Boston Labour Party

Latest in News

Labour calls on Government to lift news blackout on A&E

Following reports of record-breaking pressure on England’s hospital A&E departments and ambulance services, it emerged on Wednesday that the NHS will suspend the publication of weekly performance figures for three full weeks from Friday 19th December.

Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham will today (Thursday 18th December) call on Jeremy Hunt to order NHS England to release the data and ensure the public can see how local A&E departments cope over Christmas and New Year.

NHS England has confirmed the figures will still be collected from hospital trusts but they have taken a decision not to publish.

The data covers the number of patients attending A&E departments; patients waiting too long to be seen; numbers kept on trolleys up to and over 12 hours; ambulances queued outside hospitals; vehicles diverted to other A&Es; bed capacity; and cancelled operations.

The figures should be released on working days over the festive period and maintain the weekly routine whilst pressure on hospitals remains at unprecedented levels.

burnhamAndy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Minister said:

“Things are getting worse, but soon we won’t know how much worse. The Government hasn’t yet said how it plans to turn this situation around – Ministers should make a statement to Parliament before Christmas.

“It is highly unsatisfactory to have this news blackout over the crucial Christmas period. People can’t be kept in the dark.

“The next three weeks’ figures will show whether major A&Es have missed the four hour target for every single week of 2014. A&Es have been trapped in a downward spiral by David Cameron’s decision to abolish guaranteed GP appointments and undermine social care.

“Jeremy Hunt says he believes in transparency. He needs to be transparent when the NHS is entering the most difficult period in years.”

Posted on December 18, 2014 8:30 am by Paul Gleeson

Time to drive up standards of our minicabs

Boston Labour Councillors were interested to read that Minicab firms in Birmingham which run poor quality cars with rude drivers will be named and shamed under a new inspection scheme being drawn up by city licensing chiefs. Under the proposed rating system, the firms could be given a ranking from platinum, for the very best, through gold, silver, bronze down to unrated for the poorest companies. Companies will get top marks for running a fleet of clean, reliable and safe cars, with smart, well-trained drivers. Private hire companies whose drivers break the rules, such as by plying for hire or running cars in poor condition, will be penalised on the public rating system.

We believe a similar scheme should be introduced into Boston which would give the public confidence to know that we are taking their safety and protection very seriously. We believe the licensing committee at Boston should adopt this scheme. We know that the National Institute of Professional Drivers has backed the scheme as it will drive up standards. We will continue to campaign for this new inspection scheme in Boston.



Posted on December 17, 2014 8:34 am by Paul Gleeson

Labour will call Parliamentary vote on female pay gap as new figures show women hundreds of thousands of pounds worse off

Labour will call Parliamentary vote on female pay gap as new figures show women hundreds of thousands of pounds worse off

Today (Tuesday 16 December) Sarah Champion MP will propose legislation on ‘pay transparency’ to make publication of the difference between men and women’s pay by big companies mandatory, to tackle the causes of the continued pay gap once and for all.

To coincide with the vote Labour is releasing new analysis of official figures which show that – because of the gender pay gap, women earn an average £209,976 less over their lifetime than men.

Grazia magazine and Unite will hold a rally in Westminster at the same time as the vote, calling on Parliamentarians to support the vote. This is expected to be attended by Gwen Davis, Sheila Douglass and Vera Sime who were amongst the original Ford Dagenham workers to strike for equal pay and, stars from the hit musical ‘Made in Dagenham’ including Gemma Arterton and Isla Blair.

The rally will also hear from top employers PricewaterhouseCoopers and Genesis Housing, on why they already publish their pay gap, two of just five companies to do so.

Gloria De Piero MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, who will lead the rally said:

“Women are losing out on hundreds of thousands of pounds because they still earn less than men over their lifetime. Labour will call a vote on Tuesday to bring about pay transparency, it’s time the Tories and Lib Dems demonstrated their commitment to delivering equal pay and vote with us.

