Lancaster Labour Party

school_classroom.jpg

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...

 NHS_photo_1.jpg

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,...

nhs_sign_1.jpg

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....

ifaw.jpg

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....

 Lord_Freud.jpg

This week the Tories confirmed what we had all long suspected: the ‘nasty party’ is well and truly back, if it ever went away.

When asked about the Minimum Wage, Lord Freud, David Cameron’s Minister for Welfare Reform, said that he believes some disabled people are “not worth the full wage”. He even said he would go away to look at this issue, suggesting that the Government would consider it.

Disability charities have condemned Lord Freud's comments and even senior Tories have called for Lord Freud to resign, yet David Cameron has failed to act.

Someone holding such abhorrent views shouldn’t be in government and certainly should not hold such an important job. If David Cameron continues to keep Lord Freud in his Government, we will have yet more proof of how he just stands for just a privileged few at the top.

In the dog days of this Government, the Conservative Party is going back to its worst instincts. The mask is slipping: the nasty party is back.

The Nasty Party is Back

  This week the Tories confirmed what we had all long suspected: the ‘nasty party’ is well and truly back, if it ever went away.When asked about the Minimum Wage,...

 rnt_nhs_photo.jpg

Labour's Lancashire County Councillors have led the on a lobbying campaign to raise its serious concerns about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being negotiated by the United States and the European Union.

The TTIP is a proposed free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union. Opponents have voiced concerns that it will increase corporate power and make it more difficult for governments to regulate markets in the public interest. 

Lancashire County Council has written to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills to raise serious concerns about the TTIP. The action follows a notice of motion passed at the most recent Full Council meeting.

Opponents of the deal maintain that the changes could mean the irreversible privatisation of the NHS and other public services. Changes to procurement rules mean US-based multinationals could win contracts throughout the NHS, whilst any future UK government attempting to reverse privatisation would be sued through secret tribunals.

Lancaster Labour's County Councillor Richard Newman-Thompson said: "The TTIP would allow companies to challenge decisions by national governments, or local authorities, that they think may damage their business interests. Disputes would be heard in private by unelected experts, rather than public courts, which would make it impossible to reverse decisions, such as the privatisation of the NHS, without being sued by foreign investors. 

"It is vital that the UK government thinks again about the implications of this pernicious deal and acts to protect British public services and our ability to govern in the interests of the British people."

Lancaster Labour's Cllr Richard Newman-Thompson Speaks Out on TTIP

  Labour's Lancashire County Councillors have led the on a lobbying campaign to raise its serious concerns about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being negotiated by the...

cat_speaking.jpg

A move to exempt disabled people and those with nowhere else to move to from the Coalition’s Bedroom Tax has won support in Lancaster and Fleetwood.

Cat Smith, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood, welcomed the news that the Affordable Homes Bill had cleared an important hurdle in the House of Commons on Friday as the latest figures showed that 437 people in the constituency were paying the tax.

Figures for May 2014, showed the tax was costing people in Lancaster and Fleetwood an average of £771.68 each year.

The tax reduces housing benefit for people in council or housing association homes if they have spare rooms.

But many people are unable to move to avoid the tax because there are not enough smaller homes available.  The Conservative-led Coalition’s own independent report on the impact of the tax revealed that only 4.5 per cent of tenants affected had been able to move.

The bill, which passed its second reading on a 306-231 vote after support from Labour and the Liberal Democrats, exempts people who have not had a “reasonable offer of alternative accommodation” from the tax.

It also exempts both those for whom sharing rooms is not possible and those whose homes have been adapted because someone has a disability

Two-thirds of households hit by the Bedroom Tax so far have included someone who is disabled, and 60,000 carers are also been affected.

Labour has pledged to scrap the tax if it wins the 2015 General Election, but backed the new private members bill in the hope of minimising the impact on struggling families in the meantime.

Ms Smith said: “This cruel tax is hitting vulnerable people hard at a time when many are already struggling to make ends meet and some are having to resort to food banks.

“The Conservative-led Coalition is hammering some of our poorest families while giving tax cuts to millionaires.

