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Yvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, responding to David Cameron’s immigration speech

Yvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, responding to David Cameron’s immigration speech, said:

“David Cameron’s “no ifs, no buts” net migration target is in tatters. There have been weeks of posturing, pandering and making more promises he can’t keep – all of which he has been forced to abandon today. Instead we need a practical plan, as Labour has set out, to make sure that immigration is controlled and managed so the system is fair.

“Labour has already set out plans to reform the benefit system including much longer waiting periods for in work or out of work benefits, and action to stop child benefit and child tax credits being sent abroad, because we believe people should contribute before they can claim. As long as the Tories fail to support our plans to tackle agencies and employers who exploit immigration to undercut local wages and jobs, they will fail to address public concern or make the system fair.

“The Migration Advisory Council has shown that one of the reasons for higher migration to Britain is low enforcement and lack of employment regulation, yet David Cameron is still doing nothing to stop agencies only recruiting from abroad, or agency workers being paid less than employed staff. The Conservatives have repeatedly opposed tougher offences and enforcement and there is still an incentive for agencies and employers to bring people here from abroad to be exploited and undercut wages rather than training and supporting people here at home.

“We need stronger enforcement at the border and in the workplace, with 1,000 extra staff and a fund to manage the impact of migration which David Cameron abolished. And the Prime Minister is sticking to his failed net migration target even though it includes students and refugees but ignores illegal immigration.

“Too often this Prime Minister has gone for the short term headlines rather than the practical plans Labour has set out. Immigration is important to Britain – that’s why it needs to be controlled and managed so the system is fair.”

Posted on November 28, 2014 1:51 pm by Paul Gleeson

Immigration is important to Britain – that’s why it needs to be controlled and managed responsibly so that the system is fair

cooperYvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, speaking ahead of David Cameron’s immigration speech, said:

“Immigration is important to Britain – that’s why it needs to be controlled and managed so that the system is fair. But David Cameron’s “no ifs, no buts” immigration target has completely failed. Four and a half years in to his Government, his promises on an immigration target are in tatters.

“Rather than ramping up the rhetoric, David Cameron must now set out sensible, practical plans. Labour has already announced plans to stop recruitment agencies and employers exploiting immigration to undercut wages and jobs, longer waiting periods for out of work benefits, reform so that in-work benefits aren’t available until someone has contributed and action to stop child benefit being sent abroad, so the system is more fair. In place of broken promises we need sensible plans.”

Posted on November 28, 2014 8:39 am by Paul Gleeson

Andy Burnham response to ITV News reports on NHS pressures

burnhamAndy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Health, responding to ITV News reports on NHS pressures, said:

“Doctors should not have to take to the TV screens to get their voices heard but that is what they are having to do under this Government.

“Hospital A&Es have missed this Government’s target for 70 weeks in a row. This should have been ringing alarm bells in the Department of Health months ago but the truth is Ministers failed to listen and act on doctors concerns.

“David Cameron’s abolition of guaranteed access to GP services and undermining of social care has left hospitals under intolerable pressure. He has trapped A&Es in a downward spiral and, as doctors leave in their droves, the problems are only getting worse. As a result, patients are facing a difficult winter of trolley waits and ambulances queues.

“Now that front-line A&E doctors have spoken out in this way, David Cameron can no longer ignore this crisis on his watch. Doctors and patients are crying out for help and he must act now

Posted on November 27, 2014 8:38 am by Paul Gleeson

Let’s hope they have common sense in Lincoln about HMOs

Boston’s Labour Councillors were interested to read recently that residents in Lincoln are being urged to take part in a consultation about rented housing in Lincoln. A petition calling for restrictions on houses of multiple occupation (HMOs), where each room is rented out, was handed to the city council in August. Opponents claim HMOs damage communities but others say they serve an urgent housing need. Officials said they were considering options and people only had another two weeks to express their opinions.

The 1,100 name petition called for an Article 4 direction to be introduced in the city’s West End – the area with the highest HMO density. An Article 4 direction would give the council more control over the amount and location of HMOs, as it would mean home owners and property developers would need to apply for planning permission to convert a house into a HMO. The results of the consultation, which ends on 24 October, will be presented to a council meeting on 12 November.

