Barbara Keeley MP

LABOUR MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR WORSLEY AND ECCLES SOUTH

Barbara's Salford Advertiser Column, 1st July 2010

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Budget Cuts and VAT Increase are Government Parties’ Broken Promises

As I predicted, the Health Secretary has now announced that the Government has scrapped Labour’s patient guarantees. Patients can no longer rely on being seen within four hours in Accident and Emergency departments or having a maximum wait of eighteen weeks for hospital treatment. Scrapping these patient guarantees threatens to take us back to the long waiting lists we saw under the Tories in the 1980s and 90s.

We have just had the first Conservative Lib Dem Budget by George Osborne, following earlier cuts already announced by Lib Dem Danny Alexander. The Tory Chancellor’s decision to make early cuts and deeper cuts will put the economy at risk and hit people in Salford hard.

Pensioners, families and carers are among those now fearing the effects of the changes made in the Budget, such as the increase of VAT to 20%. Everyone will pay more, but increasing VAT hits the less well-off members of any community hardest. People with disabilities and their carers are worried about five-year plans to cut £1 billion from Disability Living Allowance by reducing numbers of people who are eligible. This cut also means the person’s carer would not be eligible for Carers Allowance. Indexing benefits like Carers Allowance to the Consumer Price Index rather than the Retail Prices Index effectively cuts that Allowance by 1%.

Families with children are also being hit by the Tory cuts delivered with the support of Lib Dems. Hardest to believe is the decision to cut Labour’s Free School Meals Programme for families on low incomes – the very families whose children need a nutritious meal every day. Children and older people in Salford will no longer benefit from the free swimming brought in by Labour. The Health in Pregnancy grant has been scrapped there are cuts to the Sure Start maternity grant.

I will fight all these damaging changes affecting our pensioners, families and carers. They deserve better from a Government whose leaders have now broken their promises not to raise VAT and to make any cuts with fairness.

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