News and Events

More Words and No Action in Government's Response to the Taylor Review

Yesterday the Government tried to sneak out their long overdue response to the Taylor review. They decided to launch four consultations and only merely ‘considering’ proposals is just not good enough. Like so much from this Government, their response is just more words, with no real action to improve the lives of the millions of people in insecure work. They have failure to strengthen workers’ rights is having a real impact on people’s lives.

The next Labour government will transform the lives of workers by ensuring equal rights from day one, banning zero-hours contracts, introducing a real living wage of at least £10 per hour by 2020 and banning unpaid internships.

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Votes for Women 100 Years Old

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One hundred years ago today, Parliament took the first steps towards giving women the vote. It is poignant to realise in 1918 I could have been voiceless in a workhouse, unable to vote and certainly not able to become an MP.

The actions of campaigners such as Emily Wilding Davison, who on the night of the 1911 census, illegally hid in a broom cupboard in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in Parliament. Thus recording her address on the night as the Houses of Parliament. This act was commemorated by the late Tony Benn and others when a plaque was installed in the broom cupboard of the Chapel and remains there to this day. Emily later lost her life in the fight for women rights when in 1913 she threw herself in front of the Kings horse at Epson Derby, to bring attention to the cause.

Or the struggle of the Pankhurst family, Emmaline, Christabel and Sylvia who lived for many years in the Seedley area of Salford, and dedicated their lives fighting for the rights of women. Despite being arrested and imprisoned many times, their fight continued, and culminated in the Representation of the People Act 1918 and 1928.

I thank these brave women of the suffragettes movement for the chances we now have but with gender inequality a ‘ferocious’ issue, we still have a long way to go.

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Carrillion Job Losses

Since Carillion's collapse, 800 workers have lost their jobs and many more employees wait with bated breath to hear what the future holds for them.

“The Government should have ensured the continuity of employment of those working on Carillion contracts and protection of their pay, conditions and pensions.”

“It is clear this has not happened and now these workers must receive swift redundancy payments and support both in terms of those in financial stress such as encouraging banks to show mortgage leniency and household bills the same plus access to training and employment support.”

"Carillion's poor treatment of businesses in its supply chain, by failing to pay them on time, has led to many being on the verge of bankruptcy, threatening even more jobs.

"The Government's failure to think long-term means that the future for most workers is still uncertain and they must act quickly to provide much-needed reassurance and protect workers from further redundancies.

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Healthy Hearts with Friars Primary School

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Before heading down to Parliament, I spent the morning with children from Friars Primary school. We visited Lancashire County Cricket Foundation in conjunction with Revive Dental, and the children were introduced to a variety of activities which attempt to improve the health of local school children.

The children were brilliant, way better than me at sticking the right names to the right parts of the heart, Doctors of the future for sure!

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Shocking New Child Poverty Figures Released

I’m shocked to see that Salford and Eccles has 31% of children now growing up in poverty, highlighted by figures released today following an analysis by the End Child Poverty coalition of charities. Even more shocking is to see Manchester Central and Manchester Gorton where almost 50% of children are growing up in poverty. This is unacceptable, more needs to be done to help these children, and government saying that “The best route out of poverty is through employment” is no help for these children.

With Universal credit still to be rolled out in Salford and Eccles, it is worrying how these figures will increase once it does. No child should have to grow up in poverty, no matter their background or postcode. Labour will reform and redesign Universal Credit and implement a new Child Poverty Strategy. Labour will also lift the Tories’ freeze on social security support which is penalising families, to ensure people get the support they need.

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Buile Hill Park’s 80th Anniversary Celebration

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I loved Buile Hill Park’s 80th Anniversary Celebration yesterday with lovely singing from St Luke’s CE pupils.

Very proud of Friends of Buile Hill and the community for all they do here to celebrate the park’s proud history and to make it a great place for the community to come and relax.

