Post by: @JulieForBurnley
We are now bang in the middle of the Conference season and this week it is the turn of the Labour Party. As I begin to write this column I am on my way to Brighton with every intention of playing a full part in what promises to be a very exciting Conference. The Labour Party is the biggest political party in Europe and this year will be our biggest Conference ever. Thousands of members will attend along with representatives of every profession, business and cause known to man.
When I became an MP in 2015 one of my first actions was to introduce a private members bill to end the morally wrong practice of charging carers for hospital car parking. This was the result of months of hard work put in by me and my constituents as part of our Park the Charges campaign. If you are unwell in a hospital sometimes the love of a caring family member can lift your spirits in your darkest times. It is immoral to charge that family member up to £40 a week just so they can visit a relative in a time of need.
I want to begin by putting this budget in context for my constituents. We have a Government that has borrowed more in 7 years than the last Labour Government did in 13 years. The deficit that we were told would be gone is still there. The country is just to about to embark on the most serious negotiations since the end of the Second World War and the Chancellor barely mentioned Brexit. The disabled who are desperately trying to gain employment are to have their incomes cut by close to a third next month.
Last week in Prime Minister’s Questions I challenged the Prime Minister directly about her plans to introduce grammar schools while at the same time refusing to protect existing schools from £3 billion worth of spending cuts under the new School Funding Formula and continuing to underfund nursery schools. I asked the Prime Minister the following:
“In my constituency of Burnley, primary and secondary schools are severely underfunded, and maintained nursery schools are struggling to survive. Why, then, at a time when we cannot adequately fund the schools we already have, is the Prime Minister suggesting spending millions of pounds to create new grammar schools that will help only a minority of children? That is unfair as a new funding formula, and will do nothing to help social mobility.
Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with Janet Davies the Chief Executive of the Royal College of Nursing to discuss the overwhelming difficulties nurses are currently facing in the NHS. The two biggest issues nurses are facing are the cuts to university bursaries and the cap on nurses pay, both of which are having a drastic impact on the NHS.
No one will dispute that nurses are the frontline of our National Health Service, all of us when we go to hospital see first-hand the hard work and dedication that nurses put in to caring for our loved ones and ourselves.
Everyone has heard the warning before “Drive safely and cautiously”, but when you really think about this important message, it is clear that we as a community are falling short in our efforts. Looking at the most recent statistics for road accidents in Lancashire, Burnley makes up 10% of the driving accidents. This is a very large amount when we take into account the fact that Burnley’s population only makes up for 5% of the whole of Lancashire. New statistics released by the House of Commons research library show that in 2010 road accidents in Burnley were decreasing, as well as the mortality and injury rates involved in these accidents.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the UK this week comes just a few days after he announced the construction of 5,500 new settlements in the West Bank in direct opposition to UN Security Resolution 2334.
His visit was a perfect opportunity for Theresa May to raise the UK public’s increasing concerns over the stalling of the peace process. Yet once again she struggled to tell hard truths to our closest allies, instead choosing the easy path. As Prime Minister she is once again putting trade over the promotion of human rights and the right to self-determination and freedoms that we all believe in.