Category Archives: Constituency news
I have been contacted by a number of constituents about the National Pensioners Convention ‘Pensioners Manifesto’. I thought that some of you would be interested to see my reply on this issue which also outlines Labour’s policies.
19 November 2014
Thank you for taking the trouble to write to me about the National Pensioners Convention ‘Pensioners Manifesto’. I always appreciate it when constituents contact me to share their views and concerns.
The Labour Party has a strong record and a long-term commitment to the welfare of Pensioners. Under the last Labour Government pensioner poverty was brought down to its lowest level for 30 years.
Our pensions system must be based on a simple principle: that those who have worked hard, contributed to society, and played their part in our nation’s success need to have this contribution recognised through a fair deal in retirement.
Labour remains committed to the “triple lock” which ensures that the basic state pension rises in line with earnings, inflation or 2.5 per cent, whichever is highest. We would not include state pensions in a short term “cap” on social security spending.
In contrast, this Tory-led Government has raised the Women’s State Pension Age so rapidly that some women currently in their 50s will have to work for an extra two years than they had previously thought. Not only that but the Government’s flat rate pension plan risks short-changing 700,000 women. Labour have been asking the Government to look again at its Pension Bill so the new flat rate pension is truly fair and doesn’t leave hundreds of thousands of women born between 1951 and 1953 behind. The Labour party will always continue to fight for pensioner rights.
You mentioned, in your letter, your concern about universal benefits such as free bus passes. We are committed to the principle of universalism and the Labour Party has no plans to make changes to pensioners’ bus passes and TV licenses.
Your letter also made reference to your concerns about the growing crisis in the provision of Social Care and the NHS. I share your deep concerns – we’ve seen the dangerous effects of David Cameron’s wasteful, top-down reorganisation of the NHS right here in East Birmingham with the A&E crisis at Heartlands hospital. Under this Government the number of people waiting over 4 hours in A&E at Heartlands have gone up by an astonishing 240%!
This A&E crisis has grown out of the Tories drastic cuts to social care. The cuts have led to more and more elderly people attending A&E because they aren’t given the support or social care they need in the community.
The Labour Party is committed to the full integration of health and social care, and I was pleased to read that one of the top five recommendations of the National Pensioners Convention ‘Pensioners Manifesto’ is the creation of a “…National Health and Care Service which is free at the point of use and funded through taxation (merging the NHS and social care)”
This Tory-led Government has seen our NHS, and our Social Care system, pushed almost to breaking point. The best choice for the NHS next May is a vote for Labour.
Thank you again for taking the trouble to write to me – I really appreciate it. I hope you’ve found this letter useful but please don’t hesitate to write back to me if you have any further questions.
With all best wishes
RT HON LIAM BYRNE MP
Birmingham Hodge Hill
I have just returned from the West Midlands Labour Annual Conference at Warwick University in Coventry.
It was an excellent couple of days with great opportunities to engage with fellow MPs, members and regional staff.
One of the most important things to come out of the conference was the final draft of Labour’s West Midland’s Economic Plan which I helped work on.
You can download a full PDF version of the plan using the link below.
All the best
Following my meeting with DfE officials and the trustees for Park View Educational Trust I have written to those attending the meeting. You can read a copy of my letter below:
With all best wishes
You may have read my interview in the Birmingham Post this morning entitled; Midland mayor “could run policing, transport and support for business”
The news that Manchester has got the green light for a metro-mayor is great. As Chief Secretary to the Treasury in the last government, I worked hard to accelerate the devolution of powers to Manchester and its neighbours – and the model Manchester has designed ensures strong accountability of any new mayor to local government leaders.
Birmingham should control it’s own destiny too and a metro-mayor for the West Midlands would make a huge difference.
You can read the Birmingham Post story using the link above. My proposal for a West Midlands metro-mayor and a backgrounder from my time at the Treasury is below:
Many thanks for those who joined me with Park View Trust trustees and Mr Colin Diamond of the Department for Education.
I thought you would like a copy of the letter I sent as a follow-up.
As soon as I have a response I will be back in touch.
Press statement from Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust on Intervention of Monitor – 23 October 2014
Please find a press statement below from Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust:
PRESS STATEMENT – INTERVENTION OF MONITOR
The Trust has been working with Monitor, our regulator, over several months highlighting the plans we have in place to address the increasing demand for our services. It has been well publicised that the local health system has experienced a significant upsurge in demand in recent months. At our Trust alone we have seen a year on year increase of 13% in emergency admissions and a 10% increase in emergency ambulances arriving at our front door. The unprecedented demand and consequent overcrowding, particularly in our emergency departments, means that we are not meeting a number of national targets.
Our teams and staff are working relentlessly to ensure that we deliver the best care possible. Our focus and commitment has and will always remain on safe and quality care for our patients. We have invested in additional nurses and doctors, equipment and facilities and over the next few years will be investing an additional £85 million in buildings to meet the growing demand for our services.