The chair of the council’s Policy Scrutiny Committee said: “We would need to support an application for an Article 4 direction with robust evidence justifying its purpose and extent, to ensure we could overcome any challenges to it. There is a clear need to manage the overall volume and concentration of HMOs in the city and we are hoping for the widest possible participation from across the city as we take positive steps to address this situation.”

We have seen the call for tougher controls of HMOs in Boston being completely politically engineered by our conservative councillors who voted against bringing in restrictions even though most people in Boston would support the need to licence HMOs. Let’s hope Lincoln’s councillors have more common sense than the tory councillors do in Boston.

Posted on November 26, 2014 8:41 am by Paul Gleeson

Lib Dem and Tory Peers fail to back Labour’s measures to tackle rip-off letting and estate agents.

emma reynoldsEmma Reynolds MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister, responding to tonight’s votes on Labour’s amendments to the Consumer Rights Bill, said:

“It’s very disappointing that Lib Dem and Tory Peers failed to back Labour’s measures to tackle rip-off letting and estate agents.

“Tonight Labour stood up for consumers who want a fairer housing market but the Lib Dems and Tories failed to do the same.

“The next Labour Government will ban letting agent fees on tenants, end the practice of double charging and improve consumer protection.”

Stella Creasy MP, Labour’s Shadow Consumer Affairs Minister, said:

“There is a clear conflict of interest when an agent can charge two people for the same service- Labour has a clear plan for addressing these problems.

“By their opposition to these proposals this Government has shown it has no understanding of the impact of the rip off fees estate agents and letting agents charge and it is consumers who end up paying an extortionate price for their failure to act.”

Posted on November 25, 2014 8:46 am by Paul Gleeson

One week for cancer tests and results promise Labour

A future Labour government would guarantee a maximum wait of no more than one week for cancer tests and results to improve treatment of the “killer disease” suffered by a third of the population, Ed Miliband has announced. The Labour leader said that he would spend £750m over five years to 2020 from a new levy on tobacco firms on new equipment and extra medical staff to ensure that Britain can match the best cancer survival rates in Europe. This would save 10,000 lives a year. The changes will apply in England though the devolved nations would, under current arrangements, receive the equivalent in extra funding which they can allocate as they see fit.

The announcement by Miliband is designed to improve cancer treatment which has declined over the last four years, according to Labour. The party says that there has been a fivefold increase in the number of patients waiting longer than six weeks for key cancer tests – up from 1,856 patients in May 2010 to 10,616 patients in August 2014. Labour has also accused the coalition of cutting spending on cancer services in real terms over the course of the parliament by £790m. The median wait from a request by a GP for an abdominal ultrasound to the rest result currently stands at 29 days, up from 23 days in 2012. In addition to saving lives, the proposal is designed to save lives by avoiding costly NHS treatment for patients whose cancer is not identified in time.

The plan will be paid for from a new £2.5bn “time to care” fund outlined by Miliband in his speech to the Labour conference last month. The one-week cancer test wait will be funded by a £150m annual charge on tobacco firms to ensure they do more to pay for tobacco-related illnesses. The £150m will be spent over five years, giving a total of £750m. The other elements of the “time to care” fund are funded by £1.2bn raised from a new mansion tax on properties worth more than £2m, plus £1.1bn raised from new tax avoidance measures with a particular focus on hedge funds.

Paul Kenny Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Boston & Skegness very much welcomes this commitment. He has been aware for many years the number of people within Boston & Skegness who are diagnosed every year with cancer. We traditionally have one of the largest numbers of people with diagnosed cancers within the UK. This will be welcome news locally. If you feel this is important:

 

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 November 24, 2014 8:36 am by Paul Gleeson

The Government are doing little to enforce the present law on domestic violence – Yvette Cooper

Yvette Cooper, Shadow Home Secretary, responding to news that the Government is likely to make coercive control of a partner illegal, said:

“We have called for Theresa May to strengthen the law on domestic violence for some time, so I hope these suggested measures make a difference.

