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Mr Ed Miliband has committed the next Labour government to seeking to raise global ambitions for combating extreme poverty, inequality, and climate change.  Even if addressing these issues be not as fashionable as it once was, it is still very important to do so.

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 To get a flavour of just how obscenely unequal our world is, see the excellent Oxfam report Wealth: Having it all and wanting more, published on 19 January 2015 (http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/wealth-having-it-all-and-wanting-more-338125). 

 As Oxfam puts it: 

“Global wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a small wealthy elite. These wealthy individuals have generated and sustained their vast riches through their interests and activities in a few important economic sectors, including finance and insurance, and pharmaceuticals and healthcare.  Companies from these sectors spend millions of dollars every year on lobbying to create a policy environment that protects and enhances their interests further. The most prolific lobbying activities in the US are on budget and tax issues; public resources that should be directed to benefit the whole population, rather than reflect the interests of powerful lobbyists.  This briefing explains Oxfam’s methodology and data sources and updates key inequality statistics, such as Oxfam’s frequently cited fact in 2014: ‘85 billionaires have the same wealth as the bottom half of the world’s population'.”

 The report was helpfully covered by the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-30875633).

2015 is the biggest year for global action in half a century, with a series of summits and conferences which can shape all our futures together on this small planet.  These meetings will include one in New York in September to renew the Millennium Development Goals on tackling poverty and inequality; and the Climate Change conference in December, where there is a chance finally to achieve a binding agreement on the greatest threat to our world. 

 The next Labour government will participate fully in these gatherings, and argue:

  • For an end to extreme global poverty (people living on < U$1.25 a day) by 2030;
  • That tackling inequality should remain at the heart of the post-2015 development agenda (and indeed within our own country as well), with a focus on securing equal access to healthcare, and protecting the rights of women, children, and workers;
  • In favour of a separate Development Goal on climate change;
  • For a binding international agreement on climate change leading to zero net carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, with the UK leading the way by decarbonising electricity supply by 2030.

Rob Marris, Labour Candidate for Wolverhampton South West

Climate Change and Global Poverty Matter More than Ever

Mr Ed Miliband has committed the next Labour government to seeking to raise global ambitions for combating extreme poverty, inequality, and climate change.  Even if addressing these issues be not...

Labour's new approach to public health is a central part of our plan to improve families' health and to ensure the NHS remains affordable and sustainable in the century of the ageing society.  Labour will take stronger action to try to protect children from the huge pressures exerted by the large companies, and from the harm caused by alcohol, sugar, and smoke.

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The primary goal of action on public health must be to improve health and well-being.  In addition, strong, properly funded public health measures will help to ensure that the NHS remains sustainable for the long term; for example, unless firm action be taken to halt the rise in obesity and diabetes, the cost of diabetes to the NHS will rise from £10 billion a year now to £17 billion a year by 2035.

When we were in government, Labour did a huge amount on public health; for example, free fruit in schools, Walking For Health, bowel cancer screening (the first in the world).  Mr Cameron promised he would act on public health, but all he did was re-organise the NHS.  So, for example, despite his clear promise he has done nothing about cigarette packaging.  It was left to Labour to lead the debate on that, and we won the fight for a ban on smoking in cars with children.

When we return to government, Labour will resuscitate public health programmes with a series of new measures.  Rather than a “finger-wagging” approach, Labour will empower adults with information to make healthier choices, and support them to get active.  We will:

  • mandate standardised cigarette packaging, to halt the industry's increasingly sophisticated methods of recruiting new, young smokers;
  • set a goal that children born in 2015 will become the first smoke-free generation;
  • introduce maximum limits on the levels of fat, salt, and sugar in food marketed substantially to children;
  • improve food labelling, to help people have a better understanding of what they are eating;
  • work at EU level to introduce traffic-light labelling of packaged food;
  • take action on the high-strength, low-cost alcohol which fuels binge drinking and does most harm to health; for example action on pricing and on bottle-size.

Rob Marris, Labour Candidate for Wolverhampton South West

 

Public Health

Labour's new approach to public health is a central part of our plan to improve families' health and to ensure the NHS remains affordable and sustainable in the century of...

The Institute for Fiscal Studies is a highly-respected, independent think-tank.  They describe themselves thus:  “Our goal at the IFS is to promote effective economic and social policies by better understanding how policies affect individuals, families, businesses and the government's finances.”  The IFS was the Prospect Magazine UK think tank of the year 2014.

Paul Johnson is the Director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies.  He was scathing in his critique of Mr Osborne’s Autumn Statement (mini-budget).  Below are extracts of theremarks made by Mr Johnson on 4 December 2014.  The full text is available here. Those remarks speak for themselves, and show just how big a failure as Chancellor Mr Osborne has been.  Mr Johnson said:

“The headline of course is that the deficit is now expected to be over £90 billion this year, a fall of only £6 billion on last year’s number.  As the OBR notes this would be “the second smallest year-on-year reduction since its peak in 2009-10, despite this being the strongest year for GDP growth”.

“This is disappointing compared with forecasts in March. It is massively more disappointing compared with forecasts back in 2010 which foresaw a deficit of less than £40 billion in 2014-15.”

“It is important to understand why the deficit hasn’t fallen.  It is emphatically not because the government has failed to impose the intended spending cuts.  It is because the economy performed so poorly in the first half of the parliament, hitting revenues very hard.” 

“How do we get to this sunlit upland in which we have a budget surplus?  Spending cuts on a colossal scale is how, taking total government spending to its lowest level as a proportion of national income since before the last war” (emphasis added).

“If you look specifically at spending by Whitehall departments, then about £35 billion of cuts have happened, with £55 billion to come.”

“How will these cuts be implemented?  What will local government, the defence force, the transport system, look like in this world?  Is this a fundamental reimagining of the role of the state?  One thing is for sure.  If we move in anything like this direction, whilst continuing to protect health and pensions, the role and shape of the state will have changed beyond recognition.”

IFS Questions Mr Osborne’s Plans

The Institute for Fiscal Studies is a highly-respected, independent think-tank.  They describe themselves thus:  “Our goal at the IFS is to promote effective economic and social policies by better understanding...

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Under this Coalition government, public finances are out of control. 

In the first four years (2010-14) the total accumulated National Debt rose from £750 billion to £1,250 billion.  So much for Mr Osborne’s sound public finances. 

Despite Mr Osborne’s austerity, the government deficit is out of control.  He said that he would balance the books by 2015.  There’s no chance of that now:  on current trends, over the next 5 years a Conservative government would have to borrow £75 billion more than it has forecast – and the annual deficit is currently rising ….

Mr Osborne is a serial offender when it comes to his mistaken forecasts – on GDP growth, and on government borrowing, and on the National Debt, and on the (below inflation) growth of wages.  Here are the grim figures.

GDP growth:  much lower than Mr Osborne forecast in 2010

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Government borrowing:  considerably higher every year than Mr Osborne forecast

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The National Debt: much higher as a share of GDP than Mr Osborne predicted in 2010

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Wages:  grown much less than Mr Osborne predicted four years ago

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Source:  The Independent 2 December 2014

 

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Mr George Osborne is a Failed Chancellor

Under this Coalition government, public finances are out of control.  In the first four years (2010-14) the total accumulated National Debt rose from £750 billion to £1,250 billion.  So much...

The choice is clear: You can either vote for the Green Party, or for a green government, and that can only mean a Labour government.

By Sadiq Khan M, The Independent, 25 November 2014

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Most Green Party supporters share the same values and aims as the Labour Party: reducing inequality, saving the NHS, building more homes, a commitment to human rights and civil liberties and protecting our environment.  It’s what gets us out of bed in the morning and it’s why we entered politics.

