Sign Up

Subscribe to Liam's email newsletter for regular updates

Category Archives: Economics

Byrne welcomes HS2 Committee call for Plan B at Washwood Heath – 19 December 2014

 

 

Byrne welcomes HS2 Committee call for Plan B at Washwood Heath

 

Liam Byrne MP has welcomed a major breakthrough in the battle for jobs at the LDV-Alstom site earmarked for a marshalling yard.

 

Following a major campaign led by Liam Byrne MP. The HS2 Bill Committee has ordered the Government and HS2 Ltd to change their plans to maximise the number of jobs on the site.

 

Although the committee has not ordered the marshalling yard to be moved, the committee have ordered HS2 to report on how they will work with site owners.

 

The proposed site is the size of 100 football pitches and makes up one third of the industrial land in Birmingham.

 

It lies at the junction of Ladywood, Erdington and Hodge Hill – these three constituencies are together home to 45% of the City’s unemployed.

 

The site owners, together with Liam Byrne MP, have now submitted a ‘Plan B’ proposal that would see  2,334 jobs be created.

 

 

Liam Byrne MP said:

 

“This is a real breakthrough. The HS2 Committee has heard our call for jobs. Now HS2 Ltd must work with us on a Plan B that could see 2,334 jobs created in the inner city.”

 

 

Lorely Burt MP for Solihull said today:

 

“I have long argued for jobs to be protected at Washwood Heath whilst also being conscious of not damaging UK Central’s prospects for delivery. The Select Committee’s decision on Washwood Heath is quite obviously a ‘win-win-win’. A win for the people of Washwood Heath, Solihull and also HS2. Now we need HS2 to engage fully with all interested parties to deliver the 2300 private sector jobs set out in the alternative plans referred to by the Committee plus the 600+ new railway jobs as soon as possible.”

 

Caroline Spelman MP for Meriden said today:

 

“The decision from the Select Committee is common sense in action in relation to the Washwood Heath site.  This is a win-win situation where HS2 get to build some of the infrastructure they need while the rest of the site can be used to create many more jobs, without needing to displace the marshalling yards into my constituency.  HS2 should now engage and respond positively to the AXA proposals. Anything less would not be in accordance with the Select Committee’s wishes.”

 

 

ENDS

 

 

Notes to editors:

 

Statement from Robert Syms MP (Chairman, HS2 Select Committee) dated 16th December 2014:

 

“On Washwood Heath, we were impressed by the submission from AXA and our colleague Liam Byrne and we sympathise with the need to address high unemployment in and around his constituency.  We do not believe there is enough evidence to support a move of the RSMD from Washwood Heath.  We impress on HS2 the need to adjust the scheme so there is minimum land take and for the shortest time … We expect to hear from HS2 on that and on whether they can reach agreement on that taking account of the more recent AXA proposals which are dated 12th December.”

 

 

Birmingham City Council sees further fall in unemployment – December 2014

Dear Friends,

 

Great news, figures released today from the Office of National Statistics show that unemployment continues to fall in Hodge Hill – 17 December 2014.

 

The number of unemployed claimants in Birmingham, Hodge Hill as of November 2014 was 4,479.  This represents a rate of 9.9% of the economically active population aged 16 to 64.

 

This number is far too high and there is still much work to be done, but the new figures show that the number of people claiming jobseekers allowance (JSA) is 1473 lower than November 2013 and 263 lower than October 2014.

 

These figures show that Birmingham City Council’s efforts to tackle unemployment are making a real difference here in Hodge Hill – we will continue to fight to get more people into better jobs.

All the best,

 

Liam

MP warns of ‘NHS emergency’ with Birmingham hospitals in danger of running out of beds – Birmingham Mail – 17 December 2014

MP warns of ‘NHS emergency’ with Birmingham hospitals in danger of running out of beds

 

Liam Byrne speaks out as grim new figures show some hospitals at 96 per cent bed capacity

 

A BIRMINGHAM MP has warned the city could run out of hospital beds after a shock investigation showed wards are nearing full capacity.

