Friday 11 December 2015

My 2015 Christmas Card Design Competition

Alice and Kieran
Today, I announced the winner of my Christmas Card Design Competition

The design by Kieran Cooke, aged 10 a pupil attending Hindley Green Community Primary School, Thomas Street was judged the winning entry with the runner up design submitted by Alice Hughes, aged 10 a pupil of St Oswald’s Catholic Primary School, Ashton in Makerfield.

Now in its fifth year the competition received hundreds of entries from primary schools across the Makerfield constituency making the process of selecting a winner and runner up very difficult
for me.
Kieran Cooke, aged 10
Alice Hughes, aged 10
At a special assembly held at Hindley Green CP School, I presented Kieran and Alice each with a gift and told them that the card would be sent to important figures in the world of politics including the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and locally to the Mayor of Wigan.

The entries this year were most impressive and it was very hard to choose an overall winner but Kieran’s design of a colourful and happy house reminded me that at the heart of a wonderful Christmas for so many is the opportunity to be with family and friends. Alice’s design of the baby Jesus and the little donkey is an image of Christ’s birth that we can all identify with.

Mrs D Affleck, Principal of Hindley Green Community Primary School said, “We are absolutely delighted that Kieran has won this fantastic competition. We are proud of his achievement; what a great start to the holiday season.”

Monday 16 November 2015

Thursday 29 October 2015

Let the Home Heat helpline cut your energy bills this winter

With winter fast approaching, I am encouraging local residents to call a free helpline to find out what help they may be entitled to with their energy costs.

Launched ten years ago, Home Heat Helpline is a free, impartial and confidential service offering support to anyone concerned about paying their energy bills and staying warm during winter. The help available includes grants for insulation, new boilers, discount schemes and rebate schemes; including the Warm Home Discount which provides eligible households with £140 off their electricity bill.

I would urge anyone who is concerned about staying warm in the run up to winter to call Home Heat Helpline on 0800 33 66 99 and seek advice. I would also ask people to look out for neighbours, friends or relatives who may be in difficulty and make sure that they are aware of the Home Heat Helpline and consider calling on their behalf."

Eligible people include vulnerable, low-income households. New figures show that over 450,000 people have used the services in the last decade to help them manage their energy bills and energy efficiency.

There are also some other simple steps people can take in reducing their energy. For example:

switch off the heating when you are out
turn appliances like TVs and phone chargers off at the wall rather than leaving them on standby
        when they're not being used
replace normal light bulbs with energy efficient ones which use up to 80% less energy
move furniture away from radiators and heaters to allow heat to circulate around the room

You can also view more information at the link.

Thursday 22 October 2015

Don't let Halloween turn into a real horror story!

I am campaigning to raise awareness of the potential fire risks of children’s fancy dress costumes.

TV presenter Claudia Winkleman’s daughter, Matilda, was seriously burned wearing a flammable witches’ outfit while trick or treating last year.

I know that children love dressing up, particularly over the Halloween period, which is why I was shocked to hear about this horrific incident.

Currently, the law classes fancy dress costumes as toys rather than clothes meaning that they undergo far less rigorous safety tests. But Sainsbury’s and other supermarkets have introduced more stringent testing.

I will certainly be taking the message about the dangers of some of these fancy dress outfits to my own constituents. Of course clothing will never be completely fire retardant, so the other thing which I am encouraging parents to do is use LED tea lights. Using battery operated candles takes away a lot of the risk associated with events like Halloween.

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Keep Sunday Special

I recently attended an Usdaw lobby of Parliament to oppose the Government’s proposal to devolve Sunday trading regulations.

Usdaw members, who work in retail, met with MPs to explain how extended opening in large stores will lead to even more retail staff being pressured to work longer hours on Sundays, which is why over 90% of shopworkers oppose any extension to Sunday trading hours.

The Sunday Trading Act is a great British compromise, which has worked well for over 20 years and gives everyone a little bit of what they want. Retailers can trade, customers can shop, staff can work; whilst Sunday remains a special day, different to other days, and shopworkers can spend some time with their family.

I am convinced that shops are currently open long enough for people to do their shopping and that Sunday should remain a special day, different to any other. I oppose devolving Sunday trading because it will lead to longer opening hours.

Extending Sunday trading does not mean customers have more money to spend, it would not create jobs and is likely to lead to the closure of smaller stores. So this is not a way to boost the local economy or help town centres. It would be detrimental to shopworkers and their families, as well as wider society, so I am pleased to be supporting Usdaw’s campaign.

