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We are aware that there has been major pressures this winter in the Pilgrim Hospital, but what really saddens us is a group of elderly very vulnerable patients on ward 8A, which was the ward that catered for a specialist group of patients with dementia and related mental health problems, were moved to Grantham to make space for the “overspill” of patients due to the pressure on other wards. We are personally disappointed that somebody made this decision. It just seems that continuity of stay and care is so important to people with these kinds of medical conditions. We think it was ill conceived and not properly thought out, knowing that the patients themselves were not able to complain about being moved. We suspect nobody from the hospital facility will bat an eye lid to this letter, but this shows the kind of inappropriate decision making that is taking place since the top down reorganisation of the health service made by this Conservative led government. The quicker we change to a model which brings social care and the NHS together can’t come quick enough. It is time to put patients at the fore front of our decision making and not inappropriate decision making based on saving pennies.
Posted on March 25, 2015 8:49 am by Paul Gleeson
Which tax hits the pensioners and the poorest hardest? VAT. Guess which tax the Tories are planning to raise…
Posted on March 24, 2015 9:25 pm by Paul Gleeson
Labour marks 10th anniversary of the hunting ban with a commitment to protect animals
The following links to ‘Labour: Protecting Animals’ which sets out the party’s election promise to champion animal welfare:
Maria Eagle launched the document and in a speech marking 10 years since the ban on fox hunting came into force, she highlighted Labour’s proud record of achievement on animal welfare and set out six key commitments to protect animals in the next parliament:
- Defending the Hunting Act which the Tories plan to repeal
- Banning the cruel practice of wild animals in circuses
- Ending the Government’s ineffective and inhumane badger culls
- Improving the welfare of dogs and cats by reviewing ineffective regulation of their breeding and sale
- Tackling wildlife crime and reducing animal cruelty on shooting estates
- Leading the fight against global animal cruelty
I hope that after reading our values laid out in Labours animal protection pledges you have no doubt who you should vote for on May 7th, if you think animals in our society are important.
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 March 23, 2015 9:05 am by Paul Gleeson
Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, responding to the Budget Statement, said:
Mr Deputy Speaker, never has the gap between the Chancellor’s rhetoric and the reality of people’s lives been greater than it was today.
This is a Budget people won’t believe from a government that’s not on their side.
Because of their record.
Because of their instincts.
Because of their plans for the future.
And because of a Budget, most extraordinarily, that had no mention of investment in our National Health Service and our vital public services.
It is a budget people won’t believe from a government they don’t trust and this chancellor has failed the working families of Britain.
For the first time since the 1920s people are earning less at the end of a government than they were at the beginning.
People are £1,600 a year worse off.
The next generation has seen wages plummet and tuition fees treble.
They’ve built fewer homes than at any time for nearly a hundred
And it’s certainly not a truly national recovery when there are more zero hours contracts than the population of Glasgow, Leeds and Cardiff combined.
That is the reality of the lives of working people
These are the inconvenient truths of his record.
It’s a recovery for the few.
From a government of the few.
He chose to make a number of references to me today.
But let me tell him, no-one’s going to take lectures on fairness from the Trust Fund Chancellor and Bullingdon Prime Minister.
And not for the first time this is a Budget from this Chancellor that simply won’t be believed.
We support a change on the personal allowance.
But on tax he gives with one hand and takes far more away with the other.
Nobody believes this Chancellor when he says he is going to cut their taxes.
Because that’s not what’s happened.
Not only are wages down by £1,600, but taxes are up.
24 tax rises.
Families worse off as a result of his measures on average by £1,127 a year.
The equivalent of 8p on the basic rate of income tax.
That is the reality behind the Budget that can’t be believed.
And everyone knows what’s coming if they were to get back in: another VAT rise.
The tax the Tories love to raise.
In the finest Tory tradition, deny it before an election and jack it up afterwards.
On living standards, which the Chancellor made much of in his speech, he knows that on the official measure people are clearly worse off under him.
So he had a bright idea.
To invent a new measure of living standards.
But people don’t need a new measure which pretends they are better off.
They need a new government to make them better off.
This is the reality behind the Budget that can’t be believed.
What about low pay?
The Chancellor poses today as the friend of the low paid. You couldn’t make it up.
I’m bound to ask, whatever did happen to the promise of a £7 minimum wage this year? The Chancellor made much of it 18 months ago.
He was going to have a £7 minimum wage and he has broken that promise, and the idea of the Chancellor of the Exchequer boasting about a 20p rise in the minimum wage expecting low paid workers to be grateful.
That is the reality behind a budget that cannot be believed.
Of course he doesn’t just now claim to be a friend of the low paid, he claims to be a friend of the North.
