Updates from Westminster - 13/02/16

TORY CUTS TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT

When the Tories talk about devolving power to local communities what they really mean is delegating cuts. The Government have cut local government to the bone since 2010 and they continue to impose cut upon cut, hitting the most deprived areas the hardest.

Communities and local Government Secretary, Greg Clark announced a £300million transitional grant for councils suffering the harshest cuts. Yet 85 per cent of the grant goes to the Tory authorities, which have suffered the least since 2010. Labour councils are to receive just 4% of the grant. Leaving major Labour-run urban areas with no transitional funding at all.

Labour welcomes the support for councils who are struggling with Tory cuts but this looks just like a Tory stitch-up to win over potential Tory rebels who had threatened to vote against the settlement.

It’s astonishing that the five most deprived councils in the country – Middlesbrough, Knowsley, Hull, Liverpool and Manchester – will receive nothing under the grant, while the five least deprived – Hart, Wokingham, Chiltern, Waverley, Elmbridge – will collectively receive £5.3m.  

Steve Reed, Labour’s Local Government Minister, said “Councils in poorer areas have suffered much harsher cuts since 2010 but they are getting next to nothing. The Tories have picked millions of pounds from taxpayers’ pockets to buy off their own MPs when faced with a rebellion in the run-up to local elections.”

JEREMY HUNT IMPOSES CONTRACT ON JUNIOR DOCTORS

Jeremy Hunt’s decision to impose a contract on junior doctors has led to an unprecedented situation in the NHS.  

He has completely failed to listen to junior doctors and has deliberately conflated the issue of the junior doctors contract with delivery of seven-day day services. Rather than helping to resolve this difficult dispute he is gambling with patient safety. 

Following the announcement this week, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn said “More strikes now look likely. If that happens, it will be clear that the blame lies with the government, not the doctors.”

He has appealed to Jeremy Hunt that “even at this late stage, to go back and negotiate with the BMA”

If he doesn’t, he will destroy the morale of junior doctors which is already at rock bottom. His decision could lead to a protracted period of industrial action and a junior doctor recruitment crisis, which would be damaging to patients.

Facing Jeremy Hunt at the despatch box, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, Heidi Alexander told him “to stop behaving like a recruiting agent for Australian hospitals and start acting like the Secretary of State for our NHS”.

The Labour party recognises the huge contribution junior doctors make and the years of training they go through to look after us. These are people dedicated to our health and our NHS. It’s time the Tories realised that.

 

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