John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary said, “There is no great desire from shopworkers, customers, retailers or local authorities for these changes and many oppose them. We fear that devolution of Sunday trading is a solution looking for a problem."

“It is not yet clear whether the Government will seek to introduce legislation, but if they do I hope that they will abide by their promise of a proper consultation and a full parliamentary process. That would mean publication of the consultation responses and a considered reply from the Government, demonstrating that they have listened, before the introduction of any legislation to change Sunday trading.”

Monday 21 September 2015

Labour's Frontbench Announced.

I am delighted to have accepted a role in the Shadow Business, Innovation & Skills team working alongside Shadow Secretary of State, Angela Eagle MP.

The full list of shadow appointments can be viewed here.

Tuesday 14 July 2015

St Paul's Bowling Club celebrate new green and pavilion

l-r: Cllrs Billy Rotherham & Phil Kelly,
Club Chair, Ken Wright & Cllr Paul Kenny
I was delighted to officially open a new bowling green and pavilion.

Located on the Wainhomes, Vicarage Park development off Warrington Rd, Goose Green, I joined club officials, members and ward councillors in glorious sunshine to celebrate the ‘state of the art’ facility.

As part of the new housing development Wigan Council secured a s106 planning agreement to replace the clubs old ground at the former Bulls Head pub. St Paul’s Bowling Club have a long term lease on the ground and the future of the club is secured.

Bowling continues to play a valuable role in local communities and at a time when many bowling greens have been lost to development it is heartening to see St Paul’s Bowling Club take to their new green and pavilion. It is a growing sport and can be played by all ages and thanks to this ‘state of the art’ facility the future of bowling in Goose Green is secure.”

The health benefits of bowling, ensuring that people stay both physically, mentally and socially active, are clear and must run into millions of pounds worth of treatment that the NHS doesn’t have to provide every year.”

Club Chairman, Ken Wright said, “We have a fantastic bowling green in a glorious position and is open to anyone who wants to join young or old, beginner or experienced players welcome: Ladies welcome to come down and have a bowl!

“Thank you to Wainhomes and Wigan Council for providing us with a facility relevant to the 21st century as many bowling greens have closed in Wigan. It’s nice to have a new green open to provide players a chance to get fit both mentally and body wise and to meet other people in a pleasant environment. As George Bernard Shaw once said, ‘We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing’."

For further information about joining St Paul’s Bowling Club please contact the Secretary, Peter McLaughlin on 07952625784

Monday 1 June 2015

Foster Care Fortnight

I am backing the call for the people of the Makerfield constituency to come forward and make their connection with fostering during The Fostering Network’s annual Foster Care Fortnight campaign.

This year alone, 8,370 new foster carers are needed right across the UK to ensure that the rising number of children coming into care can have the best chance of find a loving foster family who can not only meet their needs, but help them build a positive future.

Over 63,000 children live with almost 55,000 foster families across the UK each day. There is a particular need for foster carers to look after teenagers, disabled children and sibling groups, with the need for more foster carers meaning that children may end up far from home, be split up from brothers and sisters or lose touch with family and friends.

There are very few barriers to fostering and Wigan Council’s local fostering service will provide all the training and support you need to ensure you can be a foster carer that can change lives.

All children are unique, so we need a diverse foster carer population to provide the best home to help each individual child flourish and fulfil their potential

I’m thrilled to support Foster Care Fortnight. As each year passes, we see more and more children coming into care, and so we need more people to open their heart, and their homes, to children and young people who need support at a critical point in their young lives.”

A good foster carer will believe in the ambition of the children in their care in the same way they’d believe in the ambition of their own family members. A childhood is too short to waste, and foster carers can help those who haven’t had the best start begin to enjoy their life and grow into the adults that they want to be.”

If you believe you have the skills and qualities needed to provide a loving home to children and young people in foster care, then find out more here.

Thursday 14 May 2015

Andy Burnham for Labour Leader

William Kenealy VC

Pic. Courtesy of Alan Darbyshire
As part of its commemorations to mark the centenary of World War One, Wigan Council has worked with members of the Kenealy family, who still live locally, to re-name the children’s library at Ashton the ‘William Kenealy VC Children’s Library’.

A glass partition with artwork illustrating the new library name and Private Kenealy’s story was unveiled at the library on Wednesday 13th May.