Like me, they were proud of the many amazing achievements of the last Labour government: the introduction of the minimum wage, reducing child poverty by a third, the introduction of the Human Rights Act, civil partnerships and the ground-breaking Climate Change Act. But after 13 years of Labour government, they also had concerns on issues such as civil liberties and the Iraq war.

These concerns were shared by Ed Miliband in 2010.  It’s why he ran for the leadership of the Labour Party on a message of change, it’s why I decided to support him and, ultimately, it’s why he won.  Under Ed’s leadership Labour has rediscovered its radicalism and boldness and we have redoubled our historic fight against inequality.

Labour’s policies are the most radical of any party, six months away from a general election that there’s every chance we will win.  Reducing inequality is at the heart of our economic agenda.  We will massively increase the minimum wage, bring back the 10p tax rate for low earners and scrap the bedroom tax.  We will introduce a mansion tax on properties worth more than £2m, and bring back the bankers’ bonus tax and the 50p tax rate for the very wealthiest.  We will build 200,000 homes a year by the end of the next parliament, invest at least £2.5bn in the NHS and make schools accountable to local communities again.

On human rights and civil liberties, we are committed to defending our Human Rights Act from Tory attacks and staying in the European Court of Human Rights.  We will extend voting to 16- and 17-year-olds.  And we will end the abuse of stop-and-search powers.  When it comes to foreign policy, Ed has apologised for the Iraq war, which both he and I opposed.  We stopped David Cameron’s rush to war in Syria last year, and just last month we voted in Parliament to recognise Palestine.

Ed’s environmental credentials put David Cameron to shame.  Ed was the first Secretary of State for Climate Change – a position he fought to create.  He played a key role in saving the Copenhagen climate change negotiations from collapse.  We will build on our Climate Change Act by creating 1.5 million new green jobs by 2025, making five million homes energy-efficient within 10 years and make the UK’s energy supply carbon-free by 2030.

There will always be those who say we need to go further.  But ideals alone are not enough – it’s action that makes a difference to people’s lives.  I visited Brighton last week, where the Green Party has run the council since 2011.  The council is in real trouble and deeply unpopular with local people.  Recycling rates have fallen dramatically and are now among the worst in the country. Less than a third of the affordable homes that were promised have been built.  There have been months of strikes by council workers because pay and conditions have been attacked. Piles of rubbish were left festering on the streets throughout a summer of discontent.  For me, the failed Green experiment in Brighton shows that creating a better society needs more than just the right values; it also needs realistic plans that can be put into action.

All the opinion polls say that the Green Party will not win a single MP next year.  Even Caroline Lucas, with whom I agree on a great many things, looks set to lose her seat.  The only party that can form a green and progressive government is Labour. 

Like it or not, under the first-past-the-post system, every vote for the Green Party only makes it one vote easier for the Conservatives to win the election.  It splits the progressive vote in many constituencies, and means that Tory candidates can win, despite a clear progressive majority opposed to them.  Voting for the Green Party next year will only make it more likely that David Cameron will stay on as Prime Minister.  That means more tax cuts for the rich, failures on climate change, and the continued privatisation of the NHS.

I want those voters considering supporting the Green Party next year to give Labour a chance to prove that we are a truly radical party again.  We will be a government they can be proud of, and I want them to vote for us with pride.  Because the choice is clear: you can either vote for the Green Party, or for a green government – and that can only mean a Labour government.

Sadiq Khan MP chairs Labour’s Green Party Strategy Unit and is shadow Justice Secretary

(This article was originally published by The Indepdent on the 25th of November 2014. The original article can be accessed using the following link)

Sadiq Kahn: Vote Labour for a Green Government

The choice is clear: You can either vote for the Green Party, or for a green government, and that can only mean a Labour government. By Sadiq Khan M, The...

The Centre for Health and the Public Interest (“CHPI”) has recently published a report called The return of PFI – will the NHS pay a higher price for new hospitals?

The report reveals the extent of the cost and idiocy of PFI deals by governments.

