The shortened week has not meant any pause in Ian’s activities representing Wansbeck. Both in Parliament itself and campaigning outside of the chamber, Ian has been a voice for the concerns of ordinary people in Wansbeck and beyond.
This week, Ian voted in favour of protecting student nurses from removal of their bursaries. Student nurses are not preparing for a career in high finance; they are training for a career of serving the public. They will spend huge parts of their training gaining first-hand practical experience. To cut their bursaries means that student nurses will effectively have to pay to work. It is another grossly unfair attack on staff in the NHS, it will demoralise current staff and could lead to a dangerous shortfall of nurses in the future. To penalise young people for aspiring to work in a care giving role is appalling.
One of the flagship policies of the government was before the Commons again this week. The Housing Bill is more evidence that this government is blind to issues affecting the majority of working people. It will further reduce the stock of social housing, as it forces councils to sell off housing with no cast iron guarantee that truly affordable homes to meet local need will be built to replace them. The housing crisis will not be fixed by building expensive housing, and it cannot be solved by a government who are in denial about the cause of the problem. More social housing is the answer, and it is to the detriment of every person, young and old, who cannot get on the housing ladder that the government refused to listen to genuine attempts to improve this bill.
In Westminster Hall, Ian took part in a debate about the current state of the North East Ambulance Service, which was secured by Sharon Hodgson. There have been concerns raised across the entire region about the condition of the service, and Ian spoke forcefully about the need for the North East to have an ambulance service on a par with every other region. Ian’s speech is available at: http://goo.gl/uyjBvU and a full recording of the debate is available by following the link.
The ongoing situation at HMP Northumberland has been raised with Ian by concerned constituents. As a result of this, Ian has been seeking meetings at the highest levels and was able to meet this week with Andrew Selous, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary responsible for Prisons and with Tony Simpson, the Director of HMP Northumberland. The meeting was amicable and productive, and Ian is committed to working with all parties to see the situation resolved.
Sadly, this week saw Royal Assent given to the anti-democratic, vindictive Trade Union Bill. A wholly unnecessary piece of legislation, some of the worst elements were removed as a result of determined lobbying by the Labour Party and the trade unions. However, it does not remove the folly of the bill as a whole, as it places further impediments to the ability of unions to effectively campaign and represent their members.
Finally, Ian was present at Prime Minister’s Questions. Although David Cameron signalled a partial climbdown on the Tory refusal to help lone child refugees in Europe, it remains to be seen how far this proposal will be carried through. Ian will continue to be a voice in Parliament to help these children, as it is our moral duty as a nation to do so. Jeremy Corbyn, on the eve of the London Mayoral Election, gave the Prime Minister a chance to retract his shameful slandering of Sadiq Khan, slander which has debased and demeaned the office of the Prime Minister. Dog whistle politics should have no place in modern Britain, and it is to the shame of the Conservative Party that they were not willing to fight the election on a positive platform. The Prime Minister did not take this chance to distance himself from Zac Goldsmith’s campaign.
Are you a constituent experiencing difficulty or do you have a cause you wish to raise? You can email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01670852494 or write to Ian Lavery MP, 7 Esther Court, Wansbeck Business Park, Ashington, NE63 8QZ