Chris Leslie MP, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, responding to the OBR’s commentary on today’s public sector finance figures, said:
“It’s significant that the OBR has pointed out that very high earners delayed their bonuses to take advantage of David Cameron’s top rate tax cut.
“While this artificially boosts this year’s borrowing figures, overall the Treasury will have lost millions of pounds as a result of the highest earners deferring income to pay tax at a lower rate.
“This is yet more proof that David Cameron stands up for the wrong people. While those at the top are reaping the benefits of a huge tax cut, ordinary people on middle and low incomes are seeing their living standards fall.”
Significant OBR pointed out very high earners delayed bonuses to take advantage of Cameron’s top rate tax cut
Chris Leslie MP, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, responding to the OBR’s commentary on today’s public sector finance figures, said: “It’s significant that the OBR has pointed out...
Jamie Reed MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, in response to official figures showing the NHS has lost 445 nurses in the last month, totalling 5,890 since May 2010, said:
“The NHS simply cannot continue to take nursing cuts on this scale.
“Report after report has warned David Cameron of the central importance of nurse numbers in providing safe care. But today’s figures show he is ignoring these warnings and allowing hospitals across England to operate without safe staffing levels.
“On David Cameron’s watch, the NHS has now lost almost six thousand nurses and A&Es across England have struggled to cope. He has given six-figure pay-offs to managers and P45s for nurses.
“This is further proof you can’t trust the Tories with the NHS.”
Jamie Reed MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, in response to official figures showing the NHS has lost 445 nurses in the last month, totalling 5,890 since May 2010, said: “The NHS...
Labour to table amendments to the Immigration Bill to tackle exploitation in the labour market and address problems with border controls and enforcement
The Government’s Immigration Bill is doing nothing to tackle exploitation in the labour market and nothing to address problems with border control and enforcement.
Labour will today put forward major amendments to the Immigration Bill in both areas.
Labour’s plans include:
• Making it illegal for recruitment agencies to only target and recruit foreign workers.
• Making it illegal for employers to deliberately run shifts only for foreign workers or segregate shifts by nationality.
• An increased civil penalty of up to £50,000 for not paying National Minimum Wage and exploiting to undercut.
• Trebling the fine to £30,000 for illegally employing foreign workers and introduce a statutory minimum fine of £10,000.
• A requirement that every large firm hiring a migrant worker from outside the EU has to offer an apprenticeship in return.
Labour will also set out sensible measures to prevent illegal immigration - in contrast to the divisive gimmicks and incompetence of Tory Ad Vans and text messages.
Labour’s plans are the first serious attempt by any party to deal with some of the problems created by European migration - and the exploitation of migration to undermine local wages and jobs.
The amendments form part of Labour’s continued determination to debate public concerns about immigration, and to put forward a sensible and distinctive approach.
Yvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, said:
"The Government is failing to address the exploitation of low-skilled immigration in the labour market. Nor do they have any serious strategy for tackling illegal immigration.
“That’s why we are setting out sensible and practical policies, instead of the Tory-led Government approach of resorting to ineffective and offensive Ad Vans, gimmicks or incorrect text messages to people who have lived here for 30 years.
"At a time when there is real pressure from a cost of living crisis, people are really concerned that low-skilled immigration is being exploited to undercut wages.
"We need a system that is fair for all and a labour market that works for all. That’s why we need practical measures to close loopholes in the minimum wage, or deal with agencies recruiting only from abroad, or gangmasters exploiting illegal labour.
"And we need more sensible measures to address illegal immigration. The Government is doing little to deal with problems at border control which have been getting worse, with fewer people stopped at the border, and more absconding.
"The Tories set out to play divide and rule, but they have been left with a net migration target nobody trusts, falling levels of confidence and increased public concern."
Labour to table amendments to the Immigration Bill to tackle exploitation in the labour market and address problems with border controls and enforcement
Labour to table amendments to the Immigration Bill to tackle exploitation in the labour market and address problems with border controls and enforcement The Government’s Immigration Bill is doing nothing...
Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, responding to Jeremy Hunt’s announcement on overseas visitors’ and migrants’ use of the NHS, said:
“We are in favour of improving the recovery of costs from people with no entitlement to NHS treatment.
"But it’s hard not to conclude that this announcement is more about spin than substance. The Government’s own report undermines their headline-grabbing figures, admitting they are based on old and incomplete data.