Posted on December 16, 2014 8:55 am by Paul Gleeson

Ed Miliband today (Monday) unveils the second of Labour’s five key election pledges.

ed 2We will control immigration with fair rules.

“People who come here won’t be able to claim benefits for at least two years.

“And we will make it illegal for employers to undercut wages by exploiting workers.”

Speaking in Great Yarmouth, Mr Miliband says that the next Labour government will introduce fair rules to tackle people’s concerns about the impact of immigration in our economy, our social security system and our communities.

And he announces plans for a new law to stop the exploitation which leads to wages and conditions being undercut.

Labour has already promised to increase the fines ten-fold for firms paying below the National Minimum Wage, close down loopholes in agency worker laws that allow firms to undercut directly employed staff, ban recruitment agencies from hiring only from abroad, and calling for a new law against extreme cases of exploitation.

Today, Mr Miliband will go further by announcing how the next Labour government will stop employers exploiting foreign workers which leads to the undercutting of wages and conditions for their existing staff.

For the first time, it means that such undercutting can be used as a piece of evidence of exploitation – although it will not be sufficient on its own to secure a prosecution.

To prove that a criminal offence has been committed, evidence would also have to be provided that some abuse of power had occurred and that migrants were employed on significantly different terms to local workers.

The pledge also includes Labour’s plans to stop people who come to Britain claiming benefits for at least two years, putting fairness and contribution at the heart of the social security system.

Labour will work with other European countries to:

  • Extend the period that EU jobseekers wait before claiming out of work benefits from three months for at least two years.
  • Limit in-work benefits paid to EU migrants to tackle undercutting by employers who rely on low skilled migrant labour
  • Stop child benefit and child tax credits being claimed for children living in other countries.

Ed Miliband’s opening remarks

It is great to be here in Great Yarmouth.

And it is great to be here with Lara Norris, our brilliant parliamentary candidate.

She calls herself a “Mum on a mission”.

And Lara, I am proud to support you.

Now we have people here today from different backgrounds, different parties, including people who aren’t Labour.

That’s because we’re trying to do politics in a different way and this is mainly your chance to ask me questions.

But I want to say a few words at the start about how I want to change the country.

Above all, how we make Britain a country that works for everyday people again, and not just a privileged few, the richest in our country.

And today, I want to talk about how our approach to immigration fits into this.

I know how big an issue this is in Great Yarmouth.

So on this issue, let me say something about me, something about Labour and something about the changes I will bring.

I am the son of immigrants, parents who came here as refugees fleeing from the Nazis.

I am incredibly grateful and proud that Britain enabled my parents to build a home here and have a family.

They worked hard and made their contribution to this country.

And I am proud of the contribution that immigrants of all origins, races and faiths have made to Britain over the years.

But for that contribution to benefit all our citizens and not just some, immigration has got to be properly managed and there have to be the right rules in place.

That’s why I have been determined to change Labour’s approach to immigration since we lost the General Election in 2010.

When people worry about the real impact immigration has, this Labour Party will always respond to those concerns, not dismiss them.

It isn’t prejudiced to worry about immigration, it is understandable.

So let me say how we will act to address peoples’ concerns.

People want there to be control of immigration.

And I agree.

That means strengthening our borders, with proper entry and exit checks.

And we will introduce those checks.

It means longer controls when new countries enter the European Union: we got it wrong in the past and we’ve learnt from it.

And my point today is also that control doesn’t stop at the borders.

It is also about fair rules when people get here.

Fair rules means people integrating into communities and learning English.

It’s what my parents did.

Fair rules means that entitlement to benefits needs to be earned.

You should contribute before you claim.

So when people come here they won’t be able to claim benefits for at least two years.

But it isn’t just the benefits system that needs to be fair.

I think for too long, we’ve ignored what’s been happening at work: to people’s jobs and wages.

