Sunday, 20 April 2014

The botched sale of royal mail leaves Britain hundreds of miillions of pounds worse off

This week the National Audit Office (NAO) released a damning report into David Cameron's botched fire sale of Royal Mail. The report revealed that the taxpayer was short-changed by hundreds of millions of pounds after the share price rose by 38 per cent on the first day of trading, and 70 per cent over the following six months.

Labour opposed the privatisation and warned the government that it was drastically undervaluing Royal Mail’s property assets. It is now clear that ministers could have raised far more money than it did and the public has lost out thanks to their incompetence.

The government rushed the sale through, got poor value for money and the British public has been left short-changed by £750 million.

David Cameron’s botched fire sale shows once again how he stands up for the wrong people. He sold off Royal Mail on the cheap to try to help plug the financial hole he made in the British economy. With ordinary people in Haslingden and Hyndburn facing a cost of living crisis, it’s time for David Cameron to explain why he is asking hard-working people to pay more, while he is prepared to sell Royal Mail for less.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Hard working Britain deserves to be better off

In a speech this week, Ed Miliband heralded the biggest devolution of power to England’s great towns and cities in a hundred years as the next stage of Labour’s plan to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

By ending a century of centralisation, a One Nation Labour Government in 2015 will hand control of around £20 billion to City and County Regions over the course of its first parliament. The change will mean putting local communities back in control, more and better economic growth and jobs, and public services that better meet the needs of local people.

Ed Miliband knows the way to make a real difference in people’s lives is to make sure the economy works for working people, not just a few at the top. That means creating decent, secure, well-paid jobs so we can all benefit from the recovery. The changes he announced this week are an important part of Labour’s plan.

There was once a time when working hard meant being better off, but under David Cameron’s Tories that’s no longer the case.

David Cameron boasts about the recovery, but hardworking people are facing a cost of living crisis that will continue because the link between growth of our economy and family living standards has been broken.

Working people are £1600 worse off under the Tories, and most of us feel like we are running to stand still as prices continue to rise. The prospect of a better life for our children – a foot on the housing ladder and a wage that does more than put food on the table – seems sadly remote.

Hardworking Britain deserves better than this.

Tackling the ongoing cost of living crisis will be the central purpose of the next Labour government. Ed Miliband will build an economy that works for working people and has an economic plan to ensure we can earn our way to higher living standards.

David Cameron can’t solve the cost of living crisis because he puts a privileged few before hardworking families. The key to tackling the cost of living crisis is by winning the race to the top with an economy that works for everyone, with new high skill jobs, not a race to the bottom on pay and living standards.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Ed Balls: Why Labour won't stop talking about the cost of living crisis

Ed Balls has written for the Guardian on the cost of living crisis the government fails to address and Labour’s ideas to mend the broken link between the wealth of the country and people's own finances.

Over the coming weeks we can expect ministers to start telling us that the cost of living crisis is over but for most families in Britain today such a declaration, on the back of a handful of economic statistics, will only confirm just how out of touch this government is.

Labour will continue to set out radical but credible policies to earn our way to higher living standards for all, not just a few and tackle this deep-seated cost of living crisis. We will make work pay and tackle insecurity by strengthening the minimum wage, incentivising the living wage, ending the abuse of zero-hours contracts and expanding free childcare for working parents.

This is in addition to Labour’s policies to:
• Reform our uncompetitive banks
• Reform the energy market including a price freeze for families and businesses
• Create more good jobs
• Devolve economic power to Britain's towns and cities
• Boost vocational education
• Get young people into work
• Cut business rates
• Introduce a British Investment Bank
• Increase house building to at least 200,000 a year

To read Ed Balls’ article please see the link here -

Latest foodbank figures top 900,000: life has got worse not better for poorest in 2013/14, and this is just the tip of the iceberg

  • 913,138 people received three days’ emergency food from Trussell Trust foodbanks in 2013-14 compared to 346,992 in 2012-13
  • Figures are ‘tip of the iceberg’ of UK food poverty says Trussell Trust Chairman
  • 83% of foodbanks report ‘sanctioning’ is causing rising numbers to turn to them
Foodbank figures trigger biggest ever faith leader intervention on UK food poverty in modern times.

Over 900,000 adults and children have received three days’ emergency food and support from Trussell Trust foodbanks in the last 12 months, a shocking 163 percent rise on numbers helped in the previous financial year. Despite signs of economic recovery, the poorest have seen incomes squeezed even more than last year reports The Trussell Trust, the UK’s largest foodbank network. More people are being referred to Trussell Trust foodbanks than ever before.

Static incomes, rising living costs, low pay, underemployment and problems with welfare, especially sanctioning, are significant drivers of the increased demand. 83 percent of Trussell Trust foodbanks surveyed recently [see notes below] reported that benefits sanctions, which have become increasingly harsh, have caused more people to be referred to them for emergency food. Half of referrals to foodbanks in 2013-14 were a result of benefit delays or changes.

Exhibition of Local Artwork, Churchfield House, Great Harwood.

David Cameron promised to clean up politics, but he has failed

People are right to be appalled by the actions of Maria Miller and David Cameron this week. Maria Miller should have resigned a week ago over transgressions with her expenses- you can’t have one rule for Cabinet Ministers and a different rule for everybody else.

But the truth is David Cameron was too slow to act, and that failure has undermined trust, not only in his policies but in politics as a whole.

Politics really needs to change. We must change the system which oversees standards in Parliament if we are to restore confidence in politics. Labour is pushing for a quick reform on this but the Tory-led Government is resisting.

In opposition, David Cameron promised to clean up politics and make a difference.
I don’t think this is what most people had in mind.

Labour will bring in a new approach to immigration

David Cameron is failing on his net migration target and numbers have gone up. Illegal immigration is getting worse, but the number of fee-paying overseas university students has fallen for the first time in decades, cutting the investment they bring into Britain.

I know people in Haslingden and Hyndburn want to see tough action on immigration which is exactly what Labour is determined to do.

We want stronger border controls – including proper exit checks so we know who is here and who isn’t, and action taken about the hundreds of thousands of people who overstay their visas.

Summary of last week in the House of Commons:

Elsewhere in Parliament:
Finance Bill Committee Stage
On Tuesday and Wednesday the House of Commons debated a number of amendments to the Finance Bill as part of its Committee Stage.