News From Westminster - 23/1/15






The NHS has been put under unprecedented levels of pressure thanks to the failings of the Tory-led government, and the problems in A&Es across the country demonstrate the scale of the crisis we face.                                                                     

surgeons.jpgAttendances at hospital A&E departments increased by 600,000 in the first four years of the Tory-led government, and last week it was revealed that only 7 out of 140 hospital A&Es hit the target to see 95 per cent of patients within four hours. 

David Cameron promised he’d protect the NHS, but his A&E crisis proves you can’t trust the Tories with the NHS. 

The truth is that the Tory NHS crisis in A&E has its roots in the Government's cuts to adult social care, the abolition of NHS Direct, the closure of almost one in four walk-in centres and its disastrous decision to throw the NHS into the chaos of reorganisation. 

This week in Parliament I voted to take action to save our NHS and deal with the A&E crisis. Unfortunately we lost the vote thanks to Tory MPs and a Prime Minister who refuses to take any responsibility or even acknowledge that his government has caused a crisis in the NHS. 

Only Labour has the long-term plan to rescue the NHS with a £2.5 billion a year Time to Care fund - on top of Tory spending plans - to fund new staff, including 20,000 more nurses. And we’ll tackle the current A&E crisis by helping families see a GP, getting more nurses answering calls to NHS 111, halting the closure of walk-in centres, tackling failing social care and recruiting former nurses back into practice. 

Local people want action to save our NHS. Unlike the Tories and their weasel words, Labour will take that action.




I hope people will welcome Labour’s call for a new measure on living standards which will ensure that future Governments are judged by the success they’ve had making working people better off. 

I’m backing it because I know how fed up people are with David Cameron telling them the economy is fixed when they’re struggling with the cost-of-living crisis and feel things are not getting easier. One-pound-coin-014.jpg

It’s shocking that since David Cameron made his 2010 Manifesto Pledge  to improve living standards for all - working people are £1,600 worse off and wages for full time workers have fallen by £2,000 

With a new report out this week from the Rowntree Foundation saying that half of single-income families, where one person works full time, can’t make ends meet – it’s time he  acknowledged that his plan for  the economy has failed . 

Labour’s plan is to build an economy that works for all working people and we will judge our success by hard working families being better off.   

This is what a Labour Government would do if we will in May: 

  • On bills, we will freeze gas and electricity bills until 2017 – so that they can fall, but not increase - as we reform the broken energy market to prevent customers being ripped off
  • On pay, we will raise the National Minimum Wage to £8 an hour by the end of the next Parliament and end the abuse of zero hour contracts.  
  • On jobs, we will get the next generation into work, with expanded apprenticeships and a compulsory jobs guarantee for young people unemployed for a year or more – with a real paid job they’ll have to take or lose benefits.
  • On tax, with so many working families worse off while millionaires are getting a cut from David Cameron – Labour will introduce  a lower 10p starting rate of tax to help make work pay and cut taxes for 24 million working people on middle and lower incomes.

Labour knows that the only way to make Britain better off is to put hardworking families first, with a plan to tackle the cost of living crisis so we can earn our way to higher living standards for all.



Local people repeatedly tell me that one of the things they’re most concerned about is the high cost of their energy bills.

energy_freeze.jpgMany people are struggling with the cost of living crisis and rip-off energy bills just add to the squeeze on living standards.

I’m glad that some energy companies have begun to reduce their prices. But the truth is that the wholesale costs that energy companies have to pay have fallen by at least 20 per cent – yet ordinary customers are only seeing a fraction of this saving.

Some of the recently announced price cuts have also been delayed for a month, meaning consumers won’t see any benefit at all until winter is almost over. 

Too many local people are still getting ripped off, and the Tory-led government still refuses to do anything about it. 

The next Labour government is committed to making big changes in our energy market. We’ll freeze energy prices until 2017 so that bills can fall but not rise, and create a tough new regulator with the power to force energy companies to cut their prices when wholesale costs fall and to strip energy companies of their licences if they repeatedly mistreat customers.

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