On the specifics we are pleased he has adopted our policy of 100 per cent business rates, councils being able to keep it.
But I’ve got to ask: why doesn’t he do it for every council right across the country, why is he just doing one?
Ah – “He’s done two” says the Chief Secretary, helpfully there.
Isn’t it great – the Liberal Democrats locked in the boot of the Conservative Party!
Let’s talk about what he has done to the North of England, let’s really test him out on whether he is a friend of the North.
75 per cent bigger cuts to local government budgets in the North than the rest of the country.
In the North West 400,000 working families have seen their tax credits cut. That is more than any other region.
In the North East he is spending £1 on transport for every £25 he spends in London.
Now he’s spent time in his praising Northern councils.
Let’s see what the Northern Councils have to say about him…
This is what the Leader of Leeds has said. The Chancellor “fails to deliver the devolution we need. This government is no friend of the north.”
Joe Anderson, the Mayor of Liverpool, says that the Chancellor has “bludgeoned Liverpool. We’ve had 58 per cent of our funding taken away. Even Dick Turpin had the decency to wear a mask when he robbed people.”
For the interest of balance, I would have liked to have quoted a Conservative leader of a Northern city.
But there aren’t any.
And with these two in charge, there never will be either.
On tax avoidance, the gap between what is owed and what is collected is up not down.
And no wonder.
He hasn’t acted on tax havens despite the Prime Minister’s promises.
He didn’t act on HSBC – in fact he appointed the Chairman as a Minister.
He can’t act on hedge funds, when stamp duty avoidance is costing well over £1 billion a year.
He can’t act because they bankroll the Tory party.
He can’t act because they own him, lock, stock and barrel.
And the Conservative Party is the political wing of the tax avoidance industry.
And, of course, the biggest sleight of hand is on the deficit.
I think the Chancellor was doing a bit of rewriting of history today.
Five years ago, the Prime Minister said:
“We will balance the books in five years”
No ifs, no buts, no maybes – just like the immigration pledge.
Now today the Chancellor comes along to boast that he has halved the deficit.
But that is not what the Prime Minster used to say about halving the deficit.
He said it would be ‘completely inadequate’.
So let me get this straight. It has gone from ‘completely inadequate’ to a great triumph.
I don’t think that is going to wash with people.
The only thing long-term about his plan is it will take nearly twice as long to balance the books.
And it can’t be believed, Mr Deputy Speaker, because we’ve heard it all before.
Five years of promising a recovery for all.
Five years of delivering a recovery for the few.
And now he asks us to believe it all over again.
And the most unbelievable thing of all is their claim: we are “all in it together.”
Yes to the bedroom tax, no to the mansion tax.
Food banks on the rise, bank bonuses in their billions.
Taxes up for working families, taxes cut for millionaires.
The best thing you can say about the Chancellor and the Prime Minister is that when the removal van turns up, they really will be in it together.
His failure on living standards, on tax, on the deficit are all linked.
It is because our economy is too unproductive, too unbalanced and too insecure.
There are some things he didn’t mention.
Our productivity gap with the rest of the G7 is now the worst for quarter of a century on his watch.
The rebalancing he has promised hasn’t happened.
The Chancellor’s target for exports is set to be missed by over £300 billion.
And on this Budget’s growth figures he has overseen the slowest recovery for over 100 years.
That is the reality behind the Budget that can’t be believed.
For all the window dressing today, they can’t tackle insecurity at work because they think that’s how we compete.
They can’t make work pay, because they believe low pay is the way we succeed.
They can’t build an economy for working families, because they think wealth flows from the top.
Not for the first time the Chairman of the Conservative Party perfectly summed up Tory philosophy.
In his celebrated handbook ‘Stinking Rich 3’.
I’m not sure what happened to Stinking Rich 1 and 2.
Now the Chancellor announced a number of measures on savings, and I think it is very, very important that we look at the detail of these changes.
We do want people to have more flexibility, including on annuities.
I do say to the Chancellor he talked about advice in the annuity market, it is incredibly important that advice happens quickly because we have got rip-off merchants ready to pounce.
This is a very serious issue because we know it has happened before, it happened in the 1980s, a dreadful mis-selling scandal and the Chancellor needs to get proper regulation in place on these issues.
But we will look at the changes that he has talked about.
The glaring omission from this Budget statement was the National Health Service and public spending.
It was a completely extraordinary omission.
Where was that discussion of the National Health Service and investment in public services?
I think it is time we looked at the reality of this government’s spending plans.
Because this is the budget that can’t be believed, and he doesn’t want you to know it but he had an extreme spending plan yesterday.
