Lancaster Labour Party

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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.”

Cat Smith speaks out on Child Poverty

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...

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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.

Only Labour Will Build The Homes Local First-Time Buyers Need

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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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.”

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... Read more

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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...

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Households in the Wyre district have lost more than five 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 Wyre district have each lost an average of £242.53 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 Wyre Council, which covers areas including Fleetwood, lost £1m in Government funding for 2014/15.

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.

“Wyre has not lost quite that much but £242 is still a significant amount, especially in an area 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 Wyre lose cash in ‘unfair’ council funding deal

Households in the Wyre district have lost more than five times as much council funding as those in the ten most well off areas of the country, new figures show....

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Labour's general election candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood, Cat Smith, visited the Royal Mail mail centre in Preston which serves North Lancashire and South Cumbria, including Lancaster and Fleetwood. During the visit she spoke with staff working at the site about the challenges they are facing as a business as well as meeting with shop-floor staff and representatives from the Communications Workers Union.

 

Labour's Cat Smith visits local Royal Mail mail centre

Labour's general election candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood, Cat Smith, visited the Royal Mail mail centre in Preston which serves North Lancashire and South Cumbria, including Lancaster and Fleetwood. During...

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