NEWS THIS WEEK – from Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North & Stoke Newington March 15 2016

15 Mar 2016
Government Defeated on Sunday Trading Laws
The Tories suffered a major defeat in Parliament last week, as Labour stood up for working people. The Government had planned to give councils the power to relax Sunday trading laws, but Labour stood in solidarity with businesses, workers, trade unions and faith groups, which have long been campaigning against this proposal, to defeat the Government.
Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State, for Business, Innovation and Skills, Angela Eagle said “the Government must now listen to the settled will of the House of Commons and confirm that they will not attempt to bring back these plans, which were not in the Tory election manifesto.”

International Development Matters – Climate Change

In my capacity as Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, I wrote a blog for Left Foot Forward this week. In the piece I argue that as globally “those who have contributed the least to climate change are suffering the greatest impacts... the Labour Party is calling for the Government to ensure the UK takes our fair share of action to honour the Paris Agreement. “
This means we must rigorously pursue efforts to limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees, and we must support developing countries to adapt to the already devastating impacts of our changing climate.
You can read the full piece here.

Junior Doctors Dispute – the Tories are to Blame
Last week saw a further 48 hour strike from Junior Doctors. The Labour party recognises the huge contribution junior doctors make and the years of training they go through to look after us. These are people dedicated to our health and our NHS. It’s time the Tories realised that and reached a negotiated settlement.
You can see me talking about the issue on a recent Question Time here and a video I made in January on the issue here.

The crisis of insecure work under the Tories is getting worse
New research from the Office of National Statistics has shown that over 800,000 people are now working on zero-hours contracts a rise by over 100,000.
Owen Smith MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary said: “Before the election the Tories promised to act on zero-hours contracts, but these numbers show that was nothing more than words,” adding that “spiralling numbers of British workers cannot be certain where their next day’s work is coming from, making it virtually impossible to plan finances and family life.”
Looking ahead to George Osborne’s budget he added “The test for this Budget is whether it can start to lay the foundations for a modern economy.  So the government must act on this crisis by [both] reversing the Universal Credit cuts and properly clamp downing on exploitative zero-hour contracts.”

International Women’s Day - Labour announces creation of a Women’s Economic Commission
Last Tuesday, myself and other members of the Shadow Cabinet met with former workers who originally campaigned for equal pay for women at the Dagenham car factory. Following this visit, the Labour Party announced the creation of a Women’s Economic Commission.
Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Women and Equality, said: “Labour has ambitious plans for creating shared prosperity based on high skilled, well paid jobs. To do this we need to develop strategies to break down the barriers that will keep women and girls from taking up the opportunities from the jobs of the future. This will be a key part of the remit of the Women and the Economy Commission.”

Independent housing experts criticise the Government’s extreme Housing and Planning Bill – We need a Labour Mayor to tackle London’s Housing Crisis
Last week saw the issuing of the final report of the IPPR’s London Housing Commission.
Commenting on the report, John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Housing and Planning, said: “The Commission rightly say that starter homes selling for up to £450,000 will be unaffordable to first-time buyers. They echo Labour’s proposals that these homes should not be built against the wishes of local councils at the expense of affordable homes to rent and buy, and that any discount should be made permanent to protect the public investment and benefit future first-time buyers.”
The Government must now listen to the widespread criticism of its damaging Housing Bill and re-think its housing plans.
On Tuesday evening I attended the event to launch Sadiq Khan’s mayoral campaign manifesto, which includes strong commitments on housing. The IPPR report is yet more evidence that the people of Hackney North and Stoke Newington - and London more widely - desperately need a Labour Mayor who understands London’s housing crisis and has a plan to get to grips with it.
You can read Sadiq Khan’s manifesto for a Mayor for All Londoners here and volunteer to help his campaign here.

International Development Matters – International Women’s Day Blog
For International Women’s Day on Tuesday March 8, I wrote a blog on women, global poverty and international development, arguing that “on International Women’s day, as we reflect on the fight for gender parity across the world, it is important to recognise that one of the biggest fights for women is the battle against poverty.”
You can read the full piece here.

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