Yesterday, Jeremy Hunt delivered his Autumn Statement with less for public services and more tax rises for working people.
The mess we are in is not just a result of 12 weeks of Conservative chaos, but 12 years of Conservative economic failure. Inflation is spiralling. Growth is plunging. Living standards are falling.
Yet again with this Tory Government, it is working people who will foot the bill. Britain is a great country, with fantastic strengths. But the Tories are holding us back. They have pick-pocketed the purses and wallets of the entire country. A double whammy of frozen tax thresholds and inflation eroding people's wages.
The stealth taxes, excuses and unfair choices announced by Jeremy Hunt make one thing very clear: the Tories do not deliver for working people. No plan to deliver economic growth, no plan to fix our crumbling public services and crucially, no plan for the future.
What we need is a serious, long-term plan to get our economy growing again – powered by the talent and effort of millions of working people and thousands of businesses. We need a greener, more dynamic economy, creating jobs across every part of the country, with a modern industrial strategy where government works hand in hand with business.
That is what Labour will deliver.
After 12 years of failure, Britain can no longer afford the Tories. It’s time for a fairer, greener future with Labour.
Urging University Hospitals Birmingham Trust for public reassurance
Following the news that staff at University Hospitals Birmingham Trust (UHB) have opted to strike for the first time in the Royal College of Nursing (RCN)’s 106-year history; I have written to David Rosser, Chief Executive of the Trust, to ask about the impact of the anticipated strikes on patient care.
The strikes come as the country heads into Winter with more than 7 million patients on NHS waiting lists, the longest waiting list in history.
While emergency care staffing levels are to be maintained, there are concerns about the impact the strikes will have on non-urgent treatments. These cover everything from mental health services to general surgery, cardiology and internal medicine.
In my letter, I asked the Chief Executive what reassurance he can provide to us that UHB is taking steps to minimise the disruption this winter, support our valuable nursing workforce as best it can, and to bring waiting lists down?
Visiting Doddington Green Children’s Centre
This week I visited Doddington Green Children’s Centre in Bartley Green. I was pleased to meet with staff from the Early Years and Family Support teams as well as hearing about the specialist support that is being offered including employment and training workshops, health activities, language support and infant feeding advice.
I was keen to visit the children’s centre given an earlier report from Ofsted previously outlined how more than 2,500 childcare providers left the sector in 2021, on top of the 12,000 early education and childcare providers already lost since 2015. Millions of parents – particularly mothers – rely on formal childcare in order to work. 40% of mothers say they have had to work fewer hours than they would like because of childcare costs.
Early years are crucial in determining children’s life chances and I believe we need to ensure that the childcare system delivers high-quality, value-for-money early education. The last Labour Government invested heavily in Sure Start and children’s centres which saw huge boosts to the educational and life chances of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
However, 12 years of Conservative cuts have seen over 1,000 children’s centres close across the UK and Birmingham has been no exception. In 2010, Birmingham City Council were receiving £33.5 million for Sure Start. Today, it stands at just over £10 million with the funding no longer being ringfenced.
It is appalling to these Conservative Governments systematically closing these centres because it is just so devastating for the families it effects. That is why places like Doddington Green Children’s Centre are so important and the work the staff here carry out is vital. I believe it is time to give childcare the attention it deserves and to make Britain the best place to grow up in.
Fighting for you against poor planning proposals
We’ve recently seen a number of planning applications that had previously been refused by the planning committee return in fresh appeals. This is despite objections from myself and the communities they effect.
Former 'The Trees' Public House site on Bristol Road in Edgbaston has returned to planning looking to develop four high-rise student tower blocks in Edgbaston Conservation Area. I have once again lodged my objections and have requested a public meeting for residents to ask questions and make their voices heard to planning officers and the developers.
48-50 High Street in Harborne is a planning application which sought to install a ventilation system which would allow the old Benson for Beds unit turned into a late-night bar and restaurant. This would ordinarily not be an issue. However, it is located underneath retirement flats and the impact to older residents would be significant. Twice residents and I have objected to this and now it will be going to appeal where I will once again be raising my concerns.
Cromwell Lane in Bartley Green has seen a telecomms company trying to install a mast. The first application would have seen a 20m high mast installed. This was refused after objections. The second planning application was for a 15m high mast. This too was refused based on our objections given that it would be so highly prominent and visually intrusive to local residents. Now, this has also been appealed by the developer and I am once again working with residents to ensure that all of our objections are heard by the planning inspectorate who will decide the outcome.
If you find a planning application near to where you live that will have a negative impact on you and your family, or equally if there is something you would like me to support, please get in touch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0121 392 8426 and I would be more than happy to help.
Preet Kaur Gill MP
Birmingham Edgbaston covering Bartley Green, Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton