Campaigning for Labour in Barnsley East
Labour launches Manifesto - a plan to secure the finances of our nation and improve the finances of working families
14 April 2015
Michael attended the launch of the Labour Party Manifesto yesterday, where Ed Miliband outlined a plan to secure the nation's finances so that we can reward hard work, share prosperity and improve family finances.
During the launch of the Manifesto in Manchester, Ed Miliband set out the details of the new Budget Responsibility Lock by which Labour will secure the nation’s finances. This guarantees:
- Every policy in the Manifesto is paid for without requiring any additional borrowing.
- The first line of the Labour Government’s first Budget will be that it “cuts the deficit every year” and this will be verified by the Office for Budget Responsibility.
- Strong, fair fiscal rules, on which any government led by Ed Miliband will not compromise, to balance the books.
Ed Miliband also contrasted Labour’s responsible approach with the Conservative Party, which has been spraying around unfunded, unfair, and unbelievable spending promises while also promising to make deeper cuts than in the last five years.
Instead, Labour has set out a series of affordable and fully-funded new policies, which shows how we will improve families’ finances, reward hard work and share prosperity. These include:
- Raising the minimum wage to more than £8 by October 2019 – accelerating increases to guarantee they reach this level before the end of the next Parliament
- Helping train passengers and commuters with a fully-funded fare freeze
- Supporting the squeezed middle with a firm commitment not to raise the basic or higher rate of income tax, National Insurance or VAT.
- Protecting tax credits in the next parliament, to back working families
- Introducing a new National Primary Childcare Service to help working parents.
Newcastle Chronicle: “Shadow Transport Secretary says UK bus companies behaving like 'a bunch of gangsters'”
14 April 2015
Following Michael’s visit to Newcastle last week, the Newcastle Chronicle has reported on his comments about the need for big reforms to how local bus services are run.
As quoted in the article, Michael set out why Labour’s bus reforms are so important. He said:
“We are seeing scare stories being put about by companies like Stagecoach who frankly are acting like a bunch of gangsters in this area, holding the communities here in the North East to ransom.
“The bus companies get big subsidies and they are making profits.
Their top executives are making millions of pounds and big bonuses.
“I can see why they don’t want change but we can’t afford no change here in Newcastle, because across the North East we have seven million fewer miles of bus routes now compared with 2010.
“There are 2,000 bus routes that have been cut across the country and at the same time bus fares have gone up on average 27 per cent since 2010.
“We have got a crisis in terms of buses. Labour is absolutely determined to do something about it.”
Michael visits Stockton and Newcastle and sets out Labour’s plans to hand more power to communities over local bus services
13 April 2015
Michael visited Stockton and Newcastle on Friday to highlight Labour’s plans to put power over bus services back in the hands of local communities and passengers.
Bus fares have rocketed by 27 per cent since 2010 at the same time as over 2,000 routes have been cut. In the North East, there are now seven million fewer miles of bus services compared to five years ago.
Labour wants to put communities and passengers in control of local bus services. We will hand powers back to local communities in the North East to save crucial bus routes, especially in rural areas where people are seeing their bus routes cut or removed.
Campaigning for Labour in Barnsley East
9 April 2015
And campaigning for Labour across the country.
Labour launches local election campaign with pledge to give more powers to communities to run their local bus services
08 April 2015
Michael spoke at the launch of Labour’s 2015 local election campaign in Leeds on Tuesday 7 April.
Labour has given a bold devolution pledge to reverse a century of centralisation by giving back an unprecedented £30 billion of funding from Whitehall over five years.
This will enable the creation of economic powerhouses in every region, backed by new freedoms.
Labour’s better plan for English devolution includes giving city and county regions more powers over how their local bus services are run.
You can read Michael’s full speech here and see media reports of the launch below:
Yorkshire Post - Labour weights into broken bus market
Sheffield Star - New plan needed to end bus fare rip-off says Labour
LocalGov - Labour unveils sweeping devolution pledge
Halifax Courier - Labour vows to end bus deregulation
BBC Look North – click here and scroll to 10:44
BBC Radio Leeds – interview with Michael, click here and scroll to 1:11:00
Michael congratulates Barnsley's Jim Andrews on his BEM
06 April 2015
Last Thursday, Michael was at a packed Barnsley Town Hall as Barnsley deputy leader, Cllr Jim Andrews, was honoured with the British Empire Medal (BEM).
Jim Andrews, who has been a Barnsley councillor for 29 years and has also been the longstanding chair of the South Yorkshire Fire Authority, was awarded the honour is the Queen's New Year's Honours List for services to local government.
Jim was presented the BEM by the Lord Lieutenant, David Moody, who made it his last official duty before retiring from the post.
Commenting, Michael said:
"It was a great occasion not just for Jim and his family, but for the whole of Barnsley.