A commemorative flagstone from the Government was also installed at the library to honour Private Kenealy.

Private Kenealy grew up in Ashton so it is fitting that we honour him in this way, ensuring that future generations remember his name and the service he gave for his country.”

Private Kenealy joined the Lancashire Fusiliers aged 23 and won his Victoria Cross five years later after crawling on his belly under heavy machine gun fire to cut through a barrier of unbroken wire which had held up his company and returned unscathed.

He had previously completed service as a runner, delivering messages between positions under heavy enemy fire.

Pic. Courtesy of Alan Darbyshire
William Kenealy, Private Kenealy’s great-nephew, lives in Pewfall near Ashton with his wife Linda. He said: “The whole family is very proud to have the children’s library named after my great-uncle.

“It is a wonderful honour that his name will live on in this way and especially pleasing that children will learn about his achievements as well as the sacrifices given by so many during the war.

“We are grateful to Wigan Council for their determination to honour William’s name and the other Victoria Cross winners from World War One in a significant way.”

Shortly after the Gallipoli Landing Private Kenealy was promoted to corporal and then lance-sergeant. He was seriously wounded in action on 28th June 1915 and died the next day. He is buried at the Lancashire Landing Cemetery, Gallipoli Peninsula.

The library is the second event to commemorate the sacrifice of Wigan Borough’s four winners of the Victoria Cross in World War One.

In March ‘Grimshaw Park’ in Abram was named after Lieutenant-Colonel John Grimshaw. Lt-Col Grimshaw also won his Victoria Cross at Gallipoli.

Last year it was announced Wilkinson Park Drive in Bickershaw was to be named after Private Alfred Wilkinson VC.

Friday 1 May 2015

Winstanley College Hustings

Today, I will be attending a hustings at Winstanley College .

Here are my five reasons why young people should vote Labour on Thursday, 7th May.

Tuesday 21 April 2015

An NHS with the time to care

This week I met with representatives of 38 degrees and publicly pledged to call a halt on the Tory privatisation agenda.

The pledge comes ahead of a planned day of action this Saturday, 25th April by 38 degrees supporters across the country who will be organising local high street ‘Save our NHS’ petitions. 38 degrees will be reminding people that our NHS is a precious, life-saving service - and asking them to join in saying no to cuts and privatisation.

If re-elected I will vote in Parliament alongside Labour MPs to end the Tory privatisation agenda, commit funding to improve NHS staffing levels and will support the exclusion of the NHS from the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP).

The Health and Social Care Act of 2012 put in place by the Conservatives and their Lib Dem partners has opened the way for a mass privatisation of the NHS. The policy of the Labour Party is to repeal the Act and in particular to remove the elements that support privatisation. More than that, we wish to get rid of the market in health care and use the savings from ending much of the commercial contracting processes to fund better health and social care for our population.

The Labour Party manifesto commits to improving the staffing levels in the NHS by employing 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more general practitioners and 3,000 more midwives. The funding for this will come from a mansion tax, a levy on the tobacco companies and by tackling tax avoidance. We will also generate substantial savings by merging health and social care, thus creating a more efficient and integrated service.

The NHS, one of our great national institutions and one of Labour’s proudest achievements, faces its greatest threat for a generation. Labour will rescue our NHS, invest in its future and join up services from home to hospital.

David Cameron embarked on a reckless re-organisation of the NHS at a cost of £3billion. Already a third of contracts have been awarded to the private sector and waiting times at A&E are routinely missed.

But we have also seen the local cost of a failed Tory NHS as plans for new primary care facilities at Ashton and Orrell have stalled under the weight of the re-organisation that nobody voted for but which was pushed through parliament by the Tories supported by the Lib Dems.

Labour has a better plan for the NHS. More nurses and doctors, more home care workers to help people stay at home and the NHS as the preferred provider of health services.

Tuesday 14 April 2015

Yvonne pledges support for local pubs and brewers

I have today pledged to support local pubs and breweries.

The pledge follows my support in Parliament on 18th November 2014 to introduce a ‘market rent’ option which will help thousands of struggling tied publicans.

The three pledges are highlighted in the Manifesto for Pubs and Real Ale by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, which sets out a package of reforms they are seeking from the next Government. These important pledges are to:

Support well-run community pubs
Promote Britain's 1,300 breweries
Represent pub goers and beer drinkers.

