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E-Bulletin

From time to time we produce an E-Bulletin. We have revised the format and we are making it available to everyone.

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A weapon that comes down as still as snowflakes fall upon the sod;
But executes a freeman’s will, As lightening does the will of God;
And from its force, nor doors nor locks can shield you;
‘tis the ballot box.

John Pierpont


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Last updated:
Friday 30 January, 2015


Monday 26 January 2015
Labour pledge 25 hour’s free child care



Alison McGovern, Labour's Shadow Minister for Children and Families, visited Pendle recently when she and Azhar officially opened the new extension to Acorns Nursery in Reedley which has been backed by a grant from Lancashire County Council.

“I very much enjoyed being here”, she said “It was wonderful to see the children enjoying their play and great to chat to them.”

During the visit, Alison also took the opportunity to chat with staff and parents about what Labour's promise of 25 hours, free, weekly childcare, for three and four year olds, would mean to them. Follow this link to the Pendle News Page to read more>>

Wednesday 14 January 2015
Pendle vigil for Peace and Unity

A Pendle vigil for Peace and Unity will be held in Brierfield on Friday night (16 January) for those who have lost their lives in Paris and who are losing their lives on a daily basis throughout the world as a result of acts of terrorism.

The vigil, organised by local councillors, is open to everybody across Pendle and will be held at Brierfield Community Centre at 7pm and is open to all the people of Pendle regardless of gender, disability and faith. Follow this link to the Pendle News Page to read more>>

Monday 12 January 2015
Labour withdraw from Tour of Britain working group



Pendle Labour Councillors David Whalley and Robert Allen have withdrawn their names from the working group set up by the Tory led Pendle Council over a proposed £100,000 cost of one day Tour of Britain to pass through Pendle in September 2015.
Follow this link to the Pendle News Page to read more>>

Friday 09 January 2015
News from the North West Labour MEPs


View the January 2015 Newsletter


Friday 19 December 2014
Tory Councillors vote to cut Parish Grant, whilst senior councillors told to stand outside chamber



Pendle Tory Councillors last nigh voted to cut 50% of the grant given to Town and Parish Councils and in a bizarre move, forced senior Tory Councillor Linda Crossley and Rosemary Carroll to stand outside the chamber rather than vote with a Labour amendment to maintain the current level of grant. Follow this link to the Pendle News Page to read more>>

Thursday 18 December 2014
Seasonal Greetings from Pendle Labour Party and our Parliamentary Candidate Azhar Ali


Azhar Ali                                Mark Porter
Parliamentary Candidate       Pendle CLP Chair

Seasonal messages, details of our Xmas quiz and information on how to become involved with the Labour Party as we prepare for the General Election are included in our latest PDF e-bulletin which can be downloaded here.


Tuesday 25 November 2014
Red Rose County to become first White Ribbon County



Organisations from across Lancashire are uniting against violence towards women.

Today is White Ribbon Day, which marks an international campaign to help stop domestic violence against women.

The campaign encourages men of all ages to take a pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women, and to make their commitment public by wearing a white ribbon for 16 days. Follow this link to the Pendle News Page to read more>>

Friday 21 November 2014
Restoration Tour



Recently Robert Oliver a local Labour Party member wrote to the Nelson Leader in response to a visit from a government minister.

In his letter Robert wrote:

I refer to your “Restoration tour” report of 31 October on the visit of Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to Nelson and Brierfield, which for some reason was splashed across a full page of the Colne Times and the Barnoldswick & Earby Times as well as the Nelson Leader. Follow this link to the Pendle News Page to read more>>

Friday 21 November 2014
Azhar backs Fisher More school’s bid for sports facilities



Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Pendle, Azhar Ali, visited Fisher More R.C. High School this week to offer his support for their bids to Sport England and The Football Foundation to provide new sports facilities.

Azhar, who is currently Lancashire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, met with school staff to confirm the County Council’s backing for the project.
Follow this link to the Pendle News Page to read more>>
Wednesday 19 November 2014
Labour’s Azhar Ali slams local MP for failing to stand up for local pubs



On Tuesday, Andrew Stephenson MP for Pendle voted against a new cross-party clause to the Small Business Bill which offered new protections for local publicans against the predatory practices of large pub owning companies (known as Pubcos) and opposing plans to give local pubs and landlords a fairer deal.Follow this link to the Pendle News Page to read more>>

Monday 17 November 2014
Barrowford hit by further housing shock



Nearly 700 units planned for Barrowford


As if losing all the fields below the Barrowford part of Wheatley Lane Road to 481 housing units wasn’t enough, it’s reported that land to the rear of St Thomas’ School is being lined up for a further 197 units.
Download the Barrowford newsletter (PDF - 3MB)

Tuesday 11 November 2014
Child Poverty – Cllr Robert Allen



Reedley Councillor Robert Allen has written to the local press concerning the lack of response from leading political figures in Pendle.

