Angela Eagle opening speech to Labour’s Annual Conference 2014 reports @labourpress

Angela Eagle MP, Chair of Labour’s National Executive Committee, in a speech to Labour’s Annual Conference 2014 in Manchester, said:

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to this crucial Labour conference.

As we gather here in Manchester we are gearing up to fight the most important general election we will face in a generation and we meet just a few days after Scotland’s decision to remain part of the UK.

Conference, let’s take this opportunity to show our appreciation to everyone who campaigned to keep our country together. Along with many of you in this hall I have been in Scotland campaigning.

I met people working hard but struggling to get by as prices soar while wages stagnate.

I met young people who were despairing about ever finding a job, and pensioners worried about the future of our NHS.

I met many who have just lost faith in politics and it struck me just how much they had in common with the people in my constituency of Wallasey.
They are worried about exactly the same things.

They face the same challenges and express the same frustrations.
They too have voted Labour and got a Tory Government.

They too are enraged that they were told ‘we’re all in it together’ when they see the reality is anything but, and they too worry about what the future holds and think that ‘politics as usual’ is just not good enough anymore.

Conference, as the leader of the only truly national party, Ed Miliband knows that too.

Whether it’s in Scotland or the rest of the UK, we in this Party understand fundamental change is needed and now the siren voices of nationalism have been defeated, real and meaningful change is on its way.

Conference, now is the time for the country to come together, not to defend the status quo in the way our politics is done or the way our economy is run, but to build a better Britain where everybody has a stake and a say.

Now we’ve kept our country together, we need to change our country together.

Not the partisan, petty games of a Prime Minister on the run from UKIP, who thinks he can exploit the very same divisions we’ve just defeated in Scotland; but keeping our word to the Scottish people and delivering a fairer constitutional settlement for all of the UK too.

That’s why Ed Miliband has announced a constitutional convention. A considered, detailed process to deliver the change this country needs.
Conference, in just 8 months we will have the chance to make David Cameron a one term Prime Minister.

Before the last election he went out of his way to tell us that his Tories were a new breed. He said they were ‘compassionate conservatives’. He claimed to care about the poor and the vulnerable. He said he’d cut the deficit and not the NHS, but four years later and we know the opposite is true.

Compassionate conservatives? Who is Cameron trying to kid. Food banks have multiplied and people in our country are going hungry. People are working all hours and still struggling to survive and parents are looking at their children and worrying about their future.

Conference, this isn’t a government of compassionate Conservatives. This is the same old nasty party.

We know times are hard. We know that savings have to be made. But just look at the way the Tories have chosen to do it; tax cuts for millionaires and a pay cut for everyone else.

The poorest local authorities like Manchester have suffered cuts of nearly £750 per household while the most prosperous like Surrey Heath have had a £25 increase, and the pay of top executives is now one hundred and thirty times the wages of the average employee.

Conference, after four years, all this Government has delivered is an economy that benefits just a privileged few at the top. They don’t want this to change because it suits them to look after their chums and their financial backers.

They just aren’t like the rest of us are they? Their summer fundraiser last year was attended by six billionaires, seventy three city financiers, the owner of a strip club and the judo partner of Vladimir Putin.

Now that’s a pretty run of the mill guest list you might think. Until you check out the results of the raffle at this year’s event. A bottle of Champagne went for £45,000. A really rather ordinary pot of honey sold for £30,000. And the wife of an ex Russian Minister paid £160,000 to have a game of tennis with David Cameron and Boris Johnson.

I can’t believe she thought that those two would be much of a doubles team.

The Tories didn’t have a good summer though did they, Conference? Baroness Warsi resigned. Douglas Carswell defected to UKIP. Nine of the 2010 intake of Tory MPs have already announced they’re abandoning the sinking ship and meanwhile our Prime Minister was chillaxing in Cornwall, pretending to be in Baywatch. Though with him conference, it’s less the Hoff and more like the Toff.

Conference, it has been an honour and a privilege to Chair the NEC this year. To follow in the footsteps of some of my personal heroines. Women like Barbara Castle, Ellen Wilkinson and Jennie Lee. Women who forged our NHS; who built the welfare state; who wrote that 1945 manifesto that won the first majority Labour government.

But let’s remember conference, we are on the verge of making history ourselves. Together, in eight months time, Ed Miliband is going to become the Prime Minister who will turn our country around.

We can rebuild our broken politics. We can make our economy work for everyone and not just a few at the top.

