Lancaster Labour Party

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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...

Proposals which could allow American healthcare companies bid for contracts to run NHS services at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI) and Fleetwood Hospital have been given the thumbs-down by local residents.

Nearly three quarters of people surveyed in the Lancaster and Fleetwood parliamentary constituency said the NHS should be excluded from a new EU-US trade agreement.

The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) aims to make trade between Europe and the United States easier.

But if the NHS is included as part of the deal, private healthcare companies in the US would be guaranteed the right to bid to run NHS services.  If a future UK government tried to stop the practice, US healthcare firms could then take legal action due to the lost business opportunities.

The polling company Survation asked people in Lancaster and Fleetwood for their views during a telephone survey.

More than 71 per cent of people surveyed said Prime Minister David Cameron should exclude the NHS from TTIP, while little more than 7 per cent supported its inclusion.  Just over 21 per cent of people said they weren’t sure.

Cat Smith, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood, who has been campaigning with Keep Our NHS Public against the privatisation of pharmacy services at the RLI, said: “People in Lancaster and Fleetwood are sending a clear message to David Cameron that he should put the safety of local patients ahead of fat profits for trans-Atlantic multinationals.

“The Tory-led Coalition’s Health and Social Care Act is already putting our precious NHS at risk by allowing private companies to compete for contracts.

“Including the NHS in TTIP could make this situation even worse.  Imagine a company boss in California or a manager in Massachusetts being accountable for local health services here in Lancaster and Fleetwood.

“The Prime Minister needs to make a clear commitment to excluding the NHS from this deal and re-think his Government’s damaging health reforms.”

The telephone survey involved 202 people chosen at random.

Local Residents Call on Prime Minister to Exempt NHS from Trade Deal

Proposals which could allow American healthcare companies bid for contracts to run NHS services at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI) and Fleetwood Hospital have been given the thumbs-down by local...

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Cat Smith is asking people in Lancaster and Fleetwood to join her in turning their lights out on the evening of 4th August to mark 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War.

The Lights Out campaign invites people across the country to switch off their lights between 10pm and 11pm on 4 August and light a single candle in a shared moment of national reflection.

The moment will mark precisely a century since Britain declared war on Germany and formally entered the First World War at 11pm on 4 August 1914.

The campaign is inspired by the words of the then Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, who famously remarked on the outbreak of the war: 'The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.'

Millions of people across the UK are expected to take part in Lights Out, which will see hundreds of public buildings and iconic landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge and Blackpool Illuminations also turning out their lights.

The project is being organised by 14-18 NOW, the official cultural programme for the First World War Centenary Commemorations, with particular support from the Royal British Legion.

Cat Smith, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood said:

"The First World War was a conflict that changed Britain forever. It touched every family, affected every community and fundamentally altered our country's place in the world

"The centenary anniversary is a unique opportunity for us to commemorate those who served and sacrificed for us on the frontline and the home front, and to think about the profound impact the war had on our society. 

"I hope people across Lancaster and Fleetwood will join me in taking part in the Lights Out campaign and turn out their lights between 10pm and 11pm on 4 August. With the busy lives we lead today, the simple act of pausing, switching off the lights and lighting a candle will be a very powerful tribute."

Labour's Cat Smith invites people in Lancaster and Fleetwood to join her in turning their lights out to mark the centenary of the First World War

Cat Smith is asking people in Lancaster and Fleetwood to join her in turning their lights out on the evening of 4th August to mark 100 years since the outbreak of the First...

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Fears that the founding values of the NHS are under “the worst ever attack” were raised during a public meeting into plans to privatise pharmacy services at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

Cat Smith, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood issued the warning during Wednesday evening’s No Health Sell Off meeting at Lancaster Town Hall.

Earlier that day campaigners handed in a petition of more than 9,000 signatures opposing the pharmacy sell-off to John Hutton, acting chair of the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.

At the meeting, Ms Smith was joined in raising concerns over the pharmacy proposals by fellow speakers, Eugene Doherty, president of the Lancaster and Morecambe Trades Council and Dr David Wrigley of the Ash Trees Surgery in Carnforth.

More than 80 people in the audience were urged to write to their local Conservative MPs Eric Ollerenshaw (Lancaster and Fleetwood) and David Morris (Morecambe and Lunesdale) to oppose the privatisation of the pharmacy services.  Both were invited to the meeting but did not attend.

Ms Smith said: “Learning that the trust was taking expressions of interest from private companies to run pharmacy services was a wake-up call for us here across Morecambe Bay.

“Since the introduction of this government’s Health and Social Care Act, the number of NHS contracts awarded to non-NHS providers has more than trebled. This leaves the future of our NHS in the hands of companies whose main objective is making profit for shareholders, rather than the provision of quality healthcare which is free at the point of use.”

Ms Smith said the NHS was “in the grips of a silent sell off”.

She added: “Its founding values are under the worst ever attack.  Sixty five years ago our parents, grandparents and great grandparents stood together to make sure that no person would ever be denied good healthcare, on the grounds of wealth.

“Now, the Labour movement’s greatest social achievement is facing extinction.”

Ms Smith told how the hospital trust’s advert for the contract had stated that a “key business driver” for the sale was VAT savings due to a loophole which means that while the NHS has to pay 20% VAT on drug dispensing, private companies do not.