The content of Cllr Allen’s letter is shown below:

"The recent child poverty figures for Pendle and particularly Brierfield are an absolute disgrace in the 21st century. Since the publication, in your paper, showing that 50% of children in Brierfield live in poverty I have waited a couple of weeks to see if our political leaders in Pendle were going to do anything. Nothing has been reported to date, no statements from our MP, Andrew Stephenson, no press release from the leader of Pendle Council Joe Cooney.
Follow this link to the Pendle News Page to read more>>
Friday 07 November 2014
Shock at Rolls-Royce Aerospace Job Losses



Lancashire County Council Cabinet Member and Labour's Parliamentary Candidate in Pendle Azhar Ali has expressed his shock at the announcement by Rolls Royce that 2,500 jobs are to go from their Aerospace division. Follow this link to the Pendle News Page to read more>>
Tuesday 04 November 2014
Last night Councillors in Nelson rejected plans to build a 47 metre high structure at Back Lane Southfield.



Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate and local County Councillor, Azhar Ali attended the meeting in the packed council chamber and spoke in support of the residents and asked Nelson Area Committee to reject outright this application. Follow this link to the Pendle News Page to read more>>

Wednesday 29 October 2014
Funding agreed for disabled changing facilities at Nelson’s Victoria Park pavilion



Lancashire County Council has announced that Victoria Park, Nelson, is to receive a grant of £15,000 to install changing and toilet facilities which will meet the needs of disabled visitors to the Park.

The facilities will be located in the Park’s pavilion at Carr Road, now being run by the Victoria Park Pavilion Community Interest Company. Follow this link to the Pendle News Page to read more>>

Friday 24 October 2014
Child Poverty Nelson Leader/Colne Times series



Responding to the front page report in today’s publications, Malcolm Birk, Vice President of Pendle Labour Party has written a letter for publication to the editor. A copy of the text is reproduced below:

Your recent front page report commendably brought to attention the fact that in Pendle 33% of children are living in poverty, after housing costs are taken into account. I am sure that most readers will find this figure shocking. The level of untold and largely unrecognised suffering going on around us is hard to contemplate. Follow this link to the Pendle News Page to read more>>

Friday 24 October 2014
Pendle Tory Councillors forced to withdraw stray dog tax



The Labour Leader on Pendle Council has forced Tory run Pendle Council to withdraw ill-thought plans to increase the stray dog fee to £100 with effect from 1 January 2015. Follow this link to the Pendle News Page to read more>>

Wednesday 15 October 2014
Shocked and dismayed by Lord Freud’s Comments - Pendle CLP Disability Officer, Wayne Blackburn



Pendle CLP Disability Officer, Wayne Blackburn, commenting on the remarks made by Lord Freud concerning paying disabled people as little as £2 per hour said:

“I am shocked and dismayed by Lord Freud's comments. To suggest that some disabled people ‘are not worth the full wage’ once again proves how out of touch the Conservatives truly are. Follow this link to the Pendle News Page to read more>>

08 October 2014
Councillor calls for action on Sackville Street area of Brierfield




At last night’s meeting of Brierfield & Reedley Area Committee (7 October) Brierfield Cllr Nawaz Ahmed called for urgent action to improve the condition of the Sackville Street part of the Railway Street Regeneration Area. Cllr Ahmed said:

“There are many empty properties around Sackville Street and Railway Terrace and the condition of the area is appalling. Houses are boarded up, trees are growing in back gardens, causing garden walls to leaning and these could collapse at any time. Many of the gardens of houses which are boarded up are full of rubbish, and damp rising from these houses is causing further damp to neighbouring properties. Follow this link to the Pendle News Page to read more>>

Tuesday 07 October 2014
Tory/Lib Dem Councillors refuse to scrap ‘Garden Tax’ in Pendle



Reedley Ward Labour Councillor Yasser Iqbal presented a motion to the full council meeting in Pendle asking that the £25 per bin ‘Garden Tax’ introduced by the Conservative led Council be scrapped immediately. However, the motion was defeated with Tory and Lib Dem Councillors joining forces. Follow this link to the Pendle News Page to read more>>