Conference, the Tories can give tax cuts to millionaires, but after May we are going to tackle the scourge of low pay.

They can run down and privatise our NHS, but after May we are going to rebuild it bit by bit. They can close our politics down, but we are going to open it up. They can force people to food banks, but we won’t stand by as people go hungry in our country.

Conference, we know there is a better way. A fairer way. A Labour way. It is going to take all of our energy, our passion, and our strength. But in May we are going to win this election. So let’s get to it.

“Labour to raise Minimum Wage to £8 an hour” reports @labourpress

Ed Miliband has announced Labour’s plan to raise the National Minimum Wage to £8 an hour by the end of the next Parliament.

He will tell the Labour Party conference in Manchester that his Plan for Britain’s Future will rebuild the link between working hard and sharing in our national wealth.

The planned increase would take the NMW from £6.50 in October this year to £8 by 2020 – a rise of £1.50 an hour for Britain’s lowest paid workers worth £60 a week or £3,000 a year.

The wage rise, which will be implemented by the Low Pay Commission over the course of the next Parliament in consultation with business, would be based on a plan to boost the NMW from 54% to 58% of median earnings by 2020.

Mr Miliband said:

Too many people are treading water, working harder and harder just to stay afloat. Too many working people have made big sacrifices but in this recovery they are not seeing the rewards for their hard work because, under the Tories’ failing plan, the recovery is benefiting a privileged few far more than most families.

“One in five of the men and women employed in Britain today do the hours, make their contribution, but find themselves on low pay. But if you work hard, you should be able to bring up your family with dignity.

“From Perth to Portsmouth to Penzance working people are demanding to know if any political party can make a difference. I have heard that despair in Scotland and across the United Kingdom.

“But this week Labour’s Plan for Britain’s Future will show how we can change and how we can become a country that rewards hard work once again.  That’s why we have set out plans to raise the minimum wage by £1.50 an hour by 2020 to £8 an hour – because Labour is the party of hard work, fairly paid.”

Speech by Gloria de Piero MP to Labour Party Conference 2014 reported by @labourpress

Gloria de Piero MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, in a speech to Labour’s Annual Conference 2014 in Manchester, said:

Thank you Conference and thank you Sam for that report from Women’s Conference.

One thousand Labour women together discussing how we can improve our politics and improve the lives of women.

Ours, a Party with more women MPs than all other Parties combined and a Leader Ed Miliband who is committed to equal representation in his Cabinet, in our Party and our politics.

Yes, we have a lot to celebrate! Let’s also celebrate the thousands of gay and lesbian couples who’ve tied the knot this year and let us never forget it took Labour votes to make this happen.

Just as it took a Labour Government to abolish Section 28, equalise the age of consent, bring about civil partnerships and so much more.

And it will take a Labour Government to keep championing LGBT equality at home and abroad.

This is also my opportunity to pay tribute to the life of someone who spent their life campaigning for Labour values. As Chair of Disability Labour and our Equalities Committee, Nicholas Russell was one of the people who made sure our Party lives up to its values of equality in everything we do and he will be greatly missed.
Labour will continue to fight for the rights of disabled people, ending the Bedroom tax, tackling hate crime.

It’s because of Labour values that we can be proud to be the Party of pioneers from Keith Vaz to Dianne Abbott to Rushanara Ali and why we will keep working to increase ethnic minority representation across every level of our politics and public life.
We’re Labour because we believe all of us have the right to live in dignity free from discrimination.

We’re Labour because we believe it shouldn’t matter if you are able-bodied or not; where you were born; or the colour of your skin. It shouldn’t matter if you’re a man or woman; it shouldn’t matter who you love. What matters is your determination and passion to fulfil your potential.

It’s a principle that should hold true whether you’re born on a council estate or a country estate, but too often that’s just not the case.

We talk a lot about smashing glass ceilings and rightly so but the Labour Party will never forget about the people who can’t even get through the door of the building.

Because if you’re born poor, you are more likely to stay poor in this country than in other wealthy nations.

There are ladders that can be used to climb up and get on but they aren’t being extended to everyone.

Politics, law, journalism, business – wonderful jobs. But they still operate like closed-shops.

Three quarters of senior judges, nearly half of journalists – are from the private schools which educate just seven per cent of the population. This is not an accident of talent. This is inequality of opportunity entrenched in the recruitment practices of professions that hire in their own image.

I have a really bright lad from Ashfield – Jack. He doesn’t come from privilege, and wants to work in the Foreign Office.