Former health minister Liam Byrne said health chiefs face an ‘NHS emergency’ after latest grim statistics revealed some hospitals are using 96 per cent of available beds.

Infection control experts advise occupancy rates should not be higher than 85 per cent because of an increased risk of infections if there is not enough time to clean properly between patients.

Most of the seven biggest hospital trusts in the West Midlands have action plans in place to cope with rising demand over the winter, with some opening new temporary wards.

Yet they are still struggling.

But Mr Byrne (Lab Hodge Hill) said: “These shocking figures now prove our hospitals are packed to the rafters. No wonder care standards are under terrible pressure.

“It’s now clear this is an NHS emergency and fresh resources are needed fast. If we have a bad winter there’s a real chance the city could run out of hospital beds – and that will put lives at risk.”

Higher bed capacity figures also mean it is much more difficult for hospitals to cope with sudden “spikes” in admissions, caused by a surge in flu or norovirus infections.

Dr Cliff Mann, president of the College of Emergency medicine, said he was fearful the region was now heading towards a winter crisis. “The signs do not bode well, I cannot see how we can turn this round in a matter of weeks,’’ he said.

“We need more staff and more beds to cope with the pressures winter will bring.”

He said many wards had more patients than beds for much of the day, only falling to less than 100 per cent occupancy when the midnight recordings are taken.

Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, Coun John Cotton, said cuts to social care were also contributing to the problem.

He said: “Despite the mild weather, it’s very clear hospitals in all parts of England are already struggling to cope, so I shudder to think what will happen once winter kicks in.

“Earlier this month Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt admitted pressures on the NHS were ‘higher than they have ever been’ and the demands are sure to increase this winter.

“Government cuts have taken social care support away from older people and made it harder for others to get a GP appointment. That means more people are turning to A&E and hospitals are struggling to deal with the extra pressure.”

Recent figures recorded up to September show that University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), which runs the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Edgbaston, recorded a 96.4 per cent bed capacity.

 

It is believed this figure could rise further as the colder weather kicks in.

In January to March this year, bed capacity was recorded at 98 per cent.

The Queen Elizabeth, dubbed a “super hospital” after it opened a huge new site four years ago, resorted to reopening part of its old building to create a new ward last year. It was a temporary measure but it remains in place and has 170 extra beds.

Birmingham Children’s Hospital is also struggling to cope, with data showing a 93.7 per cent bed capacity in September, with the number rising rapidly this month.

A spokeswoman said: “Our busiest time of year is always the end of November and early December due to this peaking emergency demand for children – so at present our bed occupancy is fluctuating between 90 and 100 per cent.

“We open more beds at this time of year, and we increase the numbers of staff working to support the increased demand.”

Whilst Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust aims to have a capacity level of 93 per cent at midday, they still have two wards of adult beds used by patients who no longer need to be in hospital.

A spokeswoman added: “These delays put pressure on the bed capacity and have doubled in comparison to last year for patients from the Birmingham area, whereas we are seeing significant reductions in these delays of discharge for patients from the Sandwell areas.”

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust has invested in more than 100 extra staff and are currently looking at ways to provide additional support services such as frailty units, increased medical cover for seven day services and care management for elderly patients.

Officials at New Cross Hospital, in Wolverhampton, admitted they are operating at near full capacity on most days but will open 27 additional beds after Christmas.

The Dudley Group NHS Trust, which operates Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, said there were no plans to put additional beds in place to cope with any potential winter crisis. This was despite admitting that it experienced unprecedented pressure on its emergency services and asked patients to think twice before attending in January this year.

Walsall Manor Hospital has introduced 40 new beds within the community to provide a step-down facility for patients who are well enough to leave hospital, but not quite well enough to go home.

It will free up more beds at the hospital for acutely ill patients. A spokeswoman added: “We are also opening a new £4.7 million ward at the Manor Hospital in January 2015 which will give us an additional 30 beds for acutely ill patients.”

 

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/mp-warns-nhs-emergency-birmingham-8296192

 

 

Time to Start Backing and Stop Attacking Our Young People – My speech to Burnt Mill – Tuesday 16 December 2014

There has been some press coverage of my speech. You can read coverage from the Independent here,  from the Evening Standard here, and a piece from me in LabourList here.

