Cameron must be held to account over broken promises
- 04:27 pm, Mon 23rd Aug 2010
During the General Election campaign the local Conservatives Party accused us of scaremongering about the issue of free bus travel for pensioners and the Winter Fuel Allowance.
They said the idea that they would cut back these schemes was a fiction.
David Cameron himself during the live debates said “let me say very clearly to pensioners if you have a Conservative Government your Winter Fuel Allowance, your bus pass, your Pension Credit, your free TV licence all these things are safe. You can read my lips, that is a promise from my heart. Don’t believe the lies you’re being told by the Labour Party just because they’ve got nothing positive to say.”
But recent news stories have shown us that that millions of pensioners are now in the sights of the Conservative axe.
Transport Secretary Philip Hammond wants to raise the age of eligibility for the free bus pass from 60 to 65 within two years. This change was not due to take place until 2020, when it would have brought the bus passes in line with the new universal retirement age.
This much more rapid change that he proposes would penalise millions of women who will retire before the age of 65 and will be left ineligible for free travel.
Now we hear that ministers are discussing raising the qualifying age for the Winter Fuel Allowance from 60 to 66, if not higher, as well as substantially reducing the payments.
Millions of older people across the country rely on support provided by Winter Fuel payments, and with the rising energy prices it is often the only way that many pensioners can afford to heat their homes during the winter.
The Conservatives made these promises to people here in Bolton and all across the country. If they go back on their word now, at the expense of some of the most vulnerable, they must be held to account.
David Miliband’s website has set up a simple system through which you can email the Prime Minister and express your concerns about his broken promises. I urge you use it and let the Prime Minister know what strong feeling there is on this issue.
I will continue my work on the protection of these important benefits for pensioners and hold Mr Cameron to his word.
The Conservatives have let young people down on this important day
- 10:14 am, Thu 19th Aug 2010
Today students across the country will be receiving their A-Level results and making plans for their future. Many will be hoping to go on to university and others will be joining school leavers and university graduates in the hunt for employment.
Today should mark the start of new directions and new opportunities for young people, but unfortunately for some the opportunities simply won’t be there.
The Conservative lead Government scrapped 10,000 extra University places that would have been available this year. At a time when more young people than ever are hoping to go to university this was clearly a short sighted decision that will leave students with good grades unable to enter university.
The cuts to the future jobs fund will be felt especially hard in the coming months. 90,000 extra jobs for young people would have been created. With no guarantee of work or training after six months, young people will now be left to linger on Jobseekers Allowance during this incredibly tough time.
The Government need to recognise that their policies will leave many young without the opportunities that they deserve in both education and employment. If action is not taken soon, a whole generation of talent could be lost.
We need to support our young people by providing them with opportunities to achieve their full potential whatever path they choose. Our country can only benefit from the encouragement and development of our young people.
Bolton Mountain Rescue
- 12:08 pm, Tue 17th Aug 2010
I recently visited the headquarters of Bolton Mountain Rescue to meet with the President, Bob Hutchinson, and his team. It was good to hear about all the hard work that they have continued to put in since my last visit and I was very pleased when they told me about their plans for the future.
The team have just ordered three new Land Rover Defender 110 Utility Vehicles to help with their activities. We were joined by Mark Grundy of Bolton Community and Voluntary Services, who has just donated £3000 to help pay for these. I was honoured to present him with a plaque of appreciation from the Bolton Mountain Rescue Team to Bolton CVS as thanks for their generous contribution.
We were also joined by Christine Baldwin from Asda who, after learning about the work of Bolton Mountain Rescue, offered them the chance to present a business case to Asda’s Foundation Sponsorship Programme which could lead to a sponsorship deal in the future. This is very positive news.
I would like to thank Bolton Mountain Rescue for meeting with me, and I shall continue to support them however I can in the future.
For more information on Bolton Mountain Rescue visit www.boltonmrt.org.uk