Lancaster Labour Party

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Labour is today launching its better plan for rural Britain, we are setting out our policies to build a rural economy that works for working people and supports rural families and communities. The rural manifesto includes a pledge to put right the damage done by the Tories’ decision to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board, replacing it with a new taskforce to tackle low pay and protect conditions for agricultural workers.

Labour’s better plan for rural communities includes:

Tackling low-pay in agriculture by creating an industry-led taskforce on productivity and pay as well as boosting skills and apprenticeships.

Build more affordable homes by strengthening requirements on developers to build affordable housing in rural areas.

Bringing the off-grid energy sector under the remit of the regulator for the first time.

Standing up for farmers by creating a tough new supermarket watchdog by expanding the role and powers of the Groceries Code Adjudicator.

Cutting business rates for small businesses, which employ over two-thirds of the rural workforce.

Giving rural communities more power over their own bus services.

Ensuring that all parts of the country benefit from affordable, high-speed broadband by the end of the Parliament.

Devolving powers to our English county regions, giving communities the ability to shape the places they live.

 

By contrast, the Conservatives and Lib Dems have failed to get to grips with the challenges facing rural Britain:

Average wages are over £4500 lower a year than those in urban areas and the gap has grown by £1000 since 2010.

Developers have been allowed to end the provision of affordable housing on sites of fewer than 10 houses despite the majority of housing in rural areas being provided on small, private developer-led sites.

Rural businesses and households have seen the same soaring energy bills as the rest of the country, but have an added burden as many have no grid access, forcing them to use more expensive alternatives.

Farmers are increasingly seeing their income squeezed by powerful retailers and over 1500 dairy farmers have gone out of businesses in the last five years.

Annual transport costs are around £1000 higher in rural areas and less than half of those living in smaller rural settlements have access to a regular bus service.

Too many rural communities and businesses have been left behind without adequate broadband coverage.

Labour launches rural manifesto and pledges to tackle low pay for agricultural workers

Labour is today launching its better plan for rural Britain, we are setting out our policies to build a rural economy that works for working people and supports rural families...

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Ed Miliband is unveiling Labour’s plan to put first time buyers first by reducing stamp duty to zero and giving them priority access on new homes built.  
 
This is the next stage in Labour’s comprehensive programme to tackle our country’s housing crisis by building the homes local people need and taking action on rents.
 
The measures announced today will help first time buyers as the next Labour government embarks on the biggest house-building programme for a generation, increases the number of affordable homes, and introduces secure three-year tenancies with rents capped.  
 
Labour’s better plan is needed to tackle a modern housing crisis in which a severe shortage of new homes being built has priced millions of people out of the property market and left many who want to buy living in private rented accommodation. 
 
The Tories have overseen the lowest peacetime level of housebuilding since the 1920s, the lowest rate of home ownership for 30 years and a market where buy-to-let landlords and foreign investors are snapping up properties before local people get a chance. 
 
The key elements of Labour’s comprehensive plan to help working families get the decent homes they deserve: 
 
Put first time buyers first
  • Help with your first home: Labour will reduce stamp duty to zero for first time buyers of homes worth up to £300,000 – a saving of as much as £5,000 for people seeking to get on the property ladder. 
  • First Call: Labour will give first time buyers that have lived in an area for more than three years “first call” on up to half of homes built in their area. 
  • Local First: Labour will stop foreign buyers buying up properties before local buyers get a look in by ensuring they are advertised in local areas, increasing taxes paid by foreign buyers and council tax for empty homes. 
The biggest house building programme in a generation
  • Labour’s plan will start construction on 1 million new homes by 2020 to deliver our promise of getting 200,000 homes built a year, with “use or lose it” powers ensuring developers build on land rather than hoarding it via the right to levy council tax on sites which remains undeveloped, as well as plans for a series of new garden cities and wider reform of the housing market.
More affordable and social housing 
  • Labour’s plan will build more affordable homes year-on-year by strengthening affordable housing obligations on developers which have been watered down by the Tories, prioritising capital investment and allowing Labour’s £5 billion Future Homes Fund to invest in housing associations developing affordable homes.
Action on rent
  • Labour will bring in secure three-year tenancies for those who want them and cap rents so they cannot rise by more than the rate of inflation during this period. We will also ban letting agent fees - saving the average household £625 over the next parliament – and introduce a national register of landlords so that a minority of rogue owners can be identified, with tax relief restricted for those who do not meet basic standards.