I am also delighted to say that the visit was covered by YourHarlow – here.

If you have felt exploited by a long unpaid internship then I want to hear from you.

Drop me a line with your story to byrnel@parliament.uk 

Liam

————————————————————————-

LB at Burnt Mill - 16 Dec 14

Liam Byrne and Suzy Stride PPC outside Burnt Mill Academy with staff and pupils  

.

.

Time to Start Backing and Stop Attacking Our Young People

Speech to Burnt Mill [Academy], Tuesday 16th December 2014

Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP

 

Introduction

[Thank you very much.]

It’s a big relief to leave the turmoil of the capital and find the calm of your campus.

Back in Westminster, there’s so much doom and gloom it feels like the government wants us to live in some kind of Narnia: always winter and never Christmas.

Everywhere, there’s cynicism when we need a bit of idealism.

Too much fear, when we want hope.

That’s why it’s brilliant to be back in Burnt Mill, the place that set me on my road.

It’s been brilliant to watch your star shine in the years since I left

It’s been incredible to watch your turnaround under the amazing Helena Mills

It’s a really proud moment to speak here in what’s now an Outstanding School

That’s a testament to your hard work, your parents’ support and some amazing teachers.

But what I love about Ms Mills approach is this

She’s ambitious for you to be able to compete anywhere in the world: here in Britain, in Europe, in China, in America

I’m here to say that I think it was time politicians signed up to same ambitions as your teachers and parents – and stopped running you down and started backing you up.

It’s time for a government that stopped attacking you and started backing you.

THE FUTURE

Right now there’s just too many people who want to tell you that’s nothing possible, when you live in a world of possibility.

The truth is the future is going to be amazing.

But that future is going to be unlocked by you.

Your generation holds the key.

By the time you’re my age, you’ll have seen a revolution in artificial intelligence, robotics, mapping our own genome to personalise our healthcare, generating energy, storing it. They’ll even invent smart-phones that don’t run out of battery by 4pm.

Massive changes in infotech, in biotech, in nanotech will not only change the world, they’ll create extraordinary new products, new services, new jobs, new companies and new opportunities for you.

When I was here back in the 80s, we had one clunky old Commodore PC in the science lab upstairs that you could sneak on at lunchtimes when the physics teacher Mr Dunbar let you.

Today, Britain’s computer gaming industry is £2 billion big and gives jobs to thousands of people.

It’s bigger than our film or music industry.

Its technology is hard-wired into our most advanced products from smart phones to planes to cars.

I’m told the infotainment system in a Range Rover is now worth more than the engine.

Like you, I had some great teachers when I was here.

One of the teachers inspired my love of science. In fact she ended up as head of science here.

Ruth Byrne wasn’t just my teacher. She was my mum.

And when she died of cancer aged 52 she left me with a vivid sense not only of how much science has done – but how much left science has to do.

And beating cancer is just one of the things you’ll see happen this century.

You’ll be among the leaders of this revolutionary change in the years to come – if you get the backing you deserve.

We are amongst the greatest pioneers on the planet.

Here in Britain we cracked the atom, decoded DNA, invented the world wide web.

Today it’s an old Burnt Mill boy, Michael Arthur, who now leads one of the world’s greatest universities, University College London.

He started his education sitting where you are.

If people like me can make it into the Cabinet, if Michael can lead one of the world’s greatest universities, then so can you.

But here’s the BUT.

If our country is to help unlock this amazing new future we need you to do well.

The truth is the prizes in the future are going to be bigger.

But the race is going to be tougher.

You have to compete in a world that is far harder than I did.

When I was here, I don’t think we worked as hard as you.

We spent a lot of time thinking about the fights with Netteswell down the road.

Or how to get served in the off-licence at the Willow Beauty.

Music was as important to us as it probably is to you.

I was totally into the Jam and the Clash – and you’ll find this hard to believe now, it inspired me to get a mohican not long after I left. Those were the days.

You’re in a much tougher race. A race where the competition is global.

