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You may have heard that Chorley A&E has recently been forced to close unexpectedly. Chorley Hospital can now only treat minor injuries and illnesses but not life threatening conditions. The hospital claim they have been unable to recruit enough staff to run the service and there is no clear timescale for it to re-open. 

This raises a number of concerns about Accident and Emergency care around the region. Patients from Chorley and surrounding areas still need to go somewhere and this will undoubtedly have an impact on some combination of Preston, Wigan, Blackburn and Bolton Hospitals.

Last year the Royal Bolton Hospital was forced to declare a “major incident”, diverting people away from the Hospital due to the huge demands on A&E. This year we have seen several reports of patients left waiting over 8 hours for treatment. If their service is already struggling at times of high demand it is worrying that there could be even more pressure put on local services.

I have written to the Chief Executive of the Royal Bolton Hospital to ask what measures are being taken to ensure that our A&E can cope with any overflow from Chorley and I shall be working closely with other Labour MPs to monitor the situation across the region.

Chorley A&E Closure

You may have heard that Chorley A&E has recently been forced to close unexpectedly. Chorley Hospital can now only treat minor injuries and illnesses but not life threatening conditions. The...

A number of local residents have been in contact with me over the last few weeks to express their concern about the removal of Night Bus services between Manchester City Centre and Bolton.

This follows a number of issues across the town with long established bus routes being withdrawn. I made enquiries with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) to ask for further information on the situation.

Most bus services across Greater Manchester are operated by privately owned companies, while TfGM provides a number of additional services that are of benefit to the community but which may not be as profitable for private providers.

The Government have drastically cut the budgets available to the ten Greater Manchester Councils, which in turn has caused a significant cut to TfGM’s budget. In the last two years the budget for supported services has fallen by 20% a cash total of £7.3m a year.

The cuts have led to a reduction in the number of existing supported bus services, and made it much harder to find extra funds for TfGM to intervene when private companies chose to withdraw from certain routes.

Funding for Night Buses as a supported service was actually withdrawn in October 2014, but First Manchester agreed to continue the 8, 36 and 39 services as commercial operations. I know that many people will be disappointed if these services go completely now that First Manchester have withdrawn.

With no late night train services from Manchester and no buses local residents will find themselves unable to stay late in Manchester unless they can afford high taxi fares, stay over until morning, or find a generous friend who can provide a lift.

This continued erosion of our public transport flies in the face of the Government’s claims to be creating a “Northern Powerhouse”. It limits opportunities for local residents in both their work and social lives.

I shall be contacting the Secretary of State for Transport to again lobby for additional support to be given to Bolton’s public transport infrastructure, including funding for supported bus services.

Night Bus Services

A number of local residents have been in contact with me over the last few weeks to express their concern about the removal of Night Bus services between Manchester City...

 

In my last blog about the budget I spoke about how the Chancellor’s failures have prolonged his cuts agenda and how this has hurt our public services. Now I’d like to address the more direct consequences of his decisions on households all across the country.

The budget revealed that average earnings and real household disposable income have been revised down for every year of the forecast. Household debt continues to rise. Foodbanks, homelessness and in-work poverty are all on the rise.

In the face of that the Tories have decided to ignore the issues facing ordinary families and instead continue cutting taxes for big businesses and high earners.

They talked about helping young people to save for a house; but denying everyone under 25 the upcoming rise in the minimum wage and failing to act on the burden of high rents ensures that home ownership will be an unattainable dream for huge numbers of young people.

Two million low-wage families are set to lose on average £1,600 a year from Universal Credit cuts, in spite of promises not to cut the tax credits that UC replaces.

640,000 disabled people will see their Personal Independence Payments reduced or stopped all together. The change applies directly to people who struggle to get dressed or undressed, and people who struggle to use the toilet. They will lose between £1,414 and £2,865 a year from their income.

Plus those with disabilities who need extra help to get into work will also see a loss of £30 a week now that the Government has forced through changes to Employment Support Allowance.

These are active choices being made by this Government. Higher rate tax payers will be £523 a year better off thanks to changes to income tax. A cut to capital gains tax in 2017 actually gives away more money than the PIP changes bring in.

The Conservatives budget has unfairness built into it. They hit out at people on low incomes and disabled people while at the same time giving handouts to those at the top. Their priorities are backwards and it is simply disgraceful.

Budget response: Household incomes and disability support

  In my last blog about the budget I spoke about how the Chancellor’s failures have prolonged his cuts agenda and how this has hurt our public services. Now I’d...

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