Putting first-time buyers first

Ed Miliband is unveiling Labour’s plan to put first time buyers first by reducing stamp duty to zero and giving them priority access on new homes built.     This...

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David Cameron has presided over the greatest loss of British influence in a generation with a foreign policy characterised by inward-looking, small-minded isolationism which too often has put short-term party political interests ahead of the national interest.
 
Ed Miliband has today set out how the foreign policy of the next Labour government will mark a different approach, because we are stronger as a country when we look boldly, confidently outward to the world, not turning in on ourselves or acting on our own.
 
Our approach will be a genuine and hard-headed multilateralism with our values at its core. That’s how Britain can succeed.
 
We will apply these principles to foreign policy by:

  • Restoring our commitment to international institutions including the UN, NATO, the Commonwealth and the EU. This will start with the European Union – leading once again in Europe and using that strength to reform Europe. And our commitment to NATO means that we reject the extreme spending cuts that the Conservative Party propose as they would be truly catastrophic for the future of our armed forces.
  • Learning lessons from the past including the 2003 Iraq War in how we use military intervention to respond to international problems which threaten security at home and abroad. As we are witnessing in Libya, one of these lessons is that any strategy for intervention must include a comprehensive transition and post conflict strategy.
  • Putting reducing inequality, tackling climate change and promoting human rights at the core of Labour’s foreign policy.‎ Labour will proudly lead the world in maintaining our commitment to giving 0.7% of GNI towards international development and on climate change set ambitious emissions targets for all countries, reviewed every five years, based on a scientific assessment of the progress towards the 2C goal.

 

The next Labour government's foreign policy

David Cameron has presided over the greatest loss of British influence in a generation with a foreign policy characterised by inward-looking, small-minded isolationism which too often has put short-term party...

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Today Labour is launching our NHS campaign week, warning that the NHS is on life support and that the Tories' double deceit means they will pull the plug on the NHS as we know it after the election.
 
Labour is unveiling a new poster and publishing a dossier which sets out how David Cameron is offering the British people a double deceit on NHS spending.
  • The Tories' extreme spending plans, doubling the pace of cuts next year, will put the NHS at risk.
  • Despite their promises, they cannot say where a penny of extra spending will come from.
The truth is that after five years of broken promises and a serious deterioration in services, the NHS as we know it cannot survive five more years of the Tories.
 
And we know what the Tory party would like to do given the chance - new research shows that over a quarter of Tory councillors support charging or further privatisation in the NHS. If the Tories were given the chance to carry on as they are, services would continue to decline and long waits will dramatically increase. On current trends by 2020 we will see:
  • Over 20 million people waiting a week or more for a GP appointment
  • Over two million a year waiting over four hours in A&E
Labour has set out a better plan to invest £2.5 billion extra each year - on top of Tory spending plans - paid for by a mansion tax on homes worth over £2 million, to fund 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs.

The Tories' double deceit on the NHS

Today Labour is launching our NHS campaign week, warning that the NHS is on life support and that the Tories' double deceit means they will pull the plug on the...

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Labour’s Manifesto starts from the idea that Britain only succeeds when working people succeed. It shows how, by securing the nation’s finances, we are able to improve the family finances of the working people of Britain.

Today’s Manifesto is different to manifestos that Labour has published in the past. Instead of a list of new spending commitments, the very first page of this Manifesto sets out our plan to secure the nation’s finances – with a Budget Responsibility Lock guaranteeing that every manifesto policy is paid for without a single penny of extra borrowing.
Where policies do cost money we have set out how they are paid for. For example:

  • A £2.5 billion NHS Time to Care fund, from a mansion tax on properties over £2m, a levy on tobacco firms and closing a hedge fund tax avoidance loophole.
  • 25 hours of childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds, paid for by increasing the banking levy by £800 million.
  • Cap class sizes for 5, 6, & 7 year olds, from ending the Free Schools programme.
  • Cut business rates for small business properties, from not going ahead with another cut to Corporation Tax.


People want change, a better future, but they want to know we can make progress while securing the nation’s finances. This Manifesto answers that question with a plan for big reform, not big spending.

And that responsible approach contrasts with an increasingly desperate Conservative campaign that is making promises it has no idea how to pay for. There is nothing more dangerous for the NHS than saying you’ll protect it with no idea where the money is coming from. It is an approach that leads to broken promises, with working people paying the price in higher taxes and public services undermined.

