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17 Dec 2017

NEWS THIS WEEK – from Diane Abbott MP

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23 Mar 2017
My Statement on Wednesday’s Horrific Attack

Our deep and heartfelt condolences go out to the friends and families of all the victims of this attack.

We want particularly to praise all the security services, who acted so promptly, so bravely and so effectively in response to this incident. Of course this includes the policeman Keith Palmer who was tragically killed while performing his duties. Our heartfelt thanks and deep gratitude go to him and to all of those who work to protect us, the police, security in parliamentary estate and all the staff.

It should never be part of anyone’s job to face violence and even murder while performing their duties.

It is too early now to debate the cause or motivation for this attack, indeed if there even was any. But until there is a full police investigation it can only be speculation. We first need evidence and analysis before attempting to draw any lessons from this incident.

There may be wild assertions about this attack by people claiming to know what the police can’t yet know, why this happened and who precisely was involved. We should reject any false or lazy assertions and wait for the police to do their work.

But it is important to state now: we will not be divided, we will not be cowed. Parliament, for all its faults is the forum where the representatives of the people meet to discuss, debate and pass laws. Any attack on it is an attack on democracy itself.

This is an attack on all of us, all our people, all our communities and our institutions. It must not be allowed to divide us, to change who we are or to erode our democracy. United together, we can always defeat those who threaten us.

Government U-turn on £2 billion NICs rise in the Budget

The Government’s u-turn last week on its £2 billion NICs rise in the Budget is a humiliating reversal for the Chancellor forced upon him by Labour’s opposition. His authority is now shredded after just one Budget, and he tore up a manifesto commitment to do it.

In 2015, we had the tax credit shambles. In 2016, we had Personal Independence Payments reversal. Now in 2017 we have the u-turn on National Insurance Contributions.

This is also the second year we have had a Tory Budget with a black hole in it worth billions.

Already, the Budget will still see working people £1,400 worse off under the Government. What will the government do to fill the shortfall in a Budget without pursuing unfair tax increases or further cuts to public services?

After seven years of Tory economic failure it is working households and small businesses who are taking the hit

Tuesday morning’s ONS statistics showed a 2.3 percent increase in inflation and the national debt at £1.7 trillion.

As inflation breaks through the Bank of England’s target for the first time in more than three years, real earnings are lower than they were before the crash.

This sharp increase in the cost of living means that after seven years of Tory economic failure, and it is working households and small businesses who are taking the hit with wage growth once again below  price rises.

Scandals like this further support the case for Labour’s Tax Transparency Enforcement Programme

The Guardian revealed this week that some British banks were involved in the laundering of hundreds of millions of pounds from Russian criminals.

As Labour argued during the recent debates on the Criminal Finances Bill, Britain cannot be a haven for the criminals of the world who are looking to hide their money.

As Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP pointed out, “The government’s overall approach to the banking sector is one that has seen them handout billions in tax giveaways that favour the big banks over  the challenger banks, and pursue a ‘ light touch’ approach to regulation that borders on a return to the bad olds days before the crash.”

Scandals like this that only further support the case for Labour’s Tax  Transparency Enforcement Programme. If the Tories will not act to clamp down on such acts, then the next Labour government will make them a thing of the past.

This unprecedented warning from trusts is a new low for this Government’s mishandling of our NHS

NHS Providers warned this week that frontline NHS services face “mission impossible” in meeting next year’s targets. This is a new low for this Government’s disgraceful mishandling of our NHS.

Theresa May has downplayed the worst winter crisis on record, in which  nine out of ten hospitals were dangerously overcrowded, and ducked her responsibility to patients by failing to provide significant funding in the Spring Budget.

Years of damaging Tory neglect have left the NHS unable to deliver on its constitution and yet ministers remain in denial of the crisis they have created.

The public now expects urgent and immediate action to provide patients with the world-class, 21st Century health and social care system they truly deserve.

In Education, the Tories are breaking yet another manifesto promise

An Education Policy Institute (EPI) report last week into school funding claimed that secondary schools could be forced to lose the equivalent of six teachers as a result of severe funding cuts.

Labour supports fairer funding for our schools, but the Government’s formula simply moves already inadequate sums of money around - the overall pot is not being increased.

As Shadow Minister Angela Rayner MP pointed out, “Even without the proposed formula, schools are already seeing both real-terms cuts to their spending and rising costs on top. Headteachers are being forced to choose between cutting subjects or cutting the school week… Less than two years ago the Tories promised millions of parents that they would protect the money that is spent per pupil on their children’s education. This report shows that it is yet another manifesto promise they are
breaking.”

Police Cuts Make It Harder to Tackle Crime

A report from the National Crime Agency last week highlighted how cybercrime is a growing concern for households and businesses, but this Tory Government is failing to provide the tools they need to protect  themselves.

This is a further illustration of how already overstretched police forces are seeing further cuts to their government funding while having to react to these evolving crime patterns.

As I put it a press release  “Criminal gangs accessing your private  details through everyday items is the stuff of nightmares ministers urgently need to get a grip.”

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