The Great Pensions Robbery

5 December 2019

When the Tory/Liberal Democrat coalition assumed office in 2010, they launched an assault on pension provision for UK citizens.

Despite the fact that public sector pension costs were falling as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product, millions of public sector workers saw their pension age raised, their contribution levels increased and their pension payments slashed.  In short, people were forced to pay more, get less and work longer.

Not content with just attacking public sector workers, the coalition also came for the rest of the public via a raid on the state pension.  Between 2010 and 2018, the Government raised the age at which pension could be claimed from 60 to 65 for women; and then to 66, 67 and 68 for both men and women.

Such a retrograde step should be a matter of shame for any Government.

At a meeting of Adur Council on 31 October 2019, I tabled a motion committing the Council to support the campaign group ‘Women Against State Pension Inequality’ (WASPI); and calling upon the Government to make fair transitional State Pension arrangements for all women born in the 1950s women.  The motion was carried unanimously.

On his website, the Tory MP for East Worthing & Shoreham, Tim Loughton has an article entitled “Women State Pension Inequality”.  It begins by saying that “Changes that came in a number of years ago are impacting on women born in the 1950s and are seeing their pensionable age rise from 60 to 66.”

This phraseology implies that the changes came out of the ether; that they somehow just magically occurred.  They did not just magically occur.  The changes were deliberately voted through by Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs.  Among their number who voted for the changes was one Tim Loughton.

It is therefore strange to see him, as co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on State Pension Inequality, now attempting to portray himself as a friend of women affected by the changes.  His approach is akin to someone burgling your house, trashing the place and then offering to help you clean up just a little part of the mess.

Women can see right through this.  We know that Tim Loughton and his Tory and Liberal Democrat allies have committed an act of larceny in robbing us of our pension provision.  We are sick and tired of MPs who say one thing in their Constituencies and then vote entirely the opposite way in Westminster.

We will not be denied.  Fortunately, we have a chance to vote for a remedy that the Courts have denied us; and that the Tories refuse to grant us.

I have personally written to all women in East Worthing & Shoreham who are affected by these changes.  I am highlighting the fact that, if the Labour Party wins this General Election, we will address this injustice.  That means more money in the pockets of women as soon as a Labour Government takes office.

On 12 December 2019, women can vote for just that.  In East Worthing & Shoreham, there are around 4,200 women who have been detrimentally affected by these changes.  Tim Loughton’s Parliamentary majority is just 5,106.

I am standing for Labour in East Worthing & Shoreham against Tim Loughton.  I support justice for women robbed of their pension entitlement and I pledge to deliver it.

If you want pensions justice, VOTE LABOUR!

Let’s end a decade of Tory Education failure

 26 November 2019

The Tories have failed our children.

Almost a decades of cuts have left our schools struggling to cope.  Our teachers are under extraordinary pressure as they are asked to deliver more and more with fewer and fewer resources.  Parents, many already hard-pressed themselves as a result of austerity, are being asked to plug the gaps and meet the funding shortfall.

In East Worthing & Shoreham Constituency, the funding per pupil from 2015/16 to 2020/21 is short by £145.  The annual funding shortfall for this Constituency’s schools for 2020/21 is £2,098,949.  The total funding shortfall for our schools from 2015-21 is £15,921,845.  The percentage of our schools with a funding shortfall by 2020/21 is 88%.  These are scandalous figures.

This cannot continue.  We cannot afford the Tories in Government.  Our children certainly cannot – and their futures depend on change.

Labour will establish a National Education Service that meets their needs.  We will invest in our children’s futures.

We will provide free school meals for all primary school children.  We will give 30 hours free childcare for all 2-4 year olds.  We will reduce class sizes for 5, 6 and 7 year olds.  We will abolish tuition fees.

We will work with our teachers and parents to provide quality education with no child left behind.  We will address the inadequate provision for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

Education must be about decent provision for all that gives our children the best possible start in life and enables them to grow and develop to reach their full potential.