So this Manifesto and this election campaign show that Labour is not only the party of change, but the party of responsibility too.

It is more ambitious because it starts from a clear commitment to balance the books but does not stop there. On the foundation of a plan to secure the nation’s finances it shows how we improve the family finances of the working people of Britain by:

  • Rewarding hard work – by raising the minimum wage, banning exploitative zero hour contracts, freezing energy bills and backing small businesses
  • Sharing prosperity – by guaranteeing apprenticeships, cutting tuition fees, getting homes built, and devolving powers to every part of Britain.
  • Building a better Britain – ensuring the NHS has time to care, opening up our politics, and being a confident outward looking nation once again.

 

Labour's Manifesto - Securing the nation’s finances so we can improve the finances of working families

Labour’s Manifesto starts from the idea that Britain only succeeds when working people succeed. It shows how, by securing the nation’s finances, we are able to improve the family finances...

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Labour is today setting out our plans to protect neighbourhood policing. We are identifying savings which will enable police forces to safeguard over 10,000 police officers over the next three years and legislating to introduce a new Local Policing Commitment, which makes sure police forces guarantee neighbourhood policing in every area. The announcement comes as Labour launches our Crime and Justice Manifesto today.
 
To safeguard over 10,000 police officers, Labour will make £800 million worth of efficiency savings including scrapping expensive police and crime commissioners; ending the police subsidy of gun licenses; and mandating joint procurement and sharing support services. The Tories have ruled out all of these savings and only have a plan to cut more police.
 
Alongside the commitment to protect over 10,000 police officers from the cuts, Labour’s Crime and Justice Manifesto sets out plans to:

  • Put victims at the heart of the criminal justice system – by introducing the country’s first ever Victims’ Law.
  • Prevent crime before it occurs
  • Tackle child sexual exploitation and violence against women and girls
  • Build a justice system fit for the 21st Century
  • Tackle extremism and the threat of terrorism

Because of the Conservatives’ decisions, neighbourhood policing – the foundation of good British policing – is at risk of disappearing, whilst increasing numbers of serious criminals are being let off the hook.
 
Labour has a better plan. We will make different choices, finding savings to safeguard 10,000 officers in the next three years. We will ensure victims are at the heart of the criminal justice system with the country’s first ever Victims’ Law. And we will ensure the police have the powers they need to keep us safe, including proper controls for dangerous terror suspects.

Labour will guarantee neighbourhood policing in every area

Labour is today setting out our plans to protect neighbourhood policing. We are identifying savings which will enable police forces to safeguard over 10,000 police officers over the next three...

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Labour is today setting out our plans to guarantee face-to-face, 21st century careers advice for all young people, covering traditional academic routes into university and vocational options and apprenticeships. The announcement comes as Labour launches our education manifesto today.
 
For Britain to succeed in the 21st century, we need an education system that delivers high standards and opportunities for all children and young people. But to successfully plot a route through education and into a tough labour market young people don’t just need good qualifications - they also need the skills, information and guidance to make the right choices.

So Labour will give young people:

  • Face-to-face, 21st century advice and guidance through new careers advisers for secondary schools and colleges, in contrast to this Government’s offer of a telephone line and a website.
  • Integrated advice on universities, jobs and vocational education. Labour will ensure young people get advice on all the options open to them, including academic and vocational qualifications and apprenticeships, through careers advisers trained to give guidance on all routes.
  • Independent advice, in the best interests of young people not schools. Young people will be guided on the best choices for them, and schools will be held to account for the advice they offer.
  • Work experience and employer engagement: Good careers advice should include interaction with the world of work. So we will reverse the Government’s decision to scrap compulsory work experience for 14-16 year olds.

The Tories have let down young people, undermining careers advice and side-lining vocational education and skills.

Labour will guarantee face-to-face, 21st century careers advice for all young people

Labour is today setting out our plans to guarantee face-to-face, 21st century careers advice for all young people, covering traditional academic routes into university and vocational options and apprenticeships. The...

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Labour is today setting out our plans to abolish the non-dom rules so that everyone who makes the UK their home pays UK tax. Britain will only succeed when working people succeed. That means everyone playing by the same rules. But the non-dom tax rules allow those at the top to pay less tax through a special set of loopholes not available to most people. That's not fair - it means working people have to pay more.
 

