Wednesday, 19 November 2014

NHS Bill on Friday

This is my statement in regard to the private members Bill on the NHS on Friday in parliament

The NHS is one of our greatest achievements and our most important institution. But it’s under threat from a Tory-led government which puts privatisation before patient care.

Now more than ever we need action to save our NHS. That’s why I’m backing Labour MP Clive Efford’s Bill which would scrap David Cameron’s new market framework for the NHS and ensure NHS patients will always be put first.

The NHS has never been more vulnerable than under the present government. The Tories wasted £3 billion on an unnecessary and damaging top-down NHS reorganisation. The new rules allow hospitals to earn up to 49 per cent of their income from private patients, which risks pushing NHS patients to the back of the queue. And their new competition rules force doctors to open up services to competition from the private sector.

Labour will ensure that the NHS once again puts patients before profits. We will invest the millions of pounds saved from scrapping competition red tape in ensuring people can get a GP appointment within 48 hours, or on the same day if they need it.

I have no hesitation in backing this bill as it will make sure patients in Wells Constituency are put first once again. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for our current MP. That’s why  I'm asking Tessa Munt to back the Bill and vote for it in Parliament on 21st November.

Patients in the Wells Constituency are relying on her to do the right thing by backing this Bill so that we can put an end to market forces being put at the heart of the NHS. Tessa Munt MP is fond of saying how she always puts her constituents first; its time she backed this up with action by voting for this Bill on 21st November.

The Tories haven’t just destabilised our health service; they’re holding it back from meeting the challenges of the 21st century as well. We need to pass this new Bill so we can end the creep towards NHS privatisation, bureaucracy and red-tape, and instead put patients back at the heart of the NHS . Labour will rescue the NHS with our £2.5 billion Time to Care package which will fund new staff including 20,000 more nurses – investment the Tories will not match

Friday, 14 November 2014

The working persons lot

I remember when I started work being a political hot head and one of my older colleges telling me, that it doesn't matter who is in government, we'll still have to work in the morning, as a 17 year old I thought that rather uninspiring.

My father was a hard working man, first dug coal and later dug graves to buried people for a living, the later was low paid work he also was a retained fireman as well as low paid weekend jobs to pay the bills, mum worked as well with a multitude of part time work, they also were active in the community, running a youth club, being a school governor and PTA, raising money for the scouts, this list could go on.

My parents shaped my view on the world; everyone had a duty to work and pay their bills, you did your best for your family, you played an active part in your community, but more than that, they taught values,

 I remember an old tramp that visited our home a couple times a year on his travels, mum always gave him food and drink, even new socks, as a young boy I said to my mum, why do you feed a stranger when we had so little ourselves? Mum said because we have bread and cheese and the man was hungry and showed a little human kindness that you would expect from one person to another,  my mum was her brothers keeper, excepting responsibility towards another human being less fortunate then her, even for a short period.

We were fortunate that we grew up in a council property, this allowed us to have a secure upbringing, before 'the right to buy' when council estates where genuinely mixture of people our
neighbours were mechanics, shop manager, factory workers and retired people, all in work and regular families.

I left school in the first Thatchers recession, made in Downing Street, Mrs Thatcher used our country as an economic experiment, history will judge this point in our history when we throw North Sea oil revenues down the drain on welfare benefits, with a huge growth of incapacity benefit, instead of reshaping our economy so manufacturing had a larger place in our country, instead we saw economic growth in the service and financial sectors, with lower skills in our economy.

After 18 months of job schemes I finally got my job with a local company, a closed shop, but I happily joined the TGWU and to this day a proud UNITE member, Showerings were a good company, good wages, good conditions a happy company to work for, until the mid to late 1980s when an Australian chancier launched a takeover bid, causing Allied Domeq, the mother company to cut costs and the company was disposed. A good local company affected by activity in the City of London, the good news for the Australian chancier was he made a shed load of money.

Thirty years of work has seen the economy liberalised, less secure, poorer pay and less social benefits, with a bigger share of the economy going to profits whilst incomes shrink, less collective bargaining on pay with fewer smaller pay rises.

This uber liberalisation cannot be satisfied demanding zero hours contracts, the demand to reduce employment protection and companies avoiding tax, this liberalised economy demands that business owe no responsibilities to their employees.

How it's all has changed in thirty years.

I was reading the other day that 38% of those in work earned less than £7.45 an hour in this area, with large sections of young people not entering  further education, it is clear low pay and people whom
do not achieve good qualifications go hand in hand, why do our elected MPs vote (or fail to turn up to vote) to scrap the Educational Maintenance Allowance that supports young people into further education?

The prevailing mood is we have government that supports corporate business against the working person, supporting a low pay insecure employment market, underpinned by sanctions on people whom claim benefits, this government are even considering sanctioning people in part time work, if the government think they can work for longer and the person cannot find that work, they could lose tax credits, further tipping the balance against the worker.

Of course people should work for a living, as most do, our parents taught us so, we were taught responsibility, to do the right thing, we see bankers playing fast and loose with laws, with no police action against them, too many MPs with outrageous claims on expenses with too few prosecuted.

The perception of one law for one and another for the rest of us, we should demand decency in public and corporate life.

So, yes it is true, I will have to work who ever is in government, but I expect government that is decent, that reflects values that is kind to the weak and tough on those who abuse their power, what I have learnt is, the values that my parents taught me allows me to be outraged at the unfairness of our times and disgusted by those whom rig markets in the banks and the utter impotence of the authorities to prosecute wrongdoers.

Friday, 7 November 2014

More support with childcare

A Labour government will give 25 hours per week of free childcare to parents with 3 and 4-year-

Today, many families are faced with difficult choices about how they balance work and family life. In some families, parents who want to work are being prevented from doing so because the rising cost of childcare makes it unaffordable - while others increasingly struggle to find decent before- and after-school placements at all.

Under the Conservatives, the problem is getting worse. Too many parents are struggling to cope as the cost of childcare soars and the availability of places falls. David Cameron has broken his promise on Sure Start, with 628 fewer children's centres across the country since 2010. By 2015, the Tories will have taken away up to £15 billion in support for children and families.

Families need more help with childcare: it’s good for families and good for the economy. But with no plan to tackle the rising cost of childcare before the election, it is clear the Tories don’t recognise the pressures that families face today.

Labour has a plan to give families the support they need.

We will extend free childcare from 15 to 25 hours for working parents with three and four-year-olds paid for by an increase in the bank levy. This will benefit nearly half a million three and four-year-olds and their families and help parents overcome the barrier to getting back to work or working more hours.

We will introduce a primary childcare guarantee - a legal guarantee that parents of primary-aged children can access childcare from 8am to 6pm through their local school, helping families tackle the logistical nightmare that before- and after-school childcare can become.

We will renew and reinvigorate Sure Start, reforming the way local services work together to shift from sticking-plaster services to radical early help, to provide good quality support to all families that need it.