruled out by the Tories – include scrapping expensive police and crime commissioners and halving the cost of police governance, ending the police subsidy of gun licenses, mandating joint procurement and sharing support services.

Under the Tories, there are fewer police on the beat, longer waits for 999 calls and less justice for victims.

Merseyside’s police and crime commissioner warned warned that hundreds of police jobs will be lost if Tory government cuts continue. In April 2010, Merseyside had 7,276 officers, staff and PCSOs. By 2019, there would be 4,444, a reduction of almost 3,000.

Labour will restore confidence in our justice system by putting victims first. We will enact the country’s first ever Victims’ Law – giving victims a voice and entitlements to minimum standards of service.

Communities flourish when people feel safe and secure, living lives free from fear and intimidation.

This means having police on the streets, a criminal justice system that works for victims not criminals and action to prevent crime before it occurs.

Apr 18

The reasons to vote Labour are clearer than ever

Manifesto 2It is so important that we use our two votes on Thursday May 7 to return a Labour government and have strong Labour representation locally too.

You must register by Monday April 20 or you will lose your vote. If you have not done so already, please register to vote today – and please check with family, friends and neighbours that they have registered. You can register to vote online by clicking here or telephone 0151 233 3028.

I took part in BBC Radio Merseyside hustings this week and have once again been knocking on doors and meeting people across the constituency. You can hear the BBC Radio Merseyside hustings by clicking here. It is clear to me that there is a real enthusiasm and desire for change from this Tory-led government.

Labour’s manifesto published this week set out the reasons for that enthusiasm clearly – it is the recognition that Britain succeeds only when all its people succeed, not just a wealthy few at the top.

Every policy in our manifesto will be paid for without requiring any additional borrowing.

Our manifesto – which you can read by clicking here – is costed and deliverable.

For instance, we can invest £2.5 billion in our National Health Service because we have identified that the money will come from a Mansion Tax on properties worth more than £2 million, tackling tax avoidance and introducing a levy on tobacco companies.

That means we can employ 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more doctors and guarantee a GP appointment within 48 hours and cancer tests within a week.

We can support parents getting back to work because we have identified where the money will come from. That means we can expand free childcare from 15 to 25 hours per week for parents of three- and four-year-olds, paid for with an increase in the bank levy.

We can cut taxes for those on middle and low incomes because we have identified where the money will come from. That means we can introduce a lower 10p starting tax funded by ending the Tories’ Marriage Tax Allowance. We will not increase the basic or higher rates of income tax, VAT or national insurance.

In stark contrast, the Tory manifesto is unfunded, unbelievable and unfair, and we know that Lib Dem promises can’t be trusted either. Currently, the Tories’ unfunded promises will cost every working household £1,439 a year.

The choice for polling day on Thursday May 7 is clearer than ever – Labour’s concrete and fully-funded pledges, or the Tories’ desperate, flaky unfunded promises. That is why we need a Labour government.

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