This Easter, I was in Bangalore.

I spent a Saturday afternoon with the Chief Executive of a major British manufacturing company on the shop-floor of his Indian joint-venture.

‘Here in India’ he told me ‘I’ve the choice of 850,000 engineering graduates every year.

Let’s say 15% are fit to hire – actually the real number is 50% – but let’s say its 15%. It means I have hundreds of applicants for every job. Quality wise they’re just as good as my apprentices in [the Midlands].’

‘What are they paid?’ I asked.

‘About £5-7,000 a year’ came the reply.

That kind of challenge means we have to work harder to keep you ahead of the game. Because unless we constantly get smarter we will get poorer.

Your head is a great teacher because she’s determined that you’re equipped to win in this world.

But that is why we need to stop running young people down and start backing them up.

With new answers to help them get on in life.

Look at how the cards are stacked against young people today.

Young people today are now more likely than pensioners to be living in poverty.

Young people today are the first generation in a century to be poorer than the generation before them.

One in six young people are still out of work.

There’s over 5,000 fewer apprenticeships for young people than there was three years ago.

It is now harder to get into BAE Systems’ apprenticeship programme than to get into Oxford.

If you get into university, you leave with £44,000 of debt that takes until your early 50s to pay off.

Those lucky enough to get work, have seen their earnings fall by over £1,600 a year on average since 2010.

Young people’s household income is down by a fifth – in effect, they’re working Friday afternoon for free.

When I left school, a deposit for a house took six month’s pay.

Now you have to save every penny you earn for more than two years. A house for a first time buyer cost £36,000. Now it costs £190,000.

Result? Only one in six of under 35s now own their own home when it used to be more than one in four – and there’s half a million more young people living with their parents than in 2010.

Oh, and just for good measure, young people are now expected to work three more years before they get their state pension.

You have to ask yourself: can they make it any harder for young people?

That’s why it makes me so furious when people decide to add insult to injury, and start moaning about young peoples’ attitude.

There’s one writer who calls this generation, Generation Wuss.

Last year, Jamie Oliver, who I generally like, was labelling young people ‘whingers’, ‘wet behind the ears’ and ‘too wet for work’ – and the Mayor of London promptly backed him up.

The Daily Mail is always running stories about companies like Greencore complaining that they have to employ East Europeans because Brits won’t take low paid jobs.

And it wasn’t so long ago a group of Tory MPs actually wrote a book [Britannia Unchained] claiming ‘lazy’ Brits preferred a lie in to hard day’s work.

And a while ago, a Tory minister was saying that our young people lacked ‘grit’

How dare they!

While you’re slogging hard – they’re sloping off putting Parliament on a three day week and playing Candy Crush in committee hearings.

When is this going to stop?

Have you noticed, when you hear politicians slagging off young people, it’s never their own kids they’re talking about? It’s always someone else’s.

I’m sick of it.

Our country needs your rebellious optimism now more than ever before.

We need politicians to stop attacking young people and start backing young people.

I’m someone who’s done every job under the sun.

I started working life frying chips in McDonalds in the High.

I’ve been a white van driver for Johnsons, which I managed to smash up by reversing into some scaffolding. I’ve swept floors. I’ve picked fruit. I’ve sold suits. I’ve sold photocopiers – badly. And I’ve started a hi-tech business that created jobs for others.

I’ve learned that any job is better than no job.

But a good job is better than a bad one.

And right now we need more good jobs – and you need more help getting them.

That’s why there’s one big change that is top of our ‘to do’ list.

The biggest change in the professional jobs market has been the boom in unpaid internships.

There’s now around 100,000 internship opportunities a year; most in London and many unpaid.

And more than one in three graduates employed by firms have worked for the firm before – often as an intern

But here’s the challenge.

The average unpaid internship is three months long and can cost over £930 a month.

If you’re from a low income background you just can’t afford to do that.

The result is that the best jobs are getting locked up by those with the richest parents.

That isn’t right. It isn’t fair. And it needs to change.

This change has got be part of a wider ambition to once more put the power of government behind you – and not against you.

