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This is a staged row between Government Ministers who each want to blame the other for things that are going wrong on immigration- Hanson
“This is a staged row between Government Ministers who each want to blame the other for things that are going wrong on immigration, yet neither of them have the answers to make immigration work for Britain.
“Both the Tories and the Liberal Democrats know their immigration policies are failing to convince anyone, so they are staging a row to blame each other and differentiate before the election. The public deserve better than this. We need a calm, rational and balanced debate on immigration with real answers to the problems we face, not a contrived political row that is more about internal Coalition management than doing what is best for the country.”
Posted on March 7, 2014 9:11 am by Paul Gleeson
Age UK’s devastating report shows the true scale of the care crisis unfolding under this government – Liz Kendall
“Age UK’s devastating report shows the true scale of the care crisis unfolding under this government.
“Fewer elderly people are receiving vital services that help them get up, washed, dressed and fed. Families are struggling to cope with looking after their relatives, and are also seeing their own health suffer. This isn’t good for them, and it’s a false economy as more frail elderly people are ending up in hospital or residential care when they don’t need to.
“The failure to provide decent care and support for elderly people is simply unacceptable in the 21st century in one of the richest countries in the world.
“We need a far bigger and bolder response. Labour’s plans to integrate NHS and social care, and the recommendations of Sir John Oldham’s Commission on Whole Person Care, show the real reforms we need to ensure all elderly people get decent care and support.”
Posted on March 6, 2014 10:16 am by Paul Gleeson
Boston Labour Councillors were interested to read recently that the number of shops permitted to sell alcohol in York city centre is to be restricted from next year. The Safer York Partnership said new applications would be turned down as part of its attempts to reduce anti-social behaviour caused by drinking. Restrictions on the number of licensed premises such as pubs and bars are already in place. A final figure on the number of shops allowed has not yet been set. The partnership said irresponsible drinking was a serious concern in the city centre. It said it was keen to try and reduce the number of people drinking alcohol before going out for the night.
The partnership said: “A lot of the problems we are having with anti-social behaviour linked to alcohol stems from people buying cheap alcohol at small supermarkets and off-licences and trying to consume it in pubs and clubs or on the streets. We are never going to be able to stop people drinking, but what we can do is work through licensing policy to try and make it a bit more difficult for people to get hold of alcohol.”
Other restrictions could include limits on the hours shops can sell alcohol and on the sale of high-strength alcohol. The city’s council is already undertaking a review of York’s night-time economy and issues surrounding excessive drinking. It is also consulting on the introduction of a late-night levy on licensed premises.
Boston Labour Councillors believe that we could learn something from authorities such as York. We know that local communities in Boston wish to see this implemented as well, so we would urge all councillors on Boston Borough Council to support this important decision.
Posted on March 5, 2014 9:26 am by Paul Gleeson
Ed Miliband article ahead of publication of Sir John Oldham’s report for the Independent Commission on Whole-Person Care
The creation of our NHS is Labour’s proudest achievement. The party I lead will always cherish and protect the values – care, compassion, co-operation – which have been at the heart of 66 years’ service to Britain.
Our task is to ensure the NHS works as well as for the next generation as it has for the last by recognising the challenges of the 21st Century are very different from those of 1948.
If the priority after World War Two was fighting infectious diseases like tuberculosis and diphtheria, now 70% of all health and care spending is on treating long term conditions like cancer, heart disease or dementia, while large numbers of patients have multiple needs.
But our health and care services have not yet adjusted to this new reality.
Too often, no-one is looking out for the mental health of a patient when depression can make their physical condition worse.
Too many older people are stuck in hospital wanting to go home but unable to do so because the help is not there for them.
Too much money is wasted because our health and care services are fragmented and focus solely on one part of the body – a broken leg or high blood pressure – rather than on the person as a whole.
Today, a blueprint to bring the system into the 21st Century is being published by the Independent Commission on Whole-Person Care. It makes detailed recommendations to organise services around the needs of people, instead of organising people around the needs of services.
Sir John Oldham’s report, commissioned by Labour last year, recognises that such a re-shaping services does not require some heavy-handed top-down re-organisation like that of this government which spent £3 billion attempting to impose a free-market ideology on our NHS.
Instead, the report shows how we can work with the grain of the NHS to bring together local budgets and commissioners, as well as giving patients more say over the care they get.
It is part of my vision for people-powered public services. These will be based neither on old-style central control where users as treated as passive recipients – nor a market-based individualism which assumes we can transplant the principles of the private sector lock, stock and barrel into our NHS.
Indeed, the challenges of today demand we put more power in the hands of patients. And, far from using up scarce resources, these changes are essential if the NHS is to survive and improve in an era of tough fiscal restraint.
The Oldham Report sets out proposals to provide better care for millions of older people and others with complex needs who would benefit from a single care team – doctors, nurses, therapists – working together to support them.
They would not only be given their own individual care plan – designed by them and shaped around their needs – but also a personal care coordinator who is on their side and watching their back at the most vulnerable times in their lives.
Labour believes people should be given more power to help themselves because most care is not delivered by professionals but by patients and their families.
Our policy review is looking at how we can implement Sir John’s proposals to offer better advice to help patients manage their condition, help them link up with others with similar conditions, and do more to support carers.
Bringing together health and care services will also help spot problems early. Last year more than half a million pensioners had an emergency admission that could have been avoided if they had received better care outside hospital.
This is an indictment of the false economies made by the Government’s undermining of community services. The guarantee of a GP appointment within 48 hours has been scrapped and hundreds of thousands of elderly and disabled people no longer get the care and support they need.
But it also shows why we need to give greater priority to prevention. When an older person falls and suffers a fracture it causes pain, distress and loss of confidence. It also costs the NHS £2 billion a year. It would be better to pay £50 installing a grab rail in someone’s home rather than £14,000 treating someone with a broken hip.
Labour’s approach would mean vulnerable older people are asked if they need such help – before they end up in hospital. This will save the taxpayer money, make life safer for older people and provide more peace of mind for their families too.
It is through such sensible, practical measures that we will work to integrate mental and physical health with social care.
I believe that is crucial for people’s dignity, to prevent our NHS being overwhelmed by spiralling costs, and to help it meet the challenges of the 21st Century.
Posted on March 4, 2014 8:26 am by Paul Gleeson
Social tenants face exclusion from a national programme of affordable flood insurance, despite calls for an amendment to legislation passing through parliament. The Water Bill, presently in the House of Lords, will introduce ‘Flood Re’ – a government-backed insurance pooling scheme for high-risk properties – in summer 2015.
Property industry leaders called for an amendment, after industry bodies warned social homes will not be eligible for protection under the present drafting of the bill.No relevant amendments were tabled at the second reading of the bill in the House of Lords, despite the calls from the British Property Federation, the Residential Landlords Association and the Council of Mortgage Lenders to do so.
Boston Labour Councillors are concerned that tenants living in the social housing sector are being ignored within this new legislation. This is extremely disappointing as we know in Boston lots of people did not have contents insurance, and will now find it even harder to get affordable insurance in the future. This is just another case of how this government is out of touch with real people and especially low income families living in social housing in high flood risk areas
Posted on March 3, 2014 8:37 am by Paul Gleeson
Net Migration now more than twice David Cameron’s promised target – Government immigration policy in tatters- CooperYvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, responding to today’s net migration figures said:
“These figures show the Government’s net migration target is in tatters, and their immigration policy is a mess.
“David Cameron promised, “no ifs, no buts” to cut net migration to the tens of thousands, yet these figures show net migration has gone up and is now more than twice that figure.
“Only five months ago, Theresa May said that the Government had been “so successful” they should “get out there and shout about it.” There will be no shouting from Ministers today.
“David Cameron and Theresa May chose this target despite being warned that it would be counterproductive as it includes students who contribute to Britain but doesn’t include illegal immigration which is very damaging. These figures show the number of students is falling, while evidence shows illegal immigration is getting worse. And now they are even failing against their chosen net migration target too.