In Wolverhampton several years ago New Cross tried to enlist the support of the then 3 MPs (messrs Turner, Purchase and Marris) for a massive PFI scheme there.  We point blank refused, because PFI is an expensive millstone.  We succeeded:  apart from the relatively small PFI for Radiology (signed before the 3 of us were MPs together), as far as I am aware there is still no PFI at New Cross.  (Contrary to what some think, the Heart/Lung Centre was not PFI-funded.)

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CHPI describes itself as “an independent think tank committed to health and social care policies based on accountability and the public interest.  The Centre seeks to frame the policy debate in a way that is evidence-based and open and accessible to citizens.”  They found that:

  • About 2% of the NHS budget is spent each year an making the annual payments for PFI hospitals and medical facilities
  • NHS hospitals with a PFI contract have had to cut their spending on staff and equipment because of the burden of PFI repayments
  • NHS hospitals with a PFI contract are more likely to get into financial difficulty
  • There is profiteering in some PFI schemes, with some investors getting a 40% to 70% in annual returns (= interest)
  • The Coalition government continues to hide PFI deals, by not counting them as public expenditure nor as part of the fast-rising National Debt 
  • The Coalition government’s reform of PFI is called “PFI.2”, and it will be even more expensive!

PFI is a nonsense.  Under PFI, a private company itself pays for a government building etc., and then runs it.  In return, the company makes an annual charge to the government for that facility.  The lengths of the agreements range between 30 and 60 years.

Basically, it’s a landlord/tenant agreement, with the landlord being the company and the tenant being the government.  Like any tenancy agreement, the owner of the property gets it paid for by the tenant.  That’s why so many people want to buy their own homes, so they’re not paying rent for evermore.

The alternative is much cheaper:  the government borrows the money – at a much lower interest rate than a private company can – and builds and runs the facility itself.  For government, the drawback is that such borrowing would have to be revealed as part of the National Debt. 

Conversely, PFI is not listed as part of the National Debt.  So successive governments have used PFI to disguise their real borrowing.  Disastrously, the costs are far higher, and will haunt future generations.  It’s a bit like telling your mum that you did not spend £150 on that new jacket.  You hope that you can avoid telling her is that you bought on the drip (meaning the ultimate cost will be about £300 ... ).

The Labour government used PFI extensively; again, to hide government borrowing.  I always publicly opposed PFI, and demanded that such borrowing be counted as part of the National Debt.  They refused. 

When they were in Opposition, the Conservatives also rightly demanded that PFI be counted as National Debt, and complained about its cost.  They promised that in government they would not use PFI, and that the existing schemes would be counted as National Debt.  As is sadly so often the case, now they’re in government the Conservatives have broken both of those promises:  they have been using PFI a great deal; and they do not count it as National Debt – no doubt because (even without counting PFI) the National Debt has risen by over two-thirds in just 4 years under this government.

Now, the Tories have introduced an updated version of PFI dubbed “PFI.2” – which the CHPI report finds will cost even more.  

You couldn’t make it up …

Rob Marris, Labour Candidate for Wolverhampton South West

The Idiocy of Private Finance Initiative Funding

The Centre for Health and the Public Interest (“CHPI”) has recently published a report called The return of PFI – will the NHS pay a higher price for new hospitals?...

For many years I have been a supporter of the Wolverhampton Rheumatology Support Group, of which I am a member. 

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At our AGM on 15 September 2014, we passed a resolution expressing some concerns about the proposed shift of some services from New Cross to Cannock.  We asked our Executive members to send a delegation to meet the Chief Executive of New Cross, Mr David Loughton. 

Below is our Secretary’s report of that meeting with the Chief Executive. 

I am pleased that Mr Loughton was constructive and provided some reassurances.  I pay tribute to Mr Loughton for his flexibility and his generosity, and I congratulate the WRSG representatives for their positive and productive discussion with him.