Like a new Tech Bacc, so young people who want take a professional and technical route to work, have got a gold standard qualification.

A Youth Allowance to support anyone under 21 studying at college.

More high-quality apprenticeships so by 2025 as many young people can start an apprenticeship each year as enter university – and new Technical Degrees so apprentices can study up to degree level skills.

More university degrees which cost less to study.

A jobs guarantee for the under 25s so no-one is ever again left to languish on the dole.

A minimum wage at £8 an hour and a ban on exploitative zero hours contracts.

And action to build 200,000 homes a year by 2020 so you stand a chance of getting a place to call your own once more.

These are the changes we WILL make if we’re elected next year and they’re changes that will put government back on your side once more.

ANGER AND OPTIMISM

You might call this an action plan for optimism.

It’s definitely a plan to put government behind you – not against you – once more.

It’s a plan that’ll help you build a future for all of us.

I feel so strongly about this because growing up in Harlow taught me that in politics you need more than anger.

You need optimism.

Here in Harlow I learnt most of the lessons that lasted me a lifetime.

My Mum and Dad came here in the 1970s.

They were drawn by a sense of idealism.

When I talk to my Dad about why he came, he said what he loved about Harlow was that it was a leap of faith.

A new town, built by a can-do spirit.

Our grandparents founded this town while we still had rationing.

It didn’t stop them.

Couples came from the bombed out East End in search of a job and a home and somewhere to raise a family and build a new future.

They were pioneers.

And great public servants like my mum and dad came because they wanted to help build around those families a strong community.

Like the sports scene that gave us one of the best local football leagues where Glen Hoddle, the most famous Burnt Mill boy trained.

Or the arts scene that grew-up around the Playhouse.

Or the incredible voluntary sector that gave the town a real sense of compassion in action.

My mum and dad wanted to part of that great effort to build a better place where people could get on.

A town of ambition and aspiration and compassion in action.

When I was growing up here there was a lot of anger about the government that seemed determined to divide working people.

Everyday I used to hear my parents talk about how tough it was doing their best when the government was cutting everything so hard.

From them I learned my sense of compassion and anger at injustice – and that’s what inspired me to join Harlow Labour party when I was 15.

But back in the 80s, we also had a sense of optimism and aspiration.

Optimism born of a confidence that things can be better.

And that’s what I came to see was the most important thing of all.

But when people give up hope they turn to extremists – as they did in our country back in the 1930s – and which many are doing again today

Today I serve one of the youngest constituencies in Britain.

Everything I learned in politics has taught me that right now, there isn’t anyone better to inspire us than you.

But our job in politics is to match your optimism with a plan.

Practical idealism.

That’s what the builders of Harlow had back in the 1940s.

They had a vision of a better country.

Not just for some.

But for all.

Those dreamers built this town.

They built this school.

And they built a better, richer, fairer country.

A country where people could build better lives.

As they did here in this town.

Today we need to rediscover the optimism, the idealism and the impatience of the people who built this school and built this town,

That is how futures are really built.

That’s how you will build once again a greater Britain.

 

#InclusiveGrowth14 – No Place Left Behind: A debate on the future for regional growth with Lord Heseltine and Lord Adonis, chaired by Katja Hall of the CBI – 2 December 2014

 

Dear friends,

 

I am delighted to share news of this afternoon’s inaugral conference of the APPG on Inclusive Growth.

 

The day before an Autumn Statement expected to be full of announcements on regional development and growth Michael Heseltine and Andrew Adonis, the two leading advocates of regional and local devolution, regional growth and business engagement discussed the topic of regional growth – chaired by the brilliant Katja Hall, Deputy Director of the CBI.

 

The debate continued on twitter at #inclusivegrowth14

 

You can still view a video of the debate here: www.policyreview.tv/video/1000/7715

 

It’s well worth a watch!

 

After the debate we were joined by Sir Bob Kerslake, head of the Civil Service for a number of private seminars on a range of topics.

 

Today was the inaugural event of the APPG on Inclusive Growth.

