News and Events

Rebecca Long-Bailey MP slams Tories’ “broken promises” as three quarters of Salford’s Sure Start centres lost since 2010

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  • New research reveals in that in Salford 12 Sure Start centres have been lost since 2010, and just 4 designated children’s centres remain in the borough.
  • There are now over 1,240 fewer designated Sure Start children’s centres across the country than when the Tories took office – a fall of around 34 per cent since 2010.
  • Over 230 have been lost in the last year alone.

The local Labour MP has spoken out as new figures reveal that 12 local Sure Start centres have been lost from the 16 that were serving local families when the Tories’ took power in 2010, leaving just 4 designated children’s centres serving the entire borough. 

The figures, released in response to Freedom of Information requests, revealed that over a thousand Sure Start centres, around a third of the total, have been lost across England in the same period. The 75% cut in Sure Start provision for Salford is one of the worst reductions in the country.

David Cameron had promised to protectthe service during the 2010 election, saying that the Conservatives would be ‘the most family friendly government we’ve ever had’.

Rebecca Long Bailey, Labour MP for Salford and Eccles, said:

“We had been promised by the Tories that they would be the ‘most family friendly Government we’ve ever had’ and that Sure Start was safe with them. But these figures reveal that they are not keeping their word. Even worse, they show that the government has singled out areas like Salford to bear the brunt of their cuts.

“It is not family friendly to cut vital services that have changed the lives of so many. It is not family friendly to remove one of the key drivers of social mobility for the most disadvantaged in our society. It is not family friendly to leave parents up and down the country unable to afford the childcare they need.

“Labour opened over 3,500 Sure Start centres to support working families across the country, but we are seeing provision slashed under the Tories, and it will be local parents and children who pay the price for their broken promises.” 

Councillor Lisa Stone, Lead Member for Children’s and Young People’s Services, said:

“Since 2010, children’s services have seen cuts of almost £20 million, a 30% reduction per head, whilst at the same time we have seen rapid growth of the child population, with a 6% increase, or over 3500 extra children.”

“Having taken 47% of funding from Salford since 2010, the closure of 75% of Salford Sure Start centres is yet another example of how this Government are failing children in Salford.”

Angela Rayner MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said:

“This research exposes the truth behind the Tories’ claim to be protecting Sure Start. They use cheap accounting tricks - like pointing to buildings which are still open but running seriously reduced services – to try to pull the wool over people’s eyes. But the facts speak for themselves. On the same measure that was used in 2010, Sure Start has been slashed.

“There are a third fewer designated centres than there were when the Tories came to office nationally, and it’s even worse in many areas.

“We know that because we asked local authorities, those tasked with running these vital services, and that’s what they told us. The Tories are taking us backwards. It’s a scandal that local families are being left to pick up the pieces.”

 

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Electricity North West Depot Visit

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Was great to meet the dedicated staff and apprentices at Electricity North West Salford depot yesterday. Really knew their stuff and carrying out lots of exciting innovation so Salford is at the forefront of electrical infrastructure development.

Every time you see a substation think of them and remember they are keeping the lights on for Salford.

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Salford unites to urge new GM Mayor to solve housing crisis

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Salford housing providers and local politicians are calling on the new Greater Manchester Mayor to make housing a top priority when they come into power.

Last month (February), Greater Manchester Housing Providers (GMHP) launched a campaign for everyone in the region to live in a home they can afford.

To help demonstrate Salford’s support for the campaign, housing providers from the Salford Strategic Housing Partnership have joined forces with key politicians, and other high profile organisations such as Shelter and the National Housing Federation to ‘sign-up’ to the pledge – that also urges mayoral candidates to commit to solving the housing crisis of not enough affordable homes being created in the city.

Today (Friday, 31 March), Rebecca Long Bailey (Salford and Eccles MP), Paul Dennett (Salford City Mayor) and Councillor Paul Longshaw (Lead member for housing and neighbourhoods) were among several public figures from the city who made their voices heard on the lawns of Salford Civic Centre.