“Some of these people may have lived in their home for years, but even if they were happy to move they cannot because of the shortage of smaller homes - and the Coalition Government has cut the budget for affordable homes by 60 per cent.

“If this bill succeeds it will exempt some struggling families from the Bedroom Tax - but only a Labour Government will abolish this unfair tax.”

The bill – which will now be considered further at ‘committee stage’ - was proposed by Liberal Democrat MP Andrew George.

But Ms Smith said the Lib Dems had previously supported the Conservatives in introducing the tax and resisting attempts by Labour to minimise the impact of the levy.

Support in Lancaster and Fleetwood for Bedroom Tax move

A move to exempt disabled people and those with nowhere else to move to from the Coalition’s Bedroom Tax has won support in Lancaster and Fleetwood. Cat Smith, Labour’s parliamentary...

bedroom-tax.png

I’ve spoken to many people in Lancaster and Fleetwood who have told me that they are struggling to cope with the hated bedroom tax, introduced by the Tories and Liberal Democrats in Westminster. In the North West alone over 75,411 people have been affected.

This is a policy that unfairly hits hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people, such as those with disabilities or who are carers, and it threatens to cost more than it saves which is why the next Labour government will abolish it.

The Liberal Democrats have repeatedly backed the Tories to keep the Bedroom Tax in place and have refused to join previous Labour attempts to scrap the policy. Yet today the Liberal Democrats joined Labour MPs by voting against their own policy in Parliament.

Unfortunately this vote will not abolish the bedroom tax, as Labour will do if elected next year, but it is a step in the right direction and a glimmer of hope for many.

The Labour Party has been clear and consistent in its opposition to the Bedroom Tax. It is an unfair and unworkable policy that causes misery to hundreds of thousands of people by forcing them out of their homes, most of whom have nowhere else to move to.

I’m glad the Liberal Democrats voted with us today but sadly it’s come too late for the thousands of people who’ve been forced into debt as a result of the Bedroom Tax and thousands more who have been forced to rely on food banks to survive. The truth is you can’t trust a word that Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats say.

The only sure way to get the Bedroom Tax repealed will be to elect a Labour government next year.
Can you volunteer to help make sure this happens?

Misery of the Coalition's Bedroom Tax continues despite vote in Parliament

I’ve spoken to many people in Lancaster and Fleetwood who have told me that they are struggling to cope with the hated bedroom tax, introduced by the Tories and Liberal...

Cat_Signing_pledge.jpg

Local Parliamentary candidate Cat Smith has today called for support for parliamentary moves to enshrine Britain’s commitment to the rest of the world in law.

On Friday September 12 MPs will vote on legislation to enshrine the UK’s promise to donate 0.7% of our Gross National Income in international aid – in line with promises made over 40 years ago.

Cat Smith said,

“Partly thanks to UK aid, global development has been a tremendous success over the last two decades – poverty has halved, more than nine in ten now receive a primary education and 17,000 fewer children die each day.

“But there is much more to do – this generation has the power to eliminate aid dependency for good. We could enable a billion people to lift themselves out of poverty and prevent half a million a year from dying on their first day.

“British aid makes a huge difference to millions – we should be proud of what our generosity can do for those in need and what it says about us as a country.”

Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for International Development Jim Murphy said,

The Labour party has been demanding that Ministers keep their promise to legislate on 0.7% for years. It was a Labour government that put this country on the road to fulfilling that historic commitment, it was Labour whose pledge to legislate forced the other two parties to follow suit, and it is Labour that has shouted loud and most often about this government’s failure to do so.

“Labour will do everything we can to ensure that this Bill becomes a law. We know that some Tory backbenchers will do everything they can to hold us back, but whatever they do, the Labour party will not turn our back on those in need.”

The House of Commons will vote on legislation to enshrine the UK’s commitment to donate 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) in Official Development Assistance  (ODA) on Friday 12 September.

Between 1997 and 2010 Labour:

  • Helped lift 3 million people out of poverty each year.
  • Helped to get some 40 million more children into school.
  • Improved water or sanitation services for over 1.5 million people.

