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Comment on the Home Secretary’s request that victims report crime online to help cut the number of 999 calls
“Under David Cameron there are 16,000 fewer police officers than in 2010 and 999 waiting times have gone up. No wonder this Tory-led government wants fewer people ringing up the police! Additional online access to the police is important – but not if it’s just a way to hide the fact that the police don’t have the capacity to support victims and deal with serious crimes.”
Posted on January 29, 2015 8:55 am by Paul Gleeson
Boston Labour Councillors are demanding a major review of our grounds maintenance contract at Boston Borough Council. For some time now, we have been receiving some complaints from the people of Boston who are disappointed with the number of grass cuts that the council makes per year.
At the present time, most of our grass verges are only cut 7 times a year. We are aware that other organisations such as housing associations are cutting their grass up to 17 times a year. We know that this causes lots of confusion about who is responsible for grass cutting in any given area within the Borough and we urge Boston Borough Council to take a radical step by increasing its grass cutting to 11 times per year. In addition we urge them to renegotiate with Lincolnshire Highways department to increase their cuts to 11 per year as well, as Boston Borough Council at present cuts the grass on their behalf. We would also urge our local county councillors to support this initiative and they might even want to go the extra step by donating some of their Big Society Grant as they all get £2000 and this would certainly help and cut a lot of grass.
We feel that nothing short of a minimum of 11 cuts per year on Boston Borough Council and Lincolnshire County Council land is essential to improve the appearance of our town. We know many other towns which operate at this level. We believe that doing any less than this is letting the taxpayers down and gives visitors a poor impression of our town.
Posted on January 28, 2015 8:57 am by Paul Gleeson
Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, in a speech in Trafford on the NHS, said:
In just 100 days’ time, you, your friends and neighbours will join with people all over Britain to decide our future as a country.
Will we be a country in which everyday working people can get ahead and have real hope for their children and the future?
Will we build a prosperity that extends from the City of London to kitchen tables across our country?
Or will we continue down the Conservative path, in which an ever-shrinking circle of people do well, while everyone else is forced to work harder and harder just to keep up with the bills and the weekly shop?
Today, I want to address one critical dimension of that choice, and that is the future of our NHS.
Because in this election the British people get to decide who you can trust with your healthcare and our National Health Service.
And today, I ask you to think hard about the choices on offer.
Our country’s most precious institution faces its most perilous moment in a generation.
A choice of two futures:
Continuing with a Conservative plan, which has already led to an NHS in crisis and which threatens the service as we know it.
Or a Labour plan to rescue our NHS, invest in its future and join up services from home to hospital.
That’s what we are fighting for in this general election.
That’s why I believe we need to elect a Labour government.
Think about what has happened to our NHS in five short years.
And the experiences people are having:
People in their 70s and even 80s, who have waited hour after hour for an ambulance to arrive, even when they’re in desperate need.
Patients stuck outside the hospital in ambulances because A&E is full.
Seriously ill people waiting for treatment lying on trolleys in corridors for hours.
People unable to get to see a GP, sometimes with queues round the block.
We never thought we would go back to those days.
But with less than five years of David Cameron we have.
We will hold him responsible for what has happened.
The British people will hold him responsible for what has happened.
People not just waiting longer in A&E.
Waiting longer to get your vital tests.
Waiting longer to get your operation.
Nearly half of the patient guarantees in the NHS Constitution now broken – from the right to start your cancer treatment within two months to the right to get your operation within 18 weeks.
And doctors, nurses, so many NHS staff, the heroes of our health service, rushed off their feet.
An NHS without enough time to care.
And of course this is a total betrayal of what David Cameron promised.
Just remember what he said at the last election and look at what has happened.
He promised “no more of those pointless re-organisations that aim for change but instead bring chaos”.
And then he spent billions on a top-down reorganisation that the NHS is still reeling from today.
The British people will hold him responsible for this broken promise.
He stood outside hospitals holding a sign promising “no cuts, no closures”.
