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Brent Council Liberal Democrats and A&E at Central Middlesex

Yesterday night at Full Council, the Labour group supported a motion that condemned the lack of consideration shown to Brent residents given that this department serves people living in the poorest part of Brent.

Sadly, the Brent Council Lib Dems and Tories both failed to support the motion and voted against it. It is worth noting that there were a couple of Lib Dem Councillors, namely Barry Cheese and Ann Hunter that did at least abstain and could not bring themselves to vote against the motion.

However, the erratic behaviour of Lib Dem Leader Cllr Paul Lorber during the debate of the motion sent shockwaves in the Council Chamber. He claimed that A&E is mostly for drunk people anyway and chose to attack me for being “relatively new” and “inexperienced” rather than address the arguments I made in the debate about meeting the needs of the poorest in the Borough and the concerns that residents in Brent were raising over A&E closure.

What’s more, is that Brent Tory Cllr Reg Colwill joined in with his contribution to the debate.

Such age discriminatory comments are very out of touch and perhaps shows the greater need to have more young people in elected and prominent positions and change the age demographic and profile of Councillors.

I’m sure there would have been a formal punishment had it been a younger Councillor making a similar derogatory comment based on age to an elderly Councillor.

This is proof that there is a lot of progress to be made in changing the attitudes and mindset of Councillors as well as wider society towards young people.

Tory Liberal failure on the economy – Double-Dip recession

With the news that we are officially in a double-dip recession period LINK it is becoming clearer that the Tory Liberal economic policies are fundamentally flawed. Yes, they inherited a large deficit, but they also inherited a growing economy.

Cutting too far too fast has recklessly damaged the UK’s good prospects of getting our economy moving again. So far, the Tory Liberals have increased unemployment by

  1. Slashing jobs in the public sector on the unsubstantiated claim and risk that jobs will miraculously appear in the private sector to make up for the rise in unemployment in the public sector
  2. Increasing VAT which has an impact on a business’ take home profits, meaning that they have less profit available to employ people and expand
  3. The VAT rise also impacts on consumer spending and disincentivises businesses
  4. Scrapping the Future Jobs Fund which equips young people to be work ready. Indeed the long term impact of this has also been ignored by the Tory Liberals. Even if there is a lack of employment opportunities in the country, it is important that these schemes are invested in so that people are equipped with the skills they need and are work ready for when the economy does recover and there are jobs for people to go into.

Unemployment should never be a price worth paying. The immediate and long-term impact of worklessness is far worse than pursuing an aim to get rid of the deficit in four years. The Tory Liberal Government have made this their priority and ignored the impact that this damaging course has on ordinary people.

The VAT rise also had a detrimental impact on inflation. Naturally, it costs more to buy products because there is more tax paid on spending money. This leaves less disposable income to the individual and what’s more, wages are not going up with inflation. People are being squeezed with higher costs and lower income.

This brings me to my final point on the deficit, which has increased under this Tory Liberal administration – LINK

Growth is a key component to tackle the deficit. Without economic growth, it becomes difficult to address the deficit. This has been the Tory Liberal Coalition’s main failure. There is the issue of the Eurozone crisis that the right wing Government will point to. However, slashing public sector jobs with a front loaded approach and the VAT rise are policies of the Government’s own making.

The Tories are out of touch with ordinary people and their stance on the 50% tax rate at this very moment in time is testament to that. The Liberals aren’t bothered about issues such as employment, jobs, the economy, crime and the NHS – this is proven with how easily they flipped their position on these what I consider core issues. They are far more concerned with the House of Lords and the electoral system and appear more principled on these issues than ones that have a more profound impact on people.

Lib Dem claim that they tamed the Tories in Government will not work

We’ve already seen a glimpse of what is to come in the future with Liberal Democrats claiming to have tamed the Tories over the NHS reforms.

Fast forward to the 2015 General Election.

Both the Lib Dems and the Conservatives will start turning on eachother. The Tories will say that they were unable to sort out the mess left behind by Labour because the Lib Dems were a constant pain in the you know where.

The Lib Dems will say, thank god we were there to tame the Tories. Without us, they would have done some really nasty things like I dunno… treble tuition fees, cut off access to justice to the vulnerable through changes in the legal system, oversee the social cleansing of London.

I’m afraid this won’t wash off for the Lib Dems because the fundamental problem that they have caused and been party to is this decision to cut the deficit within one Parliament.

So the Lib Dems will come out with things like because of us the NHS reforms were improved and that they reigned in some of the crazy Tory ideas.

However,  the initiative to reign in the Tories should have been at the very start of this marriage and instead of holding up their hands and signing up fully to the Tory plan to reduce the whole deficit over a Parliament, they could have negotiated at the very least somewhere in between their pre-election rhetoric and the Tory plan.

This fundamental sell-out on the economy means that I will not be buying any excuses from the Lib Dems and you shouldn’t either.

Tories should be fighting for Britain’s interests. Not fighting with each other about Europe

Ed Miliband has got it spot on on this news piece on his website – LINK

Last night we saw what we thought were remnants of an old age problem with the Tories re-emerge as a mainstream split in the Party.

But why Europe? Ex-London Young Labour Chair Christine Quigley  tweeted:

 

picture from NavinShah.com

And she is right. Looking at the list of rebels, I noted the name of a former leader of Brent Council who is now the MP for Harrow East.