"Jim has worked incredibly hard over so many years, his honour is thoroughly well-deserved."
Football fans face Easter misery thanks to the Government’s Easter rail shut down
3 April 2015
There will be 34 Premiership and Championship matches over the long Easter weekend (Friday 3 April to Monday 6 April). But despite this large fixture list, Ministers are allowing trains not to run on large parts of the track.
This means that hundreds of thousands of supporters will face long delays or have to take to the roads to follow their teams. Overall, football fans travelling to 18 (over 50 per cent) of the scheduled Premiership and Championship matches will be affected by delays and disruption caused by the Government’s massive Easter rail shutdown.
Nearly a million football fans faced travel disruption on Boxing Day and then over 100,000 passengers were affected by the rail chaos in the following days. The Government was warned of the potential problems in advance, but didn’t scrutinise the planned level of maintenance work and failed to act.
Ministers are yet again set to allow large parts of the rail network to shut down over a busy holiday period and have done nothing to suggest they have learnt from their mistakes.
Commenting, Michael Dugher, the Shadow Transport Secretary, said:
“Out of touch transport ministers will be no doubt sat at home with their feet up over the Easter weekend but, just like on Boxing Day, hundreds of thousands of people will want to travel to see family and also to follow their football team on one of the busiest fixture lists of the season.
“Ministers were asleep on the job over the Christmas period and there is little to suggest they have learnt from their mistakes. We have seen no evidence that Ministers have adequately scrutinised the level of planned engineering works or ensured that the necessary contingency plans are in place.
“As usual, it will be hard-pressed passengers - who've already seen their fares go up by more than 20 per cent on average since 2010 - who will suffer.
“That's why we need Labour's better plan for the railways: action on rip-off fares, but big changes to see more public control and for the first time a strong passenger voice in the running of our railways.”
The Mirror: “Get a grip of railways to avoid repeat of Christmas travel chaos this Easter, Labour tells Tories”
2 April 2015
The Tory-led Government’s decision to allow another rail shutdown during an important public holiday is set to cause travel misery for millions of people this Easter.
As reported in the Mirror, Michael has written to the Transport Secretary, Patrick Mcloughlin, seeking assurances that there will be no repeat of the Christmas rail chaos. The Government was warned by the rail regulator and the Labour Party ahead of the Christmas rail chaos, but they failed to act and over 100,000 passengers were affected by the massive delays and disruptions.
Unfortunately, there is no evidence that Tory Ministers have learnt the lessons from the Christmas rail chaos and adequately scrutinised the scale of the planned engineering work over Easter, or ensured that there are robust contingencies in place.
Commenting, and quoted in the Mirror, Michael Dugher said:
“It is clear that ministers have not learnt the lessons from the Christmas rail chaos and hard-pressed passengers now face yet more unacceptable disruption over Easter.
“Ministers ignored warnings from both Labour and the regulator ahead of Christmas and the travelling public should not have to put up with a repeat performance with the coming Easter rail shutdown.
“Labour’s better plan for the railways will mean more public control, action on rip-off fares, long term investment and a strong passenger voice for the first time.”
You can also read the full letter to the Transport Secretary below:
Secretary of State for Transport
Great Minsiter House
33 Horseferry Road
31 March 2015
Dear Secretary of State,
As you will be aware, rail passengers have suffered poor service over the last five years as the network has become less reliable and ticket prices have risen by over 20 per cent on average.
Despite warnings from both the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) and the Labour Party, the complete Christmas shut down of the rail network, which Ministers allowed to happen, lead to unacceptable delays and disruption for thousands of passengers.
The chaotic scenes we saw at Finsbury Park in December have been replicated in more recent weeks at London Bridge. This has not given the travelling public any confidence that Ministers and Network Rail have learnt from their mistakes from the Christmas rail chaos.
Network Rail has now announced new work that will cause major disruption and delays over the Easter period. This planned Easter shutdown is raising serious questions about the competence of Ministers and whether the necessary robust contingency plans have been put in place.
I would therefore be grateful if you could answer the following questions about what work you have done in the lead up to Easter to ensure we don’t see a repeat of the Christmas rail chaos:
· How many times have you personally met with senior executives at Network Rail to seek assurances about the contingency plans being put in place?
· What assurance have you sort that there will not be a repeat of the chaos we saw over the Christmas period?
· What assessment have you made of the scale of the planned work and whether the contingency plans are adequate?
· What specific plans have been put in place to ensure that members of the public who will attending sporting events will not be left stranded and unable to attend or return home?
· What changes were made following the Christmas rail chaos in the management of Network Rail?
I hope that you can provide some reassurance that you have actually heeded warnings this time and that you have taken the necessary steps to ensure there will be no repeat of the Christmas rail chaos.
Given the amount of public concern ahead of the Easter rail shutdown, I will be releasing this letter to this press.
Shadow Transport Secretary