I am proud to be speaking up for pubs and real ale. Well-run community pubs play a crucial role in local life and make a huge contribution to the local economy – with each injecting around £80,000 to the local area every year.

If re-elected, I will continue to show my support in Parliament.

CAMRA is a consumer group with over 167,000 members and acts as the independent voice for real ale drinkers and pub goers. CAMRA’s vision is to have quality real ale and thriving pubs in every community. CAMRA’s Manifesto for Pubs and Real Ale is available here.

Tuesday 31 March 2015

Makerfield Labour Party launches its General & Local Election campaign with Tristram Hunt

I launched the General & Local Election campaign in Makerfield last night at Wigan Investment Centre.

Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt joined me in formally launching the campaign attended by Councillors, Labour Party and trade union members.

I will be seeking to hold the Makerfield seat I won in 2010 with a 12,490 majority over the Conservatives.

Earlier in the day, Tristram Hunt and myself held a Q&A with students attending Wigan & Leigh College at the invitation of Principal, Michael Sheehan before both heading to the formal campaign launch at Wigan Investment Centre.

Tristram Hunt said, “Yvonne has campaigned all her working life to fight injustice and speak up for those without a voice. She has used her experiences at work, first as a Housing Officer and later as Chief Executive of a local Citizens Advice Bureau to bring a wealth of knowledge and practical experience to Parliament.”

“Notably, she led the campaign to regulate payday lenders receiving plaudits from across the political divide.”

Labour’s key pledges ahead of the poll on Thursday, 7th May.

  • Labour will build an NHS with the time to care by hiring an extra 20,000 nurses, 8,000 GPs and 5,000 midwives
  • Labour will raise the Minimum Wage to £8 an hour over the next five years and support employers who pay a living wage
  • Labour will abolish the Bedroom Tax which has affected thousands of households across the Wigan Borough
  • Labour will introduce 25 hours of free childcare weekly to help families
  • Labour will end exploitative zero-hours contracts.

On Thursday, 7th May people in Makerfield will have the opportunity to make a choice, and it could be one of the most important choices they make. It will be a choice between a positive Labour vison that puts working people first, deals with the deficit and protects our NHS or a Tory plan where only a few at the top succeed and public services are threatened.

Fundamentally, it comes down to who we want our country to work for – everyday working people and their families or a privileged few at the top. The Tory experiment has failed and their record on living standards, prospects for our children, protecting our public services and dealing with our nation’s debt is one to run from, not run on.

Labour's local election candidates in Makerfield are as follows:

Abram - Eunice Smethurst
Ashton - Jenny Bullen
Bryn - Nathan Murray
Hindley - Jim Churton
Hindley Green - Frank Carmichael
Orrell - Stephen Murphy
Winstanley - Marie Morgan
Worsley Mesnes - Billy Rotherham

The deadline for registering to vote is 20th April. You can register to vote here. You will need your National Insurance number and it takes only a few minutes to complete the online form.

What's the choice in this election?

Tuesday 17 March 2015

Small firms urged to recruit apprentices after Shannon’s success

The value apprentices can bring to small businesses was highlighted to me by a visit to a growing Wigan firm.

I visited Lilac Lettings based in Ashton, to find out first-hand how they have successfully recruited an apprentice to their small team.

Wigan Council supported Lilac Lettings in recruiting apprentice Shannon Ormesher,18.

As part of its Deal for Business, Wigan Council has invested £1.5m into its business apprenticeship scheme which aims to get 350 young people into work.

Ms Fovargue, who is shadow minister for young people, met Shannon who is proving to be an invaluable employee to the small firm.

Lilac Lettings was founded by Debra Higgins and her sister-in-law, also called Debra Higgins, just three years ago. The company has grown to employ six staff and manage more than 250 properties across Wigan and the wider area.

Shannon, 18, took on the business administration apprenticeship with Lilac Lettings after leaving school and finding that college wasn’t for her.

Now Shannon is loving being an apprentice and is an asset to her firm. Debra said: “We are a small family business and we were getting busier and busier. We wanted to grow the business and take to the next step. We worked closely with Wigan Council to take on an apprentice and it was an ideal situation for us. It’s going really well with Shannon. She’s learnt so much and she’s far more confident than she was. Shannon can grow with us. We are putting a lot of time and effort into her and we are getting a lot back.”

Shannon applied to be an apprentice through the national apprenticeship website.

