John’s Monthly newsletter March 2017
Below is a brief summary of just some of my activities locally and in Parliament in the last month.
This month we experienced the attack on Parliament and the tragic deaths of PC Keith Palmer and the other victim. I was in Parliament that ay and during the lockdown procedures was locked in the Commons chamber for 5 hours. As news filtered through to us of the tragic events we sent our condolences and sympathies to the victims and their families. We were determined to carry on with our Parliamentary business the next day no matter what.
Personal Independence Payments
In response to the Chancellor’s statement on regulations denying 150,000 disabled people access to personal independence payments, I asked the Chancellor, in the Chamber, if he would rule out further unfair tax giveaways, such as cutting the top rate of income tax to 40p in this Parliament. Otherwise, it is clear that he wants tax giveaways for the wealthy few and austerity for the most vulnerable in our society.
Pre-Budget speech 2nd
I gave a pre-budget intervention speech at the Southbank Centre outlining Labour’s plans for the future of Britain’s economy and demands on the Government ahead of the Budget. The speech highlighted issues that the Chancellor must address including the need to;
- Tackle chronic low pay, which is leaving too many working people unable to make ends meet.
- use this Budget to give the NHS and social care system the funding it needs
- bring forward a Budget that works for women
Video clip can be seen by clicking on the link here https://youtu.be/cuZ69WqRYJI
West Drayton Community Centre Third Runway Consultation 4
I attended the Dept. of Transport exhibition on the 3rd runway. The Government has failed to organise a meeting in the Heathrow Villages. I have written to the Secretary of State to protest and demand a meeting in the Villages.
Southlands Art Centre
I visited the Southlands art exhibition and met the new chair of the Southlands Committee and exhibition organisers. It was a really enjoyable event and some great local art.
Hands off our NHS national demonstration
I joined hundreds of thousands of people protesting at the way in which the government has consistently underfunded our NHS. We set off from Tavistock Square at 1pm and marched to Parliament Square where I spoke to the huge crowd of NHS doctors, nurses and supporters opposing the cuts and privatisation of our NHS.
Interview with Andrew Marr 5th
I spoke with Andrew about the fact that we are the only economy in Europe that is growing while wages are falling. There has been a squeeze on living standard. To address this we need a real living wage of £10. We need to have a cap on energy costs and bring back rail into public ownership. We also need to address the gender pay gap. All this can come about if we have a fairer tax system and tackle tax evasion which is on an industrial scale in the UK and invest and grow our economy.
Budget Debate 8th
Philip Hammond has used his first Budget to claw £2 billion in tax on those self-employed who are on low and middle incomes. But he continued to boast about the £70 billion worth of tax giveaways to the rich and corporations by his predecessor.
Rather than provide the funding that would end a social care crisis in which 1 million vulnerable people go without adequate care, or calling an end to the state of emergency in our NHS, the Tories are doing next to nothing and don’t seem to recognise the scale of the crisis they have created.
This Budget does not address the problems created by seven years of Tory failure, and it has failed the fairness test for women who will be hit by a cuts in public services, and the national living wage.
My Budget Response 9th
I addressed some of the main policy announcements in the Budget, but I believe that overall the Chancellor’s statement evidenced a fundamental difference between the values of our two parties. What we saw in the Budget was Conservative Chancellor boasting about tax cuts to corporations and the rich while refusing to effectively tackle the crisis in social care for the elderly, refusing to properly fund the NHS, and increasing the national insurance burden on many middle and low-income self-employed earners, whilst at the same time breaking a clear manifesto promise.
Labour’s values are these: we believe in a fair taxation system, in which everybody, no matter how rich and powerful they may be, pays their way; and we believe that through a fair taxation system and collective endeavour, the elderly and the disabled should be cared for, the sick should be treated and children should be educated to develop their talents to the full. That was not what we saw in the Budget statement.
My full response can be read at
Scottish Economic Conference 11th
This was another hugely successful conference at The Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow. There was an extremely good atmosphere in the main hall and in the workshops. Speeches from Alex Rowley, Ann Pettifor and Jeremy were very well received. The workshops, which included, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, The transition to a Green Economy, Thriving Creative industries, Alternative Models of Ownership. All were well attended and participants had a good opportunity to contribute. There was positive feedback from both participants and speakers.