They joined organisations – Salix Homes, City West Housing Trust, Together Housing Group, Great Places Housing Group, Irwell Valley, University of Salford, Shelter and National Housing Federation – at the event.

As part of a “week of action” all attendees signed a large “jigsaw piece” – along with members of the public – which will be combined with pieces from the other nine Greater Manchester local authorities area.

Representatives will unite outside Manchester Town Hall on Monday, 3 April to fuse together the pieces which will reveal the pledge.

Councillor Paul Longshaw, Salford’s lead member for housing and neighbourhoods said: “We are calling for the new GM Mayor to prioritise housing and deliver affordable homes that Salford and Greater Manchester desperately needs to solve the housing crisis gripping the region.

“The housing challenge in Salford is about providing the right amount of good quality decent homes at a price that people can afford, within places that work. The number of people without a place to call home is terrible and is getting worse and worse and we are not providing the range of homes to meet first, the housing needs of Salford, and then the right housing offer to meet the growth and ambition of our City Region.

“In the City Region more than 11,000 homes are required to meet demand against a current plan of more than 3,000 homes. We need everyone in Salford – housing associations, councils, academia, charities, community groups, other organisations and the new GM Mayor to work together to tackle this extremely serious issue.”

Rebecca Long-Bailey MP added: “With rising house prices, buyers hoping to save for a typical deposit over the next four years will need to scrape together at least £724 every month at current rates.

“In Salford, house prices are six times the average income of a local person and around 7,000 people are waiting for a home on Salford Homesearch at any one time.

“This campaign shows housing associations and political figures want to work with the new GM Mayor when they are elected in May. They can play a vitally important role in tackling these worrying issues.”

Housing associations have built more than 8,000 new homes in the past five years, a third of all new homes in Greater Manchester and are already housing more than half a million residents.

A quarter of a million homes across the region are owned and managed by GMHP members – one in every five home in the city region.

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Shock report reveals grim reality for hundreds of tenants across the region

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Hundreds of private tenants in Greater Manchester are living with damp, mould and dodgy electrics, according to a hard-hitting report.

New research reveals just how many people who rent privately are forced to endure slum conditions - and how landlords are raking in thousands of pounds for homes often infested with mice and cockroaches or which flout safety standards.

Housing charity Shelter commissioned a poll of private tenants across Greater Manchester that found 40 per cent of renters had suffered from bad electrics, damp and mould in the last 12-months.

Housing bosses and politicians say that the problems are not just confined to Manchester but offer a grim snapshot of conditions around the UK.

“It is shocking that Shelter has reported that 40% of people living in privately owned rented accommodation in Greater Manchester complained of damp and mould.

"Damp and mould in many cases can be directly liked to fuel poverty as damp is likely to manifest more quickly in homes that are not heated regularly."

Salford has its own fuel poverty strategy. “A Fair Energy Deal for Salford”. It is working on with partners such as National Energy Action, energy companies, registered social landlords and landlords in the private rented sector to obtain a pledge to reduce the number of prepayment meters and replace them with standard meters.

“A shocking 22pc of households in Salford have prepayment meters, whereas the national average is 15.1pc,”

Salford also launched “Warm Salford” campaign in 2015, which provides additional grants to give vulnerable households better access to energy.

 

To read the full article: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/property/shock-report-reveals-grim-reality-12815746

        

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UK nuclear decommissioning debacle costs government nearly £100m

The government has been forced to pay nearly £100m in a settlement with two US companies for mishandling the way it awarded a £6.1bn nuclear decommissioning contract.

Ministers have ordered an inquiry headed by the former boss of National Grid to find out why the procurement process was so flawed. Labour said the payout showed “dramatic levels of incompetence”.

By cancelling just two years into a 14-year contact the government has shown dramatic levels of incompetence in the procurement process of this deal.

