Post by: @JulieForBurnley
Yesterday I stood up for Women who are victims of Domestic Violence in Jess Phillips MP Westminster Hall debate
I highlighted the shocking statistics facing women escaping domestic violence and highlighted the fantastic work of women's refuges in Lancashire
"In the north-west last year there were 140,000 reported incidents of domestic violence, and some of those women are most at risk when they take a step to leave—that is when they need us; that is when they need a refuge. Last year in my constituency 359 women benefited from the refuge service, as did 761 children.
I always view every Government policy, every announcement with a Burnley/Padiham filter. How will this affect my constituents is always the question and last week’s budget was no different. I don’t know what was more surprising or rather shocking: what the Chancellor said or what he didn’t.
Beginning with what he did say: Economic growth is down and is forecast to go down further for the next three years. Productivity is down and falling. The deficit which we were told would be wiped out by 2015 is still with us.
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.