Mencap’s “Hear my Voice” campaign is working to ensure that Britain’s 1.4 million people with a learning disability are heard in the run up to the General Election. I was delighted to support one of their local events at the Brite Centre in Braunstone.
I met with a group of disabled constituents and we discussed a wide range of issues, from difficulties with filling out benefit forms to support for carers. They were really supportive of my position on the bedroom tax, which is to have it scrapped immediately.
I’m passionate about education, because it holds the key to a better future for so many of my constituents. That’s why I’m backing Labour’s recently announced plan to protect the Department for Education’s entire £58 billion budget if we win the General Election on May 7th.
This proposal is really important because I don’t think our children’s centres and colleges could cope with the scale of damaging cuts planned by other parties. But it’s not just a question of money, we’ll also cap class sizes at 30 for 5, 6 and 7 year olds and double the number of childcare places offered by our children’s centres.
A significant investment was made in building Westcotes Health Centre under the last Labour Government. It should be providing a wide range of high quality GP and community health services but I’m very concerned that much of the building isn’t being fully used.
There are currently two GP practices, some district nursing, a specialist dental service and Brennan Pharmacy. However, the centre has space to offer a lot more, which is way I’ve met with local NHS bosses to once again press for action to make better use of this community asset. Under the new structures of the NHS, there seemed to be a lack of clear responsibility for this building.
I stressed the importance of giving local people a say on the services they would like to see and with this in mind, I’ll be carrying out a large community survey and holding a public meeting. Please get in touch if you’re a patient at the centre or if this is a topic that interests you.
Our public services are facing tight budgets and increasing demand so we need to look at new ways of improving services even when there’s less money around. This means putting the users of public services in the driving seat because politicians in Westminster can’t fix everything from the centre.
Whether it’s your local school, library or GP practice, you know best what you want and need and you’ve probably got a good idea about how services could be run more efficiently too. That’s why I want to give you more control over the services you use. I’ve been working on a project with another MP, Steve Reed, to see how this is being done well in other areas of the country. I’m determined to bring these lessons to Leicester and to champion people power in public services across the country. You can read a pamphlet we published on this topic here.