Lancaster Labour Party

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Labour Parliamentary candidate Cat Smith has pledged her support to Fair Pay Fortnight and voiced her anger at the Government for presiding over a cost of living crisis in Lancaster and Fleetwood.

Fair Pay Fortnight runs from16 February to 1 March 2015 and aims to draw attention to low pay in the United Kingdom. Figures released by the Trade Union Congress this week show that nearly one in four jobs (24.9%) in the Lancaster and Fleetwood Parliamentary constituency pay less than the living wage. For part-time jobs the figure rises to more than one in three (36.8%).

The living wage is the hourly amount it is calculated an individual needs to earn to cover the basic costs of living. It currently stands at £7.85 an hour, £1.35 higher than the current minimum wage for those over 21 of £6.50.

Separate figures show that average annual full-time pay in the North West has fallen by £2,461 in real terms since 2010.

Speaking on the subject Cat Smith said “The extent of the cost of living crisis faced by working people in Lancaster and Fleetwood is deeply worrying. Wages have fallen dramatically in 2010 while the number of zero-hours contracts and other forms of insecure employment have increased. It is little wonder that the Trussell Trust have identified low-pay as one of the primary reasons for food-bank referrals.”

“By pursuing policies such as successive real terms cuts to the minimum wage and introducing fees for employment tribunals the responsibility for this unacceptable state of affairs lies squarely with this Government. We desperately need a change. Lancaster and Fleetwood needs a pay-rise. Labour is committed to increasing the minimum wage to £8 an hour, supporting living wage employers and ending exploitative zero hours contracts. In May we have the opportunity elect a Government that will deliver achievements that we can celebrate during Fair Pay Fortnight next year.”

Cat Backs Fair Pay Fortnight

Labour Parliamentary candidate Cat Smith has pledged her support to Fair Pay Fortnight and voiced her anger at the Government for presiding over a cost of living crisis in Lancaster...

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Cat Smith has pledged to fight the unfair Bedroom Tax affecting hundreds of families in Lancaster and Fleetwood.
She said:

“The Bedroom Tax will cost people £3,700 in Lancaster and Fleetwood if the Tories win again. At the moment, 443 people are paying, but at least many more will be caught if the Tories win again. Labour has pledged to abolish the Bedroom Tax and only a Labour government will do this.

Helen Goodman MP, Shadow Minister for Welfare Reform, said:

“The government has imposed the Bedroom Tax on families who are already hard pressed to make ends meet. There aren’t enough smaller properties for people to move so even the government’s own studies show that people are having to cut back on household essentials to pay it. Only a Labour government will abolish the Bedroom Tax.”

Cat Smith fights the Bedroom Tax

Cat Smith has pledged to fight the unfair Bedroom Tax affecting hundreds of families in Lancaster and Fleetwood.She said: “The Bedroom Tax will cost people £3,700 in Lancaster and Fleetwood...

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We are now just four months away from the most significant general election in a generation.

On May 7 people in Lancaster and Fleetwood and across the country will have the opportunity to make a choice, and it could be one of the most important choices they make.

It will be a choice between a positive Labour vison that puts working people first, deals with the deficit and protects our NHS or a Tory plan where only a few at the top succeed and public services are threatened.

Fundamentally, it comes down to who we want our country to work for – everyday working people and their families or a privileged few at the top.

The Tory experiment has failed and their record - on living standards, prospects for our children, protecting our public services and dealing with our nation’s debts - is one to run from, not run on.

Those backing the Tories have deep pockets and more than enough to pay for the expensive billboard posters that will be seen across the country, but I’m confident that our values will mean more to people than overpriced adverts.

I’ve spent the last years speaking to people in Lancaster and Fleetwood about what they want for our area and for our country because their decision could make a real difference to our community and the people living here. Now, over the next four months I’m going to renew my efforts as I hope to speak to as many local people as possible about Labour’s plans.

These plans include balancing the books as soon as possible, rewarding hard work through an £8 minimum wage and an end to exploitive zero-hours contracts, providing more opportunities for young people, controlling immigration and protecting our NHS through a guaranteed GP appointment within 48 hours and a £2.5 billion Time to Care fund for thousands more health staff.

I’m passionate about these issues and making sure that local people know what Labour’s priorities are and what we stand for. But this is going to be a tough fight which is why I’m asking you to help.

If you’re interested in kicking out the Tories and making sure there is a Labour government in May 2015 then please contact the campaign team via ben_singleton@labour.org.uk or on 07872 417 252 and join me in fighting for victory on the streets and doorsteps of our area by speaking to local people about Labour’s offer of hope for the future.