Great to see Mayor Paul Dennett, Cllr Gina Reynolds, Ceremonial Mayor Peter Connor, Cllr's Paul and Ronnie Wilson, and many more from across the community.

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The collapse of Carillion could provoke a serious crisis

The collapse of Carillion is a disaster for small businesses. Many now face missing out on unpaid fees which may well go back several months along with a damaging loss of business.

It shows poor judgement by the Tories that despite three profit warnings in the last six months they went ahead and awarded Carillion public sector contracts worth up to £2 billion pounds.

Prior to its collapse, Carillion was forcing small businesses to wait up to 120 days for payment, which is well above the 30 days period recommended by the Prompt Payment Code. By paying suppliers so late Carillion effectively used small businesses to stay afloat.

The Government failed to take any action, despite the Federation of Small Businesses writing to them in July 2017 urging them to ensure that Carillion observes the 30 day payment period to avoid putting suppliers at risk.

Labour’s manifesto pledged to ensure that any company procuring government services complies with a range of standards, including full and prompt payment of suppliers within 30 days and full trade union recognition.

The Government must act quickly to bring these public sector contracts back in-house to protect public services and ensure employees, supply chain companies, taxpayers and pension fund members are protected.

 

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First Council Houses to be built in Salford for Three Decades

Great news that nearly 1000 council homes are to be bought, built and managed by Salford Council by 2021.

Social housing is desperately needed across the country, and this is a fantastic start to the ambitious targets the council will be pursuing to address the UK housing crisis here in Salford.

This is also a fitting tribute to the legacy of Paul Longshaw, who wanted to find a way to build new social houses when he joined the council in 2016, after spending his life leading the regeneration of Pendleton. He believed that a decent, secure and quality home was a human right, and new social homes in Salford will start to deliver that.

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There Is A Great Gap Between The Rhetoric Of The Tory Government On Climate Change And The Reality

Its domestic policy on financing remains woefully inadequate

Last week, Paris hosted the One Planet Summit, of which the central purpose was to examine how private and public finance could be used to combat climate change.

There is a great gap between the rhetoric of the Tory Government on the issue of climate change and the reality. Although the UK Government made some meagre international financial commitments, its domestic policy on financing remains woefully inadequate.

During the recent budget, the Government sneaked out the announcement that there would be no new low carbon electricity levies until the burden of such costs is falling. On current forecasts this means no new carbon levies until 2025.

The potentially devastating effects of this on financial investment into renewable energy cannot be emphasised enough. Contracts for Difference, a type of levy to subsidise the development costs and initial financing, is currently the main means by which renewable energy generation is encouraged.

They guarantee a price that a producer receives, thus making financing the project easier and less risky. Much of the success of offshore wind, whose price has halved over the last two years, comes from the support it has received through Contracts for Difference.

Preventing further Contracts for Difference, without having put any alternative in place, not only undermines offshore wind, but threatens the progress of less developed renewable technologies, such as tidal power. They will now be expected to compete with more developed technologies for what remains of the current pot without having had the initial investment they need to bring down their price to a more competitive level.

My colleague, Alan Whitehead MP, tried to ask the Minister Jo Johnson MP in parliament earlier this week whether he supported the new Control for levies and what the effects would be on our carbon reduction targets. Unsurprisingly he failed to receive a straight answer.

This demonstrates just how little the Government cares about funding efforts to tackle climate change, which is the biggest challenge facing our generation.

But it is by no means an isolated incident. In one of her first acts as Prime Minister, Theresa May completely scrapped the Department for Energy and Climate Change. She scrapped the £1 billion Carbon Capture and Storage competition, has failed to green light the Swansea Tidal Lagoon project and just recently sold off the Green Investment Bank on the cheap.

The measures announced in the Government’s 2017 Clean Growth Strategy were not even sufficient to meet either the fourth or fifth carbon budgets. These legally binding targets set restrictions on the total amount of greenhouse gases than can be emitted in the future by the UK. These targets stem from Labour’s landmark 2008 Climate Change Act. It is not good enough to leave the UK on course to miss these targets, we should be aiming to over perform on them.