But Jack heard this discussed on the radio and he said to me – “how do I have a chance?” I didn’t go to Oxbridge, I don’t know anyone who’s worked in these jobs.

The Civil Service should set the standard on open recruitment and open opportunity.

Listen to the latest statistic. Of the 654 graduates who made it on to the Civil Service Fast- Stream, just 25 were from working class backgrounds.

It makes me angry. Conference, talent is class-blind, but Britain is still not.

The ex-Scottish Union leader Jimmy Reid used to talk about looking behind the windows of every council estate and high-rise flat.

Because behind every one of those windows – there is someone who might be a Judge, a Vice Chancellor, a politician, a CEO.

Look at Alan Johnson – all the way from the London slums to the Cabinet table, never went to University, but an Orwell book prize winner. We need more of these stories.

But this Government won’t act. Why would they change a system that suits them?

This is a Tory Party that auctions off top internships to the highest bidder at its fundraisers.

A Tory Party with more privately educated members of the Cabinet than women.

It’s no wonder they haven’t adopted a single recommendation that Alan Milburn’s Social Mobility Commission have made.

Well today I’m announcing that a Labour Government will act.

Work experience is hugely important for young people; it can open so many doors, but we need to make sure it opens doors for everyone, not just those in the know.

It’s up to all of us – Government, businesses, Trade Unions, to work together on this.

Not only is this right, but the whole of Britain benefits when we release all of Britain’s talent.

And there are people doing it. Here’s a publication you don’t hear praised that often at a Labour Conference – the Spectator magazine. Each Summer it takes work experience kids from the Social Mobility Foundation scheme giving bright students without connections that foot in the door. I congratulate them for it.

Good companies already monitor the race, gender and disability of their staff. They should monitor social background for the same reason.

The legal profession is already doing it, others should follow.

So today I can tell you today that a Labour Government will work to ensure this is done in the public sector.
Let’s be clear. This is not something we will fix overnight. But up and down Britain there are community leaders, businesses, teachers, social entrepreneurs working tirelessly for a fairer system, often against the odds.

We must be learning from them, not telling them leave it to us in politics.

But a Labour Government will be on your side, standing by you, offering you the tools to build a fairer society, because Social mobility is our mission.

But to be credible we have to look at our politics and our political party to improve access.

Politics cannot be the privilege of the few. Today half of MPs and Peers went to fee-paying schools. Just 25 MPs out of 650 have worked in manual jobs.
Look round the room – no other party can come close to representing the people of Britain in the way that we do.

We are the Party that sent working class men and women to Parliament and it will be up to our Party to bring more working class voices to Parliament.

Why a Labour Party led by Ed Miliband will increase the talent pool and bring more women, more ethnic minority, more disabled people of all experiences into politics too.

We have some amazing candidates from all backgrounds and walks of life, but let me mention just a few.

Lee Sheriff in Carlisle who worked in a clothes store; Amina Lone in Morecambe, a single mum running a charity tackling poverty; Lisa Forbes in Peterborough, ex-travel agent.

We need more of these voices in our politics and it’s all of us who’ll get them there, because getting them elected means changing our politics.

Opening up our politics and opening up our country so that it doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, what your story is.

Under Labour’s Britain anyone can fulfil their potential.

“The State of Palestine” by @grahamemorris

This summer’s violent assault against the Gaza Strip pushed the Palestinian issue to the top of the political agenda like never before.

The latest stage of Israel’s episodic devastation of Gaza — a process Israeli military strategists chillingly refer to as “mowing the lawn” — shocked the world and in doing so woke up millions to the horrors being visited upon the Palestinian people.

As Israel unleashed its full military might against the civilian population of Gaza, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Britain in protest.

It was magnificent to see so many ordinary people mobilise in opposition to Israel’s occupation and the dispossession, violence and suffering it entails.

The “morally indefensible” position of the Con-Dem coalition even provoked a government resignation and inspired the largest anti-war protests in more than a decade, bringing the Palestinian issue fully into the mainstream of British politics.

There has been a lively divergence of views in Westminster this summer but the one point of agreement is that the only way to break the cycle of violence is to address the root causes of the conflict — namely the illegal occupation and the ongoing denial of Palestinian rights, including the right to statehood.

I’m pleased to announce that an application I submitted with the support of Crispin Blunt MP and Sarah Teather MP for a back-bench business debate on Palestine has been successful.