And then closed the very same A&E department.
The British people will hold him responsible for this broken promise.
He said he would never allow us to go back to “those days when people had to wait for hours on end to be seen in Accident and Emergency.”
The British people will hold him responsible for this broken promise.
And because of his broken promises, what tuition fees are for Nick Clegg, the NHS has become for David Cameron.
This is a question of trust.
And if this is what has happened in just five years of a Conservative government, we have a duty to point out what five more years of a Tory government would do to the NHS.
You don’t need to imagine it: you just need to look at the one clear manifesto commitment they have: public spending cut back to levels as a share of national income not seen since the 1930s.
Back to before the National Health Service even existed.
David Cameron says he cares about our NHS but that isn’t enough: there is no country that runs a world-class national healthcare service with spending like that.
And we know too they will press on with plans to fragment and privatise the NHS.
More focus on private patients.
More private contracts awarded.
More fragmentation of the service.
And all it means is you will wait longer and longer for care.
Forced to go private if you want timely treatment.
David Cameron just won’t put the right resources into our NHS and he puts the wrong values at the heart of our NHS.
When you look at his record for the last five years and his plan for the next five years, you know David Cameron can’t be trusted with our NHS.
That’s why the choice at this election matters so much.
That’s why we need a Labour government.
Britain needs a new plan for our National Health Service.
A plan not just to protect it but to improve it for years to come.
To make sure that we build an NHS that meets the challenges of the 21st century.
Later this morning, the Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Andy Burnham will be explaining our plan in detail.
The central idea is this: that we must both invest in the NHS so it has time to care and join up services at every stage from home to hospital, so you can get the care you need, where you need it.
That is the key principle to make our NHS sustainable and successful for years to come.
And I want to outline the fundamentals of that plan for you here today.
It starts with the need to invest.
And we are the only party whose plans are fully funded, costed and based on the right principle that those with the broadest shoulders should bear the greatest burden.
We will raise a billion pounds from tax avoidance, including by the hedge funds.
We will raise extra revenue from the tobacco companies.
And we will use the proceeds of a Mansion tax on properties worth over £2 million.
And we will use that money for a plan to train and hire more doctors, nurses, care-workers and midwives – so that they all have the one thing that patients need most: an NHS with time to care.
And this investment will not be for an NHS that stands still but one that keeps up with the challenges of our time.
Let me tell you what I have learnt most talking to people in the NHS.
The most important principle is that the success of what goes on inside a hospital depends on what goes on outside in the community.
When people can’t get to see their GP they end up in A&E, adding to the problems there.
When problems with mental health aren’t spotted early at school or work, they build up and people end up in hospital.
And most importantly of all, when elderly people can’t get the care they need at home, they are more likely to struggle, grow ill or have a fall.
In each and every case, failing to act early is worse for the person involved and it costs more for the NHS too.
So the most important principle of 21st century healthcare is that people get the care at the right time, in the right place.
And that is what we will do:
We will end the scandal of neglecting mental health by prioritising investment in young people and ensuring teachers are trained to spot problems early.
We will hire more doctors and by saving resources on privatisation and competition, we will end the scandal of patients having to wait days, even weeks, for a GP appointment.
We will use the resources we raise to hire 5,000 care-workers – a new arm of the NHS – to help elderly people stay healthy at home.
And because we will be putting in place one system of health and social care we will end the scandal of care visits restricted to 15 minutes.
If we are going to build an NHS that meets the challenges of the 21st Century – and sustain funding for it through this century – we cannot leave parents unable get a GP appointment for their sick child, or neglect mental health, or restrict social care visits for some of the most vulnerable to just 15 minutes.
We will end these scandals not just because they have no place in a world-class health service but also because no responsible government can afford to ignore them any longer.
And we can only meet this central challenge of the 21st century to join up these services when we have the right values at the heart of our NHS.
Care, compassion and co-operation.
Not competition, fragmentation and privatisation.
