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Category Archives: Public services

Statement on DfE’s announcement today – 15 April 2014

 

Dear Friends,

 

The Department for Education have now announced there next steps with regards to Birmingham schools. You can read the Department’s press release and statement below as well my statement in response and the statement released by Chief Constable Sims of West Midlands Police.

 

Department for Education Press Release – 15 April 2014:

 

Government appoints Commissioner to investigate Birmingham schools

The Department for Education today, 15 April, appointed Peter Clarke to review evidence in relation to serious allegations that schools in Birmingham are being targeted by individuals wishing to push an Islamist agenda.
In his role as Education Commissioner, Peter Clarke will be accountable to the Secretary of State for Education. He will investigate the allegations to understand fully what has happened in the schools of concern and work closely with Birmingham City Council to analyse evidence of extremist infiltration in both academies and council-run schools. He will report back to the department this summer.
Mr Clarke’s appointment means allegations which have been the subject of intense speculation can be examined in a professional and dispassionate manner, based on established facts. He has substantial and much-respected experience in leading investigations at a high level.

Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove said:
“I am extremely concerned by the allegations made in connection to a number of schools in Birmingham. 

“I have already asked Ofsted to inspect a number of schools of concern and these investigations are ongoing. But wider, more comprehensive action is needed. These allegations need either to be substantiated and firm action taken, or to be shown to be baseless. We cannot allow uncertainty for parents or pupils to persist.

“That is why I am appointing a Commissioner to oversee this work. Peter Clarke brings a wealth of relevant skills and experience, and is very well placed to lead a fair and thorough assessment of the evidence, and report back to me. We expect he will work closely with Birmingham City Council.

“No pupils should be exposed to extremist views or radicalisation while at school. I have tasked Peter Clarke with getting to the bottom of these allegations, so schools in Birmingham can continue the excellent progress that so many have been making.”

 

The Department for Education has maintained close contact with a number of parties since the allegations were first received, including the police and Birmingham City Council.

All schools are subject to a tough inspection regime and the government has been clear that it will not hesitate to take firm and swift action if pupils are being let down or placed at risk.

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. The Commissioner’s remit will cover both maintained schools and academies (including free schools, university technical colleges and Studio Schools). He will be supported by a small team of Department for Education officials, and will be able to seek expert opinion and advice as necessary, including from Ofsted. He is likely to be in place initially for three to four months before reporting back to the Secretary of State for Education.

2. This appointment, which is made under statutory powers, is separate to the Department for Education’s intervention in Birmingham’s children’s services. The department has already indicated its intention to appoint a statutory Commissioner to oversee these services, which successive Ofsted inspections have found to be inadequate.

3. Peter Clarke was an officer in the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) for 31 years and has held a number of executive and non-executive positions in the public and private sectors, including as a non-executive board member for the Serious Organised Crime Agency from 2009-2013. He rose to the rank of Deputy Assistant Commissioner at the MPS, heading up the Counter Terrorism Command. He received the OBE in 2006 for his work on the 7/7 bombings the previous year. He is currently a board member at the Charity Commission.

4. For more information call Rhiannon Spellman in the press office on 020 7340 8239 or the newsdesk on 020 7783 8300

 

 

In response Liam Byrne MP said:

 

“I’m sorry Mr Gove has ignored the advice of all ten of the city’s MP’s and the West Midlands Police and decided very, very late in the day to go it alone.

 

“We’ve been demanding action for weeks to get to the truth of what’s gone on in Mr Gove’s academies as well as local schools. Frankly we needed something far faster and a real team-effort between Mr Gove’s department and Birmingham City Council.

 

‘Some of the schools in question like Park View are delivering simply outstanding results – and nothing must be allowed to get in the way of outstanding teachers delivering outstanding teaching.

 

‘So I genuinely hope that like us, Mr Gove is pursuing the truth and not an agenda and frankly, this mustn’t be an attempt to duck the lessons Mr Gove needs to learn about toughening up the rules around academies and free schools.

 

“Despite the Secretary of State’s prevarication we just need to get on with it, end the uncertainty and get in place any changes if changes are needed”.

 

“There are now more and more questions that demand answers, like what Ofsted and Mr Gove knew and when and whether there are similar allegations being made elsewhere in Britain. Quite simply we need to know whether Mr Gove is able to run such a large school system from his desk in Whitehall.”

 

ENDS

 

 

Chief Constable Sims of West Midlands Police said:

“This is a desperately unfortunate appointment. Peter Clarke has many qualities but people will inevitably draw unwarranted conclusions from his former role as National Coordinator for Counter-terrorism.

