Barbara Keeley

LABOUR CANDIDATE FOR WORSLEY AND ECCLES SOUTH

Barbara's Salford Advertiser Column, 3rd April 2014

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We are now seeing the real impact of the Conservative-led Government's savage and unfair cuts to Salford Council's budget. Since 2010, Government cuts have meant £100 million less for Salford to use for vital services such as adult social care and Sure Start children's centres.

Sure Start was a programme of support and services for children started by the Labour Government in 1998, aimed at giving children the best possible start in life.  Sure Start centres offer services such as early learning and childcare, health and family support.

The Government has not protected funding for Sure Start centres and services are facing cuts. Parents who have used Sure Start services are horrified at the thought of losing them.

Government cuts have also led to changes to eligibility for adult social care in Salford. This will lead to 1,000 people losing their care services this year. However, cuts like this are leading to increased pressure on hospital A and E departments. It is a false economy to push up the costs of NHS care due to cutting the social care needed by frail or disabled people.

This week the Government's cruel and unfair Bedroom Tax has been dubbed a "disaster". An investigation by the BBC showed that nearly 30% of households affected have been pushed into rent arrears for the first time. Conservative Ministers claimed that Bedroom Tax would free up larger homes but the policy has not worked in many areas, as there are not enough smaller properties for tenants to move into.

Conservative Ministers also need to understand the misery their failing policies are causing. One in ten of those people affected by the Bedroom Tax are unpaid family carers. Many of those carers have given up work or reduced their hours to care.  Yet they now find themselves having to find up to £700 a year to pay this unfair tax.

Labour has pledged to abolish the Bedroom Tax if we are elected in 2015. And Labour is also proposing to develop a system of whole person care, which will bring together NHS and social care services.

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