Tuesday 07 October 2014
Labour demands that the Pendle MP supports the end of the ‘Bedroom Tax’



Labour Councillors have publicly criticised Andrew Stephenson MP over his continued support of the ‘Bedroom Tax’ and a demand has been made through the full Council meeting that he stand up for disabled, elderly residents who are struggling to pay the ‘Bedroom Tax’ imposed by the Tory led government. Follow this link to the Pendle News Page to read more>>

Monday 06 October 2014
Outrage at Murder of Alan Henning



Pendle Labour County Councillors Azhar Ali and Mohammed Iqbal today publicly condemned the murder of aid worker Alan Henning from Salford by ISIS.

Cllr Ali and Cllr Iqbal who signed an open letter 2 weeks ago in a national newspaper were shocked at the murder by people claiming to be Muslims. Cllr Ali said "I am very angry that someone who went out to help people in Syria as a human being was kidnapped and then murdered by people using Islam as a cover. Follow this link to the Pendle News Page to read more>>

Saturday 27 September 2014
Nelson Leader Series Publication



Pendle Labour Party have paid for a 4 page spread in the Nelson Leader/Colne Times series of publications.

The initial feedback from readers has been encouraging and welcoming of the Labour Party's proposals. If you have been unable to purchase a copy you can download a PDF copy (1.13 MB) of the spread
here.

Monday 22 September 2014
Not In My Name - Pendle Councillors join with Muslim Leaders nationwide to urge ISIS to release UK hostage



Labour Cty Cllr Azhar Ali, and the Leader of the Labour Group on Pendle Council, Cty Cllr Mohammed Iqbal, joined dozens of imams and other Muslim community leaders in a letter to the Independent last week calling on the kidnappers of Alan Henning to release the aid worker unharmed or commit the “worst condemnable sin” against Islam. They also express their horror and revulsion at the senseless murder of David Haines. Follow this link to the Pendle News Page to read more>>

Friday 19 September 2014
Give the English Regions a voice – Azhar Ali



Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for Pendle County Councillor Azhar Ali has today welcomed the decision of the Scottish people who voted 'No' and will remain in the United Kingdom.

Azhar Ali said

"I am delighted that Scotland will remain in the United Kingdom and will get more powers from Westminster, but it is now the time to have a national debate on giving the English a voice on transferring powers away from London and Westminster to local communities and regions. Follow this link to the Pendle News Page to read more>>

Thursday 11 September 2011
Lancashire smokers urged to quit in Stoptober

Read this article on the LCC web site

Tuesday 09 September 2014
Applications invited for grants to tackle food poverty in Lancashire

Read this article on the LCC web site

Tuesday 09 September 2014
Pendle MP “letting down his poorest constituents”



Pendle’s MP was slammed today for choosing his Party before his constituents in a key vote in the House of Commons last week.

In a vote on a Bill calling for major exemptions to the Bedroom Tax, Andrew Stephenson voted to keep the current policy. But with Labour promising to repeal the tax, the Government was roundly defeated, as Lib Dem and even some Conservative MPs jumped ship. Follow this link to the Pendle News Page to read more>>

Thursday 04 September 2014
Wanted - A fairer way for Pendle's young people



Shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna, came to Barrowford today to to visit Standel Dawman, a successful local manufacturer of electric golf trolleys. He was joined by Labour's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, Cty Cllr Azhar Ali, the Principal of Nelson & Colne College, Amanda Melton, and Phil Kyle, Managing Director of Standel Dawman. Follow this link to the Pendle News Page to read more>>

Tuesday 02 September 2014
Azhar Ali visits Nelson Fire and Rescue Station



Labour’s Parliamentary candidate, Azhar Ali, visited Nelson’s Bradley Road Fire Station on 28 August to discuss key issues as part of his Lancashire County Council role as Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing.

Cllr Ali talked to a number of fire and rescue staff about their community safety roles and their close working with social services.

He said: “I am massively impressed with the dedication of the Lancashire Fire and Rescue staff, and the quality of the equipment that they have available. Follow this link to the Pendle News Page to read more>>

Wednesday 06 August 2014
Response to letters in local press attacking Azhar Ali



Azhar Ali has written to the local press in response to recent attacks, the content of the letter is produced below:

Over recent weeks there have been a few letters questioning my record on the NHS so I would like to take the opportunity to put the record straight.

