Today I will be voting against the Tories’ Trade Union Bill which is an uncompromising, undemocratic attack on the freedom and rights of workers.
It will fundamentally undermine the balance between workers and employees, causing more industrial unrest in the future.
Below are just few examples how the Act will impact the workplace:
- Agency workers will be allowed to replace striking workers. This undermines the workers’ ability to negotiate, but, furthermore, poses serious health and safety concerns regarding inexperienced replacement workers.
- In some public services (fire, health, education, etc), 50% of members must turn out to vote for strike action and 40% of the entire membership must vote in favour. This threshold is incredibly high compared to most other organisations, including the Tory Party for selecting their mayoral candidate. If the Government is serious about promoting democracy within the trade union movement they should secure electronic and workplace ballots.
- All public sector employers will have to publish information on the cost of time off for union reps, plus a breakdown of what facility time is used for – collective bargaining, representing members in grievances or disciplinary action, or running training programmes. This change will hamper the ability of employers to invest in good relations with their employees and add more red tape to trade unions when they should be focused on representing their members.
The Government are claiming these are moderate changes, but it is clear they have the potential to undermine our human rights. Instead of eroding the role of trade unions and alienating millions of workers, I call on the Government to work towards creating a harmonious relationship between employer and employee. Only by respecting the interests of both parties can we achieve the vital balance our economy needs.
Today I will be voting against the Tories’ Trade Union Bill which is an uncompromising, undemocratic attack on the freedom and rights of workers. It will fundamentally undermine the balance...
Tax Credits were introduced by the Labour Party to support families in work. For many low income families in my constituency, they have been the thin line between security and poverty.
However, the Tories’ cuts puts thousands of people in this area, and millions across the UK, at real risk of financial hardship. It is estimated that 58% of families in my constituency receive tax credits; who will be pushed further towards the breadline.
In addition, it is inevitable that these cuts will increase child poverty. Around 63% of children in Hemsworth are in families that receive tax credits. I’ve spoken to many parents in my constituency who tell me they do not know how they will be able to afford the bills if the Tories go ahead with their cuts.
Despite Cameron’s claims that the living wage will offset these cuts, the Institute of Fiscal Studies has produced a report which indicates the average family will overall be around £1,300 a year worse off.
This is the politics of planned poverty and food banks. We must not accept this injustice and that is why I am launching a campaign in Hemsworth to call on David Cameron to stop the tax credit cut.
I urge you to sign our petition at www.labour.org.uk/taxcredits and get involved with our campaigning.
Tax Credits were introduced by the Labour Party to support families in work. For many low income families in my constituency, they have been the thin line between security and...
The Sutton Trust has published a Mobility Map which measures social mobility through education across the country. Their study shows that the prospects of young people in the Hemsworth constituency are fundamentally lower.
Hemsworth ranks as follows among the 533 parliamentary constituencies in England:
- Performance of disadvantaged pupils in early years tests: 308 out of 533
- Performance of disadvantaged pupils in Key Stage 2 tests: 456 out of 533
- Performance of disadvantaged pupils at GCSE: 354 out of 533
- Progress of non-privileged/disadvantaged pupils to universities: - out of 533
- Progress of non-privileged graduates to professional occupations: 303 out of 533
- Overall: 478 out of 533
This is represents another example of how the Tories are leaving the North behind and another generation disadvantaged by their place of birth. In 21st century Britain, anyone should be able to fulfil their true potential regardless of where they are from.
At a time when Tories cuts are undermining all public services, it is clear that we need to support the work of the Sutton Trust in highlighting this systemic injustice and promoting the need for greater investment in education.
The Sutton Trust has published a Mobility Map which measures social mobility through education across the country. Their study shows that the prospects of young people in the Hemsworth constituency...
David Cameron’s comments before his speech in Leeds today show what he really thinks of us here in Yorkshire.
The comment, which came from the Prime Minister when he thought the microphones were off, was: “We just thought people in Yorkshire hated everyone else, we didn’t realise they hate each other.”
Some may think it was just an off the cuff comment, but I think it reveals something deeply troubling about our Prime Minister’s attitude to over 5 million Britons.
Yorkshire has been hit hard by this government and has been consistently left behind by economic and social policy. Average incomes are way below the national average, child poverty is higher and GDP per head is lagging behind.
It is simply not acceptable that a Prime Minister who claims to believe in “one nation” can consign an entire region of this country to such derogatory remarks.
I have people coming into my office every week who are feeling the horrendous impact of this government. And I tell you something Mr Cameron, we don’t turn people away, we don’t hate each other or anyone else. We embrace people and we live by values of solidarity and compassion. We also like a good joke, but yours isn’t very funny.
David Cameron’s comments before his speech in Leeds today show what he really thinks of us here in Yorkshire. The comment, which came from the Prime Minister when he thought...
Zero-hour contracts represent everything that is wrong with Tory Britain; insecurity and exploitation disguised as flexibility and economic necessity.
It has been announced that the number of people on zero-hour contacts has risen to 1.5 million. These contracts were intended to be used as an exception, to help small businesses, but instead they have become the norm.