Labour’s plan is not simply about creating a fairer society; it is about creating a more prosperous one too. In May everyone faces a choice between the Labour and conservative visons for the future – but only Labour will use the talents of all to ensure we can succeed together.

The general election campaign has begun and it is a battle to decide who our country works for

We are now just four months away from the most significant general election in a generation. On May 7 people in Lancaster and Fleetwood and across the country will have...

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Since 2010, the Government has allowed the train companies to hit passengers in Lancaster and Fleetwood with massive fare rises of over 20 per cent since 2010. The new fare rises came into effect on 2nd January 2015.

Now some season tickets in the North West have risen by 30% per cent since 2010, costing thousands of pounds more for commuters.

Locally, a season ticket from Lancaster to Manchester has gone up by 23%, from £2,648 to £3,264. And, a season ticket from Blackpool North to Manchester for people living in Fleetwood has gone up by 24%, from £2,592 to £3,204.

Cat Smith, the Labour candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood will campaign for a better deal for passengers and taxpayers. This can be done by reforming the railways, simplifying the ticketing system and enforcing a strict cap on fares on every route. Labour will give passengers a voice in how the railways are run and stop passengers getting fleeced at ticket machines by making it a legal right for passengers to be sold the cheapest available ticket for their journey.

Commenting, Cat Smith said:

“David Cameron is presiding over a rip-off railway in Britain. He has failed to stand up for working people in Lancaster and Fleetwood struggling with the cost‐of‐living crisis and has allowed the train companies to hit passengers with massive fare rises of over 20 per cent since 2010.

“Some season tickets for passengers living in Lancaster and Fleetwood have now risen by over 23 per cent under this Government, forcing people to pay thousands of pounds more to commute to work on increasingly overcrowded trains.

“Out‐of‐touch Ministers talk about 'fair fares for comfortable commuting', but this is a world away from the reality for millions of hard‐up commuters living in Lancaster and Fleetwood.”

Season tickets for people living in Lancaster and Fleetwood up by as much as 24% per cent since 2010

Since 2010, the Government has allowed the train companies to hit passengers in Lancaster and Fleetwood with massive fare rises of over 20 per cent since 2010. The new fare...

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David Cameron and George Osborne have failed every test and broken every promise they’ve made on the economy.

They promised we’d be all in this together but then they gave millionaires a huge tax cut. They promised people would be better off but most people in Lancaster and Fleetwood are not feeling the recovery and working people are now £1,600 a year worse off under the Tories.

And this cost-of-living crisis is why the Chancellor had to admit that his key promise – to balance the nation’s books by next year – now lies in tatters.

Because wages aren’t rising and too many are stuck in low-paid jobs, the tax revenues we need to get the deficit down aren’t coming in.

Unlike Labour, the Tories don’t understand the fundamental link between the living standards of everyday working people in Lancaster and Fleetwood, and Britain’s ability to deal with the deficit. George Osborne has now borrowed a staggering £219 billion more than he planned and the economy is set to slow down next year after forecasts for wages have been revised down again.

Yet the Chancellor still tries to claim that the economy is fixed and his plan is working. How out of touch can you get? What we needed yesterday was the better and fairer plan Labour has set out.

Labour’s plan will raise the minimum wage, expand free childcare for working parents, scrap the bedroom tax and cut business rates for small firms. We will balance the books in a fairer way, starting by reversing the Tories’ £3 billion a year tax cut for the top one per cent of earners.

Changing stamp duty to help people on middle and low incomes is welcome, but we also need to get more homes built and we need a Mansion tax to help save and transform our NHS. With an extra £2.5 billion a year on top of Tory spending plans we can get the extra 20,000 nurses and 8,000 GPs we need to help transform our NHS and save it from the Tories.

The Tories promised to eliminate the deficit by 2015 but with less money coming in because of their wrong economic decisions, they’ve broken their promise, failed their own economic test and its hardworking people who are paying the price. It’s time for an economic recovery for the many, not just a few.

The Tories’ economic record is one of repeated broken promises

David Cameron and George Osborne have failed every test and broken every promise they’ve made on the economy. They promised we’d be all in this together but then they gave...

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In the week of Equal Pay Day new figures reveal women in the North West earn £2.11 less per hour than men.

In the North West women are earning £2.11 less than men an hour new analysis reveals.

Equal Pay Day – the day women effectively start working for free because they are still paid less than men falls on 4 November this year, 3 days earlier than in 2013 because of the rising pay gap.

