Sign Up: To Save The Royal Hospital Rebuild From Tory / Lib Dem Cuts

On the day that the Coalition Government starts to outline its cuts programme I’m promoting a petition to  demand that the Tory and Liberal Democrat government protects promised investment in our health service.

You may remember that in March, the Labour Health Secretary, Andy Burnham MP, announced that the Labour Government was approving plans for a complete rebuild of the Liverpool Royal Hospital, at a total investment of £451million.

The project would create a brand new hospital with single, en-suite rooms throughout, a garden the size of Albert Dock and a separate A&E entrance.

But on 18 May 2010, the Liverpool Echo reported that the Tory / Lib Dem government was reviewing those plans. They are now under threat, and there is a chance that the Tories and Liberal Democrats might cut the investment altogether.

Liverpool needs a modern NHS, and a Royal hospital fit for the 21st Century. Sign our petition, and demand that the Tory and Liberal Democrat government protects this investment.

CLICK HERE to sign the petition.

Sworn In

I was incredibly proud to take the oath of alliegance today which allows me to properly start my work in Parliament.  

St Francis of Assisi Pupils Make their Mark

Luciana with the Academy of St Francis of Assisi team

Luciana with the Academy of St Francis of Assisi team

I was proud to join students from St Francis of Assisi High School today to celebrate their success in being crowned winners of a national business competition.

They had impressed some of the UK’s leading business brains to win the Make Your Mark with a Tenner 2010 competition. The competition, run by Enterprise UK, gives participants £10 and one month to turn their creative and enterprising ideas into businesses that make money and make a difference.  Their project Wildflower Seeds beat off strong competition to claim their prize of a visit to their school from a successful entrepreneur as well as £100, to encourage them to take their business ideas further.

They had an excellent idea that not only made them a great profit but also helps the environment. Making over £400 in a month is a fantastic achievement and just goes to show that if you provide these opportunities for young people they really can do some amazing things. I’m sure that these students will be the business leaders of the future and I wish them every success.

I am keeping in touch with the school which is trying to expand the project, and looking to make contacts within the local community. They are looking for organisations who could work with them.  Organisations could help by going to the school and making a presentation to staff, by letting the students have a stall/sell their seeds in the organisation or in the form of a donation to the project. Please get in touch if you can help.

In Good Company in Edge Hill and Picton

This week I visited construction company D Morgan plc to see the work it is doing on four sites in Edge Hill and Picton that it is undertaking as part of the New Heartlands Housing Market Renewal Initiative.

I was joined by James Lee of Liverpool City Council, Ian Robinson of the Civil Engineering Contractors’ Association and Guy Lawson of CfM Partnerships.

The company is committed to being carbon neutral and making its development green by looking at how staff travel to work and how materials can be recycled and reused.

On the New Heartlands programme, their Green Travel Plan has put in place a programme where staff are either picked up, travel by train, bus or bike to work, or take part in the company’s car share scheme.

The company has also saved millions of bricks as part of the demolition work it is carrying out for the New Heartlands programme, ready to be reused on new development projects.

The company needs to plant 4950 trees per annum to become carbon neutral – it’s planted over 90,000 trees over the last fifteen years and is committed to continue to do so at the same rate. It’s a record on carbon offsetting I’m encouraging other employers to look at.

Sustainability is vital to us all, and it’s encouraging to find construction businesses, like D Morgan, that make it a reality. It goes to show that there is a solid business case for sustainability, and that it can – and must – play a central role in defining business success.

Luciana’s campaign video

[vimeo width=”639″ height=”338″]http://vimeo.com/11213415[/vimeo]

Labour’s Investment in Liverpool’s Housing

This morning, I was sent the figures which show what a great deal Liverpool is going to get from the Labour Government. Labour’s Housing Minister, John Healey last week announced that the Government is set to spend £4.2billion on kick starting housing renewal in the UK.

The figures for Liverpool are fantastic. From the Government’s KickStart scheme – which was announced in the 2009 budget – Liverpool has already been awarded £9million to help build new homes. This led to a total of 342 new homes being built.

But there’s more. Liverpool also won in the Government’s National Affordable Housing Scheme – which ran from 2008-2011 – and was awarded an extra £9million to build an extra 228 houses.

This means, in total, Liverpool has benefited to the tune of £18million investment in our houses, resulting in a total of 570 brand new homes for Liverpool families to live in.

Only Labour can deliver such astonishing investment. This is the change we see all around us in Liverpool from a Labour government which is investing every day.  I want to make sure Liverpool continues to get a great deal from a Labour government.

General Election Called – Bring it on!

This morning, Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown went to Buckingham Palace, where he asked the Queen to dissolve Parliament, and in the process called a General Election for May 6th. 

The next election is a straight fight between Labour and the Tories.