“British tax payers who stand to lose nearly £100m should be asking themselves not just whether they are willing to put up such ineptitude but also whether the government actually has a well thought out and long term nuclear decommissioning strategy.”

Unions said they were concerned at any potential job losses as a result of the contract ending early. 

Mike Clancy, general secretary of Prospect, said: “This is an extraordinary situation given the scale and importance of the Magnox contract to the UK nuclear industry.

“The public, and our members, will want reassurance that the termination process and uncertainty over the future of decommissioning will not lead to standards deteriorating or the loss of UK expertise.”

The Unite union said the financial mess involved in awarding the contract showed the clean-up project should be taken into public ownership.

 

To read the full Guardian article: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/mar/27/uk-nuclear-decommissioning-debacle-costs-government-100m

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YMCA Training Salford

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Last week I had a special few hours visiting the YMCA Training Salford, to meet learners, apprentices and businesses, and take part in their awards ceremony.  I was amazed by the dedication of all who were there not least the YMCA staff and Dawn Branningan, Salford YMCA’s manager who received a special award for her decades of dedication.

Salford YMCA works with some brilliant organisations to deliver apprenticeships in childcare and horticulture. I met staff and apprentices from Man Utd FC, Kids Planet Nurseries and Worsley Golf Club. What struck me was firstly how switched on and clever the apprentices were but also how the employers were Salford born and bred and wanted to invest in and bring the next Salford generation up the ladder behind them, this is how it should be.

 

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Irlam Square Residents Group

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Recently I was contacted by an inspiring constituent Kerry Wade, who loved where she lived and wanted to bring residents together so their voices could be heard and to work together for the common good of everyone.  

After a little bit leafleting and a bit of door knocking along with my office, on March 10th I was pleased to attend the first resident’s group meeting of Irlam Square along with local Claremont Councillor Barbara Bentham. Irlam Square are a proud community who are wanting to work together to raise concerns, and find ways to improve the area they live, which is what community is all about!  Residents groups are an amazing tool for communities to voice their concerns and improve areas, and I would encourage more and more groups across Salford to do the same.  

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Swansea Tidal Visit

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Great to see the 'potential' Swansea Tidal Lagoon will bring to the UK manufacturing sector yesterday and giving it Labours full backing. The Government needs to get this going now, 84 suppliers/manufacturers already identified in the North West alone.

This Tidal Lagoon is the perfect project for a forward looking Industrial Strategy for Britain, creating a high quality product, requiring a skilled workforce and establishing a strong British based supply chain.

This Lagoon will harness cutting edge technology, three quarters of the manufacturing jobs will be high skilled and it needs 100,000 tonnes of steel. The Tidal Lagoon Power Company should be applauded not just for their entrepreneurial spirit, but also their focus on British built components.

The government has dithered long enough despite stating in the House of Commons that they would not drag their heels. Greg Clark who is in Cardiff today should ensure that the Welsh people get the prosperity they deserve, stop hesitating and get on with it.

 

Alan Whitehead, the Shadow Minister for Energy said:

The Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is an important 'proof of concept' project for the much wider adoption of tidal lagoon power in the UK which can make a major contribution to our power requirements. Getting Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon underway unlocks huge potential for tidal in all parts of the country, which it's why it's so important the project is given the green light without further delay.

 

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Budget 2017

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On March 8th, International Women’s day the Conservative Chancellor Phillip Hammond delivered a Budget which will hit many across Salford and Eccles hard.

It did not address the problems created by seven years of Tory failure. There was nothing to deal with the living standards crisis, it won’t solve the extreme state of emergency in our NHS and social care system, and it doesn’t do enough to build a fair economy for all.

It continues the unjust tax giveaways for those at the top, while hitting self-employed workers on low and middle earners for £2 billion.

And, after years of cuts disproportionately affecting women, this Budget also did nothing to address that inequality. Not a penny for the many women across Salford and Eccles affected by the increase in the state pension age.