And he has an extreme plan today.
He didn’t say it in his statement, but he can’t hide what is in his red book.
It is here in the red book in black and white on page 69.
It shows his plan for extreme cuts in the next parliament.
Table 2.4 of the red book shows he is trying to hide big cuts between 2015/16 and 2018.
So let me tell the House what the Chancellor tried to hide.
His plan offers at least as many cuts in the next parliament as this one and actually the pace of cuts in the next few years is faster than the cuts in the last few years.
So here’s the thing, and I think it is very important the country knows this.
He came along today to try and suggest that the pain was over. But if they get back, it isn’t.
Their failure on the deficit means they are planning massive cuts in the next parliament – billions of pounds of cuts in the next parliament.
And you might ask what is the evidence for it? There is a lot of evidence.
Let’s start with what the Prime Minister said in his education speech.
The Prime Minister came along in his education speech and he said they were going to cut the early years, they were going to cut schools, they were going to cut colleges.
Cuts in education spending: short-changing education today means we cannot build a recovery for all tomorrow.
It is most worrying of all on the National Health Service.
Because of these huge cuts they’ve announced – and the Members opposite will have to go and justify this to their constituents – because of the massive cuts they’ve announced, it means there will be colossal cuts planned and I emphasise planned in defence, in policing, in local government.
But they won’t be able to deliver those cuts so they will end up cutting the National Health Service.
That is the secret plan that dare not speak its name today. You can tell they are really worried about it.
And the Chancellor didn’t tell us that his plan also continues massive cuts to social care.
We’re already seen hundreds of thousands fewer elderly people being cared for.
And what is the lesson? That if you devastate social care, you betray the elderly and you pile unsustainable pressure on our NHS.
And these two come along promising more of the same.
That’s why you can’t trust the Tories with the NHS.
We won’t sit by while people are on zero-hours contracts month after month, year after year.
We will legislate for a new principle that if you do regular hours you get a regular contract.
A Labour Government will make hard work pay again.
He talked about the minimum wage in his statement.
Let’s talk about what has happened on the minimum wage.
The minimum wage has gone up by just 70p in this parliament.
A Labour government will raise it by more than double that to a minimum wage of more than £8 an hour.
We will have a real industrial policy.
The Chancellor has been a particularly malign influence in this government on climate change.
The Prime Minister used to claim that he believed in climate change.
It is extraordinary, even by his standards, to put a wind turbine on your roof and then want a moratorium on wind turbines.
I know he is a stranger to consistency but even by his standards that is going some.
We will end the dabbling with climate change denial and have a proper Green Investment Bank.
And yes a Labour government will support the young, not make them pay the price of hard times.
We will ensure that every major government contract will guarantee apprenticeships and yes, we will cut tuition fees to £6,000 to reduce the burden of debt on young people.
And let the Deputy Prime Minster defend his broken promises on the doorstep.
And all of this will be underpinned by a balanced plan that cuts the deficit every year, protects education and health and has fairer taxes.
And I do believe in a progressive tax system:
Reversing his millionaires’ tax cut.
And abolishing the vindictive unfair Bedroom Tax.
That’s a Labour Budget.
From a Labour government that knows Britain only succeeds when working families succeed.
Now we know the choice at this election.
We’ve seen five years of falling living standards, young people paying the price of hard times and an NHS going backwards.
This Budget didn’t solve the problems facing working families.
It confirmed them.
Britain needs a better plan.
A plan for working families.
Britain needs a Labour government.
Posted on March 19, 2015 9:56 am by Paul Gleeson
Chuka Umunna comment on the government’s response to the Low Pay Commission’s National Minimum Wage recommendations
“This 20p rise falls far short of the £7 minimum wage which George Osborne promised over a year ago. Ministers have misled working families who have been left worse off. Where under David Cameron we’ve seen the value of the minimum wage eroded, we need a recovery for working people.
“Only Labour has set a more ambitious target for the minimum wage which would see a rise to £8 by 2020, restoring the link between hard work and pay. We would also act to ensure the National Minimum Wage is properly enforced where a Tory-led government has failed to get to grips with non-payment. Currently 15 per cent of apprentices are not being paid the legal minimum, rising to almost a quarter for 16-18 year olds.
“But the Tories have opposed our plans for better enforcement and an £8 minimum wage at every turn.”
Posted on March 17, 2015 10:04 am by Paul Gleeson
Paul Kenny, Labours Parliamentary Candidate for Boston and Skegness welcomes the Labour Party’s plans to improve support for England’s 5.4 million unpaid family carers. This will have a real impact on people living in Boston and Skegness who care for others.