“This gap between promises and delivery, and between rhetoric and reality further undermines trust in the Government’s immigration policy.
“The figures also show EU migration is increasing on the day David Cameron has promised his backbenchers he will win big concessions from Angela Merkel. At the same time Theresa May’s Immigration Bill turned into a car crash, with major back bench rebellions. And they have no plan to tackle exploitation or make immigration fairer for all.
“Theresa May was foolish to boast just five months ago that her immigration policy was “so successful.” It’s now clear it is a complete mess.”
Posted on February 28, 2014 8:15 am by Paul Gleeson
Three years after the last big “bust up” over threatened cuts to discretionary rates relief, it is now back on the agenda. Interestingly the conservative group on Boston Borough Council who argued to be the champions of the voluntary sector in 2011 are now the same people who are proposing to make a 25% cut across the board to all voluntary groups within Boston.
You might ask yourselves why they are doing this amazing U-turn? They are telling you they are doing it because they believe in fairness. If that is the case, why has the Prime Minister who is the leader of their party decided to rightly ring fence overseas aid? Maybe the conservative group on Boston Borough Council should ask themselves how important the voluntary sector is to Boston, and if they understood the voluntary sector they would then ring fence the voluntary sector from any cuts. Do they not realise that every £1 that is spent on the voluntary sector is worth £10, so we should be supporting the voluntary sector and not damaging it. Boston has always relied on the goodwill of lots of voluntary groups within the different sectors such as community and sporting groups who are the backbone of our society and are so valuable to the long term success of Boston. We believe this is a retrograde step and we will not be supporting this proposal.
Posted on February 27, 2014 8:20 am by Paul Gleeson
“Iain Duncan Smith’s denial over the extent of his Bedroom Tax loophole blunder is astonishing.
“Today he continued to insist to MPs that 5,000 people have been affected by the loophole. Yet the latest figures from a Freedom of Information request show that 194 out of 378 councils have said 21,523 people are affected, including 4,198 from Conservative-run authorities.
“While Iain Duncan Smith buries his head in the sand, his Bedroom Tax loophole threatens to cost taxpayers millions of pounds.”
A full spreadsheet of Bedroom Tax loophole Freedom of Information requests can be found here:
Posted on February 24, 2014 5:57 pm by Paul Gleeson
Boston Labour Councillors read with interest recently a report by a United Nations inspector, which calls for the bedroom tax to be scrapped. The UN’s special rapporteur for housing issued a final report recently calling for the ‘spare room subsidy’ to be suspended immediately. In a wide-ranging report it also called for the extension of grant to provide more social housing, the release of public land, build-or-lose measures to target landbanks and increased private rented sector regulation.
The report said that states have a responsibility to ensure resources are distributed fairly, consistently and in a manner that protects the most vulnerable, even in times of austerity. The special rapporteur regretted that some policies and practices which have resulted in the progressive realisation of the right to adequate housing are being eroded, and that the structural shape of the housing sector had changed to the detriment of the most vulnerable. In particular, the removal of the spare room subsidy should be suspended immediately and be fully re-evaluated in light of the evidence of its negative impact on the right to adequate housing and general well-being of many vulnerable individuals and households. It also called for more to be done to protect Gypsy and Traveller communities from stigma and discrimination.
We have also believed that the bedroom tax was flawed and we are pleased that this report supports our original beliefs.
Posted on February 24, 2014 8:32 am by Paul Gleeson
“Now it turns out that he’s only going to give those councils enough money to pay for a council tax exemption of about three months, even though ministers have just been told by insurers that it could take an average of six to nine months for flooded homes to be repaired, and in some cases even longer.
“So what’s going to happen to these families’ council tax bills once the three months of funding on offer has run out? This is a complete shambles.
“The Prime Minister made a promise yesterday. Now he must keep it by saying that he will fully fund an exemption from council tax for as long as it takes for the families affected.”
Posted on February 21, 2014 8:38 am by Paul Gleeson