The non-dom rules are unfair.

  • The vast majority of working people have to pay tax on all of their income and gains, wherever it comes from. Wealthy non-doms can live in the UK for many years, but avoid paying UK tax on income made abroad.

The non-dom rules are ridiculous.

  • The rules are not only used by foreigners, but by people who by any normal standards are British, so that they can pay less tax.
  • People born here, brought up here and living here can claim non-dom status if their father was born abroad.
  • People born and brought up here, who live abroad for a while and then move back to the UK, can claim non-dom status if they say they plan to move abroad again in future, and do simple things like buy an overseas burial plot or subscribe to foreign newspapers.


The non-dom rules are abused.

  • The rules are supposed to allow non-doms not to pay tax on income from abroad. But they are also being used to avoid tax on UK income and property.
  • Non-doms can use offshore trusts to buy expensive UK homes and avoid inheritance tax.


Labour will abolish non-dom tax status. Labour will abolish the non-dom rules and replace them with a system where everyone who makes the UK their home pays full UK tax, and only those who are genuinely temporarily resident in the UK - like students, or people who spend a short time here on business - can be taxed on just their UK income.
By closing down these loopholes Labour will raise hundreds of millions of pounds in additional tax revenue, which will be used for reducing the deficit. And we will send a clear message that everyone, however wealthy they are, should play by the same rules.

Labour will abolish non-dom tax status

Labour is today setting out our plans to abolish the non-dom rules so that everyone who makes the UK their home pays UK tax. Britain will only succeed when working...

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Some 600 fewer GP surgeries across England are open in the evening and at weekends compared to the time of the last election, new figures today show.
 
At the last election, David Cameron promised to open GP surgeries seven days a week but the reality is that millions more patients are unhappy with opening hours. It is now harder to get an appointment from Monday to Friday too.
 
One of Cameron’s first acts as Prime Minister was to cut Labour’s extended opening hours scheme and scrap our guarantee of an appointment within 48 hours. If David Cameron gets back in, his extreme spending cuts mean he can’t protect the NHS - and the queues outside GP surgeries will get even worse.
 
The NHS needs Labour's better plan for 8,000 more GPs, paid for with a £2.5 billion a year Time to Care fund, and guaranteed appointments within 48 hours.
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Tory GP failure

Some 600 fewer GP surgeries across England are open in the evening and at weekends compared to the time of the last election, new figures today show.   At the...

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Labour is today setting out our plans to revive the dream of home ownership for millions of families and put first time buyers first.
 
Ed Miliband will announce plans to unlock £5 billion of investment in a Future Homes Fund. That will be enough to build 125,000 homes over the course of the next parliament. The money will come from requiring banks and building societies to invest money saved in Help to Buy ISAs in house building, because building homes is the only way to help the next generation of first time buyers. Local first time buyers will get priority access to the homes built.
 
Labour’s comprehensive housing plan – the first for a generation – is a foundation stone for building a country where working people can succeed. We will:
  • Get 200,000 homes built a year, backed a Housing Investment Fund of over £5 billion for investment in new homes
  • Build hundreds of thousands of new homes in Housing Growth Areas, new sites where local first time buyers will have priority over new homes
  • Reform the private rented sector so those that are locked out aren’t ripped off with 3 year tenancies, a ceiling on excessive rent rises and a ban on letting agents fees.
‎David Cameron’s failing plan has seen the Tories presiding over the lowest rate of house building since the 1920s and the lowest level of home ownership for 30 years which has left millions of families priced out of a market where the typical price of a property is now eight times average wages

Labour will build the homes first time buyers need

Labour is today setting out our plans to revive the dream of home ownership for millions of families and put first time buyers first.   Ed Miliband will announce plans...

WARM TRIBUTES TO  COUNCILLOR

 richard-newman-thompson.pngA large congregation heard warm tributes to the life of Lancaster city and Lancashire county councillor Richard Newman-Thompson at his civic funeral at Lancaster Priory on February 29 2016.

His best friend, Ray Hill, said Councillor Newman-Thompson was a man of immense personal courage and total and absolute loyalty, who was always there to be relied on.

He was decent, clean-living and hard-working and never let a political or philosophical disagreement influence his view of a person.

Both men were Labour Party colleagues and Heysham High School governors at the same time.