 

Cat_with_pledge.jpg

Cat Smith backs life saving bill

Local Parliamentary candidate Cat Smith has today called for support for parliamentary moves to enshrine Britain’s commitment to the rest of the world in law. On Friday September 12 MPs...

lancaster_town_hall.jpg

Households in the Lancaster district have lost nearly six times as much council funding as those in the ten most well off areas of the country, new figures show.

Cat Smith, Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood, is calling for a fairer funding deal after the figures revealed that households in the Lancaster district have each lost an average of £286.31 in Government funding since the Tory-led Coalition Government came to power in 2010.

The ten least deprived areas in the country lost an average of just £48.35 per household.

And 13 councils, all in the south, have enjoyed increases in average funding per household.  The Isles of Scilly receive an extra £80.11 per household, while households in Epsom and Ewell district in Surrey get an extra £61.43 per household.

The figures come after Lancaster City Council lost £1.7m in Government funding – nearly 14% of its total – for 2014/15.  Between April 2010 and April 2014 the number of staff employed by the council fell from 955 to 791 – by 17% - amid the budget cuts.  Spending on services is likely to have to be cut by another £2.5m over the next two years as the Coalition’s cuts continue to bite.

Ms Smith said: “David Cameron told people in this country ‘We are all in it together’ but these figures again show that nothing could be further from the truth.

“It is a scandal that spending has increased in households in more affluent areas while some areas of real deprivation have lost as much as £1,000 per household.

“Lancaster has not lost quite that much but £286 is still a significant amount, especially for an area in the top half of the table for deprivation in which some people are really struggling.

“People understand that touch choices have to made following the recession but they have a right to expect that these choices will be fair and Labour will ensure a fairer deal for everyone.

“We will devolve £30 billion in Government funding to local councils and enterprise partnerships - giving them more powers to help local people and invest in things that really matter like skills for young people, apprenticeships, health and social care, new homes and transport.”

People in Lancaster lose cash in ‘unfair’ council funding deal

Households in the Lancaster district have lost nearly six times as much council funding as those in the ten most well off areas of the country, new figures show. Cat...

NHS.jpg

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...

iwd.jpg

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,...

older.jpg

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...

alan-turing.jpg

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...

nhs.jpg

“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...

CAMRA.jpg

Cat Smith, Labour’s candidate for Parliament in Lancaster and Fleetwood has today pledged to support local pubs and breweries. As a member of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, and a fan of real ales she has signed up to three pledges highlighted in the Manifesto for Pubs and Real Ale. This which sets out a package of reforms CAMRA are seeking from the next Government. These pledges are to:

  • Support well-run community pubs
  • Promote Britain's breweries
  • Represent pub goers and beer drinkers.

Cat Smith said:
“I am proud to be speaking up for pubs and real ale. Well-run community pubs play a crucial role in local life and make a huge contribution to the local economy – with each injecting around £80,000 to the local area every year. If elected, I will continue to show my support in Parliament.”

Tim Page, CAMRA’s Chief Executive welcomed Cat’s support, saying:
“We are delighted that Cat Smith has pledged their support for pubs, breweries and consumers. As, on average, 31 pubs close each week it is absolutely vital that our elected representatives recognise and champion the value of these important community assets, and work to protect them.

“CAMRA is urging the next Government to act to ensure that pubs are better protected in the planning system, that large pub companies treat their licensees fairly and that beer duty is set at a level which supports UK brewing.”

Cat Smith pledges support for local pubs and brewers

Cat Smith, Labour’s candidate for Parliament in Lancaster and Fleetwood has today pledged to support local pubs and breweries. As a member of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, and...

Low_Pay_No_Way_photo.jpg

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...

davey_letter.jpg

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

2,300 local children affected by energy debt

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...

bedroom_tax.jpg

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...

Cat_and_Theresa_group.jpg

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...

As with most websites, we will place cookies on your computer to help make your visit to this site better.

Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site.

To find out more about these cookies, see our privacy notice. Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.