“Instead of grand-standing, the Government need to focus on delivering practical changes.
“Labour would not support changes that make doctors and nurses surrogate immigration officials.”
Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, responding to Jeremy Hunt’s announcement on overseas visitors’ and migrants’ use of the NHS, said:“We are in favour of improving the recovery of...
Kevin Brennan MP, Labour’s Shadow Schools Minister, speaking ahead of a Westminster Hall Debate on Free Schools tomorrow, said:
"Clearly David Cameron and Michael Gove’s policy of allowing masses of unqualified teachers to educate our children is unravelling before us. We only have to look at the chaos at Al-Madina Free School to see the dangers- OFSTED found that school to be inadequate on every single measure and unqualified teachers were at the heart of its failure.
“But Nick Clegg is locked into this failure too. He ordered his party through the lobbies in favour of unqualified teachers and his schools minister, David Laws, said he was “100% behind” the policy in Parliament last week. This is just more proof that you can’t trust a word the Lib Dems say.
“Labour knows that teaching quality makes the biggest difference to our children’s education, which is why we would improve standards for all by making sure that all teachers are properly qualified.”
David Cameron and Michael Gove’s policy of allowing masses of unqualified teachers to educate our children is unravelling before us
Kevin Brennan MP, Labour’s Shadow Schools Minister, speaking ahead of a Westminster Hall Debate on Free Schools tomorrow, said: "Clearly David Cameron and Michael Gove’s policy of allowing masses of...
Caroline Flint MP, Labour’s Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, commenting on the announcement of an agreement between the Government and EDF in respect of Hinkley Point C, said:
"Labour supports the development of new nuclear power stations in Britain as part of a balanced, secure and clean energy mix. We will scrutinise the details of this deal to ensure it delivers value for money for consumers.
"The potential costs of this agreement make it all the more crucial that we end the rip-offs and have an energy market that people trust. Labour will freeze energy bills through to the start of 2017 while we reset the energy market to make it more competitive, transparent and fair for consumers.
"This agreement shows that long-term certainty is what really matters to unlock the investment we need to keep the lights on, not allowing overcharging to continue now. David Cameron is now in the ridiculous position of saying that they can set prices 35 years ahead for the companies producing nuclear power, while insisting they can’t freeze prices for 20 months for consumers while much-needed reforms are put in place."
Caroline Flint MP, Labour’s Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, commenting on the announcement of an agreement between the Government and EDF in respect of Hinkley Point C, said: "Labour...
Labour launch ‘Realising One Nation: Developing a new race equality strategy’ consultation
Today Labour are launching ‘Realising One Nation: Developing a new race equality strategy for Labour’, a new consultation as part of Labour’s Policy Review.
Gloria De Piero MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, said:
“We have come a long way since Labour introduced the Race Relations Act in 1968, but under this Government progress has stalled.
“It is unacceptable that as a non-white person today, you are twice as likely to be unemployed as the national average in the UK, and educational attainment is still linked to ethnic background.
“On so many fronts this Government is failing our BAME communities. We should be supporting entrepreneurship opportunities for ethnic minority businesses and helping the police to increase recruitment from minority communities.
“This is why Labour is today launching the ‘Realising One Nation’ consultation. We need a new race equalities strategy to address all these challenges and support stronger community cohesion.”
The outcomes of the consultation on developing a new race equality strategy will feed into the Shadow Cabinet’s work on equalities policy and to Labour’s Politics Policy Commission.
Responses to the consultation can be submitted via Your Britain, Labour’s online home of policy development, at yourbritain.org.uk. The document and submission form can be found in the Policy Review section of the website here.
Labour launch ‘Realising One Nation: Developing a new race equality strategy’ consultation Today Labour are launching ‘Realising One Nation: Developing a new race equality strategy for Labour’, a new consultation...
Towns in Cheshire have been deluged with speculative planning applications since the coalition government introduced new rules to try and boost the economy by allowing housing on greenfield sites. Local authorities can reject housing applications if the sites are not in the Local Plan, but as Cheshire East Council doesn’t yet have a Local Plan, developers can build almost wherever they like at the moment. Cheshire East Council is now working on a Local Plan, but the progress has been dogged by delays and controversy.