“I am a strong supporter of open and inclusive education for all children in Birmingham and across the West Midlands and am committed to the process adopted by Birmingham City Council with educational and social inclusion at its heart.”

 

ENDS

 

 

‘Whistle-blowers receive employment protection when they come to their MP’

 

Dear friends,

 

Changes to regulations surrounding protections for whistle-blowers now mean that Members of Parliament are recognised as prescribed persons for the purpose of the Public Disclosure Act. This will dramatically increase the protection for any whistle-blowers who contact me and I hope that it means many more will be willing to speak to me about misdemeanour’s that they have observed in their workplaces.

 

I am here to help the residents of Hodge Hill and so please do get in touch with me – using the contact tab above – if you have any concerns over misdemeanour’s in your workplace.

 

Liam
The House of Commons have provided an explanatory note to accompany this change in the law and for your convenience I provide a copy here below:

 

 

EXPLANATORY NOTE

 

(This note is not part of the Order)

 

This Order amends the Schedule to the Public Interest Disclosure (Prescribed Persons) Order 1999 (“the 1999 Schedule”).

 

The Employment Rights Act 1996 (“1996 Act”) provides protection for workers who suffer a detriment or are dismissed as a result of blowing the whistle by making a qualifying disclosure in accordance with any of sections 43C to 43H of the 1996 Act. (‘Qualifying disclosure’ has the meaning given in section 43B of the 1996 Act.) Section 43F of the 1996 Act provides that a qualifying disclosure will be protected if it is made to a prescribed person and relates to matters in respect of which that person is prescribed. The 1999 Schedule lists the prescribed persons and the matters in respect of which they are prescribed for the purposes of section 43F.

 

This Order amends the 1999 Schedule to make members of the House of Commons prescribed persons in respect of any matter listed in the Schedule.

 

A full impact assessment has not been produced for this instrument as no significant impact on the private, voluntary or public sectors is foreseen.

 

Support our local Hodge Hill St John Ambulance

 

Dear friends,

 

I just wanted to let you know about a very worthy cause that could do with your support.

 

Below is a message from our local Hodge Hill St John Ambulance team (based in Bucklands End) who are fundraising to support their vital work in our community – they hope to use the money raised to purchase life-saving equipment such as Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) which will be based in local supermarkets.

 

See below for a message about their exciting fundraising challenge – for more details on how to donate please visit their team JustGiving page:

 

http://www.justgiving.com/teams/bucklandsend

 

Liam

 

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St John Ambulance March 2014

 

St John Ambulance believe that it’s absolutely unacceptable that  – due to the lack of trained 1st aiders. Everyone who needs it should receive first aid from those around them.

A local St John Ambulance unit based in Hodge Hill, Birmingham, are currently seeking support for this excellent charity. A team of 8 volunteer members and a supportive member of the public will be climbing to the summit of Ben Nevis, Scotland. Six of who will have a resuscitation Annie doll strapped to their back, whilst the remaining 3 will be carrying the food, liquid, clothing, emergency equipment and further equipment. This climb will be taking place on the 3rd May 2014.

They are aiming to raise in excess of £5000 for St John Ambulance, with all money raised purchasing valuable equipment for our local community. The money will go towards purchasing AED’s  which will be based in local our local supermarkets and wider if more money is raised. 

They have  raised almost £3300 towards their conservative target but would like to exceed their original target. This will enable the team to look at placing further AED’s in the community.

 

 

Consultation opens for changes to Starbank Primary School

 

I have recently received the following message from Birmingham City Council on their proposed changes to Starbank Primary School.

 

“On 23rd January 2014, Birmingham City Council published proposals to Expand by Enlargement and Alteration to the upper Age Limit of Starbank Primary School from 1st September 2014.

 

Please find attached the statutory proposal  that we have published. The representation will run for a 6 week period.

 

Details of how to make comments are included in the notice. The closing date for comments is Wednesday 5th February 2014.”

 

Please see below for a link to the notice:

 

Starbank Pub Notice Expansion Alter Age Range

Chief Inspector of Hospitals publishes his findings on the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust

This week I have received a copy of the CQC’s report on the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. You can access a pdf copy of the report on the link below and the CQC’s press release is detailed further below:

 

Heart of England report

 

Press release

EMBAROGED UNTIL: 00.01 Tuesday 14 January 2014

Chief Inspector of Hospitals publishes his findings on the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust  

 

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has published his first report on the quality of care provided by the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust in the West Midlands.