Shannon said: “It’s good, I really enjoy it. I like the fact I’m not just in the office all the time. I get to go out on viewings and inspections.”

Shannon, who is hoping to stay with Lilac Lettings and further her career, possibly through taking the next level of apprenticeship, said she would advise other young people to take on an apprenticeship.

“It’s a lot better option than going to college. You get good experience and you are getting paid as well,” she said.

Lilac Lettings is a really good example to show that you don’t have to be a big company to take on apprentices. You can be any size of company and benefit from an apprentice. There is also lots of support available to companies and Wigan Council deserves a great deal of praise for how it supports both companies and apprentices.

Councillor David Molyneux, Wigan Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said: “It is great to hear about so many apprentice success stories happening in Wigan Borough. Credit must go to the local companies who are willing to invest time and energy in our young people and many are reaping the benefits as a result.”

Thursday 12 March 2015

FE News Interview

FE News interview followed my speech at The Voice of Apprenticeships conference in London about Apprenticeships, Advice and Guidance for young people and Labours plans for Government departments working more closely together.

Monday 9 March 2015

Student Question Time

Yvonne Fovargue MP visited St John Rigby College on Friday, 6th March at the invitation of Principal, Peter McGhee.

During the visit which included a tour of the Law and Sociology Departments, the Makerfield MP held a Q&A with students.

Issues raised included Education Inequality, Tuition Fees, Votes at 16 and the National Minimum Wage.

It was good to be able to respond to the issues raised. I was very impressed by the thoughtful and interesting questions put forward by students. It was encouraging to see how engaged and knowledgeable they are about current affairs and the political process.

Principal Peter McGhee said, “It was very much appreciated that Yvonne created the opportunity to visit St John Rigby College at such a busy time.  We are encouraging all eligible students to register to vote and we will be holding our own elections in College on the 7th May.  We have an exceptional group of young people at St John Rigby College and it was wonderful to provide them with an opportunity for a question and answer session with our local MP.”

“Yvonne’s natural engagement and openness with our students illustrated her commitment to young people and to education, something that I was already aware of due to her support and lobbying on behalf of the College regarding current educational policy and the inequity of the ‘learning tax’ applied to sixth form colleges.”

Tuesday 17 February 2015

A Better Plan for Wigan

This week Labour published our ‘Better Plan for Britain’s Prosperity’, setting out Labour’s approach to building prosperity in 21st Century Britain. Labour’s plan takes different approach to creating prosperity, not relying on a few but boosting productivity across Britain's firms and workforce, including in Wigan.

At the heart of Labour’s plan is an understanding that Britain only succeeds when working people succeed. This contrasts with the failed approach taken by the Tories who wrongly believe that the best way to pursue growth is to cut taxes at the top and hope that wealth trickles down.

Specifically, Labour’s better plan recognises that Britain’s world class firms, in sectors which enjoy established comparative advantage, need to be able to take long-term decisions and access key markets.

It also commits Labour to prioritise doing everything we can to ensure more smaller businesses reach their potential to power future growth. That’s why the next Labour Government is committed to cutting and then freezing business rates for small business properties and putting small businesses first in line for tax cuts.

Labour will also improve training and apprenticeships, including guaranteeing every school leaver that gets the right grades a high quality apprenticeship.

Our plan also sets out our plans to develop a new industrial strategy that focuses not just on high-tech firms, but also on supporting our big employing sectors such as retail and social care to win a race to the top and not get dragged into a race to the bottom.

And finally, it will ensure the public sector plays an active part in driving up productivity across the whole economy, supporting firms through cutting-edge innovation and research, strategic investment and procurement.

Taken together, this approach will deliver the sustainable growth and rising living standards that our country needs and ensure our economy works for working people in Wigan.

It is becoming increasingly clear that there is a choice of two plans at this election: a failing plan under which we would carrying on as we are with a government claiming the economy is a success when it only works for a handful of people at the top; or a new plan, a better plan, that says this economy must succeed for working families if Britain as a whole is going to succeed.

Wednesday 11 February 2015

My call for FCA to act against Rent to Own charges

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Debt and Personal Finance, of which I am chair has published the final report of its Inquiry into the Rent to Own (RTO) sector.

Rent to Own firms specialise in supplying furniture, TVs and basic household goods such as washing machines to low-income households. The three main RTO firms are BrightHouse, PerfectHome and Buy as you View. We estimate the three firms have combined customer base of more than 350,000 households.

