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

01 Dec 2016

Let teachers teach, not act as border guards 
I have written for 
Politics Home welcoming how the House of Lords has expressed its opposition to the collection of immigration status data in schools and this should be applauded.
In the piece I argue that “We expect our teachers do a good job in educating children and young people. We expect our NHS workers to look after us. We even expect landlords to provide decent accommodation. But this government also expects them to act as border guards.”
You can read the full article here

Responding to Paul Nuttall becoming UKIP leader 
On Tuesday, the I Paper published an interview with myself where I argue that “I don’t think there’s any way forward for the Labour Party electorally from sounding Ukip-lite,” adding that “If you are attracted by Ukip arguments, you are going to vote Ukip. And in areas where they are not so upset about migration they are going to be baffled about what we are actually doing.” You can read the full interview here
Additionally, Labour released a video this week showing that Paul Nuttall, UKIP’s new leader, wants privatisation in the NHS and has argued that the “very existence of the NHS stifles competition”. You can watch and share a video exposing Paul Nuttall’s views on the NHS here

U-turn as Government announces it will reverse 500 per cent increase in immigration & asylum tribunal fees
The Government announced this week that it will reverse its recent 500 per cent increase in immigration and asylum tribunal fees. In response, Richard Burgon MP, Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary, said: “This is a significant climb down by a Conservative Government which has done so much to deny access to justice to thousands of people, particularly those on lower incomes,” adding that “Labour opposed these measures in parliament when they came in just two months ago, and we are pleased the Justice Secretary has finally given in to all those who argued against these unfair fee increases.”

Analyses confirm Labour’s critique of the Autumn Statement as research confirms women are faring just as poorly under Hammond as they did under Osborne
Following last week’s Autumn Statement, analysis from the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) confirmed that real wages would remain below their 2008 levels until at least 2021.
As Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP put it, “This lost decade for living standards is unprecedented in modern British history and is a damning indictment of the total, abject failure of the Tories’ economic policy during their six wasted years in office.”
Additionally, research commissioned by Sarah Champion MP, Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, shows that women are faring just as poorly under Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement as they did under George Osborne’s budget. As of the Autumn Statement, 86% of savings to the Treasury through tax and benefit changes since 2010 will have come from women. This is an increase in the burden on women from the last Autumn Statement when the figure was 81%.
The Conservative government have repeatedly refused to gender audit their own economic policies and announcements despite formal requests from the cross-party Women and Equalities Select Committee. As Sarah Champion said “Their silence on how their cuts affect women, and their refusal to gender audit their own policies, speak volumes. “

The Housing Crisis is Getting Worse and the Tories have no answer
Official housebuilding figures this week have confirmed that the government are set to miss even their own inadequate housebuilding target by a big margin.
Incredibly, the independent Office for Budget Responsibility analysed that the Autumn Statement will actually reduce the number of new homes being built over the next five years, meaning that 13,000 fewer affordable homes will be built by housing associations.
As Shadow Housing Minister Jon Healey said, “After we learnt last week that new affordable house building has fallen to its lowest level in 24 years, Ministers must now urgently sort out this mess and get Britain building again after six years of failure.”

With an unprecedented squeeze on NHS finances and now even fewer staff, it is clear that the Tories are failing our health service and its patients
With regards to the Autumn Statement, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) reported that NHS staffing growth will slow with the NHS set to have fewer staff this year than previously forecast.
As Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Health Minister, said “The Chancellor failed to provide a single penny of extra investment for social care and the NHS,” and “with an unprecedented squeeze on NHS finances and now even fewer staff, it is clear that the Tories are failing our health service and its patients.”
In Hackney, and in over 500 other places Labour members took to the street this weekend to #CareforOurNHS - you can sign up for Labour’s campaign and get information here

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