Leader of Lancaster City Council Councillor Eileen Blamire, Councillor Newman-Thompson's John o'Gaunt Ward colleague, described him as intelligent, dedicated, committed, wise, totally reliable and, above all, caring.

He cared passionately about health and, as Cabinet member for finance, did a magnificent job in preparing the council's budget, she said.

“Colleagues and friends are devastated by his death,” said Councillor Blamire. “I personally owe him a great debt. He made a difference to any life he touched.”

The Vicar of Lancaster, the Rev Chris Newlands, spoke of Councillor Newman-Thompson's passion, energy, commitment and self-sacrifice for the good of others.

The service was attended by the Mayor of Lancaster, Councillor Jon Barry; the MP for Lancaster, Cat Smith; and the Chairman of Lancashire County Council, County Councillor Margaret Brindle.

Councillor Newman-Thompson died of cancer at home on February 22 aged 53. Donations in his memory are going to St John's Hospice.

 

Tributes To Richard Newman-Thompson

WARM TRIBUTES TO  COUNCILLOR  A large congregation heard warm tributes to the life of Lancaster city and Lancashire county councillor Richard Newman-Thompson at his civic funeral at Lancaster Priory on...

A discussion document from the Lancaster Branch of the Labour Party, February 2016

This is presented here in order to generate further discussion amongst Labour Party members.  It presents the briefing papers considered and summarises the opinions expressed when about 20 members of the Lancaster Branch of the Lancaster and Fleetwood Constituency Labour Party met for a Policy Discussion Meeting on 10 February 2016.  People took a variety of views, and inclusion in this account does not imply approval by all of the members present, or even by a majority.  The briefing documents and the report of the meeting discussions have been prepared by John Whitehead, Nick Moule and James Groves, respectively Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer of the Branch.

Three topics are covered (as pdf files to view or download):

  1.     UK voting systems
  2.     Implications of UK devolution for England
  3.     The future of the House of Lords

For each topic, the briefing paper presented at the meeting is given below, followed by a summary of the discussion. 

A further document presenting some voting scenarios is included.

How We Are Represented: Democratic Reforms?

A discussion document from the Lancaster Branch of the Labour Party, February 2016 This is presented here in order to generate further discussion amongst Labour Party members.  It presents the...

Labour_IN2.pngLabour will campaign for Britain to stay in Europe in the referendum that the prime minister has called for June, regardless of Cameron’s overblown tinkering, says Jeremy Corbyn. That’s not because we don’t think the EU needs reform – far from it.  Labour will be running a positive campaign for the real change we need: to unite opposition to austerity and build a Europe of sustainable growth, jobs and social justice. That can only be achieved by working with allies who share our aims across the continent. We want a social Europe of decent jobs and equality for all. Being part of Europe has brought Britain investment, jobs and protection for workers, consumers and the environment. We are convinced that the EU is a vital framework for European trade and international cooperation in the 21st century, and that a vote to remain in Europe is in the best interest of our people.

Cat Smith writes: A British exit from the EU would have a seriously detrimental impact on the free movement of people; trade union and human rights; environmental protection; international cooperation; and a host of other vital issues. While the EU is in need of a democratic reform, an exit at the current time would boost right-wing movements and parties and hurt ordinary people in the UK. European politics has been dominated by neoliberal thinking for far too long – as recent events in Greece brutally demonstrate. But changing this means working to strengthen anti-austerity movements across all of Europe – not walking away. Our campaign will put the case for staying in the EU independently of Cameron and big business, opposing any part of a “renegotiation” that attacks workers’, migrants’ or human rights. We will combine campaigning for an in vote with arguing for an alternative economic model, maintaining European citizens’ rights to live and work across the EU, and for far-reaching democratic reforms of European institutions.

Britain is better off in Europe. It is clear that being in the European Union brings us jobs, growth and investment. The EU has helped to secure workers’ rights and make consumers better off too. That’s why Labour is In for Britain - declares Alan Johnson, chair of the Labour In for Britain Campaign.

For more facts (and myth-busting) about the impact of the EU on Britain

Labour In for Britain

Another Europe Is Possible

 

 

It's time to make the progressive case for staying in the EU

Labour will campaign for Britain to stay in Europe in the referendum that the prime minister has called for June, regardless of Cameron’s overblown tinkering, says Jeremy Corbyn. That’s not...

