News from the national Labour Party

The first thing that struck me about the Budget was how little substance it
contained. This was the first Spring Budget of a new Chancellor, so I would
have expected new ideas, but the only headline grabbing change was the
increase in National Insurance for the self-employed.
The second thing that struck me was the disparity between the rhetoric and
the actual tax changes. The Chancellor said that he wanted to address the
discrepancy between the rates of tax paid by employees and workers operating
through limited companies. An employee earning (say) £30,000 a year will pay
tax at 20% plus employee’s National Insurance at 12% and the company will
pay employer’s NI at 13.8%. A worker operating through a limited company
earning £30,000 a year will pay corporation tax at 20% and dividend tax at
7.5%. The first £5,000 of dividends are tax free and the Chancellor
announced that this will be reduced to £2,000 tax free from April 2018; this
will cost the worker in my example operating through a limited company £225
a year in extra tax. The Chancellor also confirmed a cut in corporation tax
to 17% by 2020. This will give the worker in my example operating through a
limited company up to £900 a year in reduced corporation tax. So actually
the discrepancy between the rates of tax paid by employees and workers
operating through limited companies will INCREASE over the next few years.
The Chancellor also said that we shouldn’t be saddling our children with
ever increasing debt, but then announced that government borrowing will be
£100bn higher than predicted at Budget 2016. Government debt now stands at
£1.7trn (nearly double what it was in 2010). The Chancellor criticised
Labour’s plans to borrow £500bn to spend on capital infrastructure projects,
but seems happy to borrow to fund corporation tax cuts!
UK economic growth is forecast to be 2% in 2017 (roughly the same as it was
when Labour left office in May 2010). Growth is forecast to fall to 1.6% in
2018.
The Chancellor announced £100m to put GPs into A&E departments, but he
didn’t explain where the GPs would come from. If the plan is to move GPs out
of GP surgeries then this is going to make it even harder to get a GP
appointment! The underlying problem is a shortage of GPs and the diversion
of GPs away from the core job of seeing patients in GP surgeries.
I was surprised to hear the Chancellor say that ‘Choice is the key to
excellence in education’. I disagree! I think that good teachers and decent
funding is the key to excellence in education. The Chancellor announced an
extension to free transport for those at selective schools. This will jar
with many parents in Cheshire East who have just had their free school
transport withdrawn and are facing major funding cuts to their local school.
Finally the Chancellor said that those with the broadest shoulders should
bear the heaviest burden. A fine sentiment, but it is not matched by the
announcements in the Budget. The corporation tax rate will be cut to 17% by
2020. The Universal Credit taper rate will be reduced from 65% to 63%! Who
has the broadest shoulders? Is it a multi-national company or a low paid
worker who earns just enough to have some of their benefits withdrawn?

Sam Corcorans Budget Commentary

The first thing that struck me about the Budget was how little substance itcontained. This was the first Spring Budget of a new Chancellor, so I wouldhave expected new ideas,...

Lancashire County Elections
The elections in Lancashire are fast approaching and we are working hard on doorsteps across the county. If you want to help out please email lancashire.labour.organiser@outlook.com to find out about activities near you. 

Greater Manchester Mayoral
Andy has been visiting towns right across Greater Manchester asking people to help build "Our Manifesto for a Greater Manchester". Now the focus turns to the voters. Sign up to volunteer and we will be in touch with the best way you can help in your area. Count me in

Please help us increase our digital reach by liking Andy's Facebook page and sharing the posts. facebook.com/burnhamformayor

Liverpool City Region Mayoral
We are taking nothing for granted. We need as many members as possible to get involved and there is something for everybody to contribute. We have 1.2 million voters to reach so we need members new and old to campaign for a Labour victory. Please fill in our survey http://www.steverotheram.com/volunteer/ to  find out how you can help.

We are holding a fundraising dinner on the 18th February which is hosted by the comedian John Bishop - we have a handful of tickets left. If you want to have a good night out in Liverpool with good food, wine and company please
 buy your ticket here.

National Policy Forum
Over the next couple of months, we are holding NPF events in Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire and Greater Manchester. These events are an opportunity for you to discuss issues with you NPF reps and feed into the policy making process. If you can't make it to an event you can contact your reps Facebook.com/npfteamnw
See details of the event near you here. 

International Women's Day
What better way to celebrate International Women's Day on 11th March than to spend the day with fellow Labour party women over afternoon tea. We will be joined by guest speaker Diane Abbott MP. Get your ticket here.

And finally, we are right in the middle of two really important by-elections to the North and South of the region. If you are able to help out at either it would be a huge help. Polling day is 23rd February so the next two weeks are vital. 

