Yesterday the Government’s Boundary review proposals were announced. The proposals are a Conservative Government initiative, backed by the rationale that the changes will cut the cost of democracy by reducing the number of MPs from 650 to 600.
However, I believe they are fundamentally flawed and a disingenuous attempt to mislead the public. That is why there has been widespread criticism of the plans from across the political spectrum.
On the one hand the Government says that it wants to reduce the cost of democracy by reducing the number of MPs whilst on the other hand they have created 260 unelected peers to sit in the House of Lords. Savings are already being made through the demise of the 73 UK MEPs. In addition to this the Government has ignored the millions of extra voters in their calculations, who registered on the run up to the EU referendum, simply pretending that they don’t exist in a review that pretends to be all about numbers.
The proposed changes have more to do with party politics than the public purse. Obviously the real aim of the proposed reconfiguration is to unashamedly create more Conservative MPs and as such is blatant gerrymandering – it should be recognised as such and held in contempt.
These are early days and there is still much consultation to take place as Parliament will not vote on this until October 2018. However let me make it clear that I will be opposing these proposals because I want to prevent the breakup of Burnley as a parliamentary constituency. I know that if the Government was really serious about cutting costs, they would not have created hundreds of new Lords, who are answerable to no-one.
My primary concern will always be what is in the best interests of people in Burnley and Padiham. The identity of our communities is paramount and the status quo has worked well. I don’t want to see our towns ‘carved up’ for self-serving political gain.
Yesterday the Government’s Boundary review proposals were announced. The proposals are a Conservative Government initiative, backed by the rationale that the changes will cut the cost of democracy by reducing...
On Monday I urged the new Secretary of State for Education to invest in technical schools and technical and vocational qualifications. I also asked her directly how the Government’s proposed plans to introduce grammar schools would improve the skills gap that currently exists in the UK. I said the following:
“I would like to congratulate the young people in my constituency who have been successful in their GCSE and A-level results this year. There is no shortage nationwide in access to excellent academic education. Our world-leading universities are welcoming more students from this country than ever before. However, we are not so good at providing access to technical and vocational qualifications, and employers across the length and breadth of this country are crying out for those skills. How exactly will introducing more grammar schools improve this situation?”
This week I am joining with Labour colleagues to stop the Government’s proposed solar tax hike which will undermine solar power and the clean energy industries of the future. Under proposed Government plans to update tax rates for business properties companies installing solar panels on their rooftops will end up with a tax bill that is six to eight times higher than they are currently paying.
It will mean in some cases that rooftop solar installations cost more to run than they generate. This tax hike will penalise thousands of businesses and schools who choose to use renewable energy and invested in good faith with the prior backing of consecutive Governments.
What I find particularly disappointing and unfair is that these changes will affect the majority of state schools who have solar installations, while academies and private schools are largely exempt due to their charitable status. This will hit schools at a time when education budgets are already stretched.
The solar industry currently employs 40,000 people across the UK, some of which are based in my constituency. The Government’s proposals will also have a huge impact here in Burnley on jobs, as the tax hike will naturally kill off demand and with it jobs. Over 12,000 jobs have already been lost as a result of other changes.
It seems to me that this Government is taking Britain’s energy industry backwards and not forwards. We should be subsidising the solar industry not taxing it. We should be investing in solar as the energy of the future and with it the jobs of the future, in which the UK can be a world leader. Solar power continues to be one of the most environmentally friendly and effective energy industries and I believe we need a Government that will champion its future rather than one whose first act is to dismantle the Department for Energy and Climate Change.
That is why I will continue to fight against any solar power tax hikes that will undermine one of Britain’s highest growing energy industries, as well as standing up for businesses and schools that use solar power and solar power jobs in Burnley.