“However the government is still doing too little to enforce the present law, where the proportion of domestic violence cases reaching prosecution or conviction is falling, even though reported cases are going up. under Theresa May domestic violence courts and refuges are closing and specialist domestic violence police officers are being cut.

“Unfortunately despite the measures being briefed today, under Theresa May the clock is being turned back on violence against women.”

Posted on November 23, 2014 8:49 am by Paul Gleeson

Comment on the NAO report on “Implementing reforms to civil legal aid” – Sadiq Khan

kahnSadiq Khan MP, Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary, responding to the NAO report on “Implementing reforms to civil legal aid”, said:

“This damning report by the National Audit Office completely exposes David Cameron’s reckless assault on access to justice for what it really is: bad value for money and leaving hundreds of thousands without proper legal advice.

“Labour warned that denying people legal aid in this rushed way would merely see costs rise in other areas but sadly the Government failed to listen. They claimed they would, instead, divert people into mediation but these figures reveal there have been 17,246 fewer mediation assessments in the last period. On every measure, David Cameron’s Government have completely failed on legal aid.”

Posted on November 20, 2014 8:52 am by Paul Gleeson

Let’s hope they have common sense in Lincoln about HMOs

Boston’s Labour Councillors were interested to read recently that residents in Lincoln are being urged to take part in a consultation about rented housing in Lincoln. A petition calling for restrictions on houses of multiple occupation (HMOs), where each room is rented out, was handed to the city council in August. Opponents claim HMOs damage communities but others say they serve an urgent housing need. Officials said they were considering options and people only had another two weeks to express their opinions.

The 1,100 name petition called for an Article 4 direction to be introduced in the city’s West End – the area with the highest HMO density. An Article 4 direction would give the council more control over the amount and location of HMOs, as it would mean home owners and property developers would need to apply for planning permission to convert a house into a HMO. The results of the consultation, which ends on 24 October, will be presented to a council meeting on 12 November.

The chair of the council’s Policy Scrutiny Committee said: “We would need to support an application for an Article 4 direction with robust evidence justifying its purpose and extent, to ensure we could overcome any challenges to it. There is a clear need to manage the overall volume and concentration of HMOs in the city and we are hoping for the widest possible participation from across the city as we take positive steps to address this situation.”

We have seen the call for tougher controls of HMOs in Boston being completely politically engineered by our conservative councillors who voted against bringing in restrictions even though most people in Boston would support the need to licence HMOs. Let’s hope Lincoln’s councillors have more common sense than the tory councillors do in Boston.

Posted on November 19, 2014 8:39 am by Paul Gleeson

Response to Joseph Rowntree report on private renting

emma reynoldsEmma Reynolds MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister, responding to the Joseph Rowntree report on private renting, said:
“This report shows that for many people the prospect of a decent home at a price they can afford is slipping out of reach.
“To tackle this crisis we need to build many more homes but David Cameron has presided over the lowest levels of house building in peacetime since the 1920s and has refused to stand-up for Generation Rent. The Tories have no plan to tackle the housing crisis.
“Labour has a plan to get 200,000 homes built a year by 2020 and get a fairer deal for private renters by legislating for longer stable tenancies with predictable rents and a ban on letting agent fees to tenants.”
Social security spending £25 billion more than planned under Tory-led government
Social security spending by the Department for Work & Pensions has been £25 billion higher than George Osborne planned in this Parliament, according to new analysis.

The figures were commissioned from the independent House of Commons Library by Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls and Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves.

The figures cast serious doubt over George Osborne’s ability to deliver promised savings in social security spending in the next Parliament.

Having failed to balance the books George Osborne is now talking about £12 billion more cuts to social security after the election. But these figures show he’s over-spent by more than twice this amount in this Parliament.

A key cause of the Tories’ overspending is their failure to make the economy work for working people, leaving thousands more reliant on housing benefit, as well as mismanaged reforms at the DWP.