 

The All Party Group on Inclusive Growth brings together senior politicians from across the main parties to discuss Britain’s economic future.

 

In July 2014 a cross-party group was set up to establish the All Party Parliamentary Group on Inclusive Growth. The APPG is now working with business, finance, trade unions, faith groups and civil society with the aim of forging a new consensus on reform of markets.

 

For more information about the APPG on Inclusive Growth please visit our website here: www.inclusivegrowth.co.uk

 

I have enclosed some photos of today’s event below.

 

With all best wishes

 

Liam

 

 Adonis, Katja Hall, Heseltine 2 Adonis, Katja Hall, Heseltine Bob Kerslake 3 Break Out Groups LB and Bob Kerslake LB at Inclusive Growth Liam and Speakers at IG Lord Adonis Michael Heseltine

Heart of England hospital trust one of most complained about in UK – Birmingham Mail – 2 December 2014

 

Dear friends,

 

You may have seen my press release on Friday about the concerns that I and local Councillors have around the strain which our local NHS Trust (including Heartlands Hospital) is under.

 

The Birmingham Mail have today published a story about Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust which proves many of the concerns we’ve been hearing in the community recently.

 

Heart of England hospital trust one of most complained about in UK

 

Three serious complaints made to health ombudsman EACH DAY about NHS Trust, watchdog reveals

 

A troubled Birmingham hospital trust has been named and shamed as one of the worst in the country for patient complaints.

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) received 958 complaints to the Health Ombudsman in 2013/14 – almost three a day.

The shocking figures which places the trust as 13th on the league of shame, come just a month after it was revealed that thousands of patients were waiting more than four hours in A&E. Health watchdog Monitor slammed the leadership at HEFT and just a few days later chief executive Mark Newbold resigned.

New data has also showed that in 2013/14 the trust received 404,697 clinical incidents ranking it the fourth busiest out of 440 NHS Trusts and CCGs across the country.

The figures were released earlier this week by Dame Julie Mellor, the health ombudsman.

Hodge Hill MP Liam Byrne (Lab) said: “This fresh evidence proves concerns which have been growing for months. Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust is overstretched.

“The staff at hospitals such as Heartlands do brilliant work but mismanaged resources such as our local NHS health centres mean that they are fighting a losing battle.

“More and more people are having to head for the hospital when they should and could be being treated at their local health centres. We need a plan for getting our multi-million pound health centres in Washwood Heath and Hodge Hill fully operational as soon as possible.”

Latest figures show 5,518 patients waited more than the four hour target at Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull hospitals, all run by the Trust, compared to 1,619 in 2009/10 – an increase of 240 per cent.

Action is being taken to improve services and strengthen leadership so patients receive better care. Conditions have been imposed on HEFT’s licence so that Monitor can take further action if it does not perform better.

Waiting times are also said to be too long for routine operations and cancer care patients and there were additional concerns regarding mortality rates.

Heartlands NHS Trust was unavailable for comment.

 

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/health/heart-england-hospital-trust-one-8206925

 

 

My statement on the Government’s announcement on ‘Degree Apprenticeships’ – a frankly meagre announcement showing a lack of ambition – 26 November 2014

 

Responding to the government’s announcement on Degree Apprenticeships today, Liam Byrne MP, Shadow Minister for Universities, Science and Skills said:

 

“Ed Vaizey’s meagre announcement of 150 new apprenticeships places is nowhere near enough to fix the country’s skills crisis. Labour has announced clear, bold plans on apprenticeships and earn-while-you learn-degrees. That’s the polar opposite of the woeful lack of ambition we’ve seen from the Tory-led Coalition.”

 

ENDS

 

Notes to editors:

 

1. Today just 16,000 out of 640,000 apprenticeships reach degree level skills. Since 2010 there are now 17,000 fewer apprenticeships for under-19 year olds.

 

The issue is particularly serious in the area of digital skills. The number of people starting ICT apprenticeships has fallen by 24% since 2010 and new starts on computer science degrees are down by 1/3rd over the past decade. The need for digital skills is only going to grow: the Science Council estimates that the ICT workforce alone will grow by 39% by 2030.

