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

07 Dec 2016

Government concede Labour’s calls to publish a Brexit plan
The Government has accepted a Labour motion that calls for the Government to publish a plan for Brexit before Article 50 is invoked.

As Keir Starmer, Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, said, “For the last two months Labour have been pushing the Government to put their plan for Brexit before Parliament and the public. Without that plan, we have had unnecessary uncertainty, speculation and a running commentary on the Government’s likely approach.”
Labour will hold the Government to account on Brexit following Wednesday’s debate in parliament. We will also push for a plan to be published no later than January 2017 so that the House of Commons and the British people have a chance to scrutinise it.

A&E departments are facing immense pressure and this situation could deteriorate over the winter months
Reports this week showed that the number of patients waiting four hours or more to be allocated a hospital bed in England after being admitted to hospital for urgent care has risen. A&E departments are facing immense pressure, around 3.9 million people are on the waiting list and this situation could deteriorate over the winter months.
The Tories are to blame for the deepening crisis in our NHS. As Jonathan Ashworth MP said, “The Autumn Statement failed to give the NHS and social care a single penny of extra investment…The lack of social care funding is having a knock on effect on our overcrowded, overstretched hospitals with a record number of patients trapped in hospital wards with nowhere to go.”

Joseph Rowntree Foundation Report shows true impact of six wasted years of Tory austerity
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Monitoring of Poverty and Social Exclusion 2016 report has shown the true impact of six wasted years of Tory austerity, with 7.4 million people in poverty in working households.
As Debbie Abrahams MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions said “This Government has no plan to tackle stagnant wages and rising insecurity, choosing instead to make the poorest pay for their economic mismanagement.”
Only a Labour government will introduce a real Living Wage based on what people need. We will also ensure that work will always pay under Universal Credit, to put an end to in-work poverty.

Tories have the wrong plans for Britain’s railways but Labour will end the railway rip-off
There has been public outcry over the last week in response to Government plans to give responsibility for rail tracks to private train operators. Train operating companies, some of which run abysmal services, should not be invited to take responsibility for the repair and maintenance of Britain’s railways.
Additionally, this week we have heard the news that rail fares are to rise by 2.3 per cent on average from next year.
As Andy McDonald MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary said “It is time for our railways to be run under public ownership in the public interest, when franchises expire, with affordable fares for all and long term investment in the railway network.”

Low income black and Asian women hit hard by Tory austerity
New research by the Women’s Budget Group and the Runnymede Trust has shown that low income black and Asian women will lose more money than any other group up to 2020 as a result of the Tories’ economic policy.
As Dawn Butler MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Diverse Communities, said “This equality impact assessment is a damning indictment of this government and shows that black and Asian women are being disproportionately affected by this government’s policies.”

Rather than learn from her mistakes as Home Secretary on Immigration, Theresa May now seems committed to repeating them
I issued a press release this week in my capacity as Shadow Home Secretary in response to latest immigration data, saying “The Tories made a promise to the British people on net migration that they knew they could never keep, eroding public trust. But rather than learn from her mistakes as Home Secretary, Theresa May now seems committed to repeating them. 
“We now know that at the same time she was cutting the border force, she tried to force schools into objectionable schemes that would hurt children in a failed effort to meet that target.
“We should welcome overseas students and the contribution they make to our universities and wider society, and yet the Tories seem determined to discourage them.
“Scandalously, the number of asylum applications from Syria has gone down, even though we know the crisis there is deepening.
“And now Theresa May is refusing to provide certainty about the future of EU nationals who have lived and worked here for years.
“Rather than making unworkable promises, using our neighbours as bargaining chips, or forcing schools to act as border guards, Labour will have a fair migration policy that benefits us all.”
  • This week, I have also written a piece on how Labour is for fair migration policies that benefit the population as a whole, plus a policy of investment that will improve the living standards for the overwhelming majority of people. You can read the full piece here

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