Lancaster Labour Party

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Extreme Tory spending plans could see the loss of over 1,000 Sure Start centres. Over 1,000 Sure Start centres could go under in the next four years, thanks to the Tories’ extreme plans to cut spending in the next Parliament. This would be disastrous for thousands of families up and down the country.

Sure Start closures will hit working families already struggling under David Cameron’s government. His cuts have left many Sure Start centres closed or mothballed while childcare costs have gone up six times faster than wages and available childcare places have fallen by 40,000. Here in the North West there are 110 fewer Sure Start centres now than there were when this government were elected in 2010.

Before the last election, David Cameron said he would protect Sure Start but since then there are hundreds fewer centres. If they get in again they’ll do the same again. Their extreme plans mean over 1,000 of the remaining centres face the axe. Working families can’t afford five more years of this failing Tory plan. We need Labour’s better plan, which will revive Sure Start, provide more childcare places and extend free childcare for working parents of three and four-year-olds.

Tory cuts threaten Sure Start Centres

  Extreme Tory spending plans could see the loss of over 1,000 Sure Start centres. Over 1,000 Sure Start centres could go under in the next four years, thanks to...

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Labour is today setting out our plans to ban exploitative zero-hours contracts.
We will act so that anyone working regular hours will be legally entitled to a regular contract not a zero-hours contract. The new legal right will kick in after 12 weeks - earlier than previously expected because of evidence that the problem has grown.
  • In the last year the number of people on zero hour contracts has grown by nearly 20%. 
  • There are now 1.8m zero hour contracts in Britain, more than the populations of Cardiff, Glasgow and Leeds combined. 
Ed Miliband is also making a personal commitment that legislation to ban exploitative zero-hours contracts will be in Labour's first Queen's Speech, putting an end to a symbol of the insecure economy that means the recovery hasn't reached the homes of working families across Britain.  

The Tories have refused to back Labour's plans to ban exploitative zero-hours contracts. David Cameron last week said that the reason there had been an explosion in zero-hours contracts was because people choose them - but then he admitted he couldn't live on one.

Labour will ban exploitative zero-hours contracts

Labour is today setting out our plans to ban exploitative zero-hours contracts. ‎ We will act so that anyone working regular hours will be legally entitled to a regular contract...

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PHOTO: Cat Smith campaigning with shadow minister Maria Eagle and city council candidate Cathy Jamieson in Freehold, Lancaster
Under Labour the tax burden on small business will be lower than under the Tories. Our first Budget will cut business rates for 1.5 million small business properties and then freeze them the following year.
 
This is part of Labour’s Better Plan for Small Businesses, which includes action to tackle late payment, reducing unnecessary regulation and establishing a British Investment Bank to boost lending to small firms.
 
Labour will lower the tax burden on small businesses with a cut in business rates – worth an average of £400 – rather than going ahead with another cut in corporation tax for large firms.
 
This will benefit 17 small business properties for every one business helped by the Tory plan for a further cut in corporation tax. And we will look to go even further as we prioritise small businesses for future tax cuts.

Labour will prioritise tax cuts for small firms

PHOTO: Cat Smith campaigning with shadow minister Maria Eagle and city council candidate Cathy Jamieson in Freehold, Lancaster Under Labour the tax burden on small business will be lower than...

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Labour's priority is to back British business to create the high skilled, high wage jobs our country needs, not to risk jobs and investment by sleepwalking towards EU exit as a Conservative government would do.
 
Under pressure from Nigel Farage the Tories have marginalised Britain in Europe and are increasingly a Party arguing for exit from the EU, putting jobs and investment at risk.
 
Labour's priority is different. We will put the national interest first and back British business to create the high skilled, high wage jobs our country needs.
 
That is how we raise living standards, pay down the deficit, and compete on a global stage.
 
We will back British business by:

  • Cutting the deficit every year.
  • Cut business rates for more than 1.5 million small business properties and maintain the most competitive Corporation Tax rate in the G7.
  • A British Investment Bank so that businesses can get the finance they need to grow.
  • New gold standard technical qualifications to fill skills gaps and working with businesses to create thousands of new apprenticeships.
  • A new National Infrastructure Commission to drive a long term approach.

A Better Plan for Business

Labour's priority is to back British business to create the high skilled, high wage jobs our country needs, not to risk jobs and investment by sleepwalking towards EU exit as...