This government believes that by setting hospital against hospital, service against service, a creeping fragmentation and privatisation, that the NHS will get better.
But it’s failed.
If joining up services is the key challenge of 21st century healthcare, then the Tory solution cannot be the answer.
These are the wrong solutions and the wrong values.
These aren’t the values of our National Health Service.
These aren’t the values of this Labour Party.
These aren’t the values of the British people.
And we will put an end to these values when we repeal this government’s terrible Health and Social Care Act.
It is because we are determined to build an NHS fit for the future that we can announce our third election pledge here today.
If we win the general election in May, the next Labour government will:
Build an NHS with the time to care: 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs.
Join up services from home to hospital, guaranteeing GP appointments within 48 hours and cancer tests within one week.
An NHS for our nation’s future.
Better for patients, better for staff, and better for all of us.
Here in Trafford we are just down the road from the first hospital to open as an NHS hospital when the service was founded in July 1948.
The first hospital to offer every citizen the best healthcare, based on need, not ability to pay.
We all have our own memories of the NHS.
The place our children were born; where we got better when we were sick; where our parents and grandparents were cared for when they got old.
But our NHS cannot just simply become a memory.
I believe this truth more than any other: the NHS wasn’t just the right principle for our grandparents’ generation, it is the right principle for our grandchildren’s generation too.
It fell to those after the Second World War to build the NHS.
It fell to Labour in 1997 to save it from years of neglect.
It now falls to us to protect and improve it once again.
To make it a service that can rise to the challenges of the 21st century.
To make it a service of which our children can rightfully be proud.
The future of our NHS is at stake in this general election.
Let’s go out and fight for it.
Let’s go out and rescue it for years to come.
Let’s rebuild our NHS for future generations.
Posted on January 27, 2015 10:29 am by Paul Gleeson
Report by Victims’ Commissioner is a damning indictment of the way victims and witnesses have been let down by David Cameron’s Government
Sadiq Khan MP, Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary, commenting on the report of the Victims’ Commissioner, said:
“This report by the Government appointed Victims’ Commissioner is a damning indictment of the way victims and witnesses have been let down by David Cameron’s Government.
“We cannot go on treating victims as an afterthought or worse still ignoring them altogether. Victims losing confidence in our justice system leads to crimes going unreported and witnesses not providing evidence. If victims give up on reporting matters and helping in prosecutions it could lead to the wheels of our justice system grinding to a halt leaving criminals roaming the streets.
“Only a Labour government will put victims at the heart of the criminal justice system. Labour set up the Victims’ Taskforce to come forward with proposals on how we improve the experience of victims and witnesses. We are clear that more needs to be done, which is why the next Labour government will introduce the country’s first ever Victims’ Law.”
Posted on January 27, 2015 8:44 am by Paul Gleeson
Labour Parliamentary candidate Paul Kenny is delighted that the next Labour government will guarantee a GP appointment within 48 hours
Under the Tories it’s got harder to see a GP – meaning people are having to wait longer and longer. More people are having to wait over 48 hours for an appointment, and over a quarter of the public say they can’t get an appointment in the same week. That’s bad news for families who depend on their local GP service, and it’s also putting huge strain on our A&Es.
The Tories cannot escape their responsibility for this. They made it harder to see your GP, by scrapping Labour’s guarantee of a GP appointment in 48 hours, saying that this was “no longer a priority”. They cut funding for Labour’s GP extended opening hours scheme, and as a result fewer practices are open at evening and weekends.
Now, people are waiting longer and longer for appointments. According to the most recent GP Patient survey, 13 million people can’t get an appointment at their surgery, or had to wait a week or more for an appointment the last time they tried. In a recent survey by the Patients Association, 60 per cent of people said they waited longer than 48 hours to see a GP.
Lack of access to GPs is one of the reasons why we have a crisis in A&E, with the number of patients waiting over four hours at its highest for a decade. The Government’s own review of emergency care highlighted lack of GP access as a key reason for the pressures on A&E.
