The Tories Unmasked

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In the last few weeks the Tory government have let their true colours shine through.

Their forced academisation programme is being bulldozed through despite opposition from Tory councillors, Tory MPs, parents and the schools themselves.

Junior Doctors, the backbone of the NHS who work so hard to keep us healthy and our hospitals running, have been forced into an all out strike action by the intransigence of Jeremy Hunt, who is trying to impose a contract on them which is not fair and not safe.

The Home Secretary suggested earlier this week that we should pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights.

David Cameron might make speeches about social justice and equality and fairness but actions speak louder than words and the actions of this Tory government have been nothing but unfair, unsafe and unequal. Let's not let them forget it. 

Economic Failure

 

Deficit Target Missed

  • Just a month after it was set the Government has missed its borrowing target for the year

  • In the financial year 2015-16 the Government borrowed £74bn, £1.8bn higher than had been forecast just a month beforehand in the Chancellor's March budget

  • This latest missed target follows years of Tory failure, with growth, wages, business investment and productivity all revised down, this year and every year of this Parliament. 

Unemployment Up

  • ONS quarterly statistics has shown unemployment has risen by more than 20,000

  • There are now 1.70 million unemployed people in Britain

Economic Growth Slows

  • Economic growth dropped to 0.4% in the first quarter of 2016

  • Construction output fell 0.9%

  • Industrial output, including manufacturing, fell 0.4% 

Trade Targets Missed

  • Exports are falling, with the OBR saying that Osborne is set to miss his trade target by £357 billion.

Policing Services being let down by this Government

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Police Funding Cuts

Last month, the head of the UK Statistics Authority found that the Government grant to the Police had been cut by £160 million in real-terms in this financial year despite the Chancellor’s promise to protect the Force’s budget.

Police Numbers Falling

According to the Home Office, police officer numbers have gone down by over 18,000 over the last 5 years, 12,000 of which have been from the frontline

Neighbourhood Policing Stripped Bare 

Unison survey of almost 1,000 Police and Crime Support Officers (PCSOs) confirms that neighbourhood policing is being “eroded and corroded” in England and Wales.

  • Three quarters have seen PCSO and officer numbers reduce in their neighbourhood policing team.

  • 57% of PCSOs have stopped performing some core neighbourhood policing duties and have been redeployed to work which keeps them off the beat.

  • 77% of PCSOs say that their neighbourhood policing team has become less visible since they started working as a PCSO.

  • 53% of PCSOs now regularly have to deal with work that should be the responsibility of other agencies, e.g. health service, social services etc.

 The NHS in Crisis

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Junior Doctors

  • No one wanted to see this strike go ahead, least of all junior doctors.

  • The Tories’ approach to the junior doctors dispute has been shambolic – it is undermining staff morale and harming patient care

  • Jeremy Hunt refused to back a cross-party proposal which could have helped to stop this week's strike from going ahead

  • Patients must always come first and it is time the Government accepted responsibility for their shambolic handling of these negotiations and returned to talks.

  • It is vital that Jeremy Hunt finds a solution to this dispute that does not involve imposition. If he fails to do so the only losers will be patients.

GP Appointments Crisis

  • New analysis has revealed that the number of people struggling to see their family doctor quickly is up nearly half a million from the previous year as Tory budget cuts bite.

  • 14.2 million patients waited a week or more to see or speak to a GP or didn’t get an appointment at all the last time they tried in 2015 – compared to 13.8 million the year before.

 

NHS Financial Situation

  • Last month the Public Accounts Committee report into NHS finances made clear that Ministers have no idea how they are going to make the £22 billion worth of efficiency savings they are committed to in the NHS over the next 4 years.

Forced Academisation

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  • The Government's plans to force all schools to become academies is a top-down, costly reorganisation of our schools, which nobody wants and schools don't need

  • Over 80% of the remaining non-academy schools are already rated 'good' or 'outstanding' by Ofsted.

  • The real problems in the school system are falling budgets for the first time since the mid-1990s, chronic shortages of teachers and not enough school places

  • Schools are facing a cut of 8% per pupil in real terms over the next five years

  • 50,000 teachers left the profession last year

  • Over half a million children are now in very large classes in primary, including over 40 and 50

  • One in six secondary schools are now at or over capacity

  • Forced academisation won't solve any of these serious problems that are this Government's own creation

 

Myth-buster Facts About Forced Academisation

  • “Academies improve quicker and outperform other schools.”
    • As the Education Select Committee’s recent report found, “Current evidence does not prove that academies raise standards overall or for disadvantaged children”.

    • In fact last year alone there were 100 schools that declined from being good and outstanding after they converted to academy status, and at secondary, there are now more failing academies than non-academies.

    • In some underperforming areas, all secondary schools are already academies and have been for years.

  • “Academies put power in the hands of head teachers.”
    • This policy is not about giving schools freedom, but is instead about forcing schools into multi-academy chains.

    • Once a head teacher and governing body join a chain of schools they cede many decision-making powers over to the trustees and directors.

    • The chief executive of England’s largest multi-academy chain, AET, has even admitted that there is in fact less autonomy for schools in these chains, than there is for community schools.

  •  “Academisation’ allows the Government to intervene much faster than with other schools.”
    • This is not true. Over the past six years we have seen instances where academies have underperformed for years or there have been serious cases of alleged fraud or financial impropriety at academies, and yet the Government failed to take swift and robust action.

    • According to the Public Accounts Committee, the Department for Education is simply relying on whistle-blowers when it comes to these schools.

 

Campaigning

There's just over a week left to go until the country goes to the polls to vote in council, PCC, Mayoral and Assembly elections.

The issues covered in this blog are just a small sample of the terrible things this Tory government is doing to our public services and our communities around the country.

I'll be using this week to be out on the doorstep to campaign for our fantastic Labour candidates and fight to kick sinister Tory and ineffective Lib Dems out of office. I hope you will be too.

After next week's local elections I'll be carrying on campaigning to ensure that Britain stays in Europe. If you'd like me to come and campaign with your local party please do let me know by emailing my office - sarah_coombes@labour.org.uk.

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 I also spend lots of time visiting local Labour parties around the country, talking about the kinds of issues in this email and the ways we can campaign against the Tories nationally and locally. If you'd like me to come and speak at your CLP please do get in touch with Sarah Coombes.

As a member of the Shadow Cabinet and National Executive Committee I’m always keen to hear your views and suggestions about our campaigning work against the Tories, or on any other issues. If you've any thoughts about how we are doing, or how we could do better, please do get in touch with my office.

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