NEWS THIS WEEK – from Diane Abbott MP

07 Mar 2017
Theresa May must use her first Budget to provide the NHS & social care sector the funding it desperately needs

Tomorrow, Theresa May must use her first Budget as Prime Minister to rovide the NHS and social care sector with the funding desperately needed to provide the very best quality of care.

The test of her first Budget this week therefore is whether she will signal a different approach to the NHS. At the very least the Government should bring forward £2 billion of emergency funding for social care and make clear as soon as possible how this money is going to be used to increase capacity and take some of the pressure off NHS hospitals, so that patients and their families never have to go through a winter like this again.

Whilst reports of any additional money for social care are of course  welcome, the reality is that it is the Tories who have spent the last 7  years cutting billions from council budgets. This has meant the loss of  £5 billion for adult social care.

As well as putting £2 billion into the budget for social care, there is also an urgent need for a longer-term funding plan to get social care out of the current crisis and on to a more stable footing.

Tory failure on living standards see earnings fall by £1,100 a  year, or £21 a week at the same time as exploitative zero hours contracts make it harder for families to make ends meet

Labour analysis, using House of Common’s Library endorsed modelling, shows that average real earnings are set to fall by just under £1,100 a year, or £21 a week, as a result of rising inflation and lower wage growth.

The combination of higher prices and lower wages is that living standards are being squeezed.

This analysis comes on the back of IFS analysis last year which showed that the “outlook for living standards has deteriorated rather sharply”, between Budget 2016 and Autumn Statement 2016, describing the prospects for real earnings growth as “dreadful”.

The Resolution Foundation has also said that the “outlook for living standards in 21st century Britain does not look promising” and that “weak and regressive nature of income growth in the years ahead should
concern us all”.

An additional analysis from the Resolution Foundation has shown that  nearly one million workers are now on zero hours contracts, confirming unprecedented levels of insecurity among working people.

The truth is that Theresa May has failed working people; with a lower National Living Wage than promised just 12 months ago and massive cuts to Universal Credit still in the pipeline. The next Labour government
will implement a real Living Wage, ban exploitative zero hours contracts and reverse pernicious cuts to working people.

We can build a radically fairer, more democratic, and more prosperous society - John McDonnell’s pre-budget speech

The aforementioned rising cost of living crisis and unacceptable squeeze in funding for our public services are both results of the Tories’ ideologically-driven austerity, which is a political choice not an economic necessity.

As Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell put it in his pre-budget speech lastweek “instead of rising to the challenge I fear the approach from this government on the economy is to continue the failures of the past.”

Despite some cosmetic changes, this remains a retrograde step from the Trump Presidency

As Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Emily Thornberry MP, said this week in response to the US administration’s updated travel ban, “Despite some cosmetic changes,  this remains a retrograde step for the United States. By abdicating its responsibilities under international law, the administration continues to send a terrible message to the rest of the world on the refugee crisis. While it remains to be seen whether or not this new executive order will stand up in court, nothing changes the fact that these measures are unnecessary, divisive and wrong.”

The police continue to do their best even though the Conservatives are cutting our police force by millions of pounds — and thousands of officers

Last week, saw the release of the HMIC’s PEEL: Police effectiveness 2016 report, which clearly shows that the police are doing their best despite this Tory Government’s actions.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate says that some forces are struggling to  respond to shrinking resources. Some are artificially downgrading the severity of calls, others are not able to properly carry out their core  functions of crime prevention, public security and apprehending criminals. Some are setting quotas for specialist police or failing to register organised gangs in their area, because that would require  further action.

We should be clear, the primary responsibility for this is not individual forces or officers. The fault lies with the Tory government who have cut 20,000 police officers and who are now cutting police
budgets across the country.

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