NEWS THIS WEEK – from Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North & Stoke Newington March 30 2016
30 Mar 2016#SaveOurSteel - Jeremy Corbyn Writes to David Cameron
Jeremy Corbyn has wirtten to the Prime Minister calling for Parliament to be recalled to deal with the Tata steel crisis and the 'threat to the British steel industry'. You can read the full letter and a report here.
A Welcome U-Turn on Disability Cuts But Still an Unfair Budget
George Osborne's Budget was built on failure with unfairness at its very core. He proposed the slashing of Personal Independence Payments, which would have seen hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities left on average £3,500 a year worse off. That’s £3,500 that would have been spent on getting support going to the toilet, getting dressed and leaving the house.
But thanks to our collective pressure, Osborne announced a U-turn on the cuts within a mere matter of days.
However, the Tories still remain committed to their failed - and ideologically-driven - austerity. As Jeremy Corbyn pointed out at Prime Ministers' Questions, no mainstream economic experts back further austerity and austerity has meant that forecasts for growth, wage-growth and investment were down in last week's budget.
Furthermore, we’ve had no answer on how the Tories plan to fill the £4.4 billion black hole left by their forced u-turn on disability benefits. Given a record of unfairness which saw them raise VAT after promising they had ‘no plans’ to do so, millions of people will be worrying about where the axe will fall and who is going to be left to pick up the bill for George Osborne’s mess.
With only vague promises of “no plans” to make further welfare cuts, we must continue to fight for an economy where prosperity is shared by all.
Rise in homelessness further blow to Cameron’s ‘compassionate Conservatism’
Jeremy Corbyn took David Cameron to task at PMQs this week in response to to new government data revealing that homelessness has risen by a third since 2010 and the number of disabled people made homeless has increased by 39 per cent.
As John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Housing and Planning, said “Hard on the heels of the Budget backtrack on disability benefits, this huge rise in homelessness is a further blow to the credibility of David Cameron’s claim to ‘compassionate Conservatism’. "
These figures are just the tip of the iceberg of the housing crisis but they are a condemnation of Conservative housing policy and the harsh impact it is having on those who are most vulnerable.
It is clear that the Government’s failure to control housing costs and crude cuts to housing support over the last six years are making the problem much worse. Conservative Ministers have no long-term housing plan for the country.
* In London, Sadiq Khan is making the Mayoral election a referendum on the housing crisis - get involved and read his manifesto at www.sadiq.london
Tories must show they are serious about getting to root causes of gender pay gap
A report this week from the Women and Equalities Select Committee today highlighted the lack of effective policy by government in tackling the gender pay gap.
Kate Green MP, Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, said “Today’s report repeats what Labour have been saying for some time: that the Tory Government has had little to say on the chronic, persistent low pay in sectors like care, retail and cleaning where women are over represented in the workforce. Until the pay, status and prospects for progression in these sectors improve, the gender pay gap will not be eliminated. The Government must show that they are serious about getting to the root causes of the gender pay gap and bring forward a proper strategy to address the experiences of the thousands of women trapped in low paid, undervalued sectors with poor prospects of progression.”
International Development Matters: British arms sales to Saudi Arabia are immoral and illegal
Writing for The Guardian last week I argued that "with one hand our government sells arms to the Saudis," yet "with the other it uses the profits to try to clear up the carnage the Saudis wreak in Yemen." You can read the full article here