Because of Government cuts to local councils - 44% cut in our budget in real terms since 2010 - your Lancashire County Council are being forced to cut local services by over £262million. The council's reluctant responses to this problem the government has imposed on them include:

-cut bus services
-reduce bin collections
-closing libraries and museums

But that's just the start...

Lancashire services slashed by £262million

Because of Government cuts to local councils - 44% cut in our budget in real terms since 2010 - your Lancashire County Council are being forced to cut local services... Read more

In the wake of the general election result of May 2015, about 30 members of the Lancaster Branch of the Lancaster and Fleetwood Constituency Labour Party met for a Policy Discussion Meeting. 

This document summarises the opinions expressed.  People took a variety of views, and inclusion in this account does not imply approval by all of the members present, or even by a majority. The document is presented here in order to generate further discussion amongst Labour Party members and supporters, and amongst those whose support we have either lost or so far failed to attract, who are nevertheless concerned by the direction taken by the current government of the country. 

The text has been prepared from the meeting discussions by John Whitehead and Nick Moule, respectively Chairman and Secretary of the Branch.

Where is Labour now? The future for Labour post-election

In the wake of the general election result of May 2015, about 30 members of the Lancaster Branch of the Lancaster and Fleetwood Constituency Labour Party met for a Policy... Read more

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To help local people with their problems, Cat Smith MP is currently advertising for a caseworker to join her staff team in the constituency.

The successful applicant will need to:

  • attend surgeries and other meetings as appropriate 
  • manage and progress a portfolio of casework appropriately
  • liaise with government agencies, voluntary sector and others to resolve constituency matters
  • develop knowledge in specialist areas
  • be sympathetic to the values of the Labour Party and wider Labour Movement
  • have a current full UK driving licence
  • ability to operate in a political environment

For full details please see the advert on W4MPjobs.org.

Work for Cat Smith MP

To help local people with their problems, Cat Smith MP is currently advertising for a caseworker to join her staff team in the constituency. The successful applicant will need to:...

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This morning Nick Clegg was asked five times to rule out a further rise in tuition fees – and he refused to do so. William Hague also said that the Tories have not ruled out another rise in tuition fees.
 
Five years ago the Lib Dems promised to scrap tuition fees – and then they raised them three times higher. Now they are getting ready to raise them again.
 
Analysis of the Tories' extreme spending plans means that they are poised to increase tuition fees yet again – to £11,500 per year.
 
Labour will cut tuition fees from £9,000 to £6,000. And if we fail in that task, Ed Miliband has said he will not stand for office as Prime Minister in 2020. Because there should be consequences when people’s trust is let down. 

The Tories and Lib Dems will raise tuition fees again

This morning Nick Clegg was asked five times to rule out a further rise in tuition fees – and he refused to do so. William Hague also said that the...

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Labour's Shadow Health Minister, Andy Burnham, visited Lancaster and launched Labour’s five pledges to help improve the local Royal Lancaster Infirmary, setting out Labour’s better plan for local NHS services in the Morecambe Bay Trust. This includes, the first pledge, to recognise the special circumstances of Morecambe Bay Trust in relation to funding.


Labour has launched five pledges to help improve the local Royal Lancaster Infirmary:

  1. Recognise the special circumstances of Morecambe Bay Trust in relation to funding
  2. Work with our brilliant NHS staff to make the Royal Lancaster Infirmary a better hospital
  3. More doctors and nurses for our hospital
  4. Guarantee a GP appointment in 48 hours across the Morecambe Bay area
  5. Repeal the Tory Health Act that opened up our hospitals to privatisation
It's fantastic that after years of work from Labour candidates and MPs we've got a pledge from the Labour Party that Morecambe Bay's special circumstances will be recognised under a Labour government when it comes to funding.  We have fantastic NHS staff locally, but the current funding doesn't meet local need or recognise the challenging geography of the Trust.

Labour's Funding Pledge to Morecambe Bay Hospitals

  Labour's Shadow Health Minister, Andy Burnham, visited Lancaster and launched Labour’s five pledges to help improve the local Royal Lancaster Infirmary, setting out Labour’s better plan for local NHS...

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Labour is today launching its better plan for rural Britain, we are setting out our policies to build a rural economy that works for working people and supports rural families and communities. The rural manifesto includes a pledge to put right the damage done by the Tories’ decision to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board, replacing it with a new taskforce to tackle low pay and protect conditions for agricultural workers.