Next month Parliament will have six hours to debate the future of the two-state solution and will have the opportunity to vote on a motion calling on the government to recognise the state of Palestine.

I believe the government’s abstention on the vote for Palestinian statehood in the UN general assembly in 2012 was an utterly shameful act that placed Britain on the wrong side of history.

Margaret Thatcher was an important ally of South African apartheid long after the tides of world opinion were flowing against her and it seems David Cameron has followed her lead in placing himself on the wrong side of oppression and injustice.

I know I’m not alone when I say that I was proud of Ed Miliband’s principled support of Palestinian statehood at the time.

In the words of Douglas Alexander, “Palestinian statehood is not a gift to be given but a right to be recognised.”

Yet for too long the international community has cruelly refused the Palestinian people this right and by doing so has hindered the realisation of peace and security in the region.

The two-state solution has been Britain’s stated policy aim for decades, but in politics talk often comes cheap.

So far the government’s support for a two-state solution has been in rhetoric only.

Not only is statehood the undeniable right of the Palestinian people but only an independent and sovereign Palestinian state can save any hope of a two-state solution.

We hear a lot of talk in support of a just and lasting peace between Israel and Palestine. On October 13 MPs will have the opportunity to back up their words with action.

“The next general election will decide whether the NHS will survives or perish” by @KailashChandOBE

With Scotland referendum out of the way, the battle lines for the 2015 elections will become clearer during party conference season starting this week in Manchester. I hope  Ed Miliband will confirm, that the NHS, will be the centerpiece of Labour’s election campaign. This means telling public .without any, if and buts, of repealing the NHS act 2012 and reversing privatization. The next general election will decide ,whether the NHS will survives or perish?

The way this NHS is being managed by Hunt and the government is a stunning example of how not to do things. The road-map of their policies is leading to the complete privatisation of the NHS. Cameron’s reorganisation has corroded the N in the NHS..

Noam Chomsky described the standard privatization technique as “Defund, make sure things don’t work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital”. The road map of Tories points to that direction — Labour must now show the NHS funding been swallowed up by profiteers and market mechanisms. Last year, a majority of new contracts to provide NHS services went to private companies. The first full year of the Health and Social Care Act as a bumper year for multinationals and their lawyers and accountants, while making things worse for patients. Most of these private companies hide behind the NHS logo but siphon off a profit. Collectively, such providers received more than £10bn from the public coffers in 2013. And according to the Financial Times, around £5.8bn of NHS work is currently being advertised to the private sector, a 14% increase on a year earlier. In the past two years, £11bn worth of our NHS has been put up for sale, while 35,000 staff have been axed, including 5,600 nurses. Half of our 600 ambulance stations are earmarked for closure. One-third of NHS walk-in centers have been closed and 10% of A&E units have been shut. Waiting lists for operations are at their longest in years, as hospitals are consumed by the crisis in A&E.

No phenomenon more clearly symbolize the true impact of this Government than the rise of food banks, teachers having to feed hungry children at school or GPs having to ask their patients if they can afford to eat

The Institute for Fiscal Studies calculates age-adjusted spending on health will fall by 9% per person between 2010 and 2018. For an NHS used to an average 4% increase, a 9% per-capita cut is unthinkable. Look at the charts showing NHS spending falling off a cliff by Anita Charlesworth, as chief economist for the Nuffield Trust, who found the shortfall to be £28bn by 2021. NHS England reckons the sum is £30bn.

Cameron promised he would not cut the NHS but that is precisely what is happening across the country as trusts now struggle to balance the books.
The outlook for health spending is an almost unimaginable cut over the next five years. Every health think tank has done its best in recent months to sound the alarm. This isn’t shroud-waving – the figures show the NHS about to go into cardiac arrest.

A focus on the NHS would make sense as Labour has a double-digit lead over the Tories on the NHS. The NHS has missed targets on waiting times for cancer treatment. The BMA, says GPs are “firefighting to provide services their patients need”. Mental health trusts have seen funding slashed. The morale of the NHS family is at rock bottom. Their pay has been frozen for two years under the coalition, and they have been forced to accept a major downgrading of their pension benefits. Freezing and squeezing pay is heaping financial misery on more than one million NHS workers.

The NHS in 2014 is demoralized, degraded and confused.It  is gasping for breath,Miliband should sell himself as the man to give the NHS CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary-Resuscitation). He need telling English electorate, the choice the country faces – a public, integrated NHS under Labour or a health market under David Cameron, where profits come before patients ?.