I am proud of the work I did in the NHS primarily as a non-executive director and then as Chairman of Burnley NHS Trust, as well as currently chairing the Lancashire Health & Wellbeing board. Follow this link to the Pendle News Page to read more>>

Saturday 02 August 2014
Pressure growing for rolling stock for Todmorden Curve - Lancashire Telegraph



Shadow Rail Minister Lilian Greenwood toured East Lancashire’s railways stations yesterday to talk to communters as part of the campaign to improve rolling stock and train services in the area.

The shadow minister visted Accrington, Nelson, and Burnley Manchester Road stations and discussed issues including frequency of services, reliability of trains, and a lack of trains on the Todmorden Curve Hyndburn and Haslingden MP, Graham Jones, joined her in Accrington, in Nelson she was joined by Labour’s parliamentary candidate Azhar Ali
More>>

Monday 28 July 2014
Eid ul Fitr



Pendle Labour Party wishes you Eid Mubarak. May you be blessed with peace.

Archived Items
(local items removed from this page)


Click here for the latest national Labour Party news


Friday 30 January 2015
Labour activists target over 100 seats as part of NHS campaign weekend



Following the launch of Labour’s NHS pledge this week, Labour activists will be out campaigning in well over a hundred key seats this weekend, setting out our 10 year plan for the health service. Labour’s 10-Year Plan will:
  • Invest in staff so the NHS has time to care
  • Integrate care from home to hospital
  • Give patients’ new rights to access care
  • End the neglect of mental health
  • Prevent ill-health
  • Restore the right values to the NHS
    More>>

Thursday 29 January 2015
Response to the publication of school performance tables



Tristram Hunt MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, responding to publication of school performance tables said:

“Both parents and teenagers will be greatly concerned by chaos in the exam system brought about by David Cameron’s schools policy. It is taking the country backwards and threatening standards. Parents deserve to know exactly how their child’s school is performing – but under this Tory-led Government, all they’ve got is confusion surrounding school results year on year. More>>


Wednesday 28 January 2015
Opposition day - Our health service is in crisis under the Tories - Chris Leslie



Labour will today hold an Opposition Day Debate in the House of Commons on NHS funding, following the launch of Labour’s third election pledge on the National Health Service yesterday.

Chris Leslie MP, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, speaking ahead of the debate, said: “Our health service is in crisis under the Tories and the NHS as we know it cannot survive another five years of David Cameron. More>>

Tuesday 27 January 2015
Ed Miliband speech on the NHS



Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, in a speech in Trafford on the NHS, said: In just 100 days’ time, you, your friends and neighbours will join with people all over Britain to decide our future as a country.

" Will we be a country in which everyday working people can get ahead and have real hope for their children and the future?

" Will we build a prosperity that extends from the City of London to kitchen tables across our country?

" Or will we continue down the Conservative path, in which an ever-shrinking circle of people do well, while everyone else is forced to work harder and harder just to keep up with the bills and the weekly shop? More>>
Monday 26 January 2015
This is a huge u-turn by the Government and big victory for the protection of Britain’s environment - Flint



Caroline Flint MP, Labour’s Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, commenting on the Government’s u-turn and decision to accept Labour’s amendment to the Infrastructure Bill to introduce new protections before fracking can go ahead, said:

“This is a huge u-turn by the Government and big victory for the protection of Britain’s environment. Labour has always said that shale gas extraction cannot go ahead unless there is a system of robust regulation and comprehensive inspection, but David Cameron has repeatedly ignored people’s genuine and legitimate environmental concerns over shale gas. More>>
Sunday 25 January 2015
Before anyone even *thinks* of voting UKIP, they need to know just what Nigel Farage has got planned for our country.



Everyone knows what Nigel Farage thinks about immigration and Europe, but what far fewer people know is just how extreme Nigel Farage's plans for the NHS really are — and there is no revelation more shocking than the fact that he wants to privatise the NHS.
Meet Nigel Farage>>
Saturday 23 January 2015
Number of GPs has fallen under this Government - Jamie Reed



Jamie Reed MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, said:

"The number of GPs has fallen under this Government as medical students have seen the pressure Ministers have put on general practice. GP morale has collapsed and now twice as many are emigrating and 60 per cent said they were considering early retirement. It’ll take more than a video to undo years of Tory damage. More>>
Friday 23 January 2015
Response to IFS report on the government’s tax and benefit changes



Cathy Jamieson MP, Labour’s Shadow Treasury Minister, responding to the IFS’s report on the government’s tax and benefit changes, said:

“This report shows that tax and benefit changes under this government have left households £1,127 a year worse off on average. Families with children have been hit hardest of all by David Cameron’s choices - a clear betrayal of his promise to lead the most family-friendly government ever. More>>
Thursday 22 January 2015
These figures show George Osborne has broken his promise to balance the books by this year and national debt is still rising - Chris Leslie



Chris Leslie MP, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, responding to today’s public sector finance figures, said:

“These figures show George Osborne has broken his promise to balance the books by this year and national debt is still rising.