The package of measures includes:
A new duty on the NHS to identify family carers, so they can get the right help and support, and a new right for carers to ask for an annual health check – allowing problems to be identified earlier and prevent costs escalating.
A single point of contact with care services for families caring for people with the greatest needs, so they don’t have to battle different parts of the system.
Ensuring the funding currently identified for carers’ breaks is properly ring-fenced, to make sure all the money goes to family carers.
Consulting with employers, trade unions and carers organisations on how to improve flexible working for family carers, which could include measures such as a new period of ‘adjustment leave’ to help families cope with a short-term crisis.
Recognising the transport costs facing family carers, by including family carers in the groups who can be eligible for hospital car parking concessions.
Abolishing the bedroom tax – which hits 60,000 carers and penalises them for the extra facilities they need.
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 March 16, 2015 8:58 am by Paul Gleeson
Further details here http://www.labour.org.uk/pledges
Posted on March 14, 2015 1:28 pm by Paul Gleeson
It is great to be in Birmingham.
And I want to thank our amazing speakers for their introductions:
Jermain Jackman, David and Carrie Grant and Shaun Dooley.
And let’s hear it for Elaine Hook, Norman Pickavance, Simon Franks, Wendy Grace and Leaf Petrides.
And, of course, it is great to be here with the most fantastic campaigner for justice, for fairness, for equality and for our NHS:
Harry Lesley Smith.
And I would like to thank all of you too for being with us here today.
We’re almost at the general election.
54 days until we sweep away this rotten government and elect a Labour government.
Today we launch our pledge card for the general election.
Today we set out how we can replace a failing, tired, government for the few.
With a government that is truly for all the working people of Britain.
I want to tell you today the different way our country will be run if I am Prime Minister.
Because the choice at this election is not simply between parties and leaders.
But different visions of our country.
Different visions of how we succeed.
Different visions of how we live together.
Different visions of the kind of country we can be.
We say that a country where only the rich and powerful are better off is a country that is failing.
We say: Britain only succeeds when working people succeed.
We say: Britain can do better than this.
So what kind of country do I want us to build together?
Let me spell it out to you today.
We will never put up with a country where people find themselves working all the hours God sends and still can’t afford to pay the bills.
The Britain I believe in is one where hard work is rewarded whoever you are, whatever job you do.
We will never put up with a country built on insecurity, where the text message at 6 a.m. is when you find out if you have work that day.
Because the Britain I believe in is one where security for working people is the bedrock of a successful economy and a decent society.
We will never put up with a country not fit for the young, built on rising debt and falling opportunity.
Because the Britain I believe in is one where we restore the promise of Britain and the next generation does better than the last.
We will never put up with a country where public services disintegrate on a failed ideology that says we should cut government back to the bone.
Because the Britain I believe in has decent public services as the rock on which we all stand.
We will never put up with a country where we cut ourselves off from the rest of the world.
Because the Britain I believe in is outward looking, engaged in Europe, and doing our duty to the world.
We will never put up with a country where power is hoarded in Westminster, with people deprived of the chance to shape their own lives.
Because the Britain I believe in is one where we seek power, in order to give it away.
And most of all, we will never put up with a country founded on rising inequality: the richest pulling away and working people worse off year after year.
Because the Britain I believe in is one where we prosper together and are not driven apart.
This is my mission.
This is the Britain I believe in.
This is the country we must build together.
So I believe that it is only when working people succeed that Britain’s succeeds.
Let me explain what I mean.
Because it is an idea that goes to the heart of the country I want us to build.
We’re different from the Tories.
Not just because we offer different management or different faces.
But because we believe in something different.
We believe our fates are intertwined as a nation.
The success of all of us is built on the success of each of us.
This is so far from where we are as a country right now.
A low wage, low skill economy means there are so many families who work hard but can’t make ends meet.
That’s not just bad for them.
It is bad for all of us.
It means we are all spending more subsidising low pay.
It means we’re less productive as a nation and all of us lose out.
So turning that round isn’t just right for those workers, it is right for all of us.
In the same way, young people being left without opportunity is a tragedy for them but it is also a disaster for our country.
Think of the engineers not trained, the entrepreneurs not nurtured, the nurses and teachers not there to heal the sick and teach the young.
We have to turn this round and give opportunity to all of our young people.
It is right for them and it is right for all of us.
And just as important, when small and medium sized businesses are stifled by banks that don’t serve them and business rates that hold them back, it doesn’t just harm those businesses, it hurts us all.
We have to turn this round and give the best chance to all our businesses.
It’s right for them, and right for all of us.
It’s not just that we judge Britain’s success by the success of working people.
It is that we understand that it is only by working people succeeding that can we succeed as a country.
