My constituent Jayne Linney recently came to Parliament to present a petition urging the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee to hold Iain Duncan-Smith to account for his persistent misuse of statistics about disability benefit claimants.
An online petition organised by Jayne has gathered more than 105,000 signatures, and I presented it to Parliament along with Kate Green, Labour’s Shadow Disability Minister. The petition has been successful and the Work and Pensions Committee has since announced it will grill the Secretary of State on his use of statistics on 9th December.
I’m very pleased to have been able to help Jayne and her fellow campaigners, and ensure their voices heard loud and clear in Parliament.
On Tuesday 12 November, Labour forced a debate in the House of Commons to try and get the Government to repeal their bedroom tax. I’m sorry to say that the Tories and Lib Dems won the vote and they chose to keep this deeply unfair policy.
I’ve seen firsthand the huge distress and financial hardship caused by the bedroom 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.
The bedroom tax is also likely to end up costing taxpayers more, as many people are forced to move to more expensive private rented housing which will lead to higher benefit bills.
That’s why the next Labour will abolish the bedroom tax immediately, if we are elected.
My research has revealed that pensioners face paying £150,000 for residential care before they hit the so-called ‘cap on care costs’.
The average national figure to be funded by pensioners is more than double the £72,000 which Minsters have claimed.
Here in the East Midlands, pensioners will face paying more than £190,000 before they reach the ‘cap’ – higher than any other region in the country.
My analysis also shows the vast majority of elderly people – 6 out of 7 – will have died before they reach the ‘cap’.
David Cameron isn’t being straight with elderly people about how much they will really have to pay for their care under his Government’s new funding proposals. I think elderly people and their families deserve to be told the facts, so they can properly plan for the future, rather than have the Government attempt to pull the wool over their eyes.
Details of my research and the estimated costs for each region in England can be found below:
Bridge House provides safe and secure accommodation for women and children who’ve had to flee their homes because of domestic violence. This excellent project is run by Action Homeless, a charity that supports around 600 people in Leicester every year.
One of the young women I met, Becky, told me how her life had been turned around during the year she’d stayed at Bridge House. As well as providing a safe place to stay for her and her son, Becky had help with finding training, sorting out her debts, and getting a flat. Becky now wants to use her experiences to help other women who’ve had to flee their homes.
I think women’s refuges play a vital role in helping women who have suffered from domestic violence to rebuild their lives. That’s why I’m backing Action Homeless’ Winter Appeal, which aims to raise £10,000 to fund safe and secure places for children to play. You can find out more about their appeal here or donate directly by clicking here.