Copeland labournorth.com/copeland
Stoke on Trent westmidlandslabour.org.uk/events

Upcoming events in the North West

Lancashire County ElectionsThe elections in Lancashire are fast approaching and we are working hard on doorsteps across the county. If you want to help out please email lancashire.labour.organiser@outlook.com to find out about...

John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Housing,commenting on new child homelessness figures from Shelter, said:

“Tory Ministers should hang their heads in shame over these shocking figures showing over 120,000 children are facing homelessness this Christmas. These are the children that can’t go home and after six years Conservative Ministers can’t dodge their responsibility for this scandal.

“Six years of failure on housing has led directly to today’s rapidly rising homelessness. Since 2010, Ministers have ended funding for genuinely affordable social rented housing, cut housing benefit for families on low incomes, done nothing about rising costs and insecurity for private renters, and slashed funding for homelessness services by almost a half.

“Homelessness is not inevitable and the last Labour Government cut homelessness before it rose again after 2010.

“Ministers should back Labour’s plans to build thousands more affordable homes to rent and buy, and re-think further planned cuts to housing benefit which will make the problem of growing homelessness worse.” 

Child homelessness figures from Shelter

John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Housing,commenting on new child homelessness figures from Shelter, said: “Tory Ministers should hang their heads in shame over these shocking figures...

Jeremy Corbyn's comment on the High Court ruling on triggering Article 50

Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party commenting on the High Court ruling on triggering Article 50 said:  “This ruling underlines the need for the Government to bring its negotiating terms to parliament without delay. Labour respects the decision of the British people to leave the European Union. But there must be transparency and accountability to parliament on the terms of Brexit.

“Labour will be pressing the case for a Brexit that works for Britain, putting jobs, living standards and the economy first.”

High Court Brexit vote ruling

Jeremy Corbyn's comment on the High Court ruling on triggering Article 50 Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party commenting on the High Court ruling on triggering Article 50 said:  “This...

Report is damning indictment on Tory Government's failure to acknowledge teachers as a precious resource - Angela Rayner

Angela Rayner MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, commenting on the Education Policy Institute’s report into teacher workload and development, said

“Teachers are our most precious resource and this report is a damning indictment on the Tory Government’s failure to acknowledge this.

“While the Tories waste time on bringing back failed old education policies, they are ignoring the most important factor in delivering an excellent education for all – great teachers.

“Labour would ensure all teachers have access to excellent professional development and training in order to provide an excellent education for all, not just the lucky few.”

Damning indictment on the Tory Government's Education Policies

Report is damning indictment on Tory Government's failure to acknowledge teachers as a precious resource - Angela Rayner Angela Rayner MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, commenting on the Education Policy...

Barry Gardiner MP, Labour’s Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, responding to the Tory Government’s decision to override Lancashire county council’s rejection on fracking, said:

“The Government’s decision bulldozes local democracy and risks locking Britain into an old-fashioned dirty energy infrastructure when we should be seizing the opportunities for new long-term jobs and investment in a clean energy future.

“Cuadrilla’s own figures on jobs show they would be very temporary, and their claims that fracking will lower British energy bills have been discredited.

“Tory ministers pay lip service to tackling climate change but are bending over backwards to force through new fossil fuel infrastructure, with divisive bribes, tax breaks and ministerial powers that override the wishes of local communities.

“The next Labour government will ban fracking and focus on unlocking the jobs and growth that a new clean low-carbon energy infrastructure can provide for our industry, workforce and communities.”

Government rides roughshod over local fracking decision

Barry Gardiner MP, Labour’s Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, responding to the Tory Government’s decision to override Lancashire county council’s rejection on fracking, said: “The Government’s decision bulldozes local democracy...

Responding to the Education Secretary, Justine Greening’s speech to Conservative Party Conference, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner said:

 “Any new investment into disadvantaged communities is welcome, but the truth is that grammar schools fail the vast majority of children.

“The Tories cannot provide any evidence that new grammar schools will aid social mobility for children from the most disadvantaged communities.

“As the former Tory Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said yesterday, a return to a selective system will only put progress at risk in all our schools. This is not creating ‘a level playing field’.

“Theresa May’s government are the same old Tories – backward-looking and still obsessing about old-fashioned, discredited policies which will only entrench inequality.

"They have no answers to the real challenges facing all our children – school budgets falling, the teacher shortage crisis, rising class sizes and a total failure to give early years children the best start in life. 

"More grammar schools offer no answers and no change, and will only make things worse for most vulnerable.”

Grammar schools fail the vast majority of children

Responding to the Education Secretary, Justine Greening’s speech to Conservative Party Conference, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner said:  “Any new investment into disadvantaged communities is welcome, but the truth is...