A plan for working families not just to make us more fair, but more prosperous too.
This is an idea embodied in each of our pledges.
Written through each like a stick of rock.
On the deficit.
On living standards.
On the NHS.
On the future of young people.
It starts with the economy.
Our first pledge is to build a strong economic foundation.
We will cut the deficit every year.
Balancing the books as soon as possible in the next Parliament.
And the insight at the heart of our plan is that we can’t succeed in cutting the deficit if working people don’t succeed.
That is the lesson of the last five years.
That is the lesson of a government that has broken its promises on the deficit.
They’ve made the cuts but they haven’t cut the deficit as they promised.
Because an economy with falling living standards, people working harder for longer for less, is an economy where the tax revenue isn’t coming in and the deficit isn’t going away.
That’s why our deficit plan is built on the foundation of an economy that works for working people.
We will make common sense spending reductions, with departmental budgets falling outside protected areas.
But we will protect key areas like education and health.
And we will have tax changes based on the principle that those with the broadest shoulders bear the greatest burden.
Reversing David Cameron’s millionaires’ tax cut because we will never let working people pay the price of hard times.
Our second pledge is higher living standards for working families.
For my government, there is no more important test for whether our country works for working people than the living standards of working people.
Our economy is at last growing again.
But that vital link between the wealth of our nation as a whole and working people has been broken.
For me, that is the test of economic success.
This government really thinks that economic growth is generated somewhere else, at the top, and that all we have to do is wait for it to trickle down to everyday families.
We have a different view.
So we will write the next chapter in the fight to abolish poverty pay.
The minimum wage has gone up by just 70 pence in the last five years.
With a Labour government, it will increase by at least twice as much.
To over £8 an hour.
We will put an end to the exploitation of zero hours contracts.
Legislating for a new principle: if you work regular hours you get a regular contract.
That should be a basic principle of a modern, decent economy.
We will help Mums and Dads balance work and family life with 25 hours free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds.
And we will stand up to the big energy companies.
The costs of energy have come tumbling down by 20 per cent because of global changes in oil and gas supply.
But the sky-high prices that families pay have only fallen by a fraction of that.
What better evidence do we need of the chronic over-charging, the broken market and the rip-offs being faced by millions of families and businesses across Britain?
Even David Cameron and George Osborne admit this is a problem.
But they won’t act and the whole country knows why.
It’s because they will never stand up to powerful interests and they never stand up for you.
My government will be different.
We will go ahead with our price freeze so prices can only fall and cannot rise.
We will reset this broken energy market.
And we will go still further.
We will pass a law giving the regulator a legal duty to ensure fair prices.
We will pass a law to ensure that falling costs are passed on to the consumer in lower energy prices this winter.
Our third pledge is focused on the bedrock of security for working families, our National Health Service.
We all remember the promises David Cameron made on the NHS.
The airbrushed posters.
No top down reorganisation.
No going back to the days where you had to wait hours in A&E.
We will hold him to account for his broken promises on the National Health Service.
We need to rescue the NHS from this Government and we will.
With 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more doctors, 5,000 more care workers, and 3,000 more midwives.
Paid for by a mansion tax on properties worth over £2 million to support our time to care fund.
And by closing tax loopholes exploited by hedge funds that this Tory government will never stand up to.
That’s the way to ensure that those who look after us have time to care and aren’t rushed off their feet.
We will make sure people can see a GP within 48 hours.
That cancer test results come back within a week.
And we will build a world leading physical health, mental health and social care service.
Joining up services from home to hospital.
The creation of the NHS is the proudest achievement of this party.
The rescue of the NHS will be the proudest achievement of the next Labour government.
Our fourth pledge is on immigration.
Our guiding mission is the interests of working people.
Which is why we need controls on immigration.
Rules in place so that entitlements are earned and wages are not undercut.
People will have to wait for at least two years until they can claim benefits.
And we will call time on employers who don’t pay the minimum wage, gangmasters that exploit migrant labour, recruitment agencies that only advertise abroad.
With a Labour government no dodgy firm, no shady loopholes, no sharp practices will be allowed to exploit migrant labour and undercut the wages and conditions of working people.
The next Labour government will put in place the right rules on immigration.
But this Labour Party, the next Labour government, will never cut ourselves off from the rest of the world.
And we will never sacrifice our tolerance, our openness, who we are as a country.
Our fifth and final pledge is to be a country where the next generation does better than the last.
You judge the dignity of a country by how it treats the old.
And you judge the future of a country by how it treats the young.
At every stage of life we will improve chances for the young.
Smaller class sizes for 5, 6, and 7 year olds.
An apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the grades.
And tuition fees reduced to £6,000.
Investing in our future, investing in the next generation.
Giving hope back to young people and restoring the Promise of Britain.
So these are our pledges.
This is our plan.
Five years of a Labour government: we will have balanced the books.
Five years of a Labour government: we will have raised living standards for working families.
Five years of a Labour government: we will have rescued the NHS and given it time to care.
Five years of a Labour government: we will have built an immigration system with the right controls.
Five years of a Labour government: we will have restored the hope of the next generation.
Five years of a Labour government: we will have built a country fit for the hopes and aspirations of the working people of Britain.
But this is not the only future on offer in 54 days time.
There’s a Tory future.
But we’ve tried their experiment for the last five years and it has failed.
Working people £1,600 a year worse off.
The first government since the 1920s to leave people worse off at the end of 5 years than at the start.
And just imagine what the future looks like under them.
They won’t deal with the problem of low pay, because they think it is the only way we succeed in the world.
They won’t deal with zero hours contracts because they think insecurity for working people is necessary for Britain’s success.
They will carry on making the young pay the burden of hard times because they think there’s no alternative.
And they will strip public services back to the very bone.
Their current plan is to cut public spending back to the levels of the 1930s, before there was an NHS.
This week in the Budget they will put some window dressing on it.
But we know what their plans mean.
It means education cut.
The NHS undermined.
It means social care devastated.
Our infrastructure crumbling.
Working families cannot afford to take that risk.
Britain cannot afford to take that risk.
This is not the future that our great country deserves.
Instead working people deserve a future based on their values, based on our values.
And they deserve leadership that will stand up for them.
The Tories say they want an election about leadership.
Well be my guest.
Because Britain does face a choice about the type of leadership it wants.
It is not leadership to say “we’re all in it together”, while cutting taxes for millionaires and imposing the cruel, vindictive, unfair bedroom tax.
A tax soon to be abolished with a Labour government.
It is not leadership to be strong in the face of the weak but always weak in the face of the strong.
And it is certainly not leadership to claim to be a strong leader but to refuse to defend your record in front of the British people in a TV election debate.
Let me tell you what leadership is:
It is about having strong, consistent ideas to change the country.
It is about standing up for those ideas, through thick and thin, even in the face of powerful forces.
And it is about standing up for people from every background and every walk of life, not just those with the access, the power and the wealth.
That’s what matters in leadership.
That’s the leadership I will bring.
That’s the Prime Minister I will be.
And above all, what I will be guided by every day is the idea that whenever we have prospered, whenever we have succeeded as a country, it is not because we have been driven by the success of a few at the top but by the success of working families.
It is when we have raised our sights as a country when many said we couldn’t do better.
It is when we have set our ambition high for the people of Britain when many said it couldn’t be done.
It is when we have said Britain could do better than this when some people said this is as good as it gets.
That is the choice at this election.
The pessimists or the optimists.
Fear or hope.
The few or the many.
A failing Tory plan or a better plan for working families.
Britain can do better than this.
Today I urge the British people to choose optimism.
To choose a country for the many.
To choose our plan for working families.
To decide to hope.
To recognise that if we are true to the idea that when working people succeed, Britain succeeds, nothing can stop us as a country.
Nothing can stop us when we put working people first.
Nothing can hold Britain back in the future.
Britain can do better than this.
Let’s seize the chance to change.
Let’s seize the chance to build a better future.
Posted on March 14, 2015 1:01 pm by Paul Gleeson
Q. What is your response to the figures? Do they paint an accurate picture of migration in Boston and Skegness?
A. I have been working with the Migration Observatory in Oxford for some time now. And Yes it is a true reflection of what is happening within Boston and Skegness. We have had the largest influx of workers from Eastern Europe which was recorded in the 2011 Census, and that was a percentage increase of 467% since the 2001 census. Unfortunately what doesn’t help is that many private sector landlords where tenants live in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), discourage them from registering on the electoral role. I believe that all citizens who comes to Boston wherever they are from, should register with the local authority before receiving local services, as without this – how can we effectively plan our services such as health, education, housing and other key services to get the right money from government and stop overcrowding in our HMOs. We actually don’t know how many people live in our town – that can’t be right. I personally will keep campaigning until we get accurate figures, but we need the right data to be collected.
