New figures released today prove that the last Tory administration at Southampton City Council oversaw the biggest cut in adult social care in the entire country.
Research carried out by Liz Kendall, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Care, shows that 551 elderly people lost their free social care in the two years that Cllr Royston Smith was Leader of Southampton City Council. That’s a cut of 49%.
Southampton Labour’s John Denham MP has been campaigning for more services for adult social care in recent months.
Mr Denham said: “Today we finally see the end of Cllr Smith’s time as Southampton’s Council Leader. During that period we have seen the disgraceful cut in free social care available for our city’s elderly and vulnerable people.
“The UK is facing a growing care crisis, and unfortunately Southampton is right in the middle of it. A huge cut of 49% since 2010 – that’s 551 elderly people – in free elderly social care just goes to show that the Tories are not on the side of elderly people in Southampton.”
John Denham, Labour MP for Southampton Itchen, has responded to today’s announcement on UK unemployment figures.
Mr Denham said; “I welcome any fall in unemployment, although there are still too many young people out of work for over 6 months in my constituency.
“But there’s another story underneath the headlines. This fall in unemployment is almost entirely down to people who want full-time jobs only being able to find part time jobs, and this is an issue the Government will need to tackle.
“Unfortunately we remain in recession – a recession made in Downing Street by David Cameron and George Osborne – with no plan for growth and jobs. I fear that without a plan for growth, unemployment is likely to remain unacceptably high for years to come.”
Southampton’s Labour MPs have responded to today’s news that the UK has gone into recession.
According to the Office of National Statistics, the economy shrank by 0.2% in the first three months of 2012; it shrank by 0.3% in the last three months of 2011.
John Denham, Labour MP for Southampton Itchen said: “On Monday 550 people were told they’d lose their jobs in Southampton. Today it’s now clear the Tory-Lib Dem government has plunged the country back into recession. They have no plans for jobs or for growth so life is going to get even tougher for local families.”
Alan Whitehead, Labour MP for Southampton Test said: “For the last two years the Conservatives have ignored every warning from every quarter about the risks of cutting too far and too fast. But they continued to put their own political interests ahead of what the economy needed, and we are back in recession as a consequence. This is causing deep and lasting harm to businesses in Southampton and across the country. The Government has to face the facts now about its failed strategy. It has to get to work now on a plan for jobs and growth.”
John Denham MP has criticised the drug company Novartis for taking legal action against the NHS in Hampshire.
Mr Denham said; “Drug companies should not be using bully-boy tactics to prevent doctors and patients getting good treatment and good value for money.”
The legal action is aimed at preventing the NHS prescribing the cheaper Avastin for sight-saving treatments in preference to the more expensive Lucentis.
Mr Denham said; “What sticks in the throat is that the patent for both drugs are ultimately owned by the same drug company, Genentech. It’s true that Avastin is not approved for Wet AMD but this seems to be because drug companies are trying to force the NHS to buy their more expensive products.
“I hope the NHS wins their legal action, but this is an issue Ministers must tackle. They should stand up to the vested interests of the drugs companies and make it clear that this is unacceptable behaviour.
“Drug companies should not be using bully-boy tactics to prevent doctors and patients getting good treatment and good value for money.”
Southampton MPs have expressed deep disappointment at the closure of the British Gas call centre in the city.
Alan Whitehead and John Denham understand that 550 jobs will be lost as employees found out this morning.
Alan Whitehead, Labour MP for Southampton Test, said: “Following their announcement this morning, I’ve already pressed Centrica on what provision they are making for re-skilling and redeployment of staff they plan to make redundant. This is desperately bad news for both local employees and for Southampton. Although the growth in customers paying online may have played a part in this decision, the broader state of the economy clearly hasn’t helped.”
John Denham, Labour MP for Southampton Itchen, said: “This is bad news for Southampton. I am deeply disappointed at the loss of so many longstanding jobs. This will undoubtedly have an impact in and around Southampton, and I very much hope all those who are facing redundancy are given the support they need from British Gas.”