Real pay is still lower than before the crash, the National Living Wage was revised down again, in 2020. It is forecast not to hit the £9 promised by the Tories, let alone match Labour’s plan for a £10 an hour Real Living Wage.

What is worse, six million people earn less than the living wage, and four million children are in poverty - two-thirds of them in households in which at least one parent works.

On Social care, the Tory announcement of £2bn over 3 years doesn’t provide social care with the funding it needs. The Government already cut £4.6bn in the last parliament and as the Kings Fund says we need at least a £2bn injection now to stabilise social not £2bn spread over three years.

On the NHS, there was no money to deal with the crisis facing hospitals. The Tories have promised a small amount of capital spend which doesn’t compensate for the fact that in the Autumn Statement last year they cut £1.2bn from capital.

There’s a shortfall of £5bn in NHS maintenance which hasn’t even been addressed.

Bizarrely what they also announced was capital spend for A&Es next winter. This is a nonsense as there aren’t even enough GPs in the system as it is, A&Es are in crisis and waiting lists are soaring. And there was no mention of mental health at all. This simply isn’t good enough!


The Government’s changes to National Insurance are staggeringly unfair. They are set to raise £2bn from self-employed low and middle earners, but with nothing to improve their conditions, nor anything to support those trying to set up and manage their own business. The whole point of lower NI for self employed people was because they did not receive the same benefits as employed people.

I agree completely with the comments made by the Federation of Small Businesses who stated yesterday that “this decision undermines the Government's own mission for the UK to be the best place to start and grow a business, and it drives up the cost of doing business.

What is worse is that the Conservative manifesto pledge was very clearly not to increase national insurance contributions full stop. This was on their election materials and could not have been clearer. They have broken this pledge.

On business rates, the relief set out is welcome but it contains glaring ommissions and simply does not go far enough. I urge the Government to conisder carefully Labour's five point plan on business rates which promised to set up an Emergency Relief Fund, undo Tory restrictions on the appeals process, bring forward the shift from RPI to CPI indexation, and remove new cat 1, 2 and 4 plant and machinery from valuations, as well as a fundamental rethink of business rates in the longer term.

Today the Government must rise to Labour’s challenge by taking action to defuse the ticking time bomb of business rates and bringing forward additional transitional relief for small and medium sized firms.

The budget also highlighted yet again the fact that productivity growth has been stagnating for years. Yet from infrastructure to R&D, Britain languishes well below OECD averages for the amount of GDP reinvested in our economy. Our transport networks are inadequate, especially outside London, and our digital infrastructure remains patchy, with too many businesses still unable to access superfast broadband or 4G.

Without a big push in R&D, Britain will struggle to remain competitive outside Europe. Yet with interest rates for government are currently close to all-time lows, the economic case for this budget to include a major programme of government investment in infrastructure and research was overwhelming. Its just a shame the Government does not have increasing prouctivity at the top of its agenda.

This was quite simply a budget built on unfairness.

If the Government was serious about fairness and serious about letting cities like Salford prosper they would tackle unfairness head on, rebalance, support industry and invest in our economy…….but yesterdays budget suggests to me that they really could not care less.

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Trade Union Act

Today sees the implementation of the Trade Union Act

This is the most unnecessary and anti-democratic assault on the rights of working people in a generation.

For a Government elected by just a quarter of eligible voters to impose a 40% threshold on public sector workers taking industrial action is a shameless example of double standards.

As all working people know, the decision to take industrial action is never taken lightly. But working people’s rights need to be protected.

This will save our economy just 0.00002% of GDP, showing that the economic case for this is rubbish. The most effective way of boosting wages and people's living standards is through them taking collective action in their trade union.

This Act will perpetuate the chronic low pay in our economy which costs us all through lower taxes and a higher bill for in-work benefits.

 

http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-4904-The-Trade-Union-Act-shows-the-Tories-true-colour#.WMAHSlXyiUk

 

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