Q. How big an election issue is migration in Boston and Skegness? Could it decide the outcome for the area?
A. Yes I do believe that migration is a big issue for Boston & Skegness in this election, but it has been for the last two general elections in 2005 and 2010. I was the Labour candidate for both these elections. The reason I am standing at this election is that I have been campaigning for the last ten years within and outside the Labour Party on the issue of immigration. I met with the leadership of the Labour Party including the Leader in 2005 and expressed my concerns that we should have put a cap on the A8 countries coming in, and warned them in later years that people held it against them which we now know they have. That is why since 2010 I have worked with Ed Miliband to develop an effective and a workable migration and immigration strategy. In 2014 Chris Bryant MP who was the Shadow Immigration Minister met with local people and told them that we got it wrong and many times since Ed Miliband has repeated those comments. I personally would like to thank Yvette Cooper MP the Shadow Home Secretary and David Hanson MP who is now the Shadow Immigration Minister for their new approach on immigration which will have impacts on towns like Boston & Skegness. That is why I am standing again as the Labour candidate as I believe we have some policies now that can make a difference. I feel I am the only person standing at this election who can make sure that the voice of Boston & Skegness will be heard on migration and immigration as I have a track record of being open and transparent about this issue and also the right doors to knock and the right people to talk to which will then make the changes we need.
Q. What are your party’s policies on migration, and how could they apply to this new picture of migration to Boston and Skegness?
A. Since 2010 I have worked tirelessly with Ed Miliband and his Shadow Cabinet to develop policies that understand the needs of our local communities and will have an impact on towns like Boston & Skegness. Some of the key policies that the next Labour government will introduce:-
- Immediately stop paying out child benefit for children who do not live in Britain.
- Employ 1000 new border staff to check people coming in and out of Britain
- Tackle illegal immigration, reinstating fingerprint checks at Calais and closing down student visitor visa loopholes
- A new law to prevent employers undercutting wages by exploiting migrant workers and banning recruitment agencies from hiring only from abroad
- People coming here won’t be able to claim benefits for two years
- People working in public services will be required to speak English
- Ban exploitative zero hour contracts so that if you work regular hours you get a regular contract
- Implement the Modern Slavery Bill with strong sanctions
- Implement the living wage
- Give local authorities a role in enforcing the National Minimum wage
- Abolish the loophole that allows firms to pay agency workers less than permanent staff
- Get tough on foreign criminals and make sure they are deported
I am asking the people of Boston and Skegness to elect me as their Member of Parliament to make sure these important policies are implemented. We need a Member of Parliament who doesn’t just talk about these things, but will actually make sure they get done, and I believe I am that person.
Q. What actions would you call for to deal with a growing migrant population in Boston and Skegness, if any?
A. Since 2011, myself and my Labour colleagues on Boston Borough Council pushed for a review of population change with a major task and finish report being undertaken in 2012, but I have been sadly disappointed that some of the key recommendations from the report “ Social Impact of Population Change in Boston” have been ignored, such as recommendation 28 – We recognise that problems arising from HMOs impact severely on our community and therefore recommend that the council adopts a policy of licencing all HMOs with the utmost urgency.
I was disappointed that the conservative group on Boston Borough Council refused to implement licencing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), but the next Labour government will work with every local authority in the country to licence all HMOs and protect the tenants from bad landlords and bad practices. I know there are thousands of people who would benefit and I intend to campaign vigorously to bring licencing of HMOs to Boston & Skegness. I am also disappointed that the conservative group voted against bringing in the living wage for its staff on Boston Borough Council. This shows they do not understand the key issues that affect their town. We have some of the highest rents in the East Midlands and some of the lowest wages, compounded by the large influx of Eastern European citizens. We need our politicians in Boston and Skegness to be on the side of low income working families and also to push up standards in our housing, not standing by ignoring them.
Q. What do you believe needs to happen next to make sure migration isn’t again a major issue for Boston and Skegness in the next election?
A. I personally believe that you need to elect a Member of Parliament who is not a career politician, who has lots of practical experience of dealing with issues such as migration and has some experience in negotiation and with the competent skills in chairing committees as well as knowing what doors to knock and knowing the right people to ask. Without doing this we will keep coming back to the same problems we have always had in Boston and Skegness. We need a champion who is going to see licencing of HMOs, campaigning for the living wage and generally make sure that the views of the people of Boston and Skegness are heard and acted upon. I believe that the local population believe in fairness and justice and we must stop people sending benefits out of the country, and crack down on bad employers. We want proper social justice for all.
Posted on March 13, 2015 8:30 am by Paul Gleeson
The new legislation is being drafted to put an immediate end to the overcharging by the Big Six energy firms which consumer groups estimate is costing families and businesses £2.5 billion a year.
The Government has admitted there is a problem with consumers being ripped off, but it has refused to act against the big energy firms.
Over the last year wholesale energy prices have fallen by an average of 20 per cent but the Big Six energy firms have reduced gas bills by a meagre one per cent to five per cent – while electricity bills have not been cut at all.