As an interim measure Cheshire East Council produced a 5 year housing land supply showing which sites were held to be suitable for housing. Thegreenfield sites identified in the 5 year housing land supply were intended as sacrificial victims. Houses would be built on the sacrificial sites, but other sites would be protected. Now that the 5 year housing land supply has been rejected all those sacrifices have been in vain
This latest setback, which comes hard on the heels of the announcement of further delays to the Local Plan, damages the reputation of the Cheshire East Council planning department which earlier this year was found guilty of maladministration by the Ombudsman and to have "knowingly and persistently misled the public”.
In a devastating blow the Inspector states, “There is no dispute that supply of housing has not met targets in the CEC area since the 2008/9 year. Since that time targets have been missed to the extent that the under delivery amounts to well over 2500 dwellings.”
“Where there has been persistent under delivery, as is quite clearly the case here, action is required to seek to redress the situation because the need is not going to disappear. Part of that action is to increase the choice of land available by adding a 20% buffer to the housing land requirement.”
So now, having been caught out, Cheshire East has to prove not just a 5 year supply, but also an additional 20% buffer. But it gets worse. As well as a 20% buffer Cheshire East will now have to add 1750 houses to catch up on the previous undersupply.
The Local Plan also comes in for criticism as “the pattern of some strategic sites across the Borough is relatively concentrated”. Labour councillors have previously pointed out that proposed new housing has been mainly in the south of the borough around Crewe, Sandbach and Alsager. The Inspector expresses reservations about the site at Basford East and says “Similarly, there is a distinct lack of credible hard evidence that the projections for Leighton West and other sites are achievable or realistic.”
Cllr Sam Corcoran, Labour Councillor for Sandbach Heath & East, said, “This decision is further bad news for Sandbach. The 160 houses off Congleton Road are now going ahead. The £282,000 funding from the developers is not enough to pay for expansion of Offley Road Primary School, likely to be £300,000 - £600,000. We need to ensure that developers pay for the infrastructure necessary to support new houses. The developers have so far got away with minimal contributions and the tactics of the Conservatives are playing right into the developers’ hands. The desperately needed road improvements, new primary school places and other facilities should be paid for out of the profits made from building houses on greenfield land. Under the Tories the only winners are landowners, property speculators and lawyers.”
Labour Strategic Planning spokeswoman Cllr Janet Jackson said, “This ruling is a damning indictment of Tory incompetence. Due to past persistent, obstinate under delivery, the Inspector has set a target of 9,000 new houses in Cheshire East over the next 5 years and determined that only 7,000-7,500 have been demonstrated so far. That means that sites for an extra 1,500-2,000 houses will have to be found.”
Labour Group Leader Cllr David Newton said, “The importance of getting a Local Plan in place cannot be overemphasised. The Labour Group is willing to work with the Conservatives to achieve a decent Local Plan that will stand up to government inspection and judicial review. This latest decision shows that Labour was right to highlight the significant flaws in the Emerging Core Strategy published last month. We now need to work hard to prevent the collapse of the entire Local Plan.”
Towns in Cheshire have been deluged with speculative planning applications since the coalition government introduced new rules to try and boost the economy by allowing housing on greenfield sites. Local authorities can reject housing...
The IPCC (intergovernmental panel on climate change) is holding its 37th
right now, and concludes tomorrow. Latest reports suggest that climate change is almost certainly
the result of human action rather than some routine cosmic variation. It seems that the impacts
upon the planet may be dramatic and that this major challenge to the people of the world is even
greater than many want to believe.
While I freely acknowledge that the contribution this council can make to mitigate the effects of
global climate change may be limited, I firmly believe that the retail slogan “every little helps”
applies in tackling the problem. There is a broader agenda which this council needs to address as
one of a number of community leaders in the north west of England.
This council has undoubtedly made efforts to reduce its own carbon emissions, and to educate
young people in the process.
I could quote from the CEC Greenhouse Gas Report for 2012-2013, but time is limited. Suffice to say
that through our Carbon Management Programme, a number of projects and initiatives have
been developed and are on-going to achieve a reduction in carbon emissions from the Councils
Looking ahead, Cheshire East preparations for participation in the Carbon Reduction Commitment
from April 2013 included:
Piloting the new Eco Centres approach in some of our Community Buildings
Investigating the use of electric vehicles in our fleet, potentially as pool cars
Installation of superior telematics in the remainder of our fleet
Undertaking a driver fuel efficiency training programme pilot
Holding 3 green fairs for staff in September to raise awareness of carbon and sustainability issues
Review of our staff travel approach and project management
Green IT strategy
Sustainability E Learning modules on our intranet
Staff awards – category for sustainability
This notice of motion has two main objectives. First, the council must continue its efforts to cut its
own emissions, and more widely promote clean air quality. That requires funding as can be seen
from some of past initiatives.
