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.”
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...
New figures showing that an estimated 2,300 children in the Lancaster and Fleetwood parliamentary constituency live in a household in energy debt have sparked calls for the Government to do more to help.
Cat Smith, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood, said she wanted to see the criteria governing eligibility for help in the shape of a £140 cut in energy bills extended to include families with children.
She is supporting a campaign by The Children’s Society, calling for government guidance to Ofgem and energy companies to be changed.
The national child poverty charity has produced figures showing that around 1,300 families in Lancaster and Fleetwood are behind on their energy bills – affecting 2,300 children.
Ms Smith, who has written to secretary of state Ed Davey to call for help to be extended to families with children, said: “No family should ever have to choose between heating and eating but that is exactly what is happening here in Lancaster and Fleetwood – as well as in communities all over the country.
“Vulnerably families have been hit hard by the Conservative-led government which has failed to tackle the Cost of Living crisis while at the same time implementing unfair policies like the Bedroom Tax and giving tax cuts to millionaires.
“Debts can lead to desperate measures including people turning to food banks and even loan sharks, not to mention causing problems with anxiety and depression.
“This can only make it more difficult for families to give their children the best possible start in life and we owe it to our future generations to provide help where it is needed most.”
Research by The Children’s Society in its recent Show Some Warmth report showed that there are more than 800,000 children living in families in energy debt across the UK.
But currently, only those families with disabled children and children under the age of five qualify for the discount.
See link to The Children’s Society report here http://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-we-do/resources-and-publications/show-some-warmth-full-report
New figures showing that an estimated 2,300 children in the Lancaster and Fleetwood parliamentary constituency live in a household in energy debt have sparked calls for the Government to do...
Cat Smith has pledged to fight the unfair Bedroom Tax affecting hundreds of families in Lancaster and Fleetwood.
“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 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...
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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...
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.”
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...
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.
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...
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.”
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...
Here in Wyre, the affordable homes for rent built for those in need last year was just 1 per cent of those needed – it would take at least 167 years to clear waiting lists at current rates. The Tory-led Government is making the housing crisis worse and new figures show nationally a collapse of nearly 50 per cent in the number of affordable home ownership properties built over the past year, compared with the last year of the last Labour Government.
In Wyre the housing waiting list currently stands at a staggering 3,343.
Parliamentary candidate Cat Smith said that the next Labour Government will make tackling the housing crisis a national priority and give more help for small and medium-sized builders to get Britain building.
"Families in Fleetwood, and across Wyre, are desperate for appropriate housing. The next Labour Government will establish a new cross-government task force, to include all the major Whitehall departments, to drive a co-ordinated approach to increasing housing supply and tackling the housing crisis and introduce fast-track planning on small sites of less than ten homes.
“While the Tories say the housing market is back on track, the truth is they’ve presided over the lowest level of house building in peacetime since the 1920s. Now we learn that the number of affordable homes for aspiring first-time buyers has collapsed and at current rates it would take 167 years here to build the homes for those most in need. To say that is simply too long is to state the blindingly obvious. Wherever you are in the housing market, the Tories are failing you.
“Labour has set out the first serious plan in a generation for building homes at the scale and speed our nation needs. Our plan will see 200,000 homes built a year by 2020 so that everyone can have a decent home at a price they can afford.”
David Cameron’s failure is locking out thousands of families and young people from the housing market. The Tories are failing to stand up for the many people struggling to get an affordable home to rent and to buy.
Here in Wyre, the affordable homes for rent built for those in need last year was just 1 per cent of those needed – it would take at least 167 years...
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.
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...
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.
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 Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, show that 1,310 people have waited longer than four hours in A&E, 286 more patients than this time last year.
Cat Smith 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 Fleetwood 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 on the Fylde Coast."
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. The...