This week in Parliament, Ian has been representing Wansbeck in Westminster, championing constituents inside and outside of the debate chamber. Events in Westminster have been in the headlines, and Ian and the Labour Party have been standing up for ordinary people in Wansbeck and beyond.
The focus of media attention in Westminster this week has rightly been on the BBC charter renewal process. The approach of the government has been to consistently attack the BBC via anonymous briefings and offhand comments made by government ministers & their press allies. The Conservatives claim to be a patriotic party, a one nation party. They have spent their year in office attacking the BBC and the NHS, two of our greatest institutions. It is these institutions that are the envy of many nations around the globe. To demoralise staff and create uncertainty for the future should show everyone that the Conservatives aren’t patriotic in the slightest. They seek to diminish and degrade the best of Britain for the benefit of multinational health companies and media empires.
At Prime Minister’s questions, Jeremy Corbyn continued to hold the government to account. In particular, Jeremy placed Conservative MEPs in the limelight, asking why they voted against country by country tax reporting, a policy that the government claims to support. The government says one thing on the issue of tackling corruption, but after the spin and the briefings, they act in complete opposition to their position. With Jeremy Corbyn, Labour has a leader who won’t simply let them bury their hypocrisies in minutes and meetings, but will highlight it. Jeremy also asked David Cameron to confirm that there would be no delay in the taking in of refugee children who have found themselves in Europe alone. The Prime Minister must show the British public that the acceptance of the Dubs amendment will not result in headlines and no results, but will help those in need of it. Cameron has too long engaged in the politics of distraction, and a delay in action on this would shame our country.
Jeremy deserves particular praise for highlighting the shameless hijacking of the Living Wage campaign by the Conservative Party. Labour introduced a minimum wage, which was a landmark victory for working people in Britain. The Living Wage Foundation calculates the minimum rate needed to work and to enjoy family life. Their ‘National Living Wage’ is simply an increase in the minimum wage, too low to qualify for the actual Living Wage accreditation. It disadvantages young people and the very name is designed to draw credit way from the charitable effort. It will set the actual Living Wage back.
The Commons this week voted on an amendment by the Lords to the Housing and Planning Bill. The amendment, supported by Labour, would have ensured that Local Authorities were given the requisite funding to replace stock sold off due to the bill. The government opposed the motion, despite Ian’s parliamentary colleague Teresa Pearce, the Shadow Housing and Planning Minister, pointing to research by Shelter that shows the expected £4.5 billion of annual receipts will necessitate a sell off of 23,500 properties per year. That figure would mean roughly one in three social housing properties nationally would be have to be sold. The bill represents a grave threat to social housing in this country.
After an amicable meeting with Andrew Selous, the Minister responsible for Prisons, Ian asked Mr Selous in the Commons what additional measures could be taken to solve the lack of manpower in HMP Northumberland, and across the national prison system. A full transcript of the debate is available here: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2016-05-09a.381.2#g386.5.
Ian met with the deputy CEO of Northumberland County Council on Friday to discuss education across the constituency, particularly in the three population centres of Ashington, Bedlington and Morpeth. It is absolutely imperative that schools in Wansbeck are able to offer the same opportunities to learn and develop as schools in any other part of the country. As the local MP, Ian will continue to offer whatever support he can to schools in the area to ensure that children from Wansbeck are able to realise their potential in whatever field they choose to excel in.
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