Labour have pledged to take action to deliver equal pay by requiring companies with more than 250 workers will to publish their hourly pay gap in their annual report. For the first time employees will be able to see if discrimination exists and whether all the top jobs are still dominated by men.

Cat Smith, Labour's candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood said: “Equal pay is long overdue. Under David Cameron and Nick Clegg the pay gap is back on the rise after years of progress, as families are struggling with rising prices. A Labour Government will take action by asking employers to publish their pay gap be.”

Equal Pay Now

In the week of Equal Pay Day new figures reveal women in the North West earn £2.11 less per hour than men. In the North West women are earning £2.11...

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Under David Cameron the number of unqualified teachers is rising dramatically, threatening standards in our schools. There are now 17,100 unqualified teachers in classrooms across the country, with numbers on the rise in two thirds of regions.

In the North West there are now 1250 unqualified teachers in our schools – 320 more than last year and a rise of 34 per cent.

David Cameron’s decision to allow unqualified teachers to be permanently employed in schools is seriously threatening standards for our children. Whilst all the evidence shows us that high-quality teaching makes the biggest difference to raising school standards, it is truly shocking that this Government has introduced this damaging policy and made entry requirements into teaching in this country amongst the lowest in world.

Labour will reverse the unqualified teachers policy and put teaching standards first, with our ambition of a world class teacher in every classroom. We will ensure that all teachers become properly qualified, continue to build their skills and are able to pursue new career pathways that keep the best teachers in the classrooms.

The use of unqualified teachers in the North West is up by a third

Under David Cameron the number of unqualified teachers is rising dramatically, threatening standards in our schools. There are now 17,100 unqualified teachers in classrooms across the country, with numbers on...

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Labour's general election candidate, Cat Smith has expressed shock at figures released by NHS England showing rising numbers of patients waiting longer than four hours at Accident and Emergency, and an increase in patients left waiting on trolleys for more than four hours. 

The figures released for July to September 2014 show a marked increase from the same time last year. Figures for the last three months for University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, show that 1,737 people have waited longer than four hours in a major A&E, a rise of 54% or 934 more patients than this time last year. Figures also show that 237 patients at the Trust waited longer than four hours on a trolley in A&E before they were admitted into hospital, 57% or 136 more patients than this time last year.
 

Cat Smith, who is active in the local No Sell Off Morecambe Bay group campaigning against pharmacy privatisation in local hospitals said,

"David Cameron promised he'd protect the NHS, but backed up by votes from our local Tory MP he wasted billions on an unnecessary re-organisation, inflicted deep cuts on social care and made it harder to see a GP.  Latest figures for A&E show that the Tories are taking the NHS backwards.
 
I am challenging our Tory MP for Lancaster to back Labour’s plans to -
 

  • Guarantee a GP appointment within 48 hours, and the same day for those who need it.
  • Guarantee a maximum one-week wait for cancer tests.
  • Create a £2.5 billion a year NHS Time to Care Fund to support 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs, 5,000 more home care workers and 3,000 more midwives – funded by a mansion tax on homes worth £2 million or more, by ensuring that tax avoiders play by the rules and by a levy on tobacco companies.
  • Repeal David Cameron's NHS changes that put private profit before patients, so that NHS professionals can focus on your care, not competition law.

I am appalled that this government, supported by our local Tory MP, have consistently put private profit before patient care here in Lancaster."

 

 

 

57% rise in patients waiting four hours or more on A&E trolleys in Lancaster

  Labour's general election candidate, Cat Smith has expressed shock at figures released by NHS England showing rising numbers of patients waiting longer than four hours at Accident and Emergency,...

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Early diagnosis of cancer means treatment is more likely to be successful, yet more and more people in the Lancashire area are being forced to wait longer for essential tests. In August this year, 226 patients waited longer than six weeks for cancer tests compared to 94 in the same month last year.

That’s why the next Labour government will ensure that NHS patients in England will wait no longer than one week for cancer tests and results by 2020. The cancer test guarantee will be made possible by £750 million of new investment over five years, raised through a new levy on tobacco firms which make huge profits from their products which cause so much ill-health.

The Tories haven’t just destabilised our health service; they’re holding it back from meeting the challenges of the modern world as well. Only Labour can be trusted to protect and improve the NHS and the one-week cancer test guarantee is an important step towards our ambition for the health service to have the best cancer survival rates in Europe, which could save up to 10,000 lives a year.

Labour's new one-week cancer test guarantee

Early diagnosis of cancer means treatment is more likely to be successful, yet more and more people in the Lancashire area are being forced to wait longer for essential tests....