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The independent King's Fund have found that the NHS has gone backwards under the Tories, with an A&E crisis, the cancer target missed and NHS trusts in deficit.

The Tories spent £3 billion on a reorganisation that the independent experts have said today "was damaging and distracting". Now it is clear that the NHS can't afford the Tories' plan for deeper care cuts in the next Parliament. It urgently needs new leadership and a change of course.

Labour has set out a better plan to rescue the NHS, rebuild it as a national health and care service and invest £2.5 billion extra a year - on top of Tory spending plans - to fund 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs.

The NHS has gone backwards under the Tories

The independent King's Fund have found that the NHS has gone backwards under the Tories, with an A&E crisis, the cancer target missed and NHS trusts in deficit. The Tories...

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Today Labour announces a clear pledge to the British people. The next Labour government will not raise VAT.

VAT is the tax that hits everyone – with the same rate paid by the pensioner as the millionaire. It is the tax that every Tory government in the last forty years has raised. But no Labour government has ever hiked up the main rate of VAT.

So we will not put up VAT. And we will not extend it to food, children’s clothes, books, newspapers and public transport fares.

We will make our tax commitments in full in our manifesto. But we are clear that while millionaires have been given a huge tax cut, working people are paying more in tax after the last five years of the Tories.

The Tories can't be trusted when it comes to VAT. Time and time again they have made pre-election promises not to increase VAT or extend its scope, only to break them as soon as they are back in power. They've done it before. They'll do it again.

Labour will not raise VAT. The Tories will.

Today Labour announces a clear pledge to the British people. The next Labour government will not raise VAT.VAT is the tax that hits everyone – with the same rate paid...

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George Osborne spent an hour telling people they have never had it so good. But the truth is working people are £1,600 a year worse off after five years of the Tories.
 
Our National Health Service is in crisis, but the Budget said nothing about the NHS. And the Tories today confirmed plans for extreme spending cuts in the three years after the election - which will put our NHS at risk.
 
The OBR says these Budget plans will mean "a much sharper squeeze on real spending in 2016/17 and 2017/18 than anything seen over the past five years" and "a sharp acceleration in the pace of implied real cuts to day-to-day spending on public services".
 
So the election remains a choice between a Tory plan which is failing working families and Labour's better plan which will put working families first and save our NHS.
 
Labour's better plan will put working families first and save our NHS:

  • Raising living standards by increasing the minimum wage to £8 an hour and 25 hours of free childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds.
  • Saving and transforming our NHS with a £2.5 billion a year Time to Care Fund which will pay for 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs and a guarantee of cancer tests in one week.
  • Cutting business rates for 1.5 million small business properties and getting 200,000 new homes built a year.
  • Balancing the books in a fair way by reversing the Tory tax cut for millionaires.
  • A tax cut for 24 million working people through a lower 10p starting rate of tax.
  • And guaranteeing an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the basic grades and cutting tuition fees to £6,000.

Cat's response to today's budget

George Osborne spent an hour telling people they have never had it so good. But the truth is working people are £1,600 a year worse off after five years of...

Cat Smith's pledges to Lancaster and Fleetwood

I'm Cat Smith and these are my pledges to you, if you elect me as your MP: I will be a visible and accessible MP, with a full-time staffed office...

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Labour has a better plan to help families, by dealing with the Tories’ cost-of-living crisis, providing more doctors and nurses, and delivering 50,000 new childcare places.

Cat Smith, Labour's candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood, said that since 2010 working people were £1,600 a year worse off and families were struggling to meet the challenge of managing work and childcare.

“Under the Tories, the cost of childcare has risen by 36 per cent – more than six times faster than wages,”

Cat Smith said,

“Since 2010, 720 Sure Start children’s centres have also been lost, and there are more than 40,000 fewer childcare places across the country.

“Labour has a better plan for a better future.

“We will help families with childcare by creating 50,000 new childcare places, expanding free childcare to 25 hours a week for working parents with 3 and 4-year-olds, and guaranteeing wraparound childcare from 8am to 6pm through every primary school.

“And we’ll double paid paternity leave from two weeks to four weeks, and increase paternity pay by more than £100 a week to at least £260 a week.”