Rob Marris, Labour Candidate for Wolverhampton South West

 

Secretary’s report on meeting with Mr Loughton              25 November 2014

I am pleased to say that the meeting went exceptionally well.  Mr Loughton took time to explain to us that, because parts of Stafford Hospital are being closed, New Cross needs to move 100 beds out of Wolverhampton to Cannock Hospital to make room for some of Stafford’s the Accidents & Emergencies to come to New Cross.

Rheumatology Day Care and out patients will still be seen at New Cross.  

Rheumatology staff – except Day Care & Out Patients – will transfer to Cannock.

Complex cases and major operations will be done at New Cross.  Each patient will have a personal risk assessment on their health in general and their care needs following surgery, to determine where they will have the surgery. 

We were told that there are more than enough bed spaces at Cannock for Rheumatology Patients.  There is also a new Rheumatology Unit going to be built.  This is expected to be completed around the middle of 2015.

Transport:  Arriva will be putting on a bus service every hour on the half hour:  starting in Wolverhampton bus station at 06.30; picking up at New Cross A&E, Heart and Lung Centre; then directly to Cannock hospital.  The last bus will leave Cannock hospital at 21.30.

If a patient has an appointment letter, there will be NO charge.  Otherwise, normal fees/bus passes will be enforced.   The bus will be a single decker bus with a tail lift / ramp for wheelchair access.

Patients, carers/patients’ visitors and hospital staff will be using this service. 

Car Parking at Cannock Hospital

Disability parking is next to the hospital. 

The council’s staff car park – just across the road – has been handed over to the hospital, providing a further 200 spaces.   There will be a zebra crossing leading from the car park to the hospital.  Mr Loughton advised that there is a grassed area in front of the hospital which, if necessary, will be made into a car parking area.

Also at the meeting, we were discussing how WRSG fund a Managing Arthritis course for members, at a cost of £3,000.  David Loughton very kindly agreed to fund a course once a year, and is making arrangements for annual funding to our group.

Some changes have already been put in place.  However things do sound better than when we were updated at our AGM.

An update will be printed in the next newsletters to all members.

Jan Simpson, WRSG Secretary

Good News for Rheumatology Patients

For many years I have been a supporter of the Wolverhampton Rheumatology Support Group, of which I am a member.    At our AGM on 15 September 2014, we passed...

I welcome Labour’s promise of £3 million in new funding for women’s refuges.  Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has called for urgent change as part of this year’s 16 Days of Action against violence against women.

Domestic and sexual violence in our country is little short of a national scandal.  On average, each week two women are killed by their partner or an ex-partner.  At least 750,000 children a year are witnessing violence in their own home.  I am deeply concerned that the number of refuges is plummeting.

Women can be at great risk when they make the brave decision to leave.  Refuges provide a vital safe haven coupled with expert support to help families get back on their feet and start rebuilding their lives. 

Co-founded by my friend Mrs Honor Pringle with Colin Brown, The Haven Wolverhampton pioneered safe houses for women and children fleeing domestic violence.  As a trustee of The Haven, I am all too aware that government funding cuts have caused a big reduction of domestic violence services in our city, and that is deeply regrettable.

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Research from Women’s Aid estimates that 155 women and 103 children are turned away from a refuge every day.  Many organisations are using their reserves to pay to keep shelters open.   In many other areas there is no refuge accommodation at all.

Rob Marris, Labour Candidate for Wolverhampton South West

Labour Promises a £3 Million Refuge Fund for Women

I welcome Labour’s promise of £3 million in new funding for women’s refuges.  Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has called for urgent change as part of this year’s 16 Days...

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Serco is often a failure, yet this government continues to give it contracts to run public services.  What a disgrace.

Serco is the company which recently agreed to repay the government £68.5 million for overcharging on electronic tags.  Along with G4S (another Tory favourite – remember the Olympics fiasco?), Serco was charging the government for electronic tag fees for people who were either dead, back in prison, or abroad. Even the Tory Justice Secretary Mr Grayling MP was forced to admit that his Department had known about the problem for years, and that:  “In some instances, charging continued for a period of many months and indeed years after active monitoring had ceased.”