Tomorrow, Mary Creagh MP for Wakefield, Horbury & Ossett and Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will be visiting Southampton to lead a campaign against the ‘granny tax’. Mary will be meeting with local pensioners outside Portswood Library at 12pm and will then lead the protest against the Tory-led Government’s ‘Granny Tax’ with local MP Alan Whitehead.
Mary will also be campaigning in the Bargate area, speaking to local residents about issues of concern and what Labour can do to help them.
Alan Whitehead MP for Southampton Test commented; “The freeze in the pensioner personal allowance means pensioners in Southampton will lose an average of £75 per year from next April. People who turn 65 next year will be hit even worse, losing out by £314 a year.
John Denham challenges fellow Hampshire MPs to vote against cut to the 50p tax rate in the House of Commons today.
John Denham, Labour MP for Southampton Itchen, has written to all Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs in Hampshire to warn them that a tax break for the richest is the wrong priority at the wrong time. 300,000 people earning above £150,000 are set to gain on average £10,000 from the change in the top rate of tax.
Labour MPs will be voting against the cut to 50p tax rate today.
Figures published by the Government have now revealed that over 14,000 millionaires who currently pay tax at 50% on their earnings over £150,000 will now get a tax cut of at least £40,000 each.
* The Institute for Fiscal Studies has cast doubt over the findings of the review of the 50p rate, saying it is uncertain that the cost of cutting the 50p rate is as low as Ministers claim.
Labour today reveals the hidden costs of redundancy pay-outs in Southampton arising from David Cameron’s NHS re-organisation.
The new figures come as a leaked report from the Department of Health confirms the full costs of the reorganisation at over £3 billion.
New, official figures list the costs of NHS redundancies in every community during the first year of the Tory-led Government’s NHS re-organisation. Figures reveal that Southampton’s NHS has already been forced to spend £501,000 laying off staff – only for many expected to be re-employed elsewhere in the system. And this is just the first phase of redundancies – further damaging figures are expected in the summer.
The new figures come as a leaked Government ‘business case’ for its Health Bill confirms the vast overall costs of the Government’s NHS reorganisation. It confirms that almost £16million in Southampton is being held back from NHS patient care to pay for the reorganisation, in the form of a Government-ordered 2 per cent Primary Care Trust budget hold back in 2011-12 and 2012-13 – amounting to £3.45bn across England.
Labour’s John Denham will be voting to exempt asbestos sufferers as part of the controversial Legal Aid, currently making its way through Parliament.
Tonight Mr Denham will be voting in favour of two Lords amendments to the Legal Aid Bill, which make clear that asbestos sufferers are not part of the ‘compensation culture’ which the Bill claims to tackle. Mr Denham believes these victims should not be subject to changes that purport to deal with ‘whiplash fraud’.
Since being elected a Member of Parliament twenty years ago, Mr Denham has worked very closely with local organisations and constituents regarding the issue of asbestos sufferers. Tonight Mr Denham will continue to support sufferers in his constituency who will be hugely affected by the Tory-led Government’s proposed legislation.
The Bill’s central mechanism is to force victims (winning claimant) to pay their costs out of their damages instead of, as normally happens, the wrongdoer (losing defendant) paying the cost of bringing the claim.
Southampton MP warns that 3,800 city families could lose out from changes to Working Tax Credits and Child Tax Credits this week, whilst further welfare changes over the next year will have the greatest impact in the city’s poorest areas.
Changes to Working Tax Credits and Child Tax Credits which came into place on Friday 6 April will cost thousands of Southampton families hundreds of pounds each if they are unable to increase their hours of work.
Upcoming changes to Disability Living Allowance, Incapacity Benefit and Income Support planned for the next year will have the greatest impact in the city’s poorest wards as thousands more city residents will find themselves struggling to find work or extra hours in an already crowded job market.
* 335 Southampton families will be at risk of losing £2,600 a year if they are not able to find extra hours after the Working Tax Credit changes come in on Friday 6 April 2012. The new measures, which affect couples working a combined total of between 16 and 24 hours per week, will cost each family £50 a week if they are unable to find the extra hours.