 

The trust was inspected under radical changes introduced by the Care Quality Commission, which provide a much more detailed picture of care in hospitals than ever before.

 

As well as good care, during its inspection CQC uncovered a number of concerns and areas for improvement at the trust’s Good Hope Hospital in relation to how its services are assessed and monitored. These have prompted the regulator to issue a warning notice to the trust demanding that improvements in this area are made by 21 February 2014.

 

What inspectors found:

 

Overall, the report concludes that the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust is generally providing patients with safe and effective care. For example, patients and their relatives said that staff were caring and kind and this was observed by the inspection team.

 

The inspection team found areas of good practice, which included:

 

  • The system to highlight patients who are medically fit for discharge promotes multidisciplinary working to discharge patients effectively.
  • The work carried out by the end of life care team in ensuring relatives were involved and continued to feel cared for after the death of their loved one.
  • The support of the critical care outreach team to other hospital staff while patients were waiting for a critical care bed.

 

However, there were a number of areas for improvement that CQC found, including a shortage of midwives and concerns regarding staffing in surgical care and wards caring for older people.

 

Also, there were concerns with how patients were treated once they had been triaged (the process of assessing and prioritising people’s injuries and illnesses) at reception in the A&E department. Once the initial triage was undertaken on arrival, patients were not being assessed by a healthcare professional within the recommended 15 minute timeframe.

 

Furthermore, CQC’s inspectors observed that all A&E cubicles at Good Hope Hospital were occupied and some patients had to wait on trolleys in the corridor. On reviewing the care records of two patients, it was clear that they had not been assessed or received any physiological checks while they were waiting.

 

Also, inspectors witnessed two patients calling out for help in a distressed manner who were ignored by nearby staff as they were busy with other tasks.

 

The national guidance for clinical practice states that staff should check the emergency equipment daily to ensure it is ready in the event of an emergency. However, CQC found that these checks were not taking place, both in the A&E department and on a nearby ward.

 

In response, CQC has told the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust that it must take action to improve in the following areas:

 

  • The care provided in the A&E departments, particularly around the timing and type of initial assessment.
  • Clarification with regard to services provided by the A&E department at Solihull.
  • Ensuring patients are cared for on appropriate wards and clinical areas.
  • In the reduction of the use of agency and bank staff through continued recruitment of permanent staff.
  • Documentation relating to patient care.
  • Clarification with regard to services provided in the Critical Care Unit at Solihull and whether staff are appropriately trained to look after those patients who could be admitted to the unit.

 

CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards said: “Whenever we inspect we will always ask the following five questions of every service: Is it safe? Is it effective? Is it caring? Is it responsive to people’s needs? Is it well-led?

 

“While most services were delivered safely at the trust, the safety of patients in all the A&E sites, the acute medical unit at Good Hope Hospital and the Critical Care Unit at Solihull must be improved. We were concerned about staffing levels in some parts of the trust. However, the trust had an active recruitment programme and could demonstrate that significant numbers of staff were due to start work in early 2014.

 

“The trust appeared to have well trained staff but there were concerns surrounding the services at Good Hope Hospital and Solihull A&E and Critical Care Unit. Most people described their care as good, telling inspectors that staff were caring, despite being busy.”

 

CQC’s Head of Hospital Inspection, Fiona Allinson said: “The concerns CQC found were unacceptable and we have warned the trust it must improve. CQC will continue to monitor the service closely and our inspectors will be returning unannounced to check on whether improvements have been made and standards are being met.”

 

CQC spent four days at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, including Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield, Heartlands Hospital, and Solihull Hospital in November. The inspection team included doctors, nurses, hospital managers, trained members of the public, CQC inspectors and analysts. They examined the care provided in accident and emergency, medical care (including older people’s care), surgery, intensive/critical care, maternity, children’s care, end of life care and outpatients.

 

The reports, which CQC has published today (Tuesday 14 January), are based on a combination of their findings, information from CQC’s Intelligent Monitoring system, and information provided by patients, the public and other organisations.

 

The full reports are available at: http://www.cqc.org.uk/directory/rr1

CQC will return to the trust at a later date to follow up the findings of this inspection and to report on the trust’s progress in making the required improvements.

Ends

For media enquiries, call Louise Grifferty, regional communications manager, on 07717 422917, or Helen Gildersleeve, regional communications officer, on 0191 233 3379.