Labour’s better plan for rural communities includes:

Tackling low-pay in agriculture by creating an industry-led taskforce on productivity and pay as well as boosting skills and apprenticeships.

Build more affordable homes by strengthening requirements on developers to build affordable housing in rural areas.

Bringing the off-grid energy sector under the remit of the regulator for the first time.

Standing up for farmers by creating a tough new supermarket watchdog by expanding the role and powers of the Groceries Code Adjudicator.

Cutting business rates for small businesses, which employ over two-thirds of the rural workforce.

Giving rural communities more power over their own bus services.

Ensuring that all parts of the country benefit from affordable, high-speed broadband by the end of the Parliament.

Devolving powers to our English county regions, giving communities the ability to shape the places they live.

 

By contrast, the Conservatives and Lib Dems have failed to get to grips with the challenges facing rural Britain:

Average wages are over £4500 lower a year than those in urban areas and the gap has grown by £1000 since 2010.

Developers have been allowed to end the provision of affordable housing on sites of fewer than 10 houses despite the majority of housing in rural areas being provided on small, private developer-led sites.

Rural businesses and households have seen the same soaring energy bills as the rest of the country, but have an added burden as many have no grid access, forcing them to use more expensive alternatives.

Farmers are increasingly seeing their income squeezed by powerful retailers and over 1500 dairy farmers have gone out of businesses in the last five years.

Annual transport costs are around £1000 higher in rural areas and less than half of those living in smaller rural settlements have access to a regular bus service.

Too many rural communities and businesses have been left behind without adequate broadband coverage.

Labour launches rural manifesto and pledges to tackle low pay for agricultural workers

Labour is today launching its better plan for rural Britain, we are setting out our policies to build a rural economy that works for working people and supports rural families...

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Ed Miliband is unveiling Labour’s plan to put first time buyers first by reducing stamp duty to zero and giving them priority access on new homes built.  
 
This is the next stage in Labour’s comprehensive programme to tackle our country’s housing crisis by building the homes local people need and taking action on rents.
 
The measures announced today will help first time buyers as the next Labour government embarks on the biggest house-building programme for a generation, increases the number of affordable homes, and introduces secure three-year tenancies with rents capped.  
 
Labour’s better plan is needed to tackle a modern housing crisis in which a severe shortage of new homes being built has priced millions of people out of the property market and left many who want to buy living in private rented accommodation. 
 
The Tories have overseen the lowest peacetime level of housebuilding since the 1920s, the lowest rate of home ownership for 30 years and a market where buy-to-let landlords and foreign investors are snapping up properties before local people get a chance. 
 
The key elements of Labour’s comprehensive plan to help working families get the decent homes they deserve: 
 
Put first time buyers first
  • Help with your first home: Labour will reduce stamp duty to zero for first time buyers of homes worth up to £300,000 – a saving of as much as £5,000 for people seeking to get on the property ladder. 
  • First Call: Labour will give first time buyers that have lived in an area for more than three years “first call” on up to half of homes built in their area. 
  • Local First: Labour will stop foreign buyers buying up properties before local buyers get a look in by ensuring they are advertised in local areas, increasing taxes paid by foreign buyers and council tax for empty homes. 
The biggest house building programme in a generation
  • Labour’s plan will start construction on 1 million new homes by 2020 to deliver our promise of getting 200,000 homes built a year, with “use or lose it” powers ensuring developers build on land rather than hoarding it via the right to levy council tax on sites which remains undeveloped, as well as plans for a series of new garden cities and wider reform of the housing market.
More affordable and social housing 
  • Labour’s plan will build more affordable homes year-on-year by strengthening affordable housing obligations on developers which have been watered down by the Tories, prioritising capital investment and allowing Labour’s £5 billion Future Homes Fund to invest in housing associations developing affordable homes.
Action on rent
  • Labour will bring in secure three-year tenancies for those who want them and cap rents so they cannot rise by more than the rate of inflation during this period. We will also ban letting agent fees - saving the average household £625 over the next parliament – and introduce a national register of landlords so that a minority of rogue owners can be identified, with tax relief restricted for those who do not meet basic standards.

Putting first-time buyers first

Ed Miliband is unveiling Labour’s plan to put first time buyers first by reducing stamp duty to zero and giving them priority access on new homes built.     This...

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