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March 5, 2013 - Bill Esterson's Westminster Diary

Bill Esterson



In six weeks, on the same day that millions of working families have their tax credits cut, 13,000 millionaires will receive a giveaway worth
on average £100,000. 
 
The decision to give millionaires £100,000 extra while hammering hard working families and people doing their best to find a job shows the unfair choices David Cameron, George Osborne and Nick Clegg have made.
 
We also found out that the Government has even failed on their own test – keeping Britain’s AAA credit rating. But struggling families and businesses don’t need a credit rating agency to tell them this Government’s economic plan isn’t working. The longer our economy
stagnates, the more long-term damage will be done, the harder it will be to get the deficit down and the worse off people will be. 
 
When our economy is flat-lining thanks to this Government’s failure, it cannot be right to give millionaires a tax cut while making working
families pay more. 
 
The government should be on the side of working people and families – with an economic recovery built by the many, not just a few at the top and that is where my Labour colleagues and I believe that we should be. The millionaires' tax cut is not only unfair, it’s the sort of ‘trickle down’ economics that simply doesn’t work. 
 
We need a One Nation Budget which would: cancel the tax cut for millionaires and the raid on tax credits for working families; bring back a lower 10p starting rate of tax to give 25 million people on middle and low incomes a tax cut, paid for by a mansion tax on houses over £2 million; and kick-start our flatling economy by bringing forward infrastructure investment, building thousands of affordable homes and boosting lending to small businesses.
 
The best way to bring down the benefits bills is by getting people back to work.
 
David Cameron’s ‘Bedroom Tax’ tells you all you need to know about him and his Government – unfair and totally out of touch. He’s hitting families of soldiers, foster families helping children in need of a home, disabled people, divorced parents and grandparents who like to have the kids to stay – all this remember at the same time as he is giving thousands of millionaires a tax cut of £100,000 a year. 

We need to get the housing benefit bill down but Government is  making the wrong choices, targeting vulnerable groups for a policy that may cost more than it will save.  They’ve admitted there aren’t enough smaller properties to go round so many councils will end up housing people with private landlords at higher rents. That of course is always assuming there are houses available to rent in the area, something which is certainly in doubt in Formby, Crosby, Aintree and Maghull.
 
The best way to bring down the benefits bill is to get people back to work. That’s why Labour is calling for a tough but fair Compulsory Jobs Guarantee which would offer anyone who has been out of work for more than two years a real job – one that they would be required to take, no ifs and no buts. Britain needs real welfare reform that is tough, fair and that works but the unfair bedroom tax is none of these.

George Osborne was summoned to Parliament this week to account for himself following Britain's credit rating downgrade. Losing the AAA was all the more humiliating as keeping it safe was the Tories’ main test for success or failure on the economy.
 
People across Sefton know only too well that the Government’s economic plan isn’t working.
 
Prices are rising faster than wages, nearly one million young people are out of work and our flat-lining economy means the deficit is going up not down. The Government is borrowing a staggering £212 billion more than planned - more than Labour's balanced plan would have required.
 
We desperately need a change of course and an economic plan that works.
 
We simply can't afford another two years of no growth, no jobs and living standards which for most of us are going through the floor.
 

We have just had the second reading of the Children and Families Bill, which aims to make changes to the system for supporting children and young people with special educational needs.
 
Labour is keen to make sure that this Bill delivers real and lasting improvements for the quarter of a million children across the country who need a statement of special educational needs, or Education, Health and Care Plan as they will be known under these plans.
 
But changes to graduated levels of support, will mean that the one in six pupils with mild to moderate needs which won’t qualify them for a statement, but currently means that they will get extra support either in school or from a specialist, such as an Educational Psychologist or Teacher of the Deaf, are left with uncertainty of what kind of support will be available? This will affect 7,472 children in Sefton. That's a fall of 500 in two years as fewer children are receiving help already because of the Government’s cuts.
 
This lack of information is leaving many parents to worry that their child’s needs will no longer be met. We know that councils are already having to cut specialist staff in their central special needs teams, due to the huge cuts from the Tory-Lib Dem Government, and they are already struggling to cope with the numbers of children that receive support.
 
Labour will be on the side of parents, pushing the Government to clarify this issue as the Bill goes through Committee in the coming weeks. I shall be serving on the committee over the coming weeks so please email me with your own experiences about the importance of Special Needs support for your children and tell me what effect the Government’s changes will have on your children. That way I can challenge the Government with real examples of what it means to children in Sefton. 

I want to ensure that these reforms mean that all children get the support they need to reach their potential and you can help me with that task be emailing your stories tobill.esterson.mp@parliament.uk

 

 

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