Jon Trickett

Hemsworth Labour

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Whether as a worker, a service user or as a relative of someone who is, almost everyone has a story to tell about social care.

 

I’m no different. I’ve had family members who’ve been looked after by care workers and my overriding impression was that they were more than just employees; they were public servants who temporarily became part of the family.

 

At a Labour Party gathering, I met one of these people. She had joined the Party because her job had been outsourced and her pay and conditions cut. She had only 15 minutes with each patient and she knew the quality of care was declining as a result. She wanted to change things.

 

And they desperately need changing. Social care is in crisis. This was again confirmed today with the publication of a new report by Independent Age. The number of care homes in the UK currently rated as either ‘Inadequate’ or ‘Requires Improvement’ stands at approximately 21 per cent. While this is a decrease on last year, the figure is still shocking.

 

More worryingly from my perspective, the figure for Yorkshire and the Humber is higher still, at 26.1 per cent, the second worst of any region in the UK. Yet Independent Age also highlight how Wakefield is among the worst performers in the country, with 38.9% of local care homes rated as ‘Inadequate’ or ‘Requires Improvement.’

 

This is deeply worrying, and a further illustration how we in Yorkshire, and the North, often suffer most when it comes to failing public services.

 

We of course know who is to blame here: this Conservative government and the Coalition Government that preceded them. During the later’s term In government Local Authority funding for social care services fell by nearly one-third, analysis by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services has found. This was, in case we forget, accompanied in the same period by hand-outs to the rich in the form of an unprecedented cut to corporation tax from 28 per cent to 20 per cent, a figure that is the joint lowest in the G20.

 

The current Government has continued this defunding, with dramatic consequences. In Wakefield, in addition to the savings needed as a result of the cuts in government funding, £11.5m will need to be found in the latest budget to deal with demand pressures for children and adults social care services. Our councillors are trying their best to do this in the fairest way possible, but their hands have been firmly tied by a Government entirely out of touch with the reality of everyday life.

 

For those that work in social care their reality is extremely difficult. Social care companies are notorious for paying low wages and fighting to prevent their staff organising to improve their pay and conditions. As a result the quality of care has declined dramatically. Reversing this requires a well-paid and well-respected workforce, as well as a boost to funding.

 

As it stands, a combination of Tory cuts and unscrupulous employment practices by care homes—most of which are private providers motivated less by a public service ethos than by private profit—are crippling our care services and endangering people’s lives. It cannot continue.

 

This is yet another reason why we need a Labour Government. We are the only party thinking big enough to meet this monumental challenge head on. In our first term, Labour will lay the foundations of a National Care Service for England. Our first task will be to address the immediate funding crisis. We will increase the social care budgets by a further £8 billion over the lifetime of the next Parliament. We have many more policies on social care and they are bold yet achievable. We just need your support in making them a reality.

Yorkshire's social care crisis

Whether as a worker, a service user or as a relative of someone who is, almost everyone has a story to tell about social care.   I’m no different. I’ve...

Today is International Women’s Day. It’s a day to step up our campaigning to support women’s rights, and to pay tribute to some of the women trailblazers who have already done amazing work.

I wanted to use this opportunity to celebrate some of the great women from our area. Many women from round here have fought injustice and worked tirelessly to make the world a better place.

I want to focus on some of them now, who have played a crucial part of our working class history. During the strikes in the 80s, those workers and families would not have been able to carry on without the kitchens which fed the striking miners and their families. These were run by mainly women. Their tenacity and community spirit carried our area through a difficult time. Without them, hundreds wouldn’t have been able to feed their families.

It is those same women who have set up and run foodbanks to support families during the Tories’ austerity. Whether that’s the Westfield foodbank, St Catherine’s Trinity Mission, Resource Aid or one of the others that serve our constituency, they have made sure families have enough to get through each week.

I’m inspired by the hard work they do. In Parliament I try to work as hard as these women to support our area and to try to get the best for our area and stop the need for foodbanks at all.

Today is International Women's Day

Today is International Women’s Day. It’s a day to step up our campaigning to support women’s rights, and to pay tribute to some of the women trailblazers who have already...

I have been the MP for Hemsworth constituency for 21 years. It is a coherent and strong community mainly based around 23 former mining villages.

The boundary proposals for our area take Hemsworth out of the constituency and replace it with Wakefield rural, creating “Featherstone constituency”. This flies in the face of coherence and I will explain why.

Firstly, it is vital that an MP has a link with their constituency, but is it also vital that the community has a link with it too. Under the current boundary proposals that would be destroyed.

The proposals combine two distinctly separate communities that do not share transport links, access to amenities or leisure facilities, or any historical or coherent community ties. They will also result in a constituency that is simply too big. This raises huge problems.

The M1 will run right through the constituency and there are no bus or train links that connect one side of the constituency to another. It would take nearly three hours to get from one end of the constituency to another using existing public transport, in fact it would be quicker to cycle. Don’t forget, a quarter of people in our area don’t own a car.

There will be no connection between the various levels of elected representatives in Hemsworth. It will be a Wakefield council area not represented by a Wakefield MP, but a Barnsley MP.

Also, since 2015, nearly 2,000 people have registered to vote in Hemsworth. These people would not be counted under the government’s proposals. I can think of many Tory MPs whose majorities are much smaller than that, so it would be unusual for them to ignore such a significant proportion of a constituency electorate.

Today, the House of Commons discusses the government boundary changes that will affect our area. Labour have tabled a Bill to contest the Tory proposals which I support.

It may seem like an unimportant issue, but constituency boundaries impact everyone. For example, if the an area an MP represents is too big, it could mean your voice isn’t as easily heard, or that the needs of your community are lumped with those of another community in a totally different cultural, geographical or local government area.

We are all more or less in agreement that a boundary review is needed. Updating electoral boundaries is a vital part of the functioning of our democracy and it is our duty as politicians to do what is in the best interests of our country.

People have lost faith in politics – 60% are not satisfied with the way parliament is run. There is a deep malaise in Britain which has often expressed itself on the doorstep as “politicians are only in it for themselves”. But the public are savvy to political manoeuvring – for example, they all know why Northern Ireland got £1 billion.

It would seem that the same political manoeuvring is going on today. I am sure the intention is not to deliberately gerrymander, but that is certainly the perception the government is giving.

What is clear is that the government haven’t even bothered to understand the local dynamic when drawing up these proposals. They have been designed with one thing in mind: increasing the number of Tory MPs.

It is a shame that such politicking is being put before democracy and local people.

What the new Parliament boundaries will do to our area

I have been the MP for Hemsworth constituency for 21 years. It is a coherent and strong community mainly based around 23 former mining villages. The boundary proposals for our...


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