The choice is stark: a Labour government which will protect the SureStart centres which help hundreds of families across Wavertree, which will protect the Winter Fuel Allowance for everyone in Wavertree over the age of 60, and which will put local hard working families first at a time when everyone is feeling the pinch. Or a Tory party which would cut SureStart, which cannot say how it will support the NHS in the years ahead, and which would put recovery at risk just as our economy is getting back on its feet.

That is the choice people have to make – between a Labour or a Tory government. A vote for anyone else in Wavertree is as good as a vote for the Tories.” “When I talk to my friends and neighbours in the local community, the priorities are clear: a strong NHS, a crackdown on anti-social behaviour, and a plan of action to tackle Liverpool’s housing crisis and the rows and rows of boarded up houses that blight our communities.

Labour is the only party that can deal with these problems. The Lib Dem council has let Liverpool down very badly. The housing blight we suffer here is their fault. The Lib Dems are pledged to scrap the winter fuel allowance immediately for younger pensioners. They are wreckers. They cannot win this election, but they can let the Tories in by the back door.

Labour has just committed £450 million to rebuild the Royal Hospital. We are leading the crackdown on anti-social behaviour – that’s why Merseyside Police now have 300 more police officers on the beat than they did in 1997. And we are pledged to tackle Liverpool’s housing crisis – that’s why Liverpool Labour has proposed a £1million council fund to kick start housing renewal.

A Tory government would threaten all of these things. They will cut services and choke off the recovery while giving tax cuts to the 3,000 richest estates in the country.

The people of Wavertree deserve better than a Tory government. I am ready for the fight to make sure they don’t end up with one.

Bring it on!

Eldridge Should Come Clean Over the Winter Fuel Allowance

I was shocked to learn that the Liberal Democrats want to scrap the Winter Fuel Allowance for people aged 60-65 immediately.

The Winter Fuel Allowance is a great Labour achievement.  I am very proud of it.  Under Labour, everyone aged 60 and over is entitled to a payment every winter, worth up to £400.  This means pensioners can keep their heating on and stay warm right through the winter months.

I remember the Tory years. Older people froze to death in their homes, too scared to turn the heating up because they weren’t sure they could afford the costs. That’s why I am so angry at this Lib Dem plan to scrap the Winter Fuel Allowance immediately for people aged 60-65 years old.

When their leader, Nick Clegg, said his party would implement ‘savage cuts’, I didn’t realise that ‘savage’ meant forcing people over 60 to switch off their heating immediately.

I challenge Colin Eldridge to disassociate himself from the national Lib Dems’ proposals to scrap the Winter Fuel Allowance immediately for 60-65 year olds, and to join me in campaigning to defend this protection for pensioners.

He says he wants to stand up for Wavertree.  Well here’s his chance.

Who are you loyal to, Colin? Wavertree pensioners or your party bosses in London?

Meeting the Liverpool Signing Choir

Me with the Liverpool Signing ChoirLast night, I went to visit the Liverpool Signing Choir, and to see them rehearse at Broad Green School. I was so impressed with the choir, and really enjoyed seeing them perform. I particularly enjoyed their rendition of Search for the Hero, by M people.

The signing choir brings together children from schools across Liverpool. It is made up of around 100 young people aged from 6 to 24, who are a mixture of profoundly deaf, hard of hearing and fully hearing.

The choir have also said they would like to perform at one of the ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics.

I will do whatever I can to support them in this bid – they’ve already played at Wembley (before the England v France under-18 international in June 2009) and at Anfield (at last year’s service to commemorate 20 years of the Hillsborough disaster).

They’ve played on the big stage before, and I think they’d do Merseyside and the country proud if given the chance at the Olympics.

Visiting Local Solutions

Today I visited Local Solutions – a local social enterprise set up in 1974 to help vulnerable and excluded people. Local Solution’s work includes, among other things, running helplines to help combat bullying and domestic violence, offering support for carers, offering support for those with mental health problems, working with dyslexic people, running a home insulation and handyman service, helping the disabled into employment and offering homecare, supporting the homeless, offering early years provision, providing care training, providing a shop mobility service and a welfare rights service, and more. As you can see, the work Local Solutions do is wide and varied, and they are an invaluable asset to the community.

Me with some of the Local Solutions workersWe went up to Mount Vernon Green, and to the Liverpool Carers Centre to meet some of the carers taking part in a Tai Chi class. We then visited the site on Scotland Road, to see the work going on there with young homeless people, and also those for people affected by dmoestic violence and bullying.

We went to Liverpool One next, to see the shop mobility service provided by Local Solutions. Finally, we visited Queen’s Dock to see the Merseyport Centre, and the watersport activities which are being opened up there.

In particular, I was thrilled to see the work which Local Solutions are able to do with money from the Government’s Future Jobs Fund. Local Solutions were awarded a slice of the £1billion Government fund, designed to help get 18-24 year olds who have been hit by the recession back into work.

It was fantastic to see Labour investment in action, right here in Liverpool, especially supporting a social enterprise such as Local Solutions which is able to provide such a wide range of services to  the local community.