The report sets out seven main concerns and makes 20 recommendations for the regulator, The FCA, firms and Government. The key recommendations are:

The FCA should use its product intervention powers to ban expensive warranties and insurances from being a compulsory part of RTO agreements.
The FCA should carry out a review into possible mis-selling of insurances looking at whether RTO customers have been sold services they already had or did not need.
The FCA should investigate over-charging and make sure prices for additional warranties and insurances are transparent.
There should be new ‘health warnings’ to ensure customers are aware of the total cost of RTO agreements and the risks of repossession.
The FCA should introduce new sector-specific protections to protect customers in financial difficulty against loss of essential items when they have made substantial payments towards ownership.

Rent to Own Stores like BrightHouse charge inflated prices to some of the poorest people in the country. Customers are often obliged to take out additional warranties and insurance, as a result paying several times the true value of the goods.

Many customers simply can’t keep up and the goods are taken back to be sold again. RTO firms have been cashing in on people’s financial struggles for more than a decade. The FCA needs to act now to stop RTO customers from being ripped off.

The APPG is writing to the chief executive of the FCA, Martin Wheatley, to ask him to adopt our blueprint for reform. The regulator should act urgently to protect customers.

The Inquiry found:

APRs of 94.7% and charges for bolt-on cover that double the cost of essential household goods.
One in five BrightHouse customers is falling more than a month behind with payments.
22% of RTO customers in arrears have goods taken back or repossessed –one in ten of all agreements.
Unfair practices in the sector have set off “alarms bells” with the regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

Friday 30 January 2015

Register to Vote Now

In the last year almost one million people have fallen off the Electoral Register across the UK, including over 10,000 in the Wigan Borough.

This is a direct consequence of the Government’s decision to ignore warnings that rushing through new individual registration reforms would damage democracy.

This is nothing less than a scandal. The Government is sitting by and watching tens of thousands of people and in particular young people lose their democratic rights.

But young people must be heard, loud and clear, in the general election. That’s why I’m determined to do all I can to get local young people back on the electoral register, and casting their vote in May.

This General Election is an opportunity for young people to shape their future with better policies on housing, jobs and pay. So make you sure you have a voice – and then make sure you get heard – because the stakes for your generation are greater than ever.

Next week will see National Voter Registration Day. It only takes a few minutes to register and you can do so here. You will need your National Insurance details to complete the online form.

Tuesday 27 January 2015

Friday 23 January 2015

Only Labour has a plan to reverse the Tory NHS crisis

Like many hospitals in England, services at Wigan Infirmary are struggling.

The NHS has been put under unprecedented levels of pressure because of the failings of the government, and the problems in A&Es demonstrates the scale of the Tory NHS crisis we face.

Attendances at hospital A&E departments across the country increased by 600,000 in the first four years of the Tory-led government and last week it was revealed that only 7 out of 140 hospital A&Es hit the target to see 95 per cent of patients within four hours.

The Tory NHS crisis in A&E has its roots in the Government's cuts to adult social care, the abolition of NHS Direct, the closure of almost one in four walk-in centres and its disastrous decision to throw the NHS into the chaos of reorganisation.

David Cameron promised he’d protect the NHS but his Tory NHS crisis proves you can’t trust the Conservatives with the NHS.

This week in Parliament I voted to take action to save our NHS and deal with the Tory NHS crisis. Unfortunately we lost the vote thanks to Conservative MPs and a Prime Minister who refuses to take any responsibility, or even acknowledge that an NHS crisis exists.

Only Labour has the long-term plan to save and improve our local health service.

Firstly, we will invest in training and recruiting 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs to ensure that the NHS has the time to care for you and your family.

Secondly, we will ensure a binding waiting time guarantee to make sure everyone can get a GP appointment within a maximum of 48 hours. We will also guarantee that nobody will wait more than one week for a cancer test and result.

Thirdly, we will hire 5,000 more care-workers to join up services from home to hospital and ensure that the NHS is more efficient and care is better.

All of this will be paid for through fairer taxes on properties worth over £2 million, on hedge funds, and on tobacco companies. None of our manifesto commitments, including on the NHS, require any extra borrowing.

Building the NHS was one of our greatest achievements and we’re determined to protect it. Only a Labour government can ensure that the NHS will always be there for you and your family when you need it.

Thursday 22 January 2015