Analysis of official figures shows that:

–      The Tories have overspent by £1.4 billion on housing benefit for people in work – an amount over four times the amount they have saved in housing benefit from people moving into work.
–      The number of people needing to claim housing benefit in work to make ends meet has increased by over fifty per cent since 2010, and is set to double by 2018/19.
–      The government has spent over £8 billion more than they planned on incapacity benefits due to their chaotic delivery of reforms and failure to help disabled people into work.
–      Delays to the delivery of the Personal Independence Payment have meant not only uncertainty for thousands of disabled people, but a mounting cost to the public purse, with £1.7 billion more spent than planned over the parliament.
–      And £130 million has been wasted on failed IT for Universal Credit, which is still only reaching less than one per cent of its intended caseload.

In an article for Politics Home, Ed Balls and Rachel Reeves write:

“George Osborne promised to balance the books in this Parliament, but it’s now clear he will totally fail.

As the OBR has said stagnant wages and too many low-paid jobs has led to shortfall in tax receipts and more borrowing.

And now figures from the House of Commons Library show the government has also spent £25 billion more than planned on social security. In other words, if we’d had a welfare cap in this Parliament the Tories would have breached it.

This isn’t because George Osborne and Iain Duncan-Smith haven’t cut vital support for families. They’ve certainly done that. Over the last few years we’ve seen the unfair and cruel bedroom tax, cuts to tax credits for working families and even cuts to maternity pay.

But savings from those decisions have been outweighed by their total failure to tackle the root causes of rising social security spending.

Because the £25 billion of overspending comes despite changes to benefits and taxes that have left families on average £974 a year worse off and despite recent falls in unemployment.

A key cause of the Tories’ overspending is their failure to make the economy work for working people, leaving thousands more reliant on housing benefit.

House of Commons Library analysis shows that the Tories have overspent by £1.4bn on housing benefit for people in work – an amount over four times the amount they have saved in housing benefit from people moving into work.

The number of people needing to claim housing benefit in work to make ends meet has increased by over fifty per cent since 2010, and is set to double by 2018/19.

And at the same time the Tories have created a culture of waste at the DWP, with key reforms mismanaged, and failing to deliver the savings they promised.

The government has spent over £8 billion more than they planned on incapacity benefits due to their chaotic delivery of reforms and failure to help disabled people into work.

Delays to the delivery of the Personal Independence Payment have meant not only uncertainty for thousands of disabled people, but a mounting cost to the public purse, with £1.7 billion more spent than planned over the parliament.

And £130 million has been wasted on failed IT for Universal Credit, which is still only reaching less than one per cent of its intended caseload.

Labour has been clear that we need to control social security spending, and have committed to an overall cap on social security spending.

But you can’t get the social security bill under control unless you’re tough on the causes of rising social security spending.

That’s why Labour’s economic plan will tackle low pay and earn our way to higher living standards for the many, not just a few.

Our approach is rooted in tackling the root causes of spending, boosting pay and tackling high housing costs.

So our plan will make work pay by increasing the minimum wage to £8 an hour, introducing tax incentives for firms that start paying the living wage and expanding free childcare for working parents to 25 hours a week

We’ll scrap the bedroom tax and shift funding from benefits to bricks by getting at least 200,000 new homes built each year and introducing stable rental contracts in the private rented sector.

We’ll back the next generation by boosting apprenticeships and ensuring there is a paid starter job for every young person out of work for over a year – which they’ll have to take or lose benefits, paid for by a tax on bank bonuses.

And we will get a grip on the shambolic management at the DWP, to ensure that we can deliver a fair safety net for all those who need it.

That includes calling in the National Audit Office to review universal credit to ensure it delivers value for money and a better system for claimants. And it means getting a grip on disability assessments with tougher penalties when contractors get decisions wrong, and clear oversight of the process by disabled people themselves.

This government has failed to deliver an economy that works for the many and not just a few. This failure isn’t just hurting millions of working people, it’s costing the exchequer too.

And having failed to balance the books in this Parliament, George Osborne is now talking about £12 billion more cuts to social security after the election. But he’s over-spent by more than twice this amount in this Parliament – casting real doubt on his ability to make those promised savings.

Only a Labour government will be tough on social security spending by being tough on the causes of rising social security spending. That’s the way to back working people and get the deficit down in a fairer way.

Posted on November 17, 2014 11:54 am by Paul Gleeson