The CQC press office can also be reached on 020 7448 9401 during office hours or out of hours on 07917 232 143.  

For general enquiries, call 03000 61 61 61.

Notes to editors

 

  1. CQC has presented its findings to a local Quality Summit, including NHS commissioners, providers, regulators and other public bodies. The purpose of the Quality Summit was to develop a plan of action and recommendations based on the inspection team’s findings.
  2. The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, is leading significantly larger inspection teams than before, headed up by clinical and other experts including trained members of the public. Sir Mike is implementing his new approach to hospital inspection with 18 NHS trusts across England, which represent variation of care. By the end of 2015, CQC will have inspected all acute NHS Trusts in the country with its new inspection model.

About the Care Quality Commission

 

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England. We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, caring, well-led and responsive care, and we encourage care services to improve. We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.

 

Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

Here are details of Birmingham Council’s planning consultation on Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Birmingham Council is interested in your comments on the application, preferably before 22 December 2013.

 

Follow the link for more information and to find out how make comments:

Birmingham Council’s planning consultation on Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Smarter Government

I suspect some with be writing a bit about ‘Smarter Government’ this week. Before the main document is published, here are a couple of speeches that set the context.

First, my speech to the Institute of Government last month. It has a simple message; we should optimistic about the prospects for public services in the years to come. Yes spending growth will be slower; but we have built a store-house of strength in the last decade; a country of stronger citizens; a stronger frontline and a stronger civic society. Drawing on these strengths we can radically change the shape of state for the years to come.

Second, my speech on local public services and civic society, delivered in Birmingham on November 19th. It sets outs an argument for how our public services and community action must come together in a new coalition to change our country for the better in the century ahead. (above, two professors who have helped extensively with the thinking, Tim Berners-Lee and Nigel Shadbolt visit my Commons office)

Questions multiply for Mr Cameron on A4e

Today we learned that No 10 have indicated that Downing Street did not know that A4E was under investigation for fraud when David Cameron appointed Emma Harrison as Families Czar. This begs a number of questions:

1. When did David Cameron find out that A4e were being investigated for fraud?

Last week it was reported in the Guardian that “there had been signals emerging from No 10 that David Cameron was deeply uneasy about Harrison’s role as an adviser as the allegations of fraud started to emerge. He had previously described her approach as ‘inspirational’.”

Given it has now emerged that the Government knew about the fraud as early as over a year ago, before the appointment of Emma Harrison took place, last night, Liam Byrne wrote to Iain Duncan-Smith to ask whether he informed the Prime Minister that A4e were being investigated for fraud.

It is now being reported that David Cameron did not know that A4e were under investigation for fraud when he appointed Emma Harrison to be his families tsar.

David Cameron needs to come clean to explain why he failed to make the proper checks before appointing Emma Harrison to this role, exactly when he did find out that A4e was under investigation, and what action he took on learning this information.

Downing Street is trying to pin the blame on Iain Duncan Smith for failing to inform David Cameron about the allegations of fraud at A4e when Emma Harrison was appointed as ‘families tsar’.

It simply beggars belief that no proper checks were made before this high-profile appointment.

David Cameron must now explain why there was a fundamental breakdown of communication inside the Government. And he needs to reveal when he first found out about the fraud allegations. Was he told after the appointment and sat on this information for more than a year – or was he kept in the dark until two weeks ago?

2. Labour calls on Government to allow publication of providers’ Work Programme performance data

Today, we are also calling on the Government to immediately allow Work Programme providers to publish their performance data.

Up to £5 billion of public money is at stake in the Work Programme and we have constantly pressed the Government to be straight with the public on how effective it is proving to be at a time of rising unemployment and a squeeze on the public finances.

In light of the very serious allegations of fraud at A4e, we are asking them again today to allow individual providers to publish their performance data.

Under Labour’s payment by results employment programmes, providers published performance data.  This Government has banned publication of this information.

The Government has failed to give straight answers on this murky affair. It now has got to come clean and tell us whether A4e’s performance is up to scratch or not. When up to five billion pounds of public money is being spent on the Government’s Work Programme, it is reasonable to ask for the Government to account for this money.

This government claimed to be the most transparent government in the world, yet they refuse to publish the providers’ performance data of their flagship unemployment policy. We need answers, and fast.

