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 sallystd.jpgThis Tory budget was about short term party political interests  -  not about the well-being of people here in Northampton.

Labour is committed to making sure people right across the country who work hard, look after their families and care about the community share in the economic growth. Our plans set out how we would do that.

The Tory budget was also deeply dishonest. The official Office for Budget Responsibility has said that there will have to be deep cuts. The budget will “mean “a much sharper squeeze on real spending in 2016/17 and 2017/18 than anything seen over the past five years" and “a sharp acceleration in the pace of implied real cuts to day-to-day spending on public services”.

Detailed Treasury figures show that people in higher income groups will benefit most from the tax cuts – by £185 a year.

However, the £1billion tax giveaway will have to be matched by deep cuts in the public services that many people rely on – the schools, hospitals, police, home care and other services.

It was significant that the Chancellor made no reference at all to the National Health Service in his speech -  despite the continuing crisis in care and high level of public concern. But he did manage to make a lot of jokes –  each one matched with a spending pledge – like the £1 million for Agincourt celebrations which he used to poke fun at the Labour leader.

Sally Keeble said: “People need to know what’s going to happen to public services – people who use the services as part of their day to day lives, and those who work for them.  The Chancellor shouldn’t be putting forward a budget that means there will be huge cuts without setting out what services will be lost.

“It’s also completely inappropriate to announce use of public money as a backdrop to his jokes – there were four measures announced, costing at least £80 million – that were accompanied by personalised jibes.

“Labour is setting out costed plans that offer people security for the future, while also dealing with the country’s budget deficit.  Labour also provides a way out of the low wage low skill economy that the Tories are creating.”

Labour’s programme includes:

  • Raising living standards by increasing the minimum wage to £8 an hour and 25 hours of free childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds.
  • Saving and transforming our NHS with a £2.5 billion a year Time to Care Fund which will pay for 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs and a guarantee of cancer tests in one week.
  • Cutting business rates for 1.5 million small business properties and getting 200,000 new homes built a year.
  • Balancing the books in a fair way by reversing the Tory tax cut for millionaires.
  • A tax cut for 24 million working people through a lower 10p starting rate of tax.
  • And guaranteeing an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the basic grades and cutting tuition fees to £6,000.

Tory budget puts party political interests above interests of working families

 This Tory budget was about short term party political interests  -  not about the well-being of people here in Northampton.

alison200.jpgChildren are way out in front as the best thing in women's lives in a survey by Sally Keeble in Blackthorn to mark International Women's Day. And ending child poverty was the number one thing that they wanted from a Labour Government.

The survey was followed by a visit by Labour's shadow minister for childcare, Alison McGovern MP, who went to Blackthorn Good Neighbour's Nursery to talk about childcare issues with Kathryn White of BGN and Elaine Pitteway of Northamptonshire Childminders Association.

Alison set out Labour's commitment to provide 25 hours a week free childcare for all three and four year old children with working parents.

And she discussed with Kathryn and Elaine the requirements for building up children's services in the future, including the need for good infrastructure, partnership working and sustainability. One of the key challenges for parents in Northampton is providing childcare for families with parents who work shifts, and who need more flexible services.

Sally and her team will be out talking to mothers again in the run-up to Mothers Day this Sunday - March 15th. You can take the Women's Day survey here.

Tthe main problems identified by women in the survey were low wages, benefit cuts and finding a job, and the priorities for a Labour government, after ending child poverty, were taking action to stop domestic violence and increasing the minimum wage.

"My children are the best thing in my life" say Blackthorn women

Children are way out in front as the best thing in women's lives in a survey by Sally Keeble in Blackthorn to mark International Women's Day. And ending child poverty was...

Liamandsally160.jpgLiam Byrne MP set out a package to cut tuition fees and increase maintenance grants for university students and provide an allowance for further education students during his visit to Northampton. You can sign up to support Labour's package here.

Liam, the shadow universities minister, was very impressed by the University of Northampton and Northampton College during his visit. He was briefed on the University's move to the Waterside Campus, and had a tour of the College - one of the last major buildings funded by the Labour Government in 2010.

He set out Labour's package for students which he said provided a sustainable way forward for student and university financing. The present £9,000 fees were too high, and were creating a mountain of student debt that would never be paid back - and would have to be written off by taxpayers.

The Labour package was for:

-  £6,000 tuition fees.

- A £500 increase in maintenance grants to be provided to students from families earning up to £42,000.

- A £53 a week allowance for further education students.

A quarter of university students come from further education, so supporting students at FE colleges is important in increasing access to higher education.

Labour also wants to see more graduates go on to graduate level jobs. In recent years the proportion of graduates going into non-graduate jobs has increased, and now stands at nearly half of all graduates.

Liam Byrne sets out package of support for higher and further education students

Liam Byrne MP set out a package to cut tuition fees and increase maintenance grants for university students and provide an allowance for further education students during his visit to Northampton. You...

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