“His failure on the deficit is because falling living standards over the last five years have led to tax revenues falling short. This government is now set to have borrowed over £200 billion more than planned. More>>
Wednesday 21 January 2015
A&E attendances increase 10 times faster under Tory-led government - Andy Burnham



Hunt challenged to come clean on the real causes of the A&E crisis

- Failure to face up prevents solution, says Labour

The number of patients turning to A&E has risen 10 times faster under the current Government, House of Commons Library analysis reveals. More>>

Tuesday 20 January 2015
Nigel Farage has confirmed a vote for UKIP is a vote for the privatisation of the NHS - Andy Burnham



Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, responding to Nigel Farage’s comments on the NHS in an interview with BBC political editor, Nick Robinson, said:

“Nigel Farage has confirmed that a vote for UKIP is a vote for the privatisation of the NHS and for a full American healthcare system. More>>
Monday 19 November 2015
UK launch of the Commission on Inclusive Prosperity’s report



Ed Balls will today (Monday) join senior politicians and policy-makers from around the world for the UK launch of the Commission on Inclusive Prosperity’s report.

The report will be launched by the Commission’s Co-Chairs: Ed Balls, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor and Larry Summers, former US Treasury Secretary and former Director of the National Economic Council for President Obama. More>>
Sunday 18 November 2015
Second jobs soar as cost-of-living crisis hits 



The number of people working second jobs has increased by over 100,000 since the General Election, according to figures from the Labour Force Survey. New figures show that, within this, the number of self-employed people with a second job has risen by 68,000 or 22 per cent since 2010, fuelling fears of growing insecurity in the labour market.

Commenting on the figures Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves said: “The huge increase in the number of people in second jobs is further evidence of David Cameron’s failure to deliver a recovery that benefits working people. More>>
Saturday 17 January 2015
Ed Miliband’s speech to Fabian Conference



Full text of Ed Miliband's speech to the Fabian Society

Friday 16 January 2015
Ed Miliband speech at Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union



"It is great to be here with Paul Blomfield, the local MP and Ollie Coppard, our candidate in Sheffield Hallam who is running such a brilliant campaign.

"And I want to thank Ivan Lewis and Lisa Nandy for being here and leading this process of giving young people a chance to shape their future.

"The reason I’m here is that there is nothing more pressing at this election than the future of young people. More>>
Thursday 15 January 2015
Labour’s new approach to public health - Andy Burnham



Ensuring a sustainable NHS for the 21st century will mean helping people take more responsibility for their own health, Labour will say today.

Labour’s new approach to public health, launched today, forms part of a wider plan to improve health and ensure the NHS remains affordable and sustainable in the century of the ageing society. More>>
Wednesday 14 January 2015
Labour pledges new support for families caring for elderly and disabled relatives



Liz Kendall MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Care and Older People, today set out the Party’s plans to improve support for England’s 5.4 million unpaid family carers. More>>


Tuesday 13 January 2015
It is shocking complacency that the Education Secretary thinks it is ok for class sizes to exceed the ideal limit of 30 pupils - Tristram Hunt



Tristram Hunt MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, responding to Nicky Morgan’s interview on the Today programme this morning, said:

“It is shocking complacency that the Education Secretary thinks it is ok for class sizes to exceed the ideal limit of 30 pupils. David Cameron made a promise to parents in 2010 that he would deliver smaller schools and smaller class sizes. More>>


Monday 12 January 2015
Response to the Prime Minister’s comments on counter-terrorism powers - Yvette Cooper



Yvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, responding to the Prime Minister’s comments on counter-terrorism powers, said:

"The ongoing terrorist threat to the UK, particularly as a result of ISIL, does mean more needs to be done to tackle extremism including strengthening Prevent, using TPIMs and relocation powers against those who pose a threat as they are not currently being used, and making sure policies protect both our security and our freedoms. More>>
Sunday 11 January 2015
Ed Miliband challenges Cameron over rip-off energy bills



Ed Miliband today challenges the Government to back fast track legislation next week giving Ofgem the power to cut energy bills.