Budget Speech; Tuesday 29th March 2011

Mr Speaker

A fortnight ago, the Minister for Work was rolled around the television studios to give us his progress report on how well the government was doing in getting our country back to work

15 months after the end of the recession, the house could be forgiven for expecting that unemployment would be coming down

Yet at the very point at which unemployment should be falling, he was forced to report that unemployment was actually going up

The minister decided to choose his words carefully

The jobs market he confessed was ‘stabilising’

Well last week it was left to the chancellor to tell us that it was nothing of the sort

He did not dare spell it out, but in the fine print of the budget we learned the truth

This is not even the beginning of the end

The Chancellor’s first year of office has gone so well, that unemployment, which should be going down is now set to continue rising until the summer

It is not expected to fall below 2.5million until half way through next year

And now we face the prospect that unemployment will not fall below two million for the rest of the parliament.

What a confession of shame

Yet for those with long memories, it is a record that is all too familiar.

The last time the Tory party was in office, it took but a couple of years for unemployment to reach two million.

It then did not fall below that point for the next 18 years –

Not until the labour party was elected to office in 1997

Now the government has decided that record is worth a re-run, a repeat

Because of course there is one thing that has not changed…

Just like the 1980s, the party opposite believes that unemployment is a price worth paying

In the circumstances, I think the house was expecting to hear rather more about what this budget was going to do to get people back to work

The OBR was fully aware of the DWP’s much trumpeted work programme

It was fully aware of the tax breaks that the chancellors had on offer for business

Yet, the conclusion it drew was the cold truth: unemployment rising:

Every time this chancellor now stands up at the dispatch box to deliver a budget he revises down his forecasts for growth and revises up his estimate of the number of people to be unemployed

He is costing this country a fortune

Under labour’s plan the treasury was forecasting

  • 250k fewer people on the claimant count
  • And 200k fewer people on the dole by the end of the parliament

What then did the budget offer for jobs?

Incredibly, it said that unemployment by the first quarter of 2013, would be 200,000 higher than forecast just last October

What a triumph

Under the circumstances, we might have expected a major new push to get people back to work

After all, this the told the Select Committee on 14th march

Chris Grayling: if there was a very substantial change in the labour market, one way or the other, frankly, that is the kind of circumstance in which we might need to revisit some of [our] the assumptions.

Well, 200 000 more unemployed sounds like a very substantial change to me

So what was the government’s response?

£20m this year for work experience

I had a look at his department’s accounts for January this morning

Mr Speaker, his new work placement programme this year costs less than his department spends on stationery

At the very least we would have expected more resources for the work programme;

The prime minister is fond of telling us that the work programme ‘is the biggest back to work programme this country has seen since the 1930s’ [16 feb 2011]

In fact as the BBC have shown it has 250,000 less places available than the welfare to work programmes Labour had in place last year when unemployment was lower than it is today

The association of bidders for the programme has so much confidence in the govt’s plan that it says

“the design of the work programme is fraught with risks which may impact significantly on the number of unemployed people who can benefit from it”

Yet when my Honourable Friend the Member for Westminster North, asked the Secretary of State yesterday how much extra he had got from the Treasury to get people back to work, the Secretary of State refused to give the house a straight answer

I think we all know what that means – he asked for nothing – and he got nothing

With unemployment forecast to rise, the least we could expect was the Secretary of State to stand up for his department, to fight his corner and secure extra help to get this country back to work

Instead, we have the blasé meets the reckless – and the dole queues simply get longer

Yet, worst of all is the cost of this neglect for our young people

This morning I met a delegation of young people from my constituency

I asked them what they thought of the government’s plans

They said; ‘it seems the government is just stopping young people from being what they could be’

I couldn’t put it better myself

Youth unemployment is now approaching a million

The Secretary of State likes to pretend that somehow this was a problem that he inherited

He fails to remind us that in labour’s final 9 months of office, youth unemployment was falling – by some 67,000

I know that he is fondest of figures that don’t include young people in education

Fair enough

Let’s see what these figures tell us

Since the election what has happened?

