February 12, 2013

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The Government this week staged yet another U-turn, as it backed down on its controversial plans to scrap GCSEs.

In a surprise statement in the House of Commons, Education Secretary Michael Gove said that he was abandoning plans to introduce a new qualification in 2015.

David Cameron and Michael Gove should have listened to business leaders, headteachers and experts in the first place and not come up with a plan on the back of an envelope.

The government's plans would have squeezed critical subjects like IT, Design and Technology and Engineering out.

No wonder the CBI said that Michael Gove risked “repeating the mistakes of the past” and the designer of the iPhone said that Gove would “fail to provide students with the skills UK employers need”.

It’s time for David Cameron and Michael Gove to go back to the drawing board.

Labour is ready to join cross-party talks to develop a curriculum and exam system that meets the challenges our country faces.

Pupils and parents need certainty now.

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government has to say whether they are just trying to delay their changes, or whether they will abandon their out of date plans altogether.


The Government is pressing ahead with their unfair bedroom tax.

With this tax due to come in to effect in April for tenants of working age, people in Formby, Crosby, Maghull and Aintree are getting understandably concerned about how they and their families will be affected.

This tax will cut the amount of housing benefit that people receive if they are deemed to have a spare bedroom in their council or housing association home, potentially affecting 110,000 people in North West England alone.

Thousands of people are vulnerable to this change including:

·        separated parents who share the care of their children and who may have been allocated an extra bedroom to reflect this
·        couples who use their ‘spare’ bedroom when recovering from an illness or operation
·        foster carers because foster children are not counted as part of the household for benefit purposes
·        families with disabled children

The Tory-Lib Dem Government is targeting hard-pressed families living in social housing, with those affected likely to lose an average of £728 per year.

The fact that David Cameron is bringing in this unfair measure on April 6 at the same time as he is bringing in his £100,000 tax cut for millionaires shows just how out of touch he is. The longer the Government’s economic failure continues the longer everyone else will pay the price.

The Bedroom Tax will hit military families whose soldier son or daughter is deployed for more than 13 weeks and the Government’s own impact assessment says that almost two thirds of the people affected are disabled.  The Bedroom Tax is not just unfair; there are warnings too that it might be unworkable with not enough smaller properties for people to move to.  This unfair policy tells you everything you need to know about a Prime Minister who is weak, incompetent and totally out of touch.

This bedroom tax is unfair and the Government needs to think again before it’s too late.