We know that so many workplaces are so far from being fair today.

And that is especially true in some workplaces with a large number of workers who have come from overseas.

There are truly shocking stories of people in Britain today having their wages stolen and having to live in the most appalling conditions: exploited because they come here from abroad.

When people can be exploited for low wages or endangered at work, it drags the whole system down, undercutting the pay and conditions of local workers.

We must end the epidemic of exploitation.

We must stop people’s living standards being undermined by scandalous undercutting.

And we have a plan to do it.

We will increase the fines for firms who avoid the National Minimum Wage.

We will stop agency contracts being used to undercut permanent staff.

We will ban recruitment agencies from hiring only from abroad.

And today, I am announcing that the next Labour government will go further still:

We are serving notice on employers who bring workers here under duress or on false terms and pay them significantly lower wages, with worse terms and conditions.

We will make it a criminal offence to undercut pay or conditions by exploiting migrant workers.

Only Labour has a plan to deal with all this.

Today we are announcing our pledge on immigration for what a Labour government will do:

We will control immigration with fair rules.

People who come here won’t be able to claim benefits for at least two years.

And we will make it illegal for employers to undercut wages by exploiting workers.

This is what I promise to do.

What I won’t do is make false promises to you.

David Cameron promised that immigration would be cut to the “tens of thousands”.

People may have heard on the news recently that he’s broken that promise.

Net migration is now in fact higher than it was in 2010.

We won’t make false promises and we won’t offer you false solutions either.

Like leaving the European Union.

I just don’t think that’s the right thing to do.

Great Yarmouth has always relied on trade.

I’ve got to tell you, I believe leaving the EU would be a disaster for jobs, business and families here.

Instead of false promises or false solutions, we will seek to offer clear, credible and concrete solutions which help build a country that works for you.

And what we are doing on immigration is part of a plan for working people.

Dealing with our debts, but never slashing and burning public services.

A sensible approach on immigration, not false promises or false solutions.

Putting the NHS first, not privatising it.

Doing right by the next generation, not destroying the promise of a better future for our young people.

And tackling the cost-of-living crisis, with a higher minimum wage, freezing energy bills and creating good jobs.

I am fighting at this election for a Britain that works for you and your family.

I believe that we can make it happen.

Posted on December 15, 2014 4:05 pm by Paul Gleeson

Labour Candidate Paul Kenny supports Equal Pay Vote

Labour Candidate Paul Kenny supports Equal Pay Vote Paul Kenny, Labour Candidate for Boston & Skegness is pleased to see the vote in Parliament on Equal Pay tomorrow (16th December) which would introduce pay transparency across companies which employ over 250 staff, requiring them to publish their own gender pay gap yearly in their annual report.

The campaign for pay transparency is being led by Labour in Parliament, and supported by leading employers including PricewaterhouseCoopers who are one of just 5 companies known to voluntarily publish their pay gap. Women still earn an average 81p for every pound earned by men, despite the Equal Pay Act being passed 44 years ago.

Women’s magazine Grazia and Unite will be holding a rally in Parliament on the 16th calling on MPs to support the vote, and will be joined by women from the original Ford Dagenham strike and cast members from the hit film ‘Made in Dagenham’.
Paul said:

“I support the call for Equal Pay for all women who live in Boston and Skegness. It has now been 44 years since the Equal Pay Act was passed and women should not still be earning on average 81p for every pound a man earns. By shining a light on the problem, all of us can take the action needed to finally make equal pay a reality for women and their families. He hopes our existing MP will be joining Labour in the lobby to support this historic vote”.

