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For the last seven years we’ve been subject to the Tories austerity agenda. They told us that their approach might be painful in the short term but it would be good for the country and good for individuals in the long term.

This budget showed us once again that this simply is not true.

  • Growth projections have tumbled
  • Productivity is low
  • The national debt has more than doubled to £1.8trillion
  • Our public services are struggling every day
  • The cost of living crisis continues to make life hard for millions of British citizens

The Conservative’s approach has failed. This was their chance to change direction, but they simply offered more of the same. There is no end in sight to austerity.

We were offered little suggestions that they might be taking an interest in the issues that people care about, but it was all half measures or empty promises.

Some extra money for the NHS but far less than what’s needed. Tweaks to Universal Credit, but not the pause and full review we need to really fix the core problems that are pushing people into debt and poverty. A little money for wifi on TransPennine trains but no mention of the major infrastructure investment needed to modernise our transport system in the North.

Even their headline measure, scrapping stamp duty for first time buyers on homes up to £300k. It’s a nod to London, people up here aren’t spending that kind of money on a house. Those who are looking to buy are more worried about the fact that there aren’t enough affordable houses available and it’s such a struggle to earn enough to save for a deposit.

It was a nothing budget with ideas that people will have forgotten within a few days. There was no mention of social care, police, schools or early years education.

This is a Government with no ideas and no vision for our country’s future.

We need to invest in our infrastructure, our services and our citizens. This budget shows that it is time for a fresh start and a new approach.

No vision, no help. A budget that offers nothing for Bolton

For the last seven years we’ve been subject to the Tories austerity agenda. They told us that their approach might be painful in the short term but it would be...

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You may remember that at the start of 2017 there was a consultation held across Greater Manchester on a set of proposals called the spatial framework.

The Greater Manchester Spatial Framework is a plan to identify potential development sites for homes and jobs over the next 18 years.

If you need a reminder you can see an overview of the plans for our area here and my response to the consultation here.

More than 27,000 people responded to the consultation and I’m sure local residents will be interested to know what will happen next.

Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, has listened to concerns about the use of green belt land and has asked for the proposals to be overhauled.

Work will continue on this in the coming months, and the new plan will be published in June 2018. This will be followed by a new 12-week public consultation period.

The redrafted spatial framework will aim to make the most of Greater Manchester’s brownfield sites and reduce the impact on greenbelt.

I’m very pleased that Andy is putting residents’ views above those of developers. I will be sharing further updates as they become available.

Update: Spatial Framework

You may remember that at the start of 2017 there was a consultation held across Greater Manchester on a set of proposals called the spatial framework. The Greater Manchester Spatial...

I have long supported a ban on the sale of ivory in order to protect elephants.

Since 2006 the total number of elephants in Africa has decreased by approximately 21%, with numbers of savanna elephants alone declining by 30% (equal to 144,000 elephants) between 2007 and 2014, primarily due to poaching.

One of the ways to stop poaching is to end the demand for ivory, and that means stopping sales outright.

At the last election the Conservatives quietly dropped plans for an outright ban from their manifesto. I recently signed an open letter to the Prime Minister organised by Action For Elephants calling on the Government to introduce the ban.

I’m proud to say that following this the Government have begun a consultation and draft legislation is expected in the New Year.

Full details of the consultation and how to respond can be found here. The deadline for submissions is 29th December.

The EU are also holding a consultation on their approach to the ivory trade. You can find details here. The deadline to fill out this questionnaire is Friday 8th December.

Let’s ban ivory sales

Delighted longstanding anti-ivory campaigner @DavidCrausby MP has signed Early Day Motion 11 to #StopTheIvoryTrade - https://t.co/jJaafXeNfi pic.twitter.com/H4Y7pRPwyl — IFAW UK Political (@IFAWWestminster) July 25, 2017 I have long supported a...

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