Jeremy Corbyn’s response to Theresa May’s speech at Conservative Party Conference 2016.

"Conservative Party leaders have sunk to a new low this week as they fan the flames of xenophobia and hatred in our communities and try to blame foreigners for their own failures.
“Drawing up lists of foreign workers won’t stop unscrupulous employers undercutting wages in Britain. Shutting the door to international students won’t pay young people’s tuition fee debts, and ditching doctors from abroad won’t cut NHS waiting lists.
“The Conservatives will instead foster division and discrimination in our workplaces and communities.
“Once again, they are making false promises on immigration they can’t deliver. Instead of turning people against each other, ministers should take action now to deal with the real impact of migration.
“They should stop the abuse of migrant labour to undercut pay and conditions, which would reduce numbers. They should support communities with high levels of migration and they should set out a positive agenda for fair migration rules as part of the Brexit negotiations for a new relationship with the European Union."

Response to PMs conference speech

Jeremy Corbyn’s response to Theresa May’s speech at Conservative Party Conference 2016. "Conservative Party leaders have sunk to a new low this week as they fan the flames of xenophobia...

Congratulations are certainly due to Labour members, supporters, and voters in Congleton CLP this week.  This week's local elections saw a Labour mayoral candidate win amidst strong opposition in the mass media and disgraceful scare tactics amongst some opposition parties.  But in addition to the London Mayor, Labour also won the two MP by-elections in Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough and Ogmore, South Wales.  Labour picked up wins up and down the country and have achieved a majority in the Wales and London Assemblies.  The last time these council seats were up for election was 2012 and the Labour wins there were considered a high water mark for Ed Miliband's leadership.  Although not all counting is finished we are seeing that any loses have been minimal and less than our major opponents in government.

But most important to ourselves in Congleton CLP was the win by 3,000 votes of David Keane as the new Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) in Cheshire.  The Congleton CLP based campaign team worked hard in our part of Cheshire over the past few months dropping leaflets, running information stands, and hosting events and activities, many of which David Keane attended and supported.  And David has been very excited to come to our area, hear our concerns, and support Labour initiatives within the CLP.  He knew our area was vital to his success in this campaign and both he and our supporters' contributions did not go unnoticed.  This is why he and his campaign team celebrated this win in Middlewich Friday night.  Although the win was heavily contributed to by Warrington and Halton borough election turnouts, the Labour vote for Cheshire East was higher than might be expected for an area where less than 20% of the borough council is currently made up of Labour councillors.  Also to be considered impressive is the Labour support in light of the incumbent PCC being local to Cheshire East (Nantwich based).  The 3,000 votes David won by could easily have been lost in Congleton constituency or Cheshire East without this work by our members, supporters, voters, and campaigners.

But our success and celebrations this week would not have been possible without the work of our members and supporters on the ground within the Congleton constituency donating what time they could spare to getting the word out and getting the vote out on the day.  A massive congratulations and thank you to everyone who contributed their time within our constituency to supporting this campaign.  Because this win and future wins are only possible through the involvement of members and supporters on the ground, we would gladly welcome any time any members and supporters can spare in helping our local Labour initiatives, grassroots campaigns, and local Labour canvassing.  As a movement and a party led by members we encourage and welcome your ideas and suggestions at all of our events.  If you are interested in getting more involved at a local level, please come along to our monthly CLP or local branch meetings, get in touch with your branch secretary, or any local Labour councillors who will point you in the right direction to being more involved in this movement and achieving even more victories for Labour values within the Congleton constituency.  Well done all and thank you again for your continued support of our values for a more equal and fair society for all!

Congleton CLP plays strong role in Cheshire PCC Labour win and contributes to Labour success in 2016 elections

Congratulations are certainly due to Labour members, supporters, and voters in Congleton CLP this week.  This week's local elections saw a Labour mayoral candidate win amidst strong opposition in the...

John McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, welcoming the decision by BP shareholders at their AGM today in opposing a pay package of almost £14m for the corporation’s chief executive, said:

“The rejection by BP shareholders today of the director’s eye watering remuneration package is a welcome sign of ethical shareholder action, given the company is making large job cuts in other parts of the business.

“It further shows a sign of a growing revolt against the ‘rewards for failure culture’ that we have got so used to seeing at a boardroom level for far too long. Labour wants to encourage more shareholder activism linking to trade union pressure in order to secure increased accountability in our corporations.”

Rejection by BP shareholders of director’s remuneration package is welcome sign of ethical shareholder action

John McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, welcoming the decision by BP shareholders at their AGM today in opposing a pay package of almost £14m for the corporation’s chief executive, said:...

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