 Vote Labour on 7th May 2015


Promoted and published by Boston Labour Party on behalf of Paul Kenny, all at 17 Bradford Rd, Boston. PE21 8BJ

Posted on December 15, 2014 8:20 am by Paul Gleeson

Water bills are going up not down – Maria Eagle

maria eagleMaria Eagle MP, Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; responding to Ofwat’s publication of the amount the water companies can charge from 2015-2020, said:

“For many people prices are still going to be rising faster than wages and that’s why one in five people are struggling with their water bills. Water companies are allowed to add inflation to these prices and for most people that will put their bills up. The truth is that the water industry isn’t working for consumers and David Cameron has done nothing to address it. It’s unacceptable that some companies paid no tax last year while millions of customers are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

“It’s time for a new deal with the water companies and the next Labour Government will deliver it. We will reform the water industry, creating a national affordability scheme to support those customers who are struggling most with their bills. We’ll also give the regulator tough new powers to cut bills and ensure that water companies play by the rules and put consumers first.”

Posted on December 12, 2014 8:58 am by Paul Gleeson



Ed Miliband will tomorrow (Thursday) deliver a major speech on how the next Labour government will build a strong economic foundation by dealing with the deficit and balancing the books – but never going down the Tory road to take Britain back to 1930s spending levels which existed before the NHS.

He will set out a tough and balanced One Nation Labour approach to dealing with the deficit based on five principles:

1.      Setting a credible and sensible goal to balance the books and get the national debt falling as soon as possible within the next Parliament.

Not having a fiscal plan which sets a target of a 35 per cent state, putting public services and productive investment at risk.

2.      Recognising that Britain will only be able to deal with the deficit by tackling the cost-of-living crisis.

Not allowing welfare spending to rise and tax revenues to fall because of low wages, insecure jobs, housing shortages and social failure.

3.      Making common sense spending reductions with departmental spending falling and using money better by devolving power, breaking down old bureaucracies, and rebuilding public services around early intervention.

Not cutting spending to 35 per cent of national income that will lead to disintegrating public services and a permanent cost-of-living crisis because we won’t be investing in the skills needed for good jobs and healthy revenues.

4.      Protect everyday working people by ensuring those with the broadest shoulders bear the greatest burden.

Not cutting taxes for the wealthiest while asking everyday working people to pay more.

5.      Promising new policies only when they are fully funded, like Labour’s £2.5 billion time to Care Fund for the NHS, so that they do not require any additional borrowing

Not making commitments that depend on borrowing or promising unfunded tax cuts skewed to the wealthiest that will eventually be paid for by bigger cuts to public services or increases in VAT.

To underline Labour’s determination to deal with the deficit fairly and balance the books as soon as possible in the next parliament, Ed Balls is tonight writing to members of the Shadow Cabinet.

This letter states that, except for a limited number of priority areas of spending which will be protected, shadow ministers should be planning for departmental budgets to be cut each year until the next Labour government has balanced the books.

In his speech tomorrow, Mr Miliband will attack the Tories for pursuing an extreme project, motivated by ideology rather than necessity, which will put vital public services at risk.

“My speech today is about the deficit. Its place in our priorities, how a Labour government would deal with it, and how we would do so consistent with our values.

“The Tory plan is to return spending on public services to a share last seen in the 1930s: a time before there was a National Health Service and when young people left school at 14. There is only one 35 per cent strategy in British politics today: the Tory plan for cutting back the state and spending on services to little more than a third of national income.

“And they have finally been exposed by the Autumn Statement for what they really are: not modern compassionate Conservatives at all – but extreme and ideological, committed to a dramatic shrinking of the state and public services, no matter what the consequences.

“They are doing it, not because they have to do it, but because they want to. That is not our programme, that will never be our programme, and I do not believe it is the programme the British people want.

“This is a recipe for public services that will disintegrate and for a permanent cost of living crisis because we won’t be investing in the skills and education people need for good quality jobs, and indeed for sufficient tax revenues. And we know what the result will be: the Tories might be able to deliver the cuts they have promised, but they won’t be able to cut the deficit as they promised.”

But he will state clearly that Britain must deal with the deficit to create the strong economic foundation needed to build prosperity for working people, attract investment and fund our public services. 

