NEWS THIS WEEK – from Diane Abbott, MP, January 13 2016
15 Jan 2016Please find my Diane Abbott MP's first weekly update of the year below.
JUNIOR DOCTORS’ STRIKE
The fault for this week’s junior doctors' action clearly lies with the Tory Government, who chose to pick a fight with the junior doctors, some of the very people who keep our NHS running.
Labour believes the government should apologise to junior doctors and negotiate a fair deal.
My constituents in Hackney North & Stoke Newington, and people across the country, need a well-funded and well-staffed NHS for all – only a Labour government will deliver this.You can read an article by Labour Health Minister Justin Madders here on why If Jeremy Hunt wants to blame someone for the strike, he should look in the mirror
FIVE YEARS OF TORY FAILURE ON HOUSING
The Tories’ housing record is one of five years of failure – nowhere is this seen more than in London, including here in Hackney North and Stoke Newington. Now, to make matters worse they have introduced a Housing Bill which does nothing to correct the causes of that failure and in many areas will make the housing crisis much worse.
This Bill will lead to a huge loss of affordable homes to rent and buy, which will intensify the spiral of ever higher housing costs. Home-ownership has fallen every year since 2010, and this Bill is a big let-down for aspiring home-owners. It leaves home-ownership out of reach for most families and young people on ordinary incomes.
This week’s Cameron’s big solution to the housing shortage turned out to be a rehash of an old announcement to build new “starter homes” at minimum 20% discount price. However, even with this scheme, starter homes are still too expensive for many people to afford.
Just this week Local Government Association research revealed that a record 475,000 homes in England have been given planning permission but have yet to be built. In response Shadow Minister John Healey issued strong criticism, saying “Tory Ministers’ belief that you solve the housing crisis by simply stripping away planning rules that build affordable homes and make sure local people are consulted is nonsense.”Sadiq Khan is leading a strong campaign in London against the Housing Bill and for genuinely affordable housing – you can sign up to the campaign to elect a Labour Mayor of London here.
TORIES MUST U-TURN ON UNIVERSAL CREDIT CUT
2015 saw Labour force the Tories into a u-turn on cuts to tax credits for low and middle income workers. These cuts were due to cost millions of working families thousands of pounds each year.
In 2016 the same challenge faces us. Because although George Osborne reversed his planned tax credit cuts he refused to reverse cuts to Universal Credit - the support benefit for working families that, from this April, will replace tax credits for more and more families.
The Tory Government has decided to slash the amount of money that people can earn before Universal Credit starts to get taken away from them. The cuts will initially affect the families who have piloted UC. But by 2020, when UC fully replaces tax credits the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies says 2.6 million working families will be £1,600 a year worse off due to the cuts.
It means that the Tories will take the same amount of money from the same sorts of families as they planned through their tax credit cuts. They now just plan to take a little longer to do it and are hoping no one notices. But Labour has noticed and we are exposing the policy for what it is - a Tory Tax on working families. Nothing short of a full reversal will be a fair outcome for the millions of working families who are set to be worse off.
UK PAYING THE PRICE FOR DAVID CAMERON'S FLOOD DEFENCE FAILURE
This week Labour held the Government to account over their weak response to the recent floods that have devastated communities across the country.
The emergency services and military have done a sterling job in their response to the floods ensuring swift and safe rescues for those affected. However, the Government has failed to adequately prepare our country for the effects of climate change and the impacts that flooding has on our communities.
The cost of dealing with the aftermath of the floods will undoubtedly run in to the billions. This is far greater than the cost of prevention and only highlights the Government’s failure to prepare our country for future threats from climate change.
The 2012 Climate Change Risk Assessment stated flooding as the most prominent threat. The Government has failed to acknowledge that extreme weather events are unfortunately becoming a part of British weather and we need to adapt our policy accordingly.
Jeremy Corbyn repeatedly questioned the Prime Minister over funding for flood defence schemes at last week's PMQs and called David Cameron out for cancelling a scheme in Leeds and turning down applications to improve protection in York and Cumbria. David Cameron failed to adequately answer any of the questions put to him.You can see Jeremy Corbyn’s video on the issue on Facebook here.
JEREMY CORBYN – ‘RESHUFFLE? FOCUS ON TORY FAILINGS IN HEALTH, HOUSING AND EDUCATION INSTEAD’
In this important article for The Observer this Sunday Jeremy Corbyn MP sets the case for a reforming Labour government to save Britain from the reckless Conservative administration, arguing that “My election as Labour leader represented a deep-seated desire for change and for a new direction in our politics. It’s hardly surprising if some find that shift difficult to adjust to. But we will maintain a broad-based leadership, with space for a wide range of views and all the talents,” and that “to win in 2020, and make the changes 21st-century Britain needs, we need to build a broad alliance for progressive change that draws on the participation and ideas of all parts of our society.”You can read the full article here.