This is why Labour wants to put climate change at the heart of our industrial strategy. At the last election, Labour pledged that 60% of the UK’s energy will come from low carbon or renewable sources by 2030 to help us meet the challenge of tackling climate change.

To achieve this we will take parts of our energy sector into public hands and explore ways of encouraging local communities to generate their own energy. We will cultivate strengths in green technology and invest in renewable energy infrastructure as well as reduce demand for heat to honour our national and international obligations.

Labour realises that climate change is an existential threat and that only bold action to prevent it will be required.

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No more green rhetoric. A sustainable future is vital and possible

Climate change is at the heart of Labour’s industrial strategy, which means investing in green tech and renewable energy, and divesting from fossil fuels

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The climate crisis is the most significant issue facing humanity. Natural disasters are already displacing entire communities. More intense droughts are leading to unprecedented levels of food insecurity and hunger across the globe. This summer saw hurricanes, floods and fires affect hundreds of millions of people from India to Niger, Haiti to Houston. The UK is also vulnerable to climate impacts, with more destructive storms, prolonged floods, and heatwaves becoming the norm.

 

Our climate reality is increasingly unpredictable and daunting. However, it is also opening the space to collectively reimagine a different future for the UK. Fossil fuels helped ignite the first industrial revolution, but we now know that their continued use will threaten our very existence. Within the UK we have the skills, ingenuity and people to drive the next energy revolution, powered by renewables. For us to make this change a success, our politics must have environmental sustainability and social justice at its core.

 

This is why climate change is at the heart of Labour’s industrial strategy. At the last election, Labour pledged that 60% of the UK’s energy will come from low carbon or renewable sources by 2030 to help us meet the challenge of tackling climate change. Labour plans to achieve this mission by transforming our energy system by taking parts back into public control and exploring how we can ensure greater local control of energy generation and supply. We want to cultivate strengths in growing markets for green tech, invest in renewable energy infrastructure, reduce demand for heat, and maintain Britain’s climate commitments.

 

Two years ago, representatives from 196 countries met in Paris and committed to limiting global temperature rises to “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels, with the aspirational target below 1.5C. The UK ratified the landmark Paris agreement the following year, promising to “continue our leadership on climate action”.

 

Despite its green rhetoric, the government’s record is not good. Its Clean Growth Strategy even admitted that the measures it recommended would not fulfil either the fourth or fifth carbon budgets. These budgets are restrictions on the total amount of greenhouse gases than can be emitted in a five-year period by the UK and are legally binding; for example the fourth carbon budget covers the period 2023-27, and the fifth covers 2028-2032.

 

We should be over-performing on our carbon budgets, not underperforming. The most recent autumn budget even threatened the future of new renewable generation by not admitting any more new low carbon electricity levies until 2025, on current forecasts, while at the same time giving tax breaks to oil and gas firms. The implications of the new levy regime could be catastrophic. Without alternative funding, it may spell the end of much low carbon development in the UK. With the success offshore, this is the moment to be seizing the opportunity to develop other forms of renewable energy. The Tories continue to push fracking despite its unpopularity across the country. The result of Tory policy not only undermines our climate change obligations but means many suffer from the effects of air pollution and fuel poverty.

 

That’s why I’m joining 100 other MPs, across parties, to call on our pension fund to remove its investments in fossil fuels. Our words in Paris must be matched by our actions in parliament – our constituents expect nothing less. This starts, but by no means finishes, with where we invest millions of pounds through our pensions. But we need to open up this conversation beyond parliament to ensure a just transition to a green economy.

 

This campaign is the fastest growing divestment movement of all time, which has seen more than $5tn of assets divested across more than 800 institutions. Campaigning for our universities, workplaces, unions, and pension funds to divest is one important way we can help to build a more sustainable society. Parliament must play its part.

 

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