“Some people think the deficit simply doesn’t matter to our mission and should not be our concern. They are wrong. It matters.

“Because unless there is a strategy for dealing with the deficit, it is working people who will end up paying the price of the economic instability that is created. It is also necessary for funding our public services because higher debt interest payments squeeze out money for those services and for investment in the long-term potential of our country.

“There is no path to growth and prosperity for working people which does not tackle the deficit. What we need is a balanced approach which deals with the deficit – but does so sensibly.”

He will set out five principles for dealing with the deficit and clear dividing lines with a second term Conservative government on this issue.

“These are the principles of deficit reduction a Labour government will follow: balancing the current budget, not destroying productive investment; an economic strategy to bring the deficit down, not drive it up; sensible reductions in spending, not slash and burn of our public services; the wealthiest bearing the biggest burden, not everyday people; and fully funded commitments, without additional borrowing, not unfunded tax cuts that put our NHS at risk.

“This is the central contrast between our approach and the Conservatives. We will deal with the deficit but we will never return to the 1930s. We won’t take risks with our public finances. And we won’t take risks either with our public services, our National Health Service.

“Our tough and balanced approach will balance the books through an economy based on high wages and high skills, common sense spending reductions and fair choices on tax. Their unbalanced approach of 1930s public spending and unfunded tax cuts will put at risk our National Health Service, undermine our economic future, and threaten working families.

“This is now a fight for the soul of our country. It is a fight about who we want to be and how we want to live together. The Tory vision is clear: the wealthiest being looked after, everybody else on their own, public services not there when you need them. Our vision is different: a country that works for everyday people, with public services your family can rely on, a government that prioritises working people so that we can earn our way out of the cost of living crisis, a Britain built on strong economic foundations.”

He will say that Labour’s plans for reforms of the economy – on jobs, skills, low pay and access do not require big spending – and they will raise wages and tax revenues while cutting social security bills.

“Higher spending is not the answer to the long-term economic crisis that we have identified. Unless we fundamentally reshape our economy, we will only ever be able to compensate people for unfairness and inequality. That is why our agenda for creating social justice is about big reform, not big spending.”

But he will also underline the message from the Shadow Chancellor to their colleagues today that there will be spending cuts in most government departments every year until the deficit has been cleared.

“But I want to be clear about what the backdrop will be for a Labour government. We have said previously we will raise extra resources for our NHS and protect our commitments to international development.  And our manifesto will spell out other limited areas which will have spending protected. Outside those areas and departments, we’ve already said that for the first year of the next government most budgets will fall.

“But it won’t just be for the first year. Outside protected areas, for other departments, there will be cuts in departmental spending.

“And we should plan on it being for every year until the current budget is in balance. Today, as our Zero-Based Review of every pound spent by government continues, Ed Balls is writing to our shadow cabinet colleagues spelling this out.”

He will say Labour will make fairer choices to help protect vital services and balance the books with measures including a Mansion Tax on properties worth more than £2 million, cracking down on tax avoidance, and reversing the millionaires’ tax cut to restore the 50p rate on incomes over £150,000 a year.

“In these hard times, we are determined to do everything we can to protect everyday taxpayers from bearing an increased burden and to do all we can to protect public services. And those who have done best, under this government and indeed under the last, must pay their fair share.

“We want successful entrepreneurs and those who do well to be rewarded. But we must pull together as a society not drift apart and we cannot do that if deficit reduction is simply on the backs of ordinary people.”

Mr Miliband will say Labour will only make new commitments that are credible, costed and funded without additional borrowing – unlike the Conservatives who are promising unfunded tax cuts that would put public services at risk.

“This is an essential test of credibility. There is huge uncertainty about the deficit because of economic circumstances and on the basis of recent experience. That makes it all the more important that parties do not spray around unfunded commitments they cannot keep.