Speaking on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show, Ed Miliband promised to force a vote on the issue this Wednesday in what might be the last meaningful decision by this parliament.

The Labour Leader’s challenge follows recent comments from George Osborne in which the Chancellor accepted that the energy market was broken, but failed to set out any action to ensure families see cheaper gas and electricity prices because of falling wholesale energy costs. More>>
Saturday 10 January 2015
Response to the Tory announcement on unions



Lucy Powell MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, responding to today’s Tory announcement on unions said:

"The Tories have run out of ideas for the country so are resorting to playing political games with the unions. They should be finding solutions to reach negotiated settlements to avoid industrial action.

"Most government ministers don’t manage to get 40 per cent of all eligible voters voting for them at elections, the Tories didn’t get anywhere near a majority at the last election and turnout in the elections they called on Police and Crime Commissioners was below 15 per cent. More>>
Friday 09 January 2015
Response to the publication of A&E performance data from NHS England



Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, responding to the publication of A&E performance data from NHS England, said:

“These figures show the Tory A&E crisis is intensifying and putting thousands of patients at risk.

“Last week was the worst week the NHS has experienced in living memory. More>>
Thursday 08 January 2015
New figures show 68,000 older people would benefit from Labour’s Compulsory Jobs Guarantee



Rachel Reeves MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, and Stephen Timms MP, Labour’s Shadow Employment Minister, will today set out a five-point plan for older workers. The plan - which a Labour government would introduce - would give older people the support they need with the chance to learn new skills, find work and contribute. More>>
Wednesday 06 January 2015



More>>

Tuesday 06 January 2015
You can’t trust a word the Lib Dems say - more empty promises from Nick Clegg are the last thing the NHS needs - Burnham



Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, responding to Liberal Democrat announcements on the NHS, said:

“Nick Clegg has copied the Tories at reannouncing money from within the NHS. Labour’s fully funded plan will invest an extra £2.5 billion each year in the NHS to recruit a new workforce, including 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 GPs. More>>
Monday 05 January 2015
Ed Miliband speech in Salford



Read the speech made today at the Lowry Centre, Salford Quays by Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party.
Sunday 04 January 2015
Ed Balls writes to HM Treasury Permanent Secretary on manifesto costing process



Dear Nick,

As you know, we have been proposing for some time that the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) should be allowed to independently audit every spending and tax commitment in the manifestos of the main political parties.

The failure of this Government to meet its fiscal plans, the fact that borrowing has again been revised upwards in the Autumn Statement, and recent unfunded tax promises made by the Conservatives, all make it more important than ever that the policies of all the parties are properly costed and funded.
Full text of the letter>>
Saturday 03 January 2015
Four years of higher VAT has cost families £1,800



On the fourth anniversary of the Tory-led Government’s VAT rise, new figures show that families have paid on average £1,800 more in tax as a result.

In January 2011 David Cameron and George Osborne’s decision to increase VAT from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent took effect.

The Treasury’s own figures show that a 2.5 per cent increase in VAT costs a couple with children £450 a year on average. Over four years, that means these families have paid a total of £1,800 more in VAT. More>>

Friday 02 January 2015
Youth apprenticeships fall in last year as one in five apprentices receive no training - Umunna



The latest apprenticeship figures show that the number of under 25 year olds starting an apprenticeship has fallen by over 1,000 in the last year. The number of 19-24 years starting one has fallen by over 6,000.

Meanwhile, between 2009/10 and 2013/14 the number of over 60s starting an apprenticeship increased by 520 per cent – 25 times more than the figure for under 25s, which grew by 21 per cent. More>>
Wednesday 31 December 2014
Ed Miliband’s New Year message - Britain needs a recovery that reaches your kitchen table



Ed Miliband today uses his New Year Message to say Britain now has the chance to change direction and get a “recovery that reaches your kitchen table”.

He describes 2015 as a “year of possibility” when we can reject the old ways of running our country by choosing a plan that puts working people first.

The New Year Message strikes a strongly positive tone about what can be achieved for people with a plan that raises low wages, helps young people get on, sets fair rules for immigration and rescues our NHS. More>>
Monday 29 December 2014
Labour’s plan for childcare will make a real difference to hard pressed parents - Alison McGovern



Alison McGovern MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Children and Families, responding to the Aviva Family Finances Report finding that working parents are being hamstrung by childcare costs, said:

“Under David Cameron, childcare costs have rocketed by 30 per cent since 2010. Wages are down by £1,600 and the availability of childcare has plummeted. More>>
Sunday 28 Decemeber 2014
Hospitals cancel operations to cope with Government’s A&E crisis



Over 300 long-planned operations are cancelled each day as England’s NHS hospitals need more beds for A&E departments under record-breaking strain.