Labour has a plan to make sure you and your family can see your GP when you need to.
- We will guarantee that you can get a GP appointment within 48 hours – and on the same day for those who need it.
- We will give people the right to book an appointment more than 48 hours ahead with the GP of their choice. This is particularly important for people with complex needs who need continuity of care with the same doctor, but may not want an appointment straight away.
Paul believes only Labour can sort out the problems in the NHS.So
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 January 26, 2015 8:14 am by Paul Gleeson
“This report shows that tax and benefit changes under this government have left households £1,127 a year worse off on average. Families with children have been hit hardest of all by David Cameron’s choices – a clear betrayal of his promise to lead the most family-friendly government ever.
“For all the government’s claims, this report shows that they have raised tax by over £13.5 billion a year. And for millions of working people the rise in VAT and cuts to things like tax credits have more than offset changes to the personal allowance.
“The Tories are now promising to cut tax credits again for millions of working families and refusing to rule out another VAT rise to pay for their unfunded promises. It’s clear working people can’t afford five more years of this government.
“Labour’s economic plan will ensure we earn our way to rising living standard for all and balance the books in a fairer way. We will reverse this government’s £3 billion a year tax cut for the top one per cent of earners and help 24 million working people with a lower 10p starting rate of tax.”
Posted on January 23, 2015 8:21 am by Paul Gleeson
At a lecture for Holocaust Educational Trust this evening, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said:
It’s a pleasure to be here at this annual Lord Merlyn-Rees lecture.
A former Home Secretary – someone who fought in Southern Italy as a Spitfire pilot, who worked many years later to help establish the Holocaust Educational Trust in 1988.
The aim and work of the trust remains to educate young people from every backgrounds about the Holocaust and why it is so important and relevant to us today.
That work is pressing. Especially as already this year the world has been dealt tragedy from the evil of terrorism and prejudice.
WHY WE REMEMBER THE HOLOCAUST
As we approach the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the work of the Holocaust Educational Trust is more important than ever.
For me, visiting Yad Vashem four years ago, it was the personal stories – the diaries, the letters, the voices that had such power.
A letter from Ellie Kulka to her Husband, written in 1944 in Auschwitz
“My darling, On this, the last night of my life, I bid you farewell. ..I am remembering our love, from its beautiful beginning until its cruel end. And our innocent little Otto – why has it been decreed that this rough, ruthless hand should put an end to his short life? I remember my loved ones for the last time. If you are lucky enough to see them again… I wish them all a happier life than our own.”
So many stories from the Yad Vashem archive, that teachers use, that the Holocaust Educational Trust uses for the next generation of young people.
And it stays with us. I remember still the stories I read as a teenager, from the testimonies given to the Frankfurt trials, the story of Lilly Toffler from the trial of Adolf Eichmann.
The stories of unthinkable brutality, and the stories of immeasurable bravery.
The stories that each generation needs to hear, to understand and to remember.
To hear the pain and the strength of those who were killed.
The horror of what human beings were capable of visiting upon each other.
And to remember the darkness that spread across Europe.
The hatred that was allowed to take root.
FIGHTING PREJUDICE TODAY
As the Trust says:
“When we understand where prejudice leads, we can stop it in its tracks.”
And we must do so again in each generation, so we never let those shadows fall again.
12 days ago, in Paris, tragically the world was reminded what prejudice can do.
10 people killed for their cartoons. Targeted for what they said.
Three police officers, killed for doing their duty protecting others. Targeted for the jobs they did.
Four people killed as they shopped for groceries in a Jewish supermarket. Targeted for being Jewish. Targeted for who they were.
The attacks demonstrated the savagery with which terrorists seek to divide us.
The violence that can be wreaked when hatred takes hold
Targeting people for what they say, what they do, and who they are.
Bigotry, prejudice and hatred which we should never let stand in Europe again.