A campaign day held in Lancaster city centre at the end of last month revealed huge public opposition to the £25m pharmacy services sell-off, which also affects Westmorland General Hospital in Kendal and Furness General Hospital in Barrow.  More than 800 people signed  the petition on that day alone.

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Labour Candidate speaks out against NHS sell off of pharmacy services

Fears that the founding values of the NHS are under “the worst ever attack” were raised during a public meeting into plans to privatise pharmacy services at the Royal Lancaster...

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More than 6,000 homes in the Lancaster and Fleetwood parliamentary constituency are in ‘fuel poverty’, new figures reveal.
Cat Smith, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for the area, is calling for much more to be done to tackle cold, draughty homes, with high energy prices increasingly taking their toll on cash-strapped families.
Government figures show that 6,039 homes in the constituency are officially classed as being in “fuel poverty” - meaning they spend more than 10% of their total income on heating their home. [1]
Ms Smith is calling on the Coalition to reverse its cuts to insulation schemes. [2] 
She has joined more than 180 charities, campaign groups, unions and companies making up the Energy Bill Revolution coalition to call for a huge programme to upgrade the energy efficiency of our homes – starting with the poorest households. [3]
Ms Smith said: “It is shocking to think that in 21st century Britain so many people in Lancaster and Fleetwood cannot afford to heat their own homes.
“This can have serious consequences, especially for vulnerable people like the elderly and young children.
“Now is the time the Coalition should be planning ahead for next winter and trying to ensure nobody has to suffer in this way.
“Labour has pledged to freeze energy bills if it wins the general election next year, but the Coalition has the power to do this now, as well as to reverse its damaging cuts to insulation schemes.
“Fuel poverty is just one element of the cost of living crisis which has resulted in the average family being £1,600 worse off under this Government.”
UK homes are among the hardest to heat in Europe, with too little insulation and leaky windows and doors. 
Countries such as Sweden have very little fuel poverty, despite much colder weather and similar energy prices that are similar to the UK.  That is because their homes are so much more energy efficient.
Previous work by the Energy Bill Revolution has shown that improving homes like this would create more jobs, be better for the economy, and be more popular with the public than any other major building project.

ENDS

NOTES

[1] Figures from Department of Energy and Climate Change show that in England as a whole, 2.6m homes are in fuel poverty.  Full figures available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/199833/Fuel_Poverty_Report_2013_FINALv2.pdf
[2] http://www.energybillrevolution.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/FP_spendingFINAL.pdf
[3] http://www.energybillrevolution.org/whos-behind-it/

Time to end the scandal of cold homes says Labour candidate

More than 6,000 homes in the Lancaster and Fleetwood parliamentary constituency are in ‘fuel poverty’, new figures reveal. Cat Smith, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for the area, is calling for much...

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Cat Smith, Labour’s candidate for MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, has backed Labour plans for a better deal for those renting their homes privately.

In an Opposition Day debate in the House of Commons forced by Labour earlier last week, Labour called on the Government to stand up for generation rent by backing Labour’s reform plans in a vote in Parliament.

Eric Ollerenshaw, Tory MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, failed to back Labour’s reforms to the private rented sector to give the nine million people who rent greater stability and certainty by legislating for three year tenancies with a ceiling on rent increases and making renting more affordable by banning letting agent fees charged to tenants.

The next Labour government will act to ban letting agents’ fees for tenants, and will legislate to make three year tenancies with predictable rents the standard in the private rented sector to give people who rent the certainty they need.

Labour has also committed to getting 200,000 built a year by 2020 so that more families can fulfil their dream of home ownership.

Cat Smith said:

“Families who are renting in Lancaster and Fleetwood are often worried about the prospect that their rent could jump up by a big amount from one year to the next. Having rented here for many years myself, I know they want to be able to settle down, put down roots and have peace of mind.

“While the Tory-led Government refuses to act, a Labour Government will give families the security of a longer tenancy and predictable rents to stop excessive rises so that they can manage tight family finances and plan ahead.

“If you buy your home, most estate agents will not charge you fees, but people who rent are given no protection and they get charged £350 on average. That’s a lot of money for a lot of people and that’s why Labour will legislate to ban these rip-off charges by letting agents.”

LABOUR CANDIDATE CALLS FOR A FAIRER DEAL FOR RENTERS

Cat Smith, Labour’s candidate for MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, has backed Labour plans for a better deal for those renting their homes privately. In an Opposition Day debate in...

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Nearly 600 households in the Lancaster district and 400 people in Wyre have been hit by the Government’s Bedroom Tax, new figures show.

New figures show effect of Bedroom Tax in Lancaster & Fleetwood

Nearly 600 households in the Lancaster district and 400 people in Wyre have been hit by the Government’s Bedroom Tax, new figures show. Read more

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The proposals, which would see spending power transferred from central government to city and county regions, will be rolled out by the Labour Party if it wins the next General Election.

Plans to devolve power to new city-regions could help to bring new investment and jobs to Lancaster and Fleetwood.

The proposals, which would see spending power transferred from central government to city and county regions, will be rolled out by the Labour Party if it wins the next General... Read more

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Eric Ollerenshaw, Tory MP voted against a freeze on bills for 34,227 households in Lancaster and Fleetwood

Labour’s Energy bill freeze for Lancaster and Fleetwood blocked by Tories

Eric Ollerenshaw, Tory MP voted against a freeze on bills for 34,227 households in Lancaster and Fleetwood Read more

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