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Labour’s candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood has shown her commitment to protecting animals by pledging her support for the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s (IFAW) campaign to end wildlife poaching.

At the Labour Party Conference, Cat Smith is pictured with a speech bubble to highlight the issue and send a clear message that she wants the UK to continue to take the lead in the international community to stamp out wildlife crime.

The illegal wildlife trade generates an estimated £11.6 billion per year. It ranks fourth on the list of the most lucrative global illegal activities behind narcotics, counterfeiting and human trafficking.

Criminals are attracted to wildlife trafficking for the huge profits and low penalties. Disturbingly, the proceeds are used to fund well-armed rebel and militia groups who are willing to slaughter threatened species and kill people to obtain elephant ivory, rhinoceros horn and other wildlife parts.

IFAW’s UK Campaigns Manager, Tania McCrea-Steele, said: “The impact of poaching and the illegal trade on wildlife is very grave and we are witnessing entire populations of iconic species such as elephants, tigers and rhinos being brought to the brink of extinction. We thank Cat Smith for showing her commitment to stamping out wildlife crime.”

Cat Smith supports campaign to end wildlife crime

Labour’s candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood has shown her commitment to protecting animals by pledging her support for the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s (IFAW) campaign to end wildlife poaching....

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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...

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Cat SmithI'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 in the constituency, which our current Conservative MP has failed to deliver.
  • I will vote to repeal the Tories' Health and Social Care Act which has privatised parts of our NHS, putting private profit before patient health.
  • I will oppose unsafe and environmentally damaging fracking and ensure action to tackle catastrophic climate change is high on the government’s agenda.
  • I will vote to cap gas and electricity bills until 2017 whilst a Labour government reforms the broken energy market.
  • I will vote to scrap the unfair bedroom tax which hits some of the poorest in our community, in very many cases disabled people.

Find out more on my website at catsmith.co.uk

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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Cat Smith, candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood has backed Labour’s plans to recruit 20,000 more nurses by 2020, including 3,200 in the North West.

Under this government, nurse numbers have failed to keep pace with demand while more than half of nurses say their ward is dangerously understaffed.

Unlike the Tories, Labour will protect the NHS and ensure we have a health service ready to meet future challenges.

That’s why the next Labour government will provide these much-needed extra nurses. They will help ensure safe staffing in hospitals and provide personalised care outside hospitals – helping us to transform services so the NHS can meet the care needs of the 21st century.

These extra nurses will be funded through the Time to Care Fund – raised from a mansion tax on properties over £2m, cracking down on tax avoidance and a new levy on tobacco firms

Cat Smith said: “Our health service is in crisis under the Tories. The NHS as we know it cannot survive another five years of David Cameron.

“If we want a world-class NHS then we need enough nurses with the time to care for patients. That’s why I’m proud that the next Labour government will bring in the Time to Care fund which will see the North West benefit from 3,200 more nurses.

“The truth is that only Labour can save the NHS from the Tories. Our plan is a blueprint to raise standards of care and ensure our health service is sustainable in the 21st century.”

Andy Burnham, Shadow Health Secretary, said: “David Cameron has brought the NHS to the brink. There are too few staff on our wards, the bill for agency nurses is out of control and hospitals are forced to travel overseas to recruit nurses because of Cameron’s cuts to nurse training places.

“This cannot carry on. Labour will recruit more nurses in every region of England including 3,200 in the North West. We want this new generation of nurses to be home-grown and will offer young people a new ladder into the NHS.

“This will help build an NHS with time to care, that starts in people’s homes, ends the scandal of 15-minute visits and helps keep people out of hospital.”

Cat backs Labour’s plans for 20,000 extra nurses

Cat Smith, candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood has backed Labour’s plans to recruit 20,000 more nurses by 2020, including 3,200 in the North West. Under this government, nurse numbers have...

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Most people have lost out under this government — but women have lost out the most. It will never be that way with Ed Miliband as Prime Minister.

If we win, here are just some of the things a Labour government will do to support women:

  • We will force large companies to be transparent about their pay gap. It's a scandal that women are still paid less than men in 2015.
  • We will guarantee 25 hours of free childcare for all three to four year olds, helping mums stay in work if they want to.
  • We're also committed to introducing a Violence Against Women and Girls Bill. Amongst other things, it will ban the police using "community resolutions" for domestic and sexual violence, as far too often these result in just a slap on the wrist for the perpetrator.
  • More than half our candidates in winnable seats are women and, if we're elected, our Cabinet will include the post of Women and Equalities Minister.