Faiths have united following the attacks, abhorring the anti-semitism and grieving for the victims.
As the brother of the French Muslim police officer killed by the terrorists, Ahmed Merabet, said, “My brother was killed by people who pretend to be Muslims. They are terrorists. That’s it.”
Communities have united – millions marching in Paris, support and solidarity from across the world, across national borders, across generations.
But it isn’t just in the wake of such an awful attack that we need to stand firm against violence, hatred or prejudice – from Islamist extremists and from far right extremists too.
Last week there was a suspected far right racist attack in North Wales against a British Asian man. Last year we saw the brutal killing of Lee Rigby by Islamist extremists and the murder of Mohammed Saleem and attempted bombings of mosques by far right extremist Pavlo Lapshyn.
And we need to be particularly vigilant about anti-semitism.
As the Chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust have said there are many differences between France and Britain in the number and nature of anti-semitic attacks and incidents.
But we still need to do much more in Britain to challenge this ancient prejudice.
The Community Security Trust, an organisation I value greatly and support, recorded 304 anti-semitic incidents across the United Kingdom in the first six months of 2014.
This is an increase of 36 per cent from the 223 anti-semitic incidents recorded in the first six months of 2013.
Last summer we saw anti-semitic attacks connected to foreign policy. That is inexcusable, ugly and poisonous to political debate, and we must all condemn it.
The CST have also received an unprecedented level of calls of concern since the attacks in Paris.
We have seen vile threats and harassment through social media towards prominent British Jews – both from Islamist extremists and from far right extremists.
No one should ever feel unsafe in their town, on their street, in their home. No one should ever feel afraid and under attack because of who they are.
PRACTICAL STEPS NEEDED
That means making sure we have a robust security response to all extremist threats. The Government working with the police and Jewish communities, from neighbourhood policing, through to counter terrorism, and effective intelligence.
It means continuing to support the vital work of Community Security Trust who provide such important intelligence, security expertise and reassurance across the Jewish community. And I met them last week to discuss further support for their work in the future
It means working to tackle Islamophobic attacks, and tackling racism and homophobic hate crimes too.
– Prevention & cohesion
But the most important thing always is to challenge prejudice before it can grow, to fight against all forms of extremism, and sustain the strong cohesive communities that in the end are our greatest security.
We need to ensure that the Prevent programme, as well as tackling violent extremism, is also challenging anti-semitism too.
And we should recognise the changing way abuse and harassment take place today. That means challenging social media companies to take more responsibility to prevent the harassment and hate crimes prosecuted through their sites. Companies like Twitter have still been far too slow to take down or block hate abuse. It’s still too easy even for those convicted of hate crimes to simply set up a new twitter account and start all over again.
The Convention on Human Rights, forged after the horrors of the Second World War and the Holocaust made clear we must protect freedom of expression, freedom of thought, conscience and religion. But we must also protect people’s freedom from hate crimes, discrimination, incitement to racial hatred or violence.
You do not defend your freedom by seeking to destroy another’s. That’s the difference between free speech and hate crime.
We do not want anti-semitism to be viewed as just another part of life that must be tolerated by Jewish communities in the UK, as we know it has in other countries.
WHY TONIGHT’S LECTURE IS SO IMPORTANT
And it is because we must be ever vigilant against prejudice and hatred that it is even more important we remember and reflect on our history.
For present and future generations to live in a more peaceful and safer world than then and now. To show people where anger and prejudice lead.
The Holocaust shows us that true horror is not unthinkable. It is a tragedy we still seek to fully comprehend.
It’s why Professor Christopher Browning’s work, renowned for its scope and significance, is important.
And it’s why I am a huge supporter of the Holocaust Educational Trust – who preserve the memory and ensure future generations from all walks of life and from across the UK not only know about the past but are determined to remember.
Remembering the Holocaust – and the crimes against humanity committed by the Nazis – is to recommit to our common humanity and common bonds.
It is to remember the evil so we can live in peace and safety.