Labour has already declared that it would freeze prices – so they can only fall and not rise – for 20 months while the energy market is reset.
But the new legislative plans being announced today goes further by setting a clear timetable for changes so that consumers pay fair prices this coming winter.
In one of the first Bills of the new Parliament, Labour will give Ofgem a legal duty to review prices by the autumn – and the power to order price reductions in time for the winter.
The consumer group Which? says that further cuts of up to 10 per cent in gas and electricity bills should be made this year.
Such a reduction would save the typical family at least £100 this winter, on top of the savings they will get from Labour’s plan to freeze gas and electricity bills until 2017.
Mr Miliband’s announcement comes as he prepares to unveil the fifth pledge on Labour’s five-pledge card at its pre-election Spring Event in Birmingham on Saturday.
Ed Miliband is expected to say:
“Britain can only succeed when working families succeed.
“Our economy is at last growing again. But the vital link between the wealth of our nation and working families has been broken.
“We live in a country where you can’t fulfil one of the foundations of family life – keeping your home warm – without being overcharged by one of the big energy firms.
“It’s been 18 months since I announced the next Labour government would freeze energy bills – so they can only go down and not up – until 2017 while we reset this broken market.
“In those months we first heard loud protests from the Big Six energy firms and their PR men in the Government.
“Then we saw prices continue to rocket upwards, unchecked by the Government.
“Now something else is happening. The costs of energy are tumbling down, not because of anything the Government or the Big Six energy firms have done, but because of global changes in oil and gas supply.
“The cost of energy to the Big Six firms fell by 20 per cent. But the sky-high prices that families pay have only fallen by a fraction of that. Gas bills have declined by between one per cent and five per cent. Electricity bills haven’t fallen at all.
“What better evidence do we need of the chronic over-charging, the broken market and the rip-offs being faced by millions of families and businesses across Britain?
“Even David Cameron and George Osborne admit this is a problem. But they have not acted and the whole country knows why. It’s because they will never stand up to powerful interests and they never stand up for you.
“My government will be different. We will stand up to the big energy companies. We will go ahead with our price freeze. We will reset this broken energy market for the long term so that proper competition and regulation can ensure fair prices are charged in the future
“And we will go still further. We will pass a law to ensure falling costs are passed on to the consumer this winter; a law giving the regulator a legal duty to ensure fair prices this winter; a law giving the regulator the power to cut prices and keep homes warmer this winter.”
The energy market isn’t working for working people
The typical household energy bill has increased by over £300 since the last election, the number of families with children who can’t afford to heat their homes is at an all-time high, while three out of four families are being overcharged.
Energy companies hike prices when the cost of energy rises but don’t cut them properly when it falls.
The energy market is dominated by six companies that supply to over 90 per cent of homes and generate 70 per cent of the power we use. Limited competition and weak regulation has weakened the incentives to keep prices low. When the wholesale price of energy rises, energy companies have passed this on to consumers but when it drops consumers don’t see the benefit of this through reductions in bills.
Since David Cameron entered Downing Street energy companies hiked up bills by an average of 10.4 per cent a year between 2011 and 2013, blaming rising energy costs. In the last year, wholesale gas prices have fallen by an estimated 22 per cent whilst electricity prices have fallen by 17 per cent. But the Big Six have only passed on a fraction of this to consumers who have seen reductions of just between 1 per cent and 5 per cent for gas and nothing for electricity.
The Government knows there is a problem but has failed to act:
In Opposition, David Cameron said: “You have to give the regulator the teeth to order that those reductions are made and that is what we will do.” As recently as January this year, George Osborne admitted: “We need to ensure falls in wholesale prices are properly passed on to all consumers and we will continue to monitor this very closely.”
But the Government has voted against Labour’s plans for a regulator with the power to order energy companies to cut bills when wholesale prices fall and they opposed Labour’s price freeze.
Consumer groups say more can be done:
Which? estimates that a further eight to 10 per cent cut in gas bills and 10 per cent cut in electricity bills are possible this year. This would save families a total of almost £2.5 billion a year – at least £100 off their annual fuel bill.
We will introduce legislation in the first months after taking office to freeze prices, so they can fall and not rise, and give the regulator the power to cut prices and a duty to review prices and act in time for winter.
We will then reset the market so that it delivers a better deal for working families by forcing energy companies to separate out the parts of the business that generate energy from the parts that sell to homes and businesses; requiring them to trade their energy on a pool; introducing a simple new tariff structure; and creating a tough new energy watchdog with new powers to police the market.
Posted on March 13, 2015 8:19 am by Paul Gleeson