The next time someone supports zero-hour contracts by claiming that workers like their flexibility, I challenge them to meet one of the many constituents of mine that are trying to survive from month to month because they don’t know how many hours of work they’re going to get. Not knowing whether they’ll be able to pay the rent or buy food.
I have met many people on zero-hour contracts and they have explained to me the everyday cost of having no guaranteed work. It means that they cannot plan ahead. People cannot think about owning their own home because they don’t have a guaranteed income and are refused a mortgage. It means that they have to wait until two o’clock in the morning to see if they’ve been given any hours.
The Tories are turning back the clock in terms of worker’s rights and this is a prime example. It reveals what they really are; the enemies of hard-work, aspiration and stability.
Zero-hour contracts represent everything that is wrong with Tory Britain; insecurity and exploitation disguised as flexibility and economic necessity. It has been announced that the number of people on zero-hour...
On Saturday I addressed a rally of Jeremy Corbyn supporters in Sheffield.
The event was enormous and very enthusiastic. I first attended a meeting of the Labour party in 1969. In the intervening years I must have been to thousands of such meetings. But the meeting in Sheffield was not like any one I have ever been to before.
Labour’s leadership contest has shown that there is a huge appetite for a new form of politics. Many people in the country feel that we cannot go on in the same old way.
But big political change is never achieved by single leaders on their own. Only when tens thousands of people come together in a common movement does change happen. It is now apparent that there are indeed tens of thousands who want Labour to renew itself by returning to our true values of community, social justice, decency, dislike of inequality and so on.
True Labour values will not accept a social order where the millionaires are rewarded whilst there a millions who are left behind.
The Tories will always look after the richest 1%. It is Labour’s task to represent the rest. Both the poorest in our country but also the millions on middle incomes who are finding it more difficult to manage household budgets as austerity continues to bite.
It is Labour’s task too to ensure that everyone has a chance to achieve their dreams rather than, as at present, inhabit a country which too often puts a cap on our ability to make progress.
The purpose of my speech was to launch a new organisation: Northern Futures.
A part of what is wrong with our country is the way that some regions have been left struggling. A country which truly believes in social justice, strong communities and fair treatment for all must not condemn whole areas to being left behind.
The North – which was the engine room of our national prosperity for so many decades – has been left decisively weakened by a triple whammy
- De-industrialisation which was the Thatcher government’s lasting legacy has left many parts of the North stripped of productive economic activity
- Centralisation of power in the Cities of London and Westminster means that the key decision-makers have often had little regard for Britain’s regions
- Austerity, which forced the real people of our country to pay off the debts of the bankers through lower incomes and reduced public services, added a further vicious twist to the North’s difficulties.
The North is a vast area covering millions of people, far bigger than many countries in Europe. We are being left behind in the global economy. An area which has lost its primary economic purpose and which has yet to find a new role, inevitably finds its sense of morale, identity and direction all impaired.
Our infrastructure is weak. Investment has been lacking. Our businesses are not as profitable as they need to be. Communities have been damaged, and there has been an unacceptable spread of low pay, part time and temporary working, agency labour etc.
But the people of the North retain strong values of hard work, fairness, solidarity, and caring for one another. These are the values which regions like the North of England gave to the Labour Party. And these are the values which require us to stand by the area.
The Tories will never address these issues. Osborne’s concern for the North is entirely synthetic. His proposals amount to a pretence to be interested but in reality to hand over responsibility for cutting services to Labour councils so that they are seen to be to blame.
Look at the figures. It is estimated that London received 24 times as much expenditure on transport as the North East, and created 6 times as many new jobs as were created in the North East. This is not to say that we should be against the growth and investment in our country’s capital. But fairness demands that similar efforts are made elsewhere.
In the place of a Tory agenda of delegating cuts to Labour’s Northern Councils, we need a policy of determined devolution of real power and authority.
But we cannot rely on a handful of Leaders at the top to bring about the renewal of the North. Instead we need a real political movement. This is the task of the new organisation. Northern Futures is intended to bring forward a multitude of northern voices as part of a pathway to a new settlement.
We are unashamedly campaigning for new way of governing Britain based on four principles. Rejection of austerity. Renewal of our democracy, but on a new basis. Rebalancing our regions. Regenerating our economy.
For well over a century the North has stood by the Labour party. Now the Labour party must stand by the North.
We can make it happen.
If you agree, please join us.
On Saturday I addressed a rally of Jeremy Corbyn supporters in Sheffield. The event was enormous and very enthusiastic. I first attended a meeting of the Labour party in 1969....
This weekend I helped to launch ‘Northern Futures’, an organisation dedicated to regenerating, rebalancing and renewing the North of England.
We need a new settlement for the North that promotes growth and challenges the huge regional inequalities in the UK. But this does not mean accepting the Tories’ delegation of cuts.
It has become increasingly clear that Osborne has no intention of creating a ‘Northern Powerhouse’. For example, just after the election it was announced that the Government was pausing the electrification of the Trans-Pennine railway.