Now, the Home Office has just handed a £70 million contract to Serco, giving it another 8 years to continue to run the Yarl’s Wood – the largest detention centre for women who are faced with deportation.  It houses 400 detainees. 

The Home Office announced that Serco was the preferred contractor, following a “comprehensive re-tendering process”.  A Home Office spokesperson claimed:  “Serco’s bid demonstrated its offer was the best in meeting quality and cost criteria, and providing value for money for the taxpayer.”

Well, that may be true, in as much as Serco was the best – of a bad lot … because perhaps the others were even more rotten.  You could not even call the company controversial:  everyone knows it’s a cheating failure.  It’s been condemned by penal reformers, by refugee support groups, and by MPs on the independent Home Affairs Select Committee.  It just goes to show that these sensitive public services should be run by the state, not by private companies who too often cut corners to turn a fat profit.

Labour’s shadow Home Secretary Ms Yvette Cooper MP commented that the government should not have agreed this contract until after an independent inquiry had been held into the centre’s operation.  She said:  “It is important that immigration rules are enforced, but they must be enforced in a humane way which upholds the values of our society.  Too often Serco’s Yarl’s Wood operation appears to have fallen below the high standards we would expect.” 

I agree:  no contract should have been awarded.  Instead, the work should have been taken back in-house by the government.

Serco’s managing director of home affairs James Thorburn said:  “We understand the challenges of looking after vulnerable and concerned people and we recognise the responsibility that we have in managing the centre in a caring and efficient manner.” 

No they don’t.

Look at how Serco performed when they had the initial contract for this centre.  Their staff were accused of:

  • sexual misconduct; and
  • women locked up for long spells; and
  • pregnant women held without justification

Whilst almost 90% of the detainees in Yarl’s Wood are women, almost 50% of the staff are men.  That’s a recipe for the very sorts of problems which Serco had.  Two members of staff were sacked for having sexual relations with a detainee; an abuse of power and taking advantage of vulnerable women.  Another member of staff was sacked for failing to act when the detainee reported the sexual misconduct by the two staff.  The risk was obvious, and it’s an institutional failure by Serco that they allowed it to occur.

None of the detainees at Yarl’s Wood in Bedfordshire has been charged with an offence.  Yet prison inspectors have found:

  • many detainees have been held for long periods – one for almost four years; and
  • women with mental health problems being detained; and
  • pregnant women had been held without evidence of exceptional circumstances required to justify their captivity, one of whom had been admitted to hospital twice because of pregnancy-related complications.

Earlier this year, almost unbelievably, a UN investigator was not allowed to go into Yarl’s Wood, despite repeated requests.

I agree with Natasha Walter of Women for Refugee Women.  She said:  “We have spoken directly to women who say they were abused by Serco staff in Yarl’s Wood, and we have heard how women’s privacy is constantly invaded by male staff in the detention centre.  Serco is clearly unfit to manage a centre where vulnerable women are held and it is unacceptable that the government continues to entrust Serco with the safety of women who are survivors of sexual violence.”

Rob Marris, Labour Candidate for Wolverhampton South West

Another contract to the Tories’ friends at Serco

Serco is often a failure, yet this government continues to give it contracts to run public services.  What a disgrace. Serco is the company which recently agreed to repay the...

Labour’s plan is to control immigration, but to do so without risking jobs by leaving the EU – as Mr Farage wants.  (Incidentally, he’s also said that he wants to privatise the NHS.) 

The Labour Party will not engage in some race-to-the bottom by trying to out-UKIP UKIP, as the Tories seem intent on doing.  So won't turn our backs on the world by increasingly setting us on a course to leave the EU.  Similarly, Labour won't make empty promises which we know we won’t be able to keep, as Mr Cameron did when he promised to reduce net migration to “tens of thousands” – when in fact immigration is now rising.