“We’ll also take pressure off families facing the cost of living crisis by increasing the minimum wage to £8 an hour and freezing energy bills until 2017.

“Labour will also invest in an NHS with the time to care, with 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more doctors so everyone can get the care they need, when they need it, and guarantee a GP appointment within 48 hours, or on the same day for those who need it.

“Only Labour will build a better, fairer Britain.”

Labour delivers for families

Labour has a better plan to help families, by dealing with the Tories’ cost-of-living crisis, providing more doctors and nurses, and delivering 50,000 new childcare places.Cat Smith, Labour's candidate for...

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Labour wants the next generation to be the first smoke-free. I welcome this week’s vote in favour of standardised packaging of tobacco. It is a fantastic victory for children’s health and experts say it will make children less likely to take up smoking, and so will ultimately save lives.

This measure is endorsed by health experts and has the overwhelming support of the public and Parliament. It’s a shame that it has taken years of delays, prevarication and squabbling amongst Tory MPs for us to reach this point.

David Cameron has been reluctant to stand up to big tobacco firms and their lobbyists, and has failed to show leadership on this issue. In the time that has passed since Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of this over a year ago, experts say over 200,000 children would have taken up smoking.

One child taking up smoking is one too many.

Labour wants the next generation to be the first that is smoke-free. The Government must now press ahead without delay to ensure that glitzy packaging for cigarettes becomes a thing of the past.

The next generation smoke-free

Labour wants the next generation to be the first smoke-free. I welcome this week’s vote in favour of standardised packaging of tobacco. It is a fantastic victory for children’s health...

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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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Labour has pledged to:

  • Toughen up the law on disability hate crime
  • Reform the Work Capability Assessment and introduce a specialist Work Support programme to provide tailored support to help disabled people get back into work
  • Abolish the Bedroom Tax, which has hit an estimated 45,385 disabled people in the North West
  • Give teachers better training on working with children with disabilities or special educational needs
  • Give mental health the same priority as physical health on the NHS, giving people the same rights to psychological therapies as they have to drugs and medical treatment
  • Invite disabled people to sit on a governmental committee that develops disability policy


Labour has published ONS figures which show the key role disabled people will play in deciding the outcome of the 2015 General Election. In Lancaster and Fleetwood, there are more disabled people, 16,519, than the majority at the 2010 General Election, 333.

Too many disabled people feel let down by the Tories, left behind by the recovery and left out of public life. The Tories’ have failed to support disabled people back into work, their Work Capability Assessment has caused stress and anxiety, and their Bedroom Tax has pushed disabled people into debt. Meanwhile disability hate-crime is on the increase.

Labour has a better plan for disabled people. We have listened to disabled people and this manifesto outlines our commitment to their full inclusion and participation in all aspects of our society. We will scrap the Bedroom Tax, making hundreds of thousands of disabled people better off. We will reform the Work Capability Assessment and give disabled people the right support to get back into work. And we will give disabled people a greater voice in public life, and a greater role in shaping the policies that affect them.

Labour on the side of those with disabilities

Labour has pledged to: Toughen up the law on disability hate crime Reform the Work Capability Assessment and introduce a specialist Work Support programme to provide tailored support to help...

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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...

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Extreme Tory spending plans could see the loss of over 1,000 Sure Start centres. Over 1,000 Sure Start centres could go under in the next four years, thanks to the Tories’ extreme plans to cut spending in the next Parliament. This would be disastrous for thousands of families up and down the country.

Sure Start closures will hit working families already struggling under David Cameron’s government. His cuts have left many Sure Start centres closed or mothballed while childcare costs have gone up six times faster than wages and available childcare places have fallen by 40,000. Here in the North West there are 110 fewer Sure Start centres now than there were when this government were elected in 2010.

Before the last election, David Cameron said he would protect Sure Start but since then there are hundreds fewer centres. If they get in again they’ll do the same again. Their extreme plans mean over 1,000 of the remaining centres face the axe. Working families can’t afford five more years of this failing Tory plan. We need Labour’s better plan, which will revive Sure Start, provide more childcare places and extend free childcare for working parents of three and four-year-olds.

Tory cuts threaten Sure Start Centres

  Extreme Tory spending plans could see the loss of over 1,000 Sure Start centres. Over 1,000 Sure Start centres could go under in the next four years, thanks to...

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