We will end privatisation and academisation in our education, putting our children’s futures before profit.  We will also bring proper levels of investment to build schools capable of meeting the need of local communities.  That investment will also include recruitment of more teachers to reduce classroom sizes and to tackle the scourge of stress among our education professionals.

Our children need us to give them a future.  If you want to do that, the only way to do it in this constituency is clear – VOTE LABOUR!

The Tories Have Failed – It’s Time for Change 

30 October 2019

Yesterday, Parliament voted for a General Election to take place on 12 December 2019. The stakes for the future of our nation have rarely been higher.

The Tories failed to win a majority at the last General Election in 2017. They have clung to power by paying a ransom to the DUP to prop them up. The Prime Minister who called that election, Theresa May, has since fallen, having made a complete mess of Brexit negotiations by failing to get an acceptable deal capable of passing Parliament.

Boris Johnson is now Prime Minister. It should be noted that we have an electorate of just over 45 million people in this country. Johnson was elected Prime Minister by just 92,153 members of the Conservative Party. To put that into perspective, it amounts to 0.2% of the electorate – 99.8% of voters have had no say in the matter.

Now we have a chance to pass our verdict on him. It is worth reflecting on his performance and his character before we do so.

Since his ascendancy, he has lost every crucial vote in the House of Commons, sacked 21 of his MPs, prorogued Parliament unlawfully and now left himself with a Parliamentary ‘majority’ of minus 45. In spite of this, he had the audacity to call a State Opening of Parliament to lay out a programme that he knew would never see the light of day.

Johnson won the Tory leadership on a promise of getting Brexit done. He promised to secure a better deal than Theresa May’s deal. He promised it would be done by 31 October 2019, no ifs or buts, do or die. He promised that he would rather die in ditch than ask for an extension to the deadline. He promised his friends in the DUP that he would never put a border down the Irish Sea.

Boris Johnson has broken every promise. He has capitulated to the EU in negotiations and brought back a deal that is worse than Theresa May’s. He has failed to deliver Brexit by 31 October 2019. He has asked for an extension to the deadline. He has put a border down the Irish Sea.

If this is how he treats his friends, imagine the contempt with which he will treat you.

The Tories have had three and a half years to deliver Brexit. They have conspired to bring back two shoddy deals that have broken every promise they made, failed four times to secure a majority for them, lost two Parliamentary majorities and lost one Prime Minister with another now in office but not in power. By any objective test, the Tories are a shambles.

Johnson’s call for a General Election is a stage-managed ploy to deflect from his failures. Holding a General Election in December has numerous anti-democratic features: students may not be at their colleges; less voter engagement may take place due to dark, cold nights and the distractions of Christmas; turnout may fall. Johnson knows this, but he does not care for democracy. He cares only for power for himself and his privileged elite.

All the difficulties aside, the election is on. Our task is now to vote out these scoundrels masquerading as an elected Government. They have no respect for democracy.

Johnson’s plan is to position the election as a battle between the people and parliament in order to mask his failures, portraying himself as the people’s champion in doing so. Nobody should be fooled. Johnson is the epitome of the privileged elite that have given us a decade of damaging austerity. He has caused misery to millions of people. He now seeks a Parliamentary majority for a hard Brexit to enable him to rip up protections for workers and implement an unregulated economy which sells our public services , including our NHS, which Donald Trump views as “on the table” in trade negotiations.

He must be stopped. Fortunately, there is a way. The election of a Labour Government would herald a different direction. Labour would negotiate a jobs first Brexit with protections for our citizens and then give people a say on the deal. Most crucially, Labour has the policies to transform people’s lives for the better. The Tories have nothing to offer but more misery.

In East Worthing & Shoreham Constituency, there is a clear choice. The sitting Tory MP Tim Loughton has a majority of just 5,106. He has voted consistently in Parliament for the austerity measures that have brought misery to millions.

If you want to stop Johnson’s nightmare plan for our future, the only way to do it in this constituency is clear – VOTE LABOUR!

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