 

2. Labour’s plans to tackle the national skills crisis include a pledge to bring the number of apprentices into line with those taking a degree and a national mission to address the shortfall of 400,000 engineers by 2020.

 

 

Ministers sow confusion on student places chaos

Shadow Minister for Universities, Science and Skills Liam Byrne MP has attacked the ‘wholesale confusion’ in the Government’s plan for expanding university places as ministers presented MPs with conflicting budget figures today. 

In Business, Innovation and Skills Oral Questions in the House of Commons today, Mr Byrne asked what funds BIS has set aside to meet the Chancellor’s pledge to ‘uncap’ university places, which remains apparently unfunded. In response the minister presented figures which contradicted previous statements from the Chancellor. BIS has failed to provide answers to Parliamentary questions tabled by Mr Byrne to seek clarification on the funds.

Following the minister’s answer, Mr Byrne has written to demand clarification. 

Greg Clark Letter

Figures from the House of Commons Library suggest a big cut in the funding from £8,000 to £4,000 per place if the government proceeds with plans to uncap student number controls which were presented in the Budget in March this year. 

The Minister’s statement comes after the head of HEFCE, the body responsible for university funding, wrote to Vice-Chancellors asking for “additional assurance” that the government’s reforms wouldn’t compromise on quality education.

Earlier this week a damming report from the Higher Education Commission stated that previous government reforms had created the “worst of both worlds” in the university funding system and recommended that the government look carefully at the impact of uncapping student places.

Speaking in response to the statement Liam Byrne MP, Shadow Minister for Universities, Science and Skills said:

“Either Greg Clark has got his figures wrong or he’s just pulled an imaginary £80 million rabbit out the hat. Either way, it may mask a huge cut in funding for student places revealing the government is indeed short-changing universities for a plan made up on the hoof. It looks like utter chaos. That’s why I’ve written to Greg Clark today – ministers need to come clean on the full implications of the black hole they’ve created in the student finances.”

 Notes to editors 

  • At BIS Oral Questions on Thursday 20th November, Universities Minister Greg Clark announced that £550M had been put aside to cover the removal of student number controls.
  • Liam Byrne received a response from the BIS Department to a Parliamentary Question on November 17th regarding plans to pay for the uncapping, which stated that the government were not able to provide details at the given time.
  • Figures from the House of Commons Library show the £410m allocated for the uncapping of student places in the 2013 Autumn Statement and the cost per student.
Expansion of Higher Education 2014-15 2015-16  
Scored money for abolishing the cap (£m)* 120 290  
Additional place estimates** 15,000 75,000  
Cost per place £               8,000  £              3,867  
Sources:  
*Treasury Scorecard, Autumn Statement  
**2014-15: Greg Clark, ‘Higher Education: diversity in strength’ (9 September 2014)
2015-16: Autumn Statement 2013  

 

Byrne demands answers following government ‘caving in’ on patent box – 19 November 2014

 

Byrne demands answers following government ‘caving in’ on patent box

 

The Tory-led government have decided to cave in on a core part of the UK’s science policy.

 

This is concerning news, particularly as the latest figures from the Campaign for Science and Engineering show that the UK currently “performs poorly” compared to other countries when it comes to private sector investment in R&D.

 

The Treasury has conceded to German demands to make modifications to Patent Box, a tax incentive for companies commercialising research in the UK. The deal was made between UK and German officials at the G20 summit in Brisbane last week. Ministers have not released full details of the impact of the changes to Patent Box.

 

Liam Byrne said:

 

“Just last month ministers declared that Patent Box would “transform” Britain’s life science industry. Now we learn the government caved in to German pressure to change it. Ministers must come clean and confess what this change will mean for our crucial life science industry. We can’t have our science base threatens by the Tories isolation on the continent.”

 

 

West Midlands Labour Annual Conference – 15 November 2014

 

Dear friends,

 
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.

 

West Mids Economic Plan - Nov 2014 - Image

All the best

Liam

action centre

Liam Byrne MP’s twitter

Follow @LiamByrneMP on twitter.

Issues

Facebook