We have recently made some new key appointments to strengthen our leadership team; their expertise, both clinical and managerial, will add breadth and depth to our existing, experienced team. We are also working with our partners in the local health economy to address the challenges of increasing demand, ensuring that people are cared for in the most appropriate setting, including their own home and we work together to improve the health of our local population.
***Embargoed until 09:30 23 October 2014***
Byrne warns local NHS hitting breaking point as social care cuts bite
Please find below a press release from Liam Byrne MP including House of Commons statistics on severe increases in waiting times in A&E at Birmingham’s Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and a statement on Monitor’s report into the Trust this due for release this morning.
23 October 2014 – News from Liam Byrne MP
Embargoed until 09:30 on 23 October 2014
Byrne warns local NHS hitting breaking point as social care cuts bite
A&E waiting times at HEFT increase by 240% since this Tory-led coalition took over
This morning Monitor is releasing its report into Birmingham’s Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. The report is deeply concerning – highlighting a severe increase in waiting times for A&E, routine operations and cancer care patients, as well as mortality rates.
In response to the report Liam Byrne MP said:
‘Residents all over Hodge Hill are telling me pressure on our NHS is hitting breaking point. And this reports shows why. The government’s huge cuts to Birmingham’s social care means it’s harder than ever to get older residents home from hospital. That means it’s getting harder to get people in the front door through A&E.’
Notes to editors:
1) Figures released by the House of Commons Library (below) show an increase in those waiting over 4 hours in A&E at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. Between Q3 of 2009/10 and Q3 of 2014/15 the number has gone from 1,619 to 5,518; an increase of over 240%.
|Patients waiting over 4 hours in A&E at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust|
|As at Quarter 3:||
Number waiting over 4 hours
% waiting over 4 hours
|Sources: 2011/12 -2014/15 NHS England Weekly Sit Rep reports, pre 2011/12 DH Total Time Spent in A&E quarterly data series|
2) Monitor is the sector regulator of NHS-funded health care services. Under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 its main duty is to protect and promote the interests of people who use them.
3) Monitor’s press release attached.
Monitor Press Release:
Under strict embargo until: 09.30am Thursday 23rd October 2014
New action taken at Heart of England to improve services and strengthen leadership
Monitor is taking action to improve services and strengthen the leadership of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT), so that patients receive better care.
The health sector regulator has imposed a further condition on HEFT’s licence enabling it to take further action if the trust’s leadership does not perform better.
Monitor is acting after HEFT failed to reduce long waiting times for A&E, routine operations and cancer care patients, together with additional concerns regarding mortality rates. The regulator has decided that the range and seriousness of these issues demonstrate a clear failure in leadership and the trust’s organisational systems.
The trust and Monitor have also agreed new legally binding enforcement undertakings aimed at improving these care services on a sustainable basis.
HEFT provides services across the West Midlands at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital, Solihull Hospital and Community Services at the Birmingham Chest Clinic.
Monitor first found HEFT in suspected breach of its licence to provide healthcare in December 2013, after it failed to meet national targets at two of its hospitals, for treating patients in A&E within four hours.
Adam Cayley, Regional Director at Monitor, said:
“We want all patients of this trust to receive quality and timely care, which means all parts of the organisation must operate effectively.
“This action should ensure that the trust’s leadership takes appropriate and swift action to address our concerns around how it is led and run.
“We will continue to monitor the trust rigorously and take further regulatory action if we consider it necessary.”
Notes to editors
- For further information please contact, Nick Burke Media Relations Manager, on Nicholas.firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 3747 0800.
- Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) was authorised as an foundation trust on 1 April 2005.
- Details on Monitor’s previous regulatory action at HEFT can be found here.
- Monitor is the sector regulator of NHS-funded health care services. Under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 its main duty is to protect and promote the interests of people who use them.
- Information about Monitor’s role can be found here.
- Follow Monitor on twitter @MonitorUpdate
Statement on Nicky Morgan’s appearance at the Education Select Committee this morning – 15 October 2014
Please find below a statement from Liam Byrne MP.
Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, has been giving evidence at the Education Select Committee (#edselctte) this morning on problems in Birmingham schools. The questions covered the ‘Trojan Horse’ issue, questions of accountability, the DfE’s response to the situation and it’s knowledge of problems at these schools.
In response Liam said;
“Hodge Hill’s parents want the Education Secretary to get a grip and get parents involved.
Yet all we got from the £130k a year Education Secretary was a catalogue of excuses.
It’s simply not good enough. So I am bringing parents and school leaders together this Friday to get a better plan in place. We simply will not tolerate second best for our parents and their young people.”
Please see below for copies of Ofsted’s note to the Department for Education which has been released this morning. They relate to a number of inspections which happened at the beginning of the school term in early September.