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."
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,...
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.
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....
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.”
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....
Labour is unveiling plans to give football fans a voice in every boardroom and buy a significant slice of the shares when the ownership of their club changes.
Clive Efford, Labour’s Shadow Sports Minister, has launched the proposals for the biggest legislative shake-up in the governance of English and Welsh football clubs since the advent of the game.
The plan, which has been drawn up in consultation with 95 football supporters’ organisations, would require supporters to come together to form a single accredited trust in return for the right to:
• appoint and remove up to a quarter and not less than two of a football club’s board of directors;
• purchase up to 10 per cent of the shares when a club changes ownership, if they so wish.
Supporters have told us that this is the only way to ensure those running clubs share information, power and responsibility with them. Labour's proposals mean fans could hold the owners of their club to account on all issues on and off the field including ticket prices, shirt sponsorship, ground naming rights, and changing the colour of the strip or the name.
Cat Smith, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood, said, "Football is more than a business. Football clubs are part of people’s identity and sense of belonging. Our plan is to give fans a stake in their clubs. Labour believes in sharing power and responsibility with people, and giving football fans a voice is part of our plan to change our country by devolving power to our cities, towns and communities. We believe in a society that gives power to people.”
Labour will now consult further on the detail of these proposals with supporters.
Labour is unveiling plans to give football fans a voice in every boardroom and buy a significant slice of the shares when the ownership of their club changes.Clive Efford, Labour’s...
Local parliamentary candidate Cat Smith has expressed her concern at figures exposing the extent of child poverty in the area. The figures produced by the End Child Poverty campaign show that across the Lancaster and Fleetwood Parliamentary constituency there are 2,716 children living in in-work poverty and 1,447 in out of-work poverty.
In Fleetwood all the wards have a figure of child poverty higher than the constituency average. Rossall is the area with the highest levels of poverty in the constituency with 40.56% of children in the area living in poverty after housing costs are taken into account. In Mount the figure is 37.28%, in Pharos it is 35.39% and in Park it is 33.26% and Warren 25.34%.
Whilst in Lancaster the areas have lower rates of child poverty, the figures are still shocking. In Castle the figure of 26.73% of children in the area living in poverty after housing costs are taken into account, places the ward above the constituency average.
After housing costs are taken into account 24.81 % of children living in Lancaster and Fleetwood live in poverty.
Speaking on the subject Cat Smith said, “The last Labour Government made real progress in reducing poverty across the United Kingdom taking 1.5 million children out of absolute poverty. Sadly this progress has stalled since the current Government took office and we can now see the devastating impact that this has had on children in North Lancashire. This can come as little surprise. The IFS has shown that a key reason why poverty fell between 1997 and 2010 was increased investment in social security measures such as tax credits. These troubling figures are therefore an inevitable consequence of this Government’s austerity measures such as the bedroom tax and 1% uprating cap on a range of both in and out of work benefits.”
Local parliamentary candidate Cat Smith has expressed her concern at figures exposing the extent of child poverty in the area. The figures produced by the End Child Poverty campaign show...
We face the biggest housing crisis in a generation. Less than half the number of new homes Britain needs are being built under David Cameron. House building is at the lowest level of any government in peacetime since the 1920s and home ownership has declined to its lowest level in 30 years.
I’ve spoken to many young people in Lancaster and Fleetwood who have all but given up on their dream of ever owning a home they can afford and call their own. I know that, too often, the local community feels that it doesn’t have enough say over the types of homes that are built and where they should go. Labour has a plan to change this.
As part of Labour’s plan our local community will be given the power to charge developers where planning permission has been given but the homes are not being built and, in the most serious cases, a 'use it or lose it' power to compulsorily purchase the site and sell it on to someone who will build those homes.
A Labour Government will also give local councils the power to designate new ‘Housing Growth Areas’ which will give the local community the power to make sure that the new homes needed locally get built where people want them, rather than just where developers choose. This way the local community will be able to make sure that there are affordable homes and the essential infrastructure needed, like GP surgeries, green spaces, schools, and roads as part of the development too.
And to help people get onto the property ladder, Labour will give councils the power to reserve at least half of the homes built in the Housing Growth Areas for first-time buyers from the local area, giving them priority access for two months.
For too many people in Lancaster and Fleetwood the dream of home ownership is fading fast. The Tory-led government has washed its hands of this problem and refuses to act, but Labour is determined to tackle the housing crisis and make sure a decent and affordable home is within reach for young people and families.
We face the biggest housing crisis in a generation. Less than half the number of new homes Britain needs are being built under David Cameron. House building is at the...
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.
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,...
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."
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...
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.
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...
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?
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...