In the first two weeks of December, 3,113 elective operations were cancelled - many only hours before surgery or when the patient had already been admitted to the hospital. An increase of 16 per cent since the first fortnight of December last year and almost 50 per cent in two years. More>>
Saturday 27 December 2014
Response to the publication of DEFRA’s report on rural productivity



Huw Irranca-Davies MP, Labour’s Shadow Food and Farming Minister, responding to the publication of Defra’s report on rural productivity, said:

“This report is based on plans that have yet to be delivered. Having failed the countryside on broadband and infrastructure investment over the last four and a half years the Tories are promising jam tomorrow. More>>
Friday 26 December 2014
George Osborne spends £43,000 of taxpayers’ money defending bankers’ bonuses



George Osborne’s legal challenge against the EU cap on bank bonuses has cost British taxpayers over £43,000 according to new figures.
A response from the Treasury to a Freedom of Information by Labour’s Cathy Jamieson has disclosed that the total cost of external legal fees relating to the legal challenge and connected advice is £43,064.

The true cost to the taxpayer is likely to be even higher as these figures are only for the external legal costs of the challenge and do not include the cost of civil servants who worked on the case. The challenge was abandoned in November. More>>
Tuesday 23 December 2014
A million families with children in fuel poverty - Caroline Flint



The number of families with children who cannot afford their energy bills has hit a 10 year high, according to new figures uncovered by Labour.

In total there are over one million families with children in fuel poverty in England, including 348,000 single parent families. This means that about one in six families with children are in fuel poverty. The average gap between a family’s energy bill and what they can afford is nearly £400 a year. More>>
Monday 22 December 2014
Response to research finding childcare funding is too complex



Alison McGovern MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Children and Families, commenting on the Family and Childcare Trust research finding that childcare funding is too complex, said:

“Under David Cameron, childcare costs have rocketed by 30 per cent since 2010. Wages are down by £1,600 and the availability of childcare has plummeted. More>>
Sunday 21 December 2014
Labour: Hunt treated Parliament with contempt over 999 changes and must now answer serious questions



Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt approved plans to allow ambulances to take longer to reach seriously ill patients from January, leaked documents have revealed, but failed to disclose the measures to MPs when brought to Parliament by Labour.

Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham has today written (below) to Jeremy Hunt to demand immediate answers on the plans and ask why Parliament was treated with contempt three days after he signed the plans. More>>
Saturday 20 December 2014
Women to bear brunt of George Osborne’s cuts – House of Commons Library analysis



Women will face three-quarters of the brunt of George Osborne’s plan to freeze tax credits and benefits if the Tories win the election, new figures show.

According to analysis by the independent House of Commons Library, commissioned by Labour, 75 per cent of the savings from the real-terms cut will come from women.

When it comes to tax credits, women will be even harder hit. 80 per cent of the estimated savings will come from women and 20 per cent from men. More>>
Friday19 December 2014
1.6 million pensioners hit by David Cameron’s 87p pension rise



New figures have shown the hardest hit regions in the country by the government’s decision to raise the state pension by just 87p are: North West (at least 63,180 people affected), South East (at least 54,549 people affected) and West Midlands (at least 51,420 people affected) More>>
Thursday 18 December 2014
Instead of a fairer settlement the Government has hit the communities with the most need the hardest - Benn



Hillary Benn MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, in response to the Local Government Finance settlement,said:

“Ministers have been criticised by the National Audit Office, among others, for having little understanding of the impact on frontline services of their decisions and they are failing to devolve power so that public money is most effectively spent. More>>
Wednesday 17 December 2014
Fall in overall unemployment welcome, but wages remain sluggish - Rachel Reeves



Rachel Reeves MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, responding to today’s Labour Market Statistics, said:

“Today’s fall in overall unemployment is welcome, but after four years when prices have risen faster than wages, working people are over £1,600 a year worse off since 2010. There is a huge amount of lost ground to catch up. And while falling global oil prices have led to the rate of inflation going down, wages remain sluggish. More>>
Tuesday 16 December 2014
Labour will call Parliamentary vote on female pay gap as new figures show women hundreds of thousands of pounds worse off



Today (Tuesday 16 December) Sarah Champion MP will propose legislation on ‘pay transparency’ to make publication of the difference between men and women’s pay by big companies mandatory, to tackle the causes of the continued pay gap once and for all.

