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[16/09/2014 | No comment]

sunpol_3On Sunday 14 September I appeared on the BBC’s East Midlands Sunday Politics programme. We discussed care homes in the region, the East Midlands economy and the Scottish independence referendum.

You can watch the programme again here – the East Midlands part of the programme begins at 37 minutes in.

[12/09/2014 | No comment]

foreign_1I spoke in a recent House of Commons debate on foreign affairs, which focused on events in Ukraine, Syria and Iraq, and the wider Middle East. I argued that the challenges we face today and the nature of global risk mean that we will only achieve security for British citizens if we seek to influence and engage with the world, not retreat from it.

You can read my speech in the Official Report here.

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my priorities »

Jobs, skills and training »

[09/09/2014 | No comment]

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Lidl have been given permission to build a new store on Fosse Road North, which requires the demolition of what remains of St Augustine Church and the vacant Empire Pub.

Alongside the local ward Councillors, Ted Cassidy and Sue Waddington, I’ve been working hard to make sure that the views of my constituents were put at the heart of this decision. You can read my report here and the planner’s report here.

I know that many will be disappointed that the Empire couldn’t be brought back into use and renovated to its former glory. However, lots of my constituents were in favour of the Lidl proposal and I’ll now be working to maximize the benefits for local people. I am very pleased that the elected Councillors on the Planning and Development Control Committee added a condition to the planning permission, which requires Lidl to produce a local jobs plan for every stage of this development and I’ll now be working with them to ensure that the jobs go tos my constituents.

 

Caring for older people » Speeches » Supporting families »

[09/09/2014 | No comment]

On Monday 8 September I spoke at a meeting at TUC Congress on a new deal for older workers organised by Unions21.

One of the biggest challenges facing many older employees is juggling work with caring for elderly or disabled relatives. There are more than 6 million unpaid family carers in Britain. 60% are women, many of whom feel really stretched because they’re looking after a frail or sick parent – and helping out with the grandchildren, too. For working carers, this often becomes too much, and they have to give up work or reduce their hours.

Labour’s Older Women’s Commission has called for more flexible working arrangements for family carers, including new ‘adjustment leave’: a short-term period of leave or flexibility to help employees deal with an immediate crisis in care and to allow time to adjust to a new caring role. A future Labour Government will consult with employers, trade unions and carers organisations on how to improve flexibility for working carers, including through measures like adjustment leave.

You can read coverage of this story in the Mirror here and I’ve written an article for the LabourList website here.

Caring for older people » Supporting families »

[09/09/2014 | No comment]

bedroom-tax-photo-with-Rachel-Reeves-2-540x4061On Friday 5 September, I voted in the House of Commons to support the Affordable Homes Bill – a proposed change in the law which would exempt some people from having to pay the bedroom tax. The Bill passed its Second Reading, despite the opposition of Conservative MPs.

Whilst this Bill doesn’t fully abolish the bedroom tax, as Labour has been calling for since September 2013, Labour MPs will seek to amend and strengthen it.

I’ve seen firsthand the huge distress and financial hardship caused by this tax, which hits some of the most vulnerable people in our city. Many of the 2,400 people currently affected in Leicester are genuinely sick and disabled. Moving is not an option for them as they need a room for their partner or children who provide vital care. Hitting these families with an average bill of £720 a year whilst handing millionaires an average tax cut of £100,000 is completely wrong.

We’ve been clear and consistent in our opposition to the bedroom tax. Even if this Bill doesn’t make it into law, the next Labour Government will abolish the bedroom tax immediately.