“It is why we will only make commitments in our manifesto that are properly funded – not commitments that depend on borrowing. That’s why we’ve explained how we will pay for every policy that we’ve put forward: costed, credible and funded.

“In contrast, the Conservative Party has pledged to make tax cuts when they have absolutely no idea how they will fund them: tax cuts that will cost over £7 billion a year at the end of the Parliament and even more, billions more, if they happen earlier in the Parliament.

“The Tories cannot say how they would fund their tax cuts skewed to help the wealthiest. This is not responsible and it is not right: the British people should be in no doubt what the Tory promise means: they will pay the price for tax cuts in higher VAT or even bigger cuts to public services. The Tories’ priority is unfunded tax cuts, Labour’s priority is to save our National Health Service.”

Posted on December 11, 2014 8:51 am by Paul Gleeson

Boston needs licensing of HMOs

It is over three and a half years since the Labour Group on Boston Borough Council called for a task and finish group to investigate the impact of population change on Boston. It took the Conservative ruling group on the Borough over six months to allow the investigation to start. The report chaired by Labour councillors was issued over 2 years ago. The report went on to win national awards and influence policy of nationally. The recommendations of the report were accepted by Boston Borough Council in full.

One of the main recommendations in the report was the licensing of Houses in Multiple occupation HMOs. None of the reasons for needing licensing have gone away, allowing houses to be over occupied can result in

  • Poor living conditions
  • High rents
  • Nuisance to neighbouring properties
  • Tenants with no room inside the property to socialise drinking on the streets
  • Increased risk of fire and consequent deaths

The ruling group on Boston Borough council have turned their backs on licensing of HMOs, maybe too many people are making large profits from operating HMOs. We need a council in Boston that will take action.

Posted on December 10, 2014 8:35 am by Paul Gleeson

Labour will tackle scandal of cancer patients denied life-saving treatment – Burnham

burnhamAndy Burnham: Labour will tackle scandal of cancer patients denied life-saving treatment
  • £330 million fund for all types of cancer treatment – including latest forms of radiotherapy, surgery and drugs
  • A new cancer strategy to be published within six months of a Labour Government and a plan to tackle ageism in cancer treatment
  • Expanding Teenage Cancer Trust’s awareness programme to every school in England

Labour will create a new annual Cancer Treatments Fund to improve access not just to the latest drugs but also to the latest forms of radiotherapy and surgery that are too often not available for thousands of people with cancer.

In a speech to the Britain Against Cancer conference, Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham will commit the next Labour Government to creating a fund that starts in April 2016, when the Cancer Drugs Fund expires.

Burnham will say the Government’s decision to restrict a fund for extra investment to just one type of cancer treatment has led to thousands of patients missing out on cutting-edge radiotherapy and surgery. He will point to the raiding of other cancer treatment budgets to pay for the Cancer Drugs Fund’s overspend last year as an example of the lower priority given to radiotherapy and surgery under this Government.

The current fund, which only pays for drugs, will come to an end in March 2016. The new annual fund would build on existing provision, but expand the scope of extra investment to improve access not just to drugs but also to radiotherapy and surgery – the two forms of treatment that are responsible for nine in 10 cases where cancer is cured.

In the move to the new fund, Labour would also guarantee that any patient in receipt of a drug from the Cancer Drugs Fund would continue to be offered that drug.

The new £330 million Fund will be created by adding £50m from the pharmaceutical industry rebate to the £280m-a-year Cancer Drugs Fund budget. Cancer experts will be consulted on the allocation of the resource and the best mechanisms for delivering it.

Figures from Cancer Research UK show that while half of radiotherapy patients should receive Intensity-modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT), it is currently only received by a third. The number of patients receiving Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy (SABR), which treats lung and other cancers over a shorter length of time, fell by 10 per cent last year. Meanwhile, 124 patients were sent abroad to receive Proton Beam therapy last year as the NHS will not be able to deliver it until 2018.

