NEWS THIS WEEK – from Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North & Stoke Newington, January 20 2016
22 Jan 2016LABOUR - STILL STANDING UP FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
As Shadow International Development Secretary, I have written two articles this week defending the international development budget and arguing against its misuse by the Conservative Government. In The Huffington Post (We Need to Defend the DfID Budget and Make Sure It Is Used for International Development) I explained that "Since 2002 successive British governments have committed to spending 0.7% of national output on development and aid. The budget for the Department for International Development (DfID) should be precisely used to fund development. But there are growing concerns that this Tory government is using that budget for a different 'security' agenda, not solely for international development." In a further piece for Left Foot Forward (Labour is Still Standing up for International Development) I outlined that "In the coming months myself and the team will be holding this government to account on international development, including on the growing concerns that this Tory government is using that budget for a different ‘security’ agenda, not solely for international development," and concluded that "a Labour government elected in 2020 would restore our reputation as a champion of international development, pushing for ambitious global agreements on international development that seek to tackle inequality and its drivers."
LABOUR CALLS FOR URGENT ACTION ON STEEL AND A CHANGE OF ECONOMIC APPROACH
This week saw Tata Steel announce another round of job cuts. The company is to cut 1,050 jobs in the UK, including 750 at its plant in Port Talbot in Wales and a further 300 jobs will go in Llanwern, Trostre, Corby and Hartlepool. In response, Shadow Business Secretary Angela Eagle MP called for urgent action by the Government and the EU Commission, explaining that “Labour has long called for David Cameron’s government to take immediate action to help the steel industry, but they’ve sat on their hands while the industry has descended further into crisis," and that "only by taking immediate and decisive action, not least by fully engaging at an EU level, can the Government make sure our steel industry survives so that it can benefit from planned infrastructure spending."
On Tuesday, Labour's Shadow Treasury Team held George Osborne to account on the broader failures of their economic policy, with Shadow Chancellor MP John McDonnell saying that "the truth is that we have a Chancellor who has woken up late to the crisis in the steel industry, tax credit cuts, police cuts, and the problems in the global economy. But when it came to the banks he was wide awake to all their concerns."
TORY PLANS TO SCRAP STUDENT GRANTS WILL HIT 500,000 STUDENTS FROM POORER & DISADVANTAGED BACKGROUNDS
On Tuesday, Labour MPs voted against Tory plans to scrap student grants that will hit students from poorer backgrounds
In terms of how these plans were forthcoming, the Tories' plans weren't in their manifesto, and they tried sneaking it through committee, rather than through a full vote.
For these reasons, Labour launched an opposition day debate in the Commons following significant cross-party opposition to the proposals and lobbying from the National Union of Students and students’ unions.
MPs ended up voting down the opposition day motion to annul the Government’s plan by 292 for and 306 against. The vote on the praying motion to annul the regulations also narrowly fell by 292 for and 303 against. In response to the vote, NUS national president, Megan Dunn, said: “This is the latest attack on students by the Government," adding that “the Government has repeatedly tried to avoid scrutiny over this issue and has denied us the chance to have a proper debate."
JEREMY CORBYN SETS OUT LABOUR'S VISION
Jeremy Corbyn made an important speech this weekend to the Fabian Society Conference outlining Labour's vision for a fairer Britain, arguing that "The absence of fairness and the wish for more of it is what drives us into political activity. We want a fair treatment for all, a fairer society and a fairer world."
You can see a video of his speech here.