When people enter a hospital, the very least that they expect is a clean and safe environment, but under the Tories that can no longer be guaranteed. Already overstretched staff are having to work even harder to keep the show on the road, in deteriorating facilities that are falling apart at the seams.
The shocking decline that has occurred in many of our NHS hospitals and facilities did not occur by chance. It is a direct consequence of a decision made by the Health Secretary to divert funding allocated for buildings and maintenance in order to prop up day-to-day spending.
When Theresa May told a stunned Conservative Party conference in 2002 that some people called them “the nasty party” there was widespread horror, recrimination and an eight year struggle to detoxify the Tory brand. “Our base is too narrow, and so, occasionally are our sympathies”, she said. I agreed back then and agree now. In her other infamous words, “nothing has changed”.
The 2005 ‘are you thinking what we’re thinking’ dog-whistle campaign showed the party wasn't listening. Posters shouted ‘it's not racist to impose limits on immigration’ and asked ‘how would you feel if a bloke on early release attacked your daughter’. Only after a third election defeat in a row were attempts made to clean up the Tory image. In came trainer-wearing, husky-hugging David Cameron with a new tree logo and a dream of the big society.
So it is done. Teenager Melrose’s £8bn has bought it 260 years of British engineering excellence once they convinced GKN shareholders their short term ‘buy, improve, sell’ approach would add more value to their investment than the existing management. The perfectly rational and well informed market players have chosen the most economically optimal option which will grow their wealth and therefore that of the nation. Move along, nothing to see here says Greg Clark. This is the way a free market works.
He is wrong. What we are actually witnessing is the death and burial of this Government’s short lived, callously neglected and brutally beaten Industrial Strategy, at the tender age of 18 months.
Is it right that in the 21st century 92 people, of which 91 are men, still sit in Parliament to speak, vote and act simply on the basis of who their ancestors were?
Is it right that elections, when held for vacancies to those 92 positions, can involve as few as three voters choosing a member of parliament?
For the situation today is just that – 92 hereditary peers are still left in the House of Lords.
Should we allow that situation to continue or is it time for change? Quite simply it’s not sustainable.
House of Lords reform may not be at the forefront of public discord, but it continues to be an issue that generates a huge amount of debate in Parliament and for good reason. Every politician has an opinion, if not several, on what we should do with this aspect of our uncodified constitution. But it is seemingly impossible to secure agreement.
Nelson Mandela said: “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”
But after many years of progress, health outcomes for babies and young children in the UK are stalling. We are lagging behind most other high-income countries on mortality, breastfeeding and obesity rates.
And there is a direct correlation between children’s relative poorer health outcomes and the material circumstances in which they grow up.
The housing market is broken, and, after eight long years it is clear that current Conservative housing policy is failing to fix it. Ministers talk big about housebuilding targets to be reached some time in the next decade. But what new homes we build, and who they’re for, matter just as much as how many we build.
To make housing more affordable, we need to build more affordable homes, and to hardwire housing affordability through the system, from planning to funding to delivery. The public know this: eight in 10 people think ministers should be doing more to get affordable housing built.
Spiralling inequality around the world is disrupting politics everywhere. Across the West voters who’ve missed out on a pay rise for over decade are hunting for new answers, fuelling the surge tide in votes for Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, Germany’s far right AfD and indeed Brexit. So how do we rebuild a new centre ground in politics? By proposing new answers for more inclusive economic growth.
This Easter, the APPG on Inclusive Growth hosts parliamentarians from 33 countries across the OECD for the first ever Global Parliamentary Conference on Inclusive Growth here in the Houses of Parliament.
After eight years of austerity from the Tories it’s clear that the Government has abandoned local communities to fend for themselves.
House building has crashed to its lowest levels since the 1920s and more and more people are becoming homeless or going into temporary accommodation. The safety of our communities has been put at risk after cuts of over 20,000 police officers, and older people are not living with the dignity and comfort they deserve because of cuts to social care.
The homelessness minister revealed in an interview with The Guardian that she doesn’t know why homelessness has risen. Yes, that’s the person charged with tackling homelessness and rough sleeping. Might I offer the minister a few suggestions and solutions?
Firstly, let’s be clear – it is a problem that has got a lot worse since Labour left government. That’s a fact, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that it might have something to do with the policies enacted since then.
Since 2010, rough sleeping has increased by 169 per cent. Shelter estimates that there are now more than 250,000 – a quarter of a million – people in England alone who are homeless or don’t have a permanent place to live.
I am writing today to Jeremy Hunt demanding the Government blocks the creation of wholly-owned subsidiary companies by NHS trusts, and undertakes a full review of the guidance on the relevant tax requirements of NHS trusts and foundation trusts.
At least eight NHS trusts have set up private companies in recent years and transferred over thousands of facilities staff away from NHS contracts. A recent investigation by Health Service Journal has said that as many as 8,000 posts could be affected in the 16 trusts where plans are being drawn up, on top of 3,000 who have already been moved at eight other employers.