But possibly it is more important for the Council – as a community leader - to secure serious
commitment from the wider Cheshire East community to carbon reduction. There are countless
other ways that the objective can be addressed. Here are just a few examples.
• Solar power systems
• Electric vehicles of all kinds including motor bikes
• Wind and water power generation – including geothermal energy
• Installation of wind turbines – Middlesbrough FC is building a turbine that will meet all the
power needs of their Riverside stadium for 20 years and save them £3.2M and 3000 tCO2.
• Promote the introduction of all-electric buses by transport operators
• Improve cycleway links to reduce car reliance and encourage cycling and walking
• Press the rail industry to introduce new generation fuel-efficient trains
• Press Network Rail to cut lighting levels – it has done this at Clapham Junction!
• Reduce air travel by backing high speed rail
• Encourage recycling to the maximum extent
• Design new towns and villages to maximise walking, cycling and use of public transport, and
redesign our older towns to achieve the same end
• Encourage allotments and provide council land for that purpose without bureaucratic delay
• Source food locally
• Replace under-used car parks with bike racks
And no doubt there are countless more examples that members can suggest.
All these are examples that are being actively pursued in parts of the UK and abroad. As a Council
we should be using our collective influence and press our many partners to try some innovative
approaches, and maybe even explore some of them ourselves as a council.
I believe it is crucial that we keep up levels of awareness of the need to reduce carbon emissions,
and make the transition to a low-carbon future. As politicians we should be anxious to campaign
for a better future, and in the end that is what this motion is all about. Madam Mayor, I move the
The IPCC (intergovernmental panel on climate change) is holding its 37th right now, and concludes tomorrow. Latest reports suggest that climate change is almost certainly the result of human action...
Madam Mayor a qualified audit report is a significant event. A qualified audit report in any major
business would cause heads to roll. A qualified audit report two years running would be followed by
the resignation of the entire board. There are of course differences between business and councils.
We have 2 audit reports. Firstly the technical accounts preparation was good. When I joined this
council there were over 50 errors in the draft accounts, some of them major. This year there were
no major errors. I congratulate the accounts team. However as a council we also have an audit
report on whether we are obtaining value for money – whether the council is well run – and that is
where the auditor has qualified her opinion.
I am disappointed that this motion won’t be debated today. The auditor said that the council should
be and be seen to be open and transparent in its decision making. Oh dear.
Never mind, I hope for a good debate at Cabinet on how the council addresses the failings identified
by the auditor. There is only one response that I would consider unacceptable and that is to say that
the complacent dismissive response that this is a legacy issue that has already been dealt with. That
is the response we had last year from the Conservatives and yet the value for money opinion has
been qualified again this year. Again the response is complacent. The Council issued a press release
in response to a qualified audit report headed ‘Auditor Gives Seal of Approval’. Well if your ambition
is to waste money and duck difficult decisions then you have the auditor’s seal of approval.
That is not to deny that some progress has been made since the new Portfolio Holder for Finance
took over. I do accept that he inherited a mess and has made some improvements, but he was
starting from a position where budgets were routinely missed by a significant margin. It is an
improvement that the 2012/13 final outturn was close to budget. However, as the auditor has
highlighted that it NOT because the budget was followed but because unbudgeted remedial cuts
were made during the year to make up for budget overspends. As the auditor has highlighted, such
unplanned in year cuts are wasteful and may not give value for money. The culture in some parts
of this organisation is to rush from one money saving idea to the next and implement it yesterday
without going through the proper processes. What we should actually be doing is taking the difficult
decisions during the budget setting process, setting a realistic budget and then sticking to it.
There are 3 major issues that the auditor raised that I would like to see addressed when this comes
1) procurement was again identified as a weakness. The recently appointed procurement
consultants have identified £1.8m of savings. Put another way we have been wasting £1.8m
2) difficult decisions need to be taken. We all know that central government is forcing local
government to make major cuts. We need to take those difficult decisions in an open and
transparent manner and allow public scrutiny of those decisions
3) Finally we need to improve our budget setting process and not rely on knee-jerk in year cuts
to save money
Madam Mayor a qualified audit report is a significant event. A qualified audit report in any major business would cause heads to roll. A qualified audit report two years running...