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

14 Dec 2016

Criminal Finances Bill - UK is a centre of money laundering. Tough laws are needed to end it
Currently the Criminal Finances Bill is going through Parliament. Labour has tabled amendments with the aim of expanding the bill to include Britain’s tax havens. We hold the position that they should publish the names of the individuals behind the shell companies registered there.

In its current state the Bill is lax on tackling this major issue and needs to be strengthened significantly.  The quasi-autonomous status of Overseas Territories cannot be a barrier to our role in tackling international money-laundering. We must face up to our responsibilities and end the UK’s role in this global scandal.
  • You can read my full article on the issue here.

Savage Tory Cuts have caused a crisis in the funding of social care
This week saw a number of news reports of proposed council tax rises to fund social care.
There is a crisis in the funding of social care caused by savage Tory cuts to the budgets of local councils. £4.6 Billion has been cut from adult social care since 2010, meaning 400,000 fewer people now have publicly funded care. Social Care failures also affect the wider NHS with record numbers of patients delayed on discharge. One third of those delays are due to lack of social care.
As my colleague Barbara Keeley MP, Shadow Minister for Social Care, commented “The right solution would be for Theresa May to admit the Tories have got it wrong and deliver the needed funding for social care. Asking taxpayers and councils to pick up the bill for the Tories’ failure is no substitute for a proper plan.”
Leaders of local government and health organisations pleaded with the Chancellor to put the funding right in the Autumn Statement but he failed to do so. It is time for the Tories to deal with the crisis they have created and to develop a sustainable way of funding social care.

NHS - Reports of seriously ill children waiting for hours for an intensive care bed
The Pediatric Intensive Care Society reported this week that some pediatric units are operating at 115% of capacity, with seriously ill children waiting for hours for an intensive care bed, and being transported as far as 120 miles from their homes to receive medical treatment.
As Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Health, put it "It seems not a day goes by without another case of how the NHS is struggling to cope with the number of patients in our hospitals. What’s more, winter is only expected to make this worse, and Ministers don’t have a plan to ensure the NHS has the resources it needs.”
Ministers failed to give the NHS and social care a single penny of extra investment in the Autumn Statement. Now, the Tories need to take urgent action to ensure that patients of all ages get the care they need.

We need to see some consistent principle in the UK’s foreign policy, not more shabby hypocrisy
In my previous role as Shadow International Development Minister, I highlighted how much more needed to be done to address the crisis in Yemen. And in October Labour called for Britain to suspend support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, until a lasting ceasefire has been brokered and until alleged violations of international humanitarian law have been properly investigated.
This weekend, my colleague Emily Thornberry MP, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, responded to Boris Johnson’s remarks about Saudi Arabia’s support for proxy wars in the Middle East, by pointing out that “For months, Labour has been arguing that what last year began as a UN-backed attempt to restore the government of Yemen has now descended into a brutal and indiscriminate proxy war, and a desperate humanitarian crisis, with the lives of hundreds of thousands of children at risk.”
Earlier in the week, Kate Osamor MP, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, responded to concerns voiced by the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, that the world is turning a “blind eye” to the conflict, saying: “The situation in Yemen is a humanitarian disaster, which has been far too neglected by the international community. The Tory Government has consistently refused to engage with the paradoxical nature of its engagement in the region: providing aid to assist a humanitarian situation which it is arguably complicit in exacerbating, through selling arms to Saudi Arabia despite the continuing risk that they are being used in breach of international humanitarian law.”

International Students Benefit Us All. Government Policy Makes Us Poorer
As news broke this week that the Government is seeking to further restrict the number of international students coming to Britain, I have written a blog for The Huffington Post pointing out that “A number of stakeholders are opposed to the clampdown on overseas students, including Universities UK, the teaching unions, the National Union of Students, and many local authorities where education is a much-needed growth industry,” and concluding that “International students benefit us all. We should be trying to attract more of them, not driving them away.”
  • You can read the full article here.

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