News From Westminster - 30/01/2015



The NHS faces its most perilous moment at the General Election which is now less than 100 days away. The choice will be between a Labour Government determined to protect our NHS, or a Tory Government that has presided over a devastating NHS crisis.

medics.jpgI know from speaking to local residents that people here in Heywood & Middleton are worried about their local health service. The Tories have presided over an NHS crisis which 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.

People expect more from their NHS, which is why Labour this week made its protection one of our key election pledges.

Labour will build an NHS with the time to care through 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs. We’ll also guarantee GP appointments within 48 hours and cancer tests within one week. All of this will be paid for through fairer taxes on properties worth over £2 million, on hedge funds, and on tobacco companies. None of our manifesto commitments, including on the NHS, will require any extra borrowing.

The Time to Care fund will be used to train and hire thousands of NHS staff and deal with the Tory NHS crisis. But more work is needed if we are to transform our health service so it can meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Labour’s 10-year plan for the NHS, which was launched this week, will see services integrated from home to hospital to help end 15-minute adult social care slots. We’ll also back 5,000 new homecare workers to help those with the greatest needs, end the neglect of mental health and restore the right values to the NHS.

The NHS as we know it cannot survive another five years of David Cameron. This is especially true under his plans to shrink the size of the state to levels not seen since the 1930s, before there was a National Health Service.

That’s why in Parliament this week I voted against the Tories’ risky and extreme spending plans which would pose a real risk to the future of our NHS and the prospect of patients facing more charging under the Conservatives.

The truth is that only Labour can save the NHS. Our plan is a blueprint to raise standards of care and ensure our health service is sustainable in the 21st century, and is part of our wider plan to put hardworking families first, tackle the cost-of-living crisis, and earn our way to higher living standards for all.



Labour is determined to tackle the cost of living crisis and low pay – doing so is central to our tough but balanced plan to get the deficit down, control welfare spending and earn our way to higher living standards for all - if we win the General Election in May. 

A raft of Labour proposals including raising the National Minimum Wage to £8 an hour, bringing in Make Work Pay contracts to Economy.jpgensure more people are paid a Living Wage, and getting more homes built to tackle the problem of rising rents, will help to ease the squeeze on hard working people as well as getting welfare spending under control.

David Cameron says he has fixed the economy, but the truth is that for working people there has been no recovery, and the cost of low pay and insecure work is pushing up the social security budgets.

For all David Cameron’s claims to cut welfare, a new report out this week says that benefit spending will be no lower next year than it was when David Cameron took office – despite measures such as the cruel and unfair Bedroom Tax.  

The IFS, a leading think tank who published the report, confirmed what Labour has always said - that you can’t control welfare spending and get the economy back on track without tackling the root causes like low pay and rising rents. Britain needs an economy that works for everybody, not just a few at the top.



Labour has always said that shale gas development cannot go ahead unless there is a robust regulatory regime in place so I was pleased that Monday’s vote on fracking regulation in the House of Commons brought a huge u-turn by the Government and a victory for Britain’s environment. 

who-owns-the-right-to-drill-in-the-uk_.jpgLabour’s amendment to the Government’s Infrastructure Bill means shale gas developments won’t go ahead unless proper safeguards are implemented and they will also be banned outright in National Parks and other protected areas.

The Tories and Lib Dems have repeatedly ignored people’s genuine and legitimate concerns over shale gas and seemed prepared to plough on at any cost.

With eight out of ten homes still reliant on gas for heating, shale gas may have a role in improving our energy security and reducing carbon emissions in the future.  But it is wrong to trivialise the serious concerns people have about the environmental and safety implications of fracking. 

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