Burnham will also commit a Labour Government to publishing a new cancer strategy within six months of the election. Separately, the Government will commission Cancer Research UK, the Royal College of Surgeons and other key stakeholders to lead a programme of work to make recommendations on addressing the under-treatment of older cancer patients.

The new Fund forms part of Labour’s 10-year plan to be the best in Europe on cancer survival and save up to 10,000 lives a year. It builds on Ed Miliband’s commitment earlier this year to guarantee patients a test and result within a week where cancer is suspected.

Burnham will also commit the next Labour Government to supporting Teenage Cancer Trust’s programme of awareness sessions on cancer, currently available in around 500 schools, and rolling it out to the rest of the country.

On the Cancer Treatments Fund, Andy Burnham will say:

“My goal is to make the NHS the best health service in the world for the treatment of cancer. We will only achieve that if we give patients access to the most effective forms of treatment, including advanced radiotherapy.

“The problem with cancer policy under the current Government is that it prioritises one form of cancer treatment over others and places one group of patients ahead of another. This is indefensible when we know surgery and radiotherapy are responsible for nine in ten cases where cancer is cured. It is not right that 40,000 people every year who could benefit from radiotherapy are missing out.

“This is why Labour will build on the benefits of the Cancer Drugs Fund but extend the principles of improving access and supporting innovation to all forms of cancer treatment and all cancer patients.”

On broader cancer policy, Andy Burnham will say:

“Too many young people are leaving education without knowing some of the basics about cancer and how to look out for the warning signs. Every young person should, as part of their education, have the opportunity to learn more and know where to go if they are worried. Teenage Cancer Trust is doing brilliant work in this area and with a bit more support from Government we can make their sessions available to every school in the country.

“At the other end of the spectrum, there is evidence that too many older people are missing out on effective treatments. We need to eradicate any suggestion of ageism and the under-treatment that can result. That’s why the next Labour Government will launch an immediate programme of work led by the Royal College of Surgeons and Cancer Research UK to understand what’s happening in practice and make recommendations on tackling under-treatment.”

Posted on December 9, 2014 8:39 am by Paul Gleeson

Response to IFS briefing on the Autumn Statement – Ed Balls

BallsEd Balls MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, responding to the IFS briefing on the Autumn Statement, said:

“The continuing squeeze on living standards is the reason why George Osborne has failed to get the revenues in to balance the books.

“As the IFS says tax receipts have been revised down by £25 billion by 2018/19, largely because of weak wage growth. This is why the public finances are even more challenging in the next Parliament and now George Osborne has chosen to pencil in even deeper cuts. He also wants us to believe he can find £7 billion a year to pay for his unfunded fantasy tax promises. No wonder everyone is now saying the Chancellor’s sums don’t add up.

“Labour will take a balanced approach to getting the deficit down. There will need to be spending cuts, but we will make different choices and our plan will deliver the rising living standards and more good jobs we need to get the deficit down.

“We will get the current budget into surplus and the national debt falling as soon as possible in the next Parliament. That will mean difficult decisions on spending, like cutting the winter fuel allowance for the richest five per cent of pensioners and capping child benefit rises at one per cent for two years. Our Zero-Based Review will continue to examine every pound spent by government to root out waste and find savings.

“But Labour will make different and fairer choices, starting by reversing this government’s £3 billion a year tax cut for people earning over £150,000. We will have a mansion tax to help save and transform our NHS and scrap elected police commissioners to help protect frontline policing.

“And most importantly we will change our economy so we can deliver the rising living standards we need to get the revenues in to get the deficit down. Our plan will raise the minimum wage, get more homes built, cut business rates for small firms and raise the bank levy to expand free childcare for working parents.

“This is the balanced approach we need if we are to get the deficit down and do so fairly. And unlike George Osborne we will not make any promises without saying where the money is coming from.”

Posted on December 5, 2014 8:40 am by Paul Gleeson