 

Pictured here holding a pledge signed by himself to vote against tuition fee increases, tuition fees were clearly not as strong an issue to rebel against as Europe.

 

Tory Liberals attack people’s right to vote!

The Lib Dems and Conservatives have schemed a method of voter registration that will counteract one of the most basic principles of a modern democratic society; the right to vote.

At the moment, one letter is sent to a household in Brent and only one individual in that household is required to fill out the voter registration form and sent it back to their local authority. Under the Lib Dems and Tory proposal, they want people to individually register to vote.

Unofficial tellers, wearing party rosettes, si...
WikiImage

Ed Miliband at Labour Party Conference said, “we should be making it easier for people to vote, not harder.”

Even more alarmingly, the Electoral Commission, which is a non partisan body said that 10 million voters “predominantly poor, young or black” voters will fall off the register. And yet, in full knowledge of this, the Liberal Democrats and the Tories still want to go ahead with this evil proposal. These are statistically more likely to be Labour Party voters, so it is no surprise that the Lib Dems and Tories are doing what they can to stop them from voting and excercising their basic right at the ballot box.

Labour is fighting to protect your right to vote.

University Chief says the Coalition Ministers were wrong over tuition fees

Source: Left Food Forward - Nick Clegg before the election, holding up a signed pledge that he will not increase tuition fees

At the same time as fees going up, Universities have had their funding slashed by 80 per cent. When the Lib Dems and Tories raised the cap on tuition fees, they said that £9,000 per year fees would be the exception and that they expected Universities to charge around the £6,000 a year mark.  

Instead, raising the cap limit and removing a big chunk of funding away from our prized institutions at the same time, has left Universities with little choice but to charge higher fees.

Read the BBC article here LINK.

Lib Dem Hypocrisy: Social Housing

In a speech to Liberal Democrats’ spring conference in Birmingham on 13 March 2010, Teather said Conservative plans to abolish subsidised rents for Council and housing association homes would be a “total disaster.” She said their housing plans lacked substance, causing them to try and keep housing off the agenda.

She said there was no “bearable” alternative to her party’s aim to invest £1.4bn in bringing 250,000 empty homes back into use.

“The Tories think the only way to solve the housing crisis is to change the law so that it is easier for big developers to stuff vulnerable families in to houses the size of shoe boxes”.

If you abolish subsidised rents for Council and housing association homes, all that is going to happen is that many more people will end up on housing benefit, and many fewer people will be able to work.

Put poor people into worse housing, and make them pay more for it. That’s it. That’s the Tory big idea.”

(Sarah Teather, 13 March 2010 speaking at the Lib Dems’ Spring Conference in Birmingham)

Well that is now also Sarah Teather’s big idea as well.

Raising children is expensive: The Lib Dem / Tory approach to child benefits fails to acknowledge this

Earlier this year, the Independent highlighted that it costs on average £201,000 to raise a child in Britain today. Parenting has changed, with many taking more responsibility for their children in many cases, up to and beyond 21 years of age. Helping them to progress through education, in some cases University, giving them a foot up onto the housing ladder; it’s all very costly and now an inevitable part of modern day parenting.

Universal child benefit acknowledges and recognises that it is expensive to raise children in Britain today. Scrapping the Building Schools for the Future programme, halting Playbuilder schemes and freezing child benefits are just a few of the ways in which families have been bearing the brunt of the coalition cuts.

We now see Sarah Teather and her Tory pals going further and removing child benefit from some parents. Yes, it may be the case that those on higher incomes may be able to afford raising a child without need for help from benefits. But is it fair that this move now makes some parents with children worse off than wealthy people who do not have children?

The devil is in the detail of this Tory and Lib Dem policy. The benefit removal as proposed would leave households where a only one parent works and earns over £44,000 worse off and would leave parent households with combined incomes of up to £88,000 unaffected, so long as one of them is not earning over £44,000.

That’s the problem with the Government’s proposals as they stand at the moment. It’s always those who are on the fine line, who could do with that extra bit of help, who end up losing out. That is why I am in favour of keeping the universal based approach.

But, although many may agree with the principle of the Con Dem approach, the detail is ill thought out and would be unfair on middle income families. What would be a fairer approach to take is to have higher taxation on all higher income level earners, and not just penalise those who have children. Government should recognise the important role of parenting and acknowledge that bringing up children is expensive. The Lib Dem and Tory approach fails to acknowledge this.

Did Britain really become a nation of benefit scroungers under Labour?

Did Britain really become a nation of benefit scroungers under Labour? This is the type of rhetoric that has pointed many to mark their vote in the Tory box on polling day. The reality couldn’t be any more different.

With the Department for Work and Pensions proposing to reassess every individual recipient on incapacity benefits, they have issued a call for evidence. Within the document is a graph displaying the caseload over time from 1978 to 2009.

What the data shows is that the caseload stayed pretty much at the same levels that Labour inherited in 1997. The sharp rises occurred under Tory years from 1986 to 1995.

Source: Department for Work and Pensions
Source: Department for Work and Pensions

These rises are not necessarily a bad thing as prior to the increased caseloads, it could have meant that those that should have had extra support to meet their additional needs.

Now, the Tories are proposing a reversal in the changes that occurred under their watch to take the caseload numbers down. My concern is that vulnerable people who need extra support to help them carry out their daily routines will have support withdrawn from them and find themselves struggling to cope with the financial pressures on them and not being able to live their lives with dignity as many didn’t in the early 1980s.