On Wednesday the Chancellor made his autumn statement and it was another wasted opportunity after thirteen years of Tory failure.
Ordinary people are facing a crisis on multiple fronts because of this Tory government. From the cost-of-living crisis to the housing crisis, the Tories have left Britain broken after more than a decade in power. The Chancellor should have used this budget to urgently start to tackling those crises head-on. By immediately unfreezing housing benefit, reversing cuts to public service cuts and announcing additional support with energy costs the Chancellor could have given us a budget for the many, not the few.
Instead, we got the same old Tory tricks. Housing Benefit frozen for another five months, increased sanctions on disabled benefit claimants that will cost more than it saves, and a deepening of cuts to schools, local councils and other vital services. Meanwhile, most people will be paying more tax because the government has frozen tax thresholds in place. Economic growth is forecast to continue stagnating while the OBR predicts living standards at the next election will be lower than they were at the last. There is no doubt about it, after thirteen years of Tory rule we are all worse off. It’s time for real change.
Levelling up funding for Edmonton
After losing out in the first round of funding, the Government announced this week that Edmonton will be awarded nearly £12 million from the ‘levelling up’ fund. The money will go towards the redevelopment of Angel Edmonton, including the Leeds Street Market expansion, improvements to the area around Silver Street Station and the redevelopment of Boundary Hall Community Centre. Florence Hayes Recreation Ground will also be redesigned.
This is a welcome and much-needed investment after the Tories have cut billions from local funding over the past thirteen years. Though it doesn’t put a dent in those years of cuts this is a positive project which I’m sure will be welcomed by many residents.
I look forward to a future Labour Government that doesn’t make Local Authorities bid against each other for funding and begins real long-term investment in Local Authorities.
A new deal for carers
On Tuesday I attended the Skills for Care drop-in event at Parliament, hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Adult Social Care. More than 1.7 million people work in the adult social care sector in England, but with average pay of £10.11, many social care workers cannot afford to get by themselves. Unsurprisingly, the turnover rate in the industry is almost 30%. Yet those who work in the adult social care sector perform a role as important as nurses in the NHS. For too long social care workers have been treated as an afterthought. That must change moving forward. Care workers are a vital part of our health service and deserve to be recognised for that role. Underpaying and undervaluing care isn’t just bad news for the workers, it produces worse results for those who are being cared for.
A Labour Government has promised once and for all to tackle our social care crisis by creating a Social Care Service. That service should be fully integrated with our NHS and include a new, fair, deal for care workers. Rationalising the care sector is essential if we are to tackle the fundamental problems faced by countries all over the world as populations continue to age. A system that bankrupts people being cared for and forces carers to use food banks isn’t fit for the 21st Century. It’s time for real change.
Letter to Foreign Secretary & Home Secretary – West Bank Violence
This week I signed a letter, along with many of my parliamentary colleagues, calling for an end to settler violence in the West Bank. The letter is addressed to the Foreign Secretary, David Cameron and the Home Secretary, James Cleverly MP.
Since October 7th, Israeli security forces and settlers have killed almost 200 Palestinians in the West Bank. In that same period, more than 1,100 adults and children have been forcibly driven from their homes following settler violence.Life is being made impossible for Palestinians living under occupation and settler violence and this violence comes with the consent of Israel’s political leaders.
Earlier this year Israel’s Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said that the Palestinian village of Huwara “should be wiped out”. Israel’s government has made it clear that they believe in expanding settlements, annexing the West Bank and preventing Palestinians from being entitled to any form of equal rights. Now Israel’s Minister for National Security, Itamar Ben Gvir, has changed the law to make it easier for Israelis – and in particular – Israeli settlers- to obtain weapons permits.
The UK has a long-standing position that Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal under international law- but stances like this without action do nothing to discourage the expansion of such settlements.
That’s why our letter is calling on the UK government to commit, in line with existing Home Office guidance, to ban the entry into the UK of settlers responsible for perpetuating and inciting violence against Palestinians in the West Bank.
This would be a positive step in the right direction, though moving forward the international community must take far more decisive action against the Israeli state for its occupation of the Palestinian territories. This must include sanctions and diplomatic measures in line with those taken against Russia for its invasion occupation of Ukrainian territory.
Thank you for taking the time to read my latest update, if you have any issues that you would like to raise directly with me then please do email firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m always happy to help whenever possible.
Member of Parliament for Edmonton