It has risen by 60,000

And that is while the economy is growing

All the good work, completely undone

Every job lost is a tragedy for one family – yet all the jobs lost is a tragedy for our country

Not only does it mean that our performance as a country cannot match our real potential but it creates a bill that all of us have to pay

The Governor of the Bank of England has warned us of what is to come

He says it’s the biggest squeeze on living standards since the 1930s

Because this govt’s economic plan is creating so few jobs, there is little demand for workers

Now there are five people chasing every job, the growth in peoples’ wages, in peoples’ pay-packets is slow

The OBR forecasts 2.0% earnings growth this year, rising to 2.2% next year

But when prices are growing by 5.1% and 3.6% the squeeze on family budgets is all too obvious  [wages don’t rise faster than prices for another 2 years]

In the circumstances, you might have thought the sos would step in to help

Not a bit of it

Starting next month, Ten Tory raids on the family budget get into full swing; tax credits cut for families earning more than £40,000; tougher criteria on families wanting to claim family support; reducing the income disregard; freezing basic rates of working tax credit; removing the baby element of child tax credit; reducing payable costs of child care; abolition of grants for pregnant mums; £500 taken away from families with more than one child; child benefit increases ruled out for another three years; and cancelling the child savings accounts.

The government is proud of some of the measures foisted upon it by the Liberal Democrats

But even once you take those into account, £1.1 billion is going to be stripped from family budgets this year

With another £305 million net coming from children

By the end of the parliament it will total £16.4 billion in total by the end of the parliament

Why isn’t the government doing more to help?

Because the cost of economic failure is soaring through the roof

In the detail of the budget book we learned just how big that bill has now become

Last week, the chancellor snuck out in the small print of his budget the fact that the social security bill – it’s there on page 126 – is to rise by £12.6 billion over the course of this parliament.

That is £500 for every household in the country

Almost as shocking is what has happened to the unemployment bill

When the chancellor came to the house last November, somehow he forgot to tell us that his higher unemployment figures would put up the dole bill by £700m

Now we learn it goes up again: up by £1.9 billion this year

In other words this government has put the unemployment bill up by £2.6bn

What an indictment of this government’s record

That £2.6 billion is the same amount he is cutting tax credits for people with children

He is cutting support for our children to pay the cost of his failure to get Britain back to work.

What does that mean for the average British family

Single earner/ one child

Well, if you’re a single earner family, with one child on £23,000/ year, you’ll lose £411/ year

Households with childcare costs get hit even harder

In fact, a family with average childcare costs is going to lose £492/year

And for some it will be even worse

A single earner on the minimum wage with two kids is going to lose over £2,091 a year – that’s 6 and half percent of their income

Even for low earners, any gains they make in income tax and child tax credit are wiped out by the vat rise

He is squeezing Britain’s families harder than ever to pay for his failure to get our country back to work

Doesn’t that sound familiar?

Finally, Mr Speaker, we come to the question of what this budget means for some of the most vulnerable people in our country

For the people who need the help of the wider community

For those who need extra support in order to live out a full life in this country which still today is the world’s fifth biggest economy

I know that like me, he believes that in a country as rich as Britain is in the world, we should have high standards, not low standards of civilisation and compassion

Yet the chancellor is pressing ahead with measures that will deny people their independence

The question this house has of him, is what is he going to do to stop him;

Yesterday, the Secretary of State told the house that after his review of DLA was complete;

‘the mobility component that is required for people in care homes will exist’

Yet he cannot explain why the chancellor announced he was taking £400m more out of the mobility component than previously planned

Second, the budget confirmed his plans to press ahead with the abolition of DLA

Let me repeat what i said in the second reading debate

We support the reform – not its abolition

No matter how he tries to dress it up, his goal is to remove £2.9 billion from the budget for DLA

Cut first – reform later

Now by the final year of the parliament he expects his dla cuts to amount to £1.4billion

In an answer to me, on 7th march, his says that he expects the caseload to fall by 170,000

That would mean, 170,000 people losing £8,500/ year

Can he not understand why people are so worried

Worse are his plans to limit esa to just one year

The budget confirmed his ambition to save some £3.5 billion from the cut

Yet he knows as well as i do that if you are recovering from cancer it is quite possible that you will not have recovered within a year

Are we really saying to these people that at one of the most vulnerable points of their life, we are going to cut their family budget by [£96] a week?

Surely he should listen to those 30 cancer charities which written to the secretary of state urging him to think again

His own department’s statistics show 75% of cancer patients still need esa after one year.

The charities message was blunt;

“this proposal” they say ‘rather than creating an incentive to work, will lead to many cancer patients losing their esa simply because they have not recovered quickly enough.

Surely that can’t be right

So here we have Mr Speaker, a budget that

Puts more people out of work

That fails to deliver on the ambitions of our young people

That hits families harder than ever to pay the bills of economic failure

And which begins to endanger the contract of a proud and civilised country with the most people who need the most help

That isn’t a big society; it is a society in which the bonds which tie us are stretched to breaking point

This is a budget that is hurting and not working and this government needs to think again.

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