It is to remember that this has been and that was not humanity.
Ellie Kulka’s letter said:
“I wish them all a happier life than our own.”
It is up to us to ensure the memory of those who died spurs us on to a world where we never live in fear, where we never live in a world of intolerance.
Posted on January 22, 2015 9:12 am by Paul Gleeson
A couple of weeks ago we put forward the suggestion that Boston should follow the lead of other councils and introduce a grading system for our taxis. This would both enable consumers to have informed choice, but also taxi firms to be able to advertise the quality of their service. Yet again the Conservative ruling group on the council failed to understand the proposal, were not prepared to do anything and went to the press with their Boston’s alright as it is answer. They also falsely claimed that our proposal was an attack on our taxi firms. Here is our reply to that letter.
“Boston Labour Councillors have seen the letter in your paper this week where the leader of the council defends the authority’s taxi licencing rules.
If the leader of Boston Borough Council had actually taken the time to read our article properly and done some research into what Birmingham City Council was proposing within their new rating scheme, he would have understood what they are proposing is to give taxi customers a rating scheme that clearly shows them the standard of the taxi they wish to use.
Let me give an example. Boston Borough Council already give our food establishments a rating from 1 to 5 stars for food hygiene standards, where people going into those establishments can make a judgement whether they use those premises and purchase food. This scheme has been successfully developed and has improved the quality of service in Boston. What we were proposing was a similar scheme for taxi drivers and their companies from licenced, bronze, silver, gold and platinum rating, which would then give taxi customers a good indication of the standard of taxi they were choosing to use. We have not said that the councils licencing department is poor or that the taxi drivers or their companies provide people with poor services.
But we do believe that in the same way we give people choosing to eat in a restaurant a guidance of the quality of the food hygiene in that restaurant, it is not unreasonable that people should be able to see the standard of taxi drivers and their companies. This is good practice and we believe that it would enhance the reputation of Boston’s taxi drivers and companies and would make Boston a leader in delivering real choice and quality services to the people of Boston. For far too long Boston has been following other authorities rather than leading by example. It is time to be community leaders.”
Posted on January 21, 2015 8:44 am by Paul Gleeson
Nigel Farage has confirmed a vote for UKIP is a vote for the privatisation of the NHS – Andy Burnham
“Nigel Farage has confirmed that a vote for UKIP is a vote for the privatisation of the NHS and for a full American healthcare system.
“Farage admits he says one thing in public about the NHS but another behind closed doors. He has shown UKIP’s statements on protecting the NHS to be hollow.
“UKIP claim to stand up for working people, but in reality they are more Tory than the Tories. Farage will never be able to distance himself from his real views. He should be honest with the public
Posted on January 20, 2015 8:34 am by Paul Gleeson
Tory Ministers have been criticised by the UK spending watchdog for failing to deport more foreign criminals. The National Audit Office said the number of foreign prisoners had gone up despite a near tenfold increase in officials working on their cases. There are 12,250 foreign offenders in the UK and the government spent £850m last year on managing them.
The NAO’s report found that as of March 2014 performance was broadly unchanged. Officials estimate that between May 2010 and March 2014, 151 Foreign National Offenders (FNO) left prison without being considered for deportation. One in six FNOs in the community – 760 convicted criminals – had absconded.
Auditors analysed almost 1,500 failed removals and found that a third might have been avoided had there been fewer administrative errors and better co-ordination between different parts of government. Only one in every 25 files sent to the Home Office to start the process for removal had the right identity documents.
The Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Boston & Skegness, Paul Kenny, said the prime minister had failed to deliver on his personal commitment to deport more FNOs and that this report shows the Home Office is simply not doing enough to crack down on removing foreign prisoners which would save the taxpayer £70m each year. The last Labour government made this a priority and increased the number of foreign prisoners removed. How can it be that after five years in office the Tory government is deporting fewer people than in 2010?
So 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 January 19, 2015 8:24 am by Paul Gleeson