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[22/09/2021 | No comment]

 

Yesterday I spoke in a Westminster Hall Debate on vaccination of children against Covid-19. 

I welcome the fact that children are now being offered a Covid vaccine following advice from the UK’s Chief Medical Officer. This will be vital to keeping them in the classroom which is so beneficial to their health and wellbeing.

I’ve heard appalling reports of threats and intimidation faced by schools in Leicester West and across the country over vaccination of children – this is unacceptable, and Government needs to take urgent action on this. You can read my full speech here

 

[15/09/2021 | No comment]

Since Parliament came back after the summer, the biggest issue has been the Government’s ‘NHS and social care levy’ (a 1.25% increase in National Insurance Contributions) which they claim will fix the crisis in social care.

The two key tests for the Tories about this proposal are: will it work, and is it fair?

The answer to both is no. Not a penny of the National Insurance tax rise will go into social care now – all the additional funding will go into the NHS – and there is no guarantee there will be any extra funding for social care in future. It will not add a single extra minute of care and support, or improve the quality of life for older and disabled people, or tackle appalling staff shortages, give frontline staff a pay rise, or do anything to help unpaid family carers who are pushed to breaking point. The £86,000 cap on care costs won’t stop people having to sell their homes to pay for their care either.

What the Tories announcement does mean is an unfair tax rise on younger and low paid workers, including the very care staff on whom social care depends. Alongside the freeze in the personal allowance, and cuts to Universal Credit, this means low paid workers will lose over £1,000 a year.

It also puts huge extra burdens on our local councils, on top of the £8 billion cuts to their budgets since the Conservatives came to power.

Labour’s plan for social care doesn’t just aim to ‘fix the crisis’ in social care but transform it, so all older and disabled people can live the life they choose and so their views drive change throughout the system.

Labour will increase access to care, so older and disabled people get the right support, when and where they need it; join up NHS and care services, and shift the focus towards prevention with a new principle of ‘home first’; ensure independent and fulfilling lives for working age adults with disabilities; deliver a New Deal for Care Workers so frontline staff get the pay, training, terms and conditions they deserve; and put unpaid family carers at the heart of the system with better information and advice, respite breaks and greater flexibility at work. To fund this, Labour will ensure those with the broadest shoulders bear the greatest burden, with a bigger contribution from wealthier people and from unearned income and financial assets too.

You can read more about our vision for social care in my speech to the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services Conference here. You can also listen to my comments on Sky News here.

[07/09/2021 | No comment]
Over the past fortnight, my team and I have been working hard to support people in Leicester West affected by the devastating crisis unfolding in Afghanistan.
 
However, none of the urgent enquiries we’ve raised with the Foreign Office, Ministry of Defence, and Home Office have received a full response. Many people are still desperately worried for their family members in Afghanistan – and fear that they’ve been abandoned by the British government.
 
I’ve written to Dominic Raab, Priti Patel and Ben Wallace asking for answers and raising constituents’ concerns – you can read my letter here and coverage in the Leicester Mercury here.
 
 
[02/09/2021 | No comment]

Even before the pandemic there were over 100,000 vacancies in social care, and Covid-19 has made the situation even worse.

Unless ministers grip this problem, thousands of elderly and disabled people will be forced to go without the basic help they need to do things like get up, washed, dressed and fed.

When the prime minister finally brings forward his plans for social care reform, he must deliver a long-term plan for the care workforce, that gives them the pay, training and recognition they deserve.

Read more on ITV News.

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