Now a study by the University of Sheffield has been released indicating that planned infrastructure investment is heavily biased towards London at the expense of the North. The report shows that London will receive more investment than every other English region combined. Infrastructure investment in London is totals about £5,305 per person whereas Yorkshire and Humber lags behind at £851 per head in Yorkshire and Humberside.
Not only are the Tories blatantly ignoring their pre-election promises but their planned investment will actually inhibit the economic growth of the North.
If the Government want to create a true ‘Northern Powerhouse’ then they need to devolve power, not cuts. They need to provide substantial investment in infrastructure and growth; not play politics with the fate of the North.
If you want to be part of campaigning for the North, sign up to Northern Futures: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Northern-Futures/694478407354707?fref=pb&hc_location=profile_browser
This weekend I helped to launch ‘Northern Futures’, an organisation dedicated to regenerating, rebalancing and renewing the North of England. We need a new settlement for the North that promotes...
Once more on Iraq.
Iraq is in the news once more. The Chilcot report is in the headlines - for the wrong reasons.
It is hard not to view the delay to publication of the report as an establishment tactic to keep the ball in the long grass for as long as possible. It is time that it was published.
But the Labour Party also has unfinished business in connection with the war. Jeremy Corbyn has sought to address this today.
It has been argued that the Iraq war happened long ago and has little bearing on present day politics. Others have said that the electorate supported a Blair government even after the military intervention in Iraq.
Yet that war continues to cast a shadow over the whole of British politics as the controversy about the delays to the Chilcot report shows. The whole of the political class, as well as the media were in favour of the war.
Those of us who voted repeatedly against the proposal were left in a minority and were often the subject of vilification.
It was only later that the awful truth began to emerge. That there were no weapons of mass destruction. And in spite of robust statements at the time that the war was not about regime change, when the sickening fact emerged that we went to war on a false prospectus, our leaders began to justify their actions by saying that they had ridden the world of a dictator.
To this day we do. It know the whole truth about the path to war, but there is a settled opinion that the country was not told the truth and that our troops were put in harm's way with little justification.
The collapse of trust in British politics occurred in part because of what was said and done in the run up to war. There were many other factors too. But Iraq remains a key moment. Of course, the Labour Leadership especially was seen as responsible and it is therefore of particular importance that we settle our view once and for all.
Ed Miliband was aware that this was an issue and he made the following comments when he was elected as Leader:
"Iraq was an issue which divided our party and our country. Many sincerely believed that the world faced a real threat. I criticise nobody faced with making the toughest decisions and I honour our troops who fought and died there. But I do believe that we were wrong. Wrong to take Britain to war and we need to be honest about that."
Ed's statement was clear. It was an honourable effort to retain unity and at the same time draw a line under the whole Iraq venture.
But there were two problems with it. First, few people heard it because the media were besotted with the discussion of the trivia of two brothers contesting the leadership.
There was a second problem with Eds formulation, however. How could it really be that the war was a "wrong" and yet he would criticise non one for their decision. Questions of war and peace cannot be dismissed in this way.
This is why Jeremy is correct today to return to this matter. He has said that if he becomes leader he will apologise on behalf of the party for the war and for the "deception" involved in the decision. He will also say that we should never again go to war in such circumstances.
This formulation is the correct on. Jeremy says Labour must apologise and goes further in saying that deception was involved in the process. Of course there will be a full national debate about Iraq if and when Chilcot publishes his report. But Jeremy's words are correct and long overdue.
Jon Trickett MP
Once more on Iraq. Iraq is in the news once more. The Chilcot report is in the headlines - for the wrong reasons. It is hard not to...
With one in two people set to be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives it is vital that we support research and treatment now more than ever.
Last week I attended a reception held by Cancer Research UK and spoke to some of their dedicated volunteers about their work and the cancer treatment facilities in the Hemsworth constituency. It is shocking that around 1,800 people are diagnosed with cancer every year in our constituency with a survival rate of only 50%. We must do all that we can to support the work of Cancer Research UK, and other charities, to eradicate this terrible disease.
If you would like to find out more about the work of Cancer Research visit their website at: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/
With one in two people set to be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives it is vital that we support research and treatment now more than ever....
The south-east of Wakefield has been without a public swimming baths now for over two years. The community campaigned hard to secure a replacement pool and I know from chatting to people that they are wondering what’s happening with the plans to build the baths on the site of Minsthorpe School.
Following a recent meeting that I requested with the Leader of Wakefield Council, Peter Box, I have received an assurance that the proposed plans are underway. I was told that a time table is in place for the planning application to be submitted and then the process of going out to tender for the building contract will commence. The expected opening date will be around the beginning of January 2017.
I will continue to follow this issue closely to ensure that our community gets the public swimming pool that it needs and deserves. I will also monitor the proposed timetable. None of us want to see the opening date being pushed back.
The south-east of Wakefield has been without a public swimming baths now for over two years. The community campaigned hard to secure a replacement pool and I know from chatting...