To coincide with the vote Labour is releasing new analysis of official figures which show that – because of the gender pay gap, women earn an average £209,976 less over their lifetime than men. More>>

Monday 15 December 2014
Labour will make it a criminal offence for employers to undercut wages of workers by exploiting migrants



Ed Miliband will today announce plans for a new law to stop the exploitation of workers, which leads to workers’ wages and conditions being undercut.

Speaking in Great Yarmouth, where he will host a Q & A event with voters, he will say that the next Labour government will introduce fair rules to tackle people’s concerns about the impact of immigration in our economy, our social security system and our communities. More>>
Sunday 14 December 2014
Labour calls for inquiry into petrol pricing to ensure motorists are not getting ripped off at the pumps - Dugher



Labour is calling on the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to act and start the process of launching an inquiry into petrol pricing on the forecourt.

The CMA has the power to launch an initial ‘market study’ leading to a full ‘market investigation’. This initial inquiry would judge whether competition is working and make sure that falls in the price of oil are being passed on to motorists. If they find that price falls are not being passed on, then there should be a full investigation recommending actions to make the market competitive. More>>
Friday 12 December 2014
Response to record-breaking low performance in A&E departments



Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, responding to today’s figures from NHS England on record-breaking low performance in A&E departments said:

“Last week was the worst week on record for patients waiting at A&E but the Government is acting as if it’s not happening. Ministers can’t carry on like this.

“Before the Commons breaks for Christmas, Ministers need to come and set out the measures they will take to help the NHS cope over the Christmas period. More>>
Tuesday 09 December 2014
Labour will tackle scandal of cancer patients denied life-saving treatment - Burnham



  • £330 million fund for all types of cancer treatment – including latest forms of radiotherapy, surgery and drugs
  • A new cancer strategy to be published within six months of a Labour Government and a plan to tackle ageism in cancer treatment
  • Expanding Teenage Cancer Trust’s awareness programme to every school in England
Labour will create a new annual Cancer Treatments Fund to improve access not just to the latest drugs but also to the latest forms of radiotherapy and surgery that are too often not available for thousands of people with cancer. More>>
Friday 05 December 2014
ILO report exposes scale of the cost-of-living crisis under David Cameron’s Government - Chris Leslie



Chris Leslie MP, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, responding to the ILO Global Wage Report, said:

“This report exposes the scale of the cost-of-living crisis under David Cameron’s Government.

“Not only are working people worse off under the Tories, we’re also doing worse than all other G20 economies. On average working people are now £1600 a year worse off since 2010.
Thursday 04 December 2014
Response to the IFS briefing on the Autumn Statement - Ed Balls



Ed Balls MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, responding to the IFS briefing on the Autumn Statement, said:

“The continuing squeeze on living standards is the reason why George Osborne has failed to get the revenues in to balance the books.

“As the IFS says tax receipts have been revised down by £25 billion by 2018/19, largely because of weak wage growth. This is why the public finances are even more challenging in the next Parliament and now George Osborne has chosen to pencil in even deeper cuts. He also wants us to believe he can find £7 billion a year to pay for his unfunded fantasy tax promises. No wonder everyone is now saying the Chancellor’s sums don’t add up. More>>
Wednesday 03 December 2014
Recording shows that Tory MPs don’t like Cameron’s promise to protect the NHS and will fight it if they win the next election - Ashworth



Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, responding to Conservative MP Kwasi Kwarteng’s comments in the Independent, said:

“This recording shows that Tory MPs don’t like David Cameron’s promise to protect the NHS and will fight it if they win the next election. It just proves what we’ve always said: You can’t trust the Tories on the NHS. More>>

Tuesday 02 December 2014
thousands of families and young people locked out from the housing market



Emma Reynolds MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister, responding to reports on Government announcements on housing and Garden Cities, said:

“David Cameron and Nick Clegg’s failure to build the homes our country needs is central to the cost-of-living crisis and has locked out thousands of families and young people from the housing market. More>>

Monday 01 December 2014
Pothole Britain - funding crisis hits local roads



Statistics from the Department for Transport show that there has been a big increase in the number of local roads that need fixing since 2010.

Since the Tory-led government came in, another 2,262 miles of local roads are now in such poor condition that they need maintenance work.

The extra distance is further than going from Land’s End to John O’Groats and back again. More>>


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