International Women's Day

Most people have lost out under this government — but women have lost out the most. It will never be that way with Ed Miliband as Prime Minister.If we win,...

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The Tory-led government has failed to protect older people and prevent them from being ripped off. Pensioners’ living standards have been hit hard by the Tories’ refusal to act against rip-off energy bills and pension charges, while social care funding has been slashed.

Typical energy bills have risen by £300 a year since David Cameron became Prime Minister and nearly one in ten older households now face fuel poverty. Delayed action to cut pension fees has left savers worse off while cuts to elderly care, making it harder for older people to get the care they need at home, have resulted in more people going to A&E.

Older people are tired of being let down by the Tories. That’s why I’m backing Labour’s better plan for pensioners and older people.

Labour will protect the ‘triple lock’ that ensures pensioners’ incomes keep pace with the cost of living. And while we have taken the tough decision to restrict Winter Fuel Allowance from the richest five per cent of pensioners to help pay down the deficit, we will guarantee that there will be no further changes to the Winter Fuel Allowance or to universal free TV licenses or bus passes for pensioners.

We will help pensioners struggling with energy bills by freezing gas and electricity prices until 2017. We’ll also offer free efficiency improvements to at least 200,000 households at risk of fuel poverty.

And we will improve social care to keep people safe and healthy at home, driving out the culture of 15 minute care slots by bringing in 5,000 new homecare workers. Labour will invest in our NHS with more doctors and nurses so they have time to care for you and your family.

Older people can’t afford five more years under the Tories. Labour has a better plan to protect older people’s living standards and the NHS that they and their families rely on.

Labour will protect older people from being ripped off by the Tories

The Tory-led government has failed to protect older people and prevent them from being ripped off. Pensioners’ living standards have been hit hard by the Tories’ refusal to act against...

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I’m proud that Ed Miliband has this week committed the next Labour government to offering posthumous pardons to gay men convicted under historic anti-homosexuality laws.

Anyone who has seen the Oscar-nominated film The Imitation Game will know about the incredible selflessness, dedication and patriotism displayed by the central character Alan Turing, played by Benedict Cumberbatch.

It was thanks to Turing and his work at Bletchley Park that Britain was able to crack the German enigma machine which helped to win the war.

What viewers will also know is that Turing was shamed, prosecuted and horrifically punished for being homosexual. Homosexuality was illegal until it was decriminalised in England in 1967 and Turing was convicted for “gross indecency” in 1952, after which he was chemically castrated. Two years later he committed suicide.

The last Labour government recognised this deep injustice and Gordon Brown apologised to Turing’s family in 2009. Now Ed Miliband has announced that the next Labour government will go further and offer posthumous pardons to other gay men convicted under historic anti-homosexuality laws.

The legislation, known as Turing’s Law, would allow the men’s family and friends to apply to the Home Office to have their convictions for participating in consensual same-sex relationships quashed.

This is an important change for the men’s family and friends as it allows them to pursue the justice that eluded their loved ones when they were alive. And it’s part of our collective effort to come to terms with this aspect of our national history.

But this change isn’t just about the past; it’s also about the future and recognising that the fight for true equality goes on. That’s why we must speak out against homophobic and transphobic bullying. And we must continue to speak out for those across the world without a voice who are facing persecution and prejudice because of their gender or sexuality.

Labour is determined to lead the fight for equality and honouring those who were persecuted for their sexuality is one step on that path.

The next Labour government will deliver "Turing's Law"

I’m proud that Ed Miliband has this week committed the next Labour government to offering posthumous pardons to gay men convicted under historic anti-homosexuality laws. Anyone who has seen the...

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“I hope that today’s report from Dr Bill Kirkup into maternity services at Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust can not only help bring some closure to the families who lost loved ones, but also ensure that mistakes like this are not made again.

“The profound failings, both in terms of the substandard care provided and the role of regulators, are shocking and inexcusable. I hope to see the recommendations laid out by Dr Kirkup taken up by government, regardless of its colour.

“Having myself been one of the first babies born in the maternity unit at Furness General Hospital and having just welcomed my baby nephew born there last week, our local hospitals are rightly regarded as being at the heart of our communities. Implementing Dr Kirkup's proposals will be essential to restoring confidence in their ability to provide safe care for mothers and babies in the years to come.”

Cat Smith's statement on Kirkup Report

“I hope that today’s report from Dr Bill Kirkup into maternity services at Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust can not only help bring some closure to the families who lost...

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