Earlier this month, Mr Ed Miliband set out Labour’s core election promise:  to build an economic recovery which works for working people, not just a few at the top.  That includes action to freeze people’s gas and electricity bills, raising the Minimum Wage, and protecting the NHS.

Labour will apply British values in the way our economy is run, and we will do the same on immigration.  As a starting point, immigrants should learn English and be part of our society.  That’s good for immigrants themselves as well as for our country.

EU immigrants make a net positive contribution to the UK economy.  Nevertheless, the Labour leadership at last recognises that short- and medium-term pressures can result from immigration.  (Some of us were raising these issues over ten years ago.)  The UK has the second-highest immigration from other member states in the EU, and the third highest net migration.  Part of Labour’s policy is that these pressures should be recognised by the EU, so that states with the highest levels of internal EU immigration (free movement of labour) receive support for the inevitable short- and medium-term pressures on essential public services and integration. 

Secure borders

This government continues its many failures.  The Coalition has failed to secure our borders, and has failed to deal with illegal immigration – which is bad for the migrants who are being exploited, bad for British workers, and bad for our country.

A Labour government will:

  • ensure that, when people cross our borders, they are counted in and counted out, so we know who is here, who has gone home, and who has stayed
  • re-instate fingerprinting of illegal would-be migrants at Calais
  • reform the visa system, to fund 1,000 more border and enforcement staff to take stronger enforcement action against illegal migration

Fair rules in the European Union

Our country needs to negotiate change in the EU – not by hectoring and threats, like the present government, but by discussion and negotiation, and by building alliances with other member states. 

 A Labour government will:

  • insist on longer transitional controls on movement, when new countries join the EU.
  • pursue an EU Migration Impact Fund to be incorporated within the EU budget.  That fund will be used to ease the pressure on public services in areas with particularly high levels of immigration, and to support integration.  It would sit within the existing EU Social Fund, although Labour will argue for additional resources within the current envelope to help states manage free movement.

A sense of fairness also means that we simply cannot allow wages of UK workers to be undercut.  So there must be enforcement of the Minimum Wage – something which the Coalition government has singularly refused to do.

Benefits:  Earned Entitlements

A Labour government will change the rules governing EU migrants’ access to Benefits in the UK.  Those changes will be based on the principle of earned entitlement.  EU migrants can come to the UK to work.  The EU rules provide for “free movement of labour”, not – despite all those British pensioners living in Spain – “free movement of people”.

EU rules do not allow migrants just to come here to live and claim Benefits – those are already the rules, but the Coalition government has failed to make that clear.  Immigrants must know that there a reasonable period of contributions will be required before they can claim Benefits available to UK citizens. 

A Labour government will:

  • stop the payment of Child Benefit for children living abroad
  • stop the payment of Child Tax Credits for children living abroad
  • negotiate changes to EU rules, so that jobseekers are banned from claiming work-based Benefits until they have been resident in the UK for two years

As predicted by so many commentators, the Tory approach to immigration has failed.  It’s all hot air and anti-immigrant rhetoric, stoking up division.  Mr Cameron promised “no ifs, no buts”, he would meet his net migration target. Yet net migration is the same now as when the Coalition came into office in 2010.  Because an exploited workforce suits their rich crony funders, the Conservatives have done nothing to deal with dodgy firms who exploit migrant labour to undercut UK workers.

It’s all indicative of the fact that the Tories can’t build a better future for working people, because Tories only stand up for a privileged few.  They’ve introduced tax cuts for the rich, Benefits cuts for the poor – including the working poor.  Inequality in our society has grown fast under this government, and that trend needs to be sharply reversed – it’s bad for everyone, even for the rich themselves.  In as much as there is an economic recovery, it is only working for the rich few, and basically is only being felt in London and the South East.

Rob Marris, Labour Candidate for Wolverhampton South West

The Labour Party on Immigration

Labour’s plan is to control immigration, but to do so without risking jobs by leaving the EU – as Mr Farage wants.  (Incidentally, he’s also said that he wants to...

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