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Lisa Calls for Action to End Child Poverty in Autumn Statement

Nearly 6,000 Children in Wigan Are Living In Households Struggling To Cope

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy has hit out at ‘Government complacency’ after shocking new figures produced by the End Child Poverty coalition revealed that over a quarter of children living in Wigan are living in poverty.

The figures show that there are more than 3 and a half million children living in poverty around the UK. Child poverty is the highest in large cities, particularly in London, Birmingham and Manchester.  As Table 1 illustrates, among the twenty parliamentary constituencies with the highest levels of childhood poverty, seven are located in London, three in Birmingham, and three in Manchester.

The coalition of charities, faith groups and unions is warning that the benefits freeze in place until the end of the decade will mean that as prices rise, low income families will find it increasingly hard to pay for the same basic essentials.

At the same time, recent cuts to in work support under Universal Credit further penalise low income working families – pushing more working families below the poverty line.

Wigan MP Lisa has pledged to support End Child Poverty’s call for the Government to use the upcoming Autumn Statement to end the freeze on children’s benefits, and to reverse the sharp cuts being introduced to in-work benefits under Universal Credit.

The parliamentary constituencies with the lowest levels of child poverty are Gordon, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, Sheffield Hallam, and York Outer, with figures between 9 and 10 per cent.  The constituency of Theresa May (Maidenhead) is among the 20 with the lowest child poverty.

Speaking about the figures, Wigan MP Lisa said:

“These shocking figures are the result of Government complacency. Theresa May spoke of trying to heal the divide in Britain and yet her Government has just dealt a cruel blow to millions of single parents by reducing the support available to them.

“All of the evidence suggests the cost of living will increase dramatically over the next year and this will mean even more children will suffer the indignity of growing up in poverty. These children are innocent victims of the Tories political choices and it is not only unfair but immoral to tolerate such levels of inequality.

“I will be demanding that the Government commit to end the scandal of child poverty in the run up to the Autumn Statement to protect those childhoods which have not yet been lost.”

Chair of End Child Poverty Sam Royston said:

“As the Prime Minister has rightly recognised, this is not a country that works for everyone. In every community, there are children being denied the happy childhoods and the good start in life other children take for granted.  Our children are now twice as likely to be poor as our pensioners.

“Many families who are just about managing today, won’t be managing tomorrow if Universal Credit leaves them with fewer pounds in their pocket, and if rising costs of living means their money doesn’t stretch as far as it used to.

“This month’s Autumn Statement is a major opportunity for the new government to act to help these families. We urge the Chancellor to reverse the significant cuts to Universal Credit targeted at working families and, at the very least, shield children’s benefits from inflation.”

 

 

 

November 21, 2016 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy Demands Rethink on Funding for Schools

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy has warned that schools in Wigan face significant funding cuts, even under a new funding formula, unless the Government increases school funding overall.

This is because the Government’s policy of real terms cuts in school funding will sweep away any funding gains from a new funding formula. Figures released by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) show that overall school funding in Wigan is projected to be slashed by £18,940,482 between now and 2020. This equates to a £444 cut per pupil or a 10% average cut per school in Wigan.

Lisa Nandy MP is calling on the Chancellor to commit to additional financial resources to schools when he delivers his Autumn Statement to Parliament on 23rd November, saying:

“Across the country, we are already seeing increased class sizes, subjects being dropped from the curriculum, pupils with special educational needs and disabilities losing vital support and teacher and school staff vacancies being left unfilled. Without additional resources this already desperate funding situation in schools will only get worse. I am calling on the Chancellor to invest in education later this month and protect funding for children and young people in Wigan.”

Kevin Courtney, General Secretary, National Union of Teachers:

“No head teacher should be put in the position of increasing class sizes, leaving building repairs undone or cutting staff and resources simply to balance the books. Nor should any parent accept this for their child. We are one of the richest countries in the world. We can and we should be funding our schools properly.”

Mary Bousted, General Secretary, Association of Teachers and Lecturers:

“We urge the Government to increase the overall funding for schools. If it just reallocates the existing budget many children will lose out, with some of the most deprived children being hit hardest. It is ill-conceived to think the formula for schools’ funding can be reformed alongside real terms cuts to the overall schools’ budget. No school should be forced to cope with a drop in funding that will jeopardise its ability to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum and recruit and retain staff. All children deserve a fair chance to succeed and should not suffer because schools are under-resourced by the Government and teachers over-worked.”

Anyone who wants to see more details about how individual schools will be affected can look the new website www.schoolcuts.org.uk to see what the cuts could mean for their local schools and sign a petition to the Chancellor which they will find on that website.

November 15, 2016 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Lisa backs plans to extend leave for parents of premature babies

Parents of premature babies could be allowed extra time off work under proposals backed by Wigan MP Lisa Nandy. Current rules mean that parents have to start their maternity and paternity leave as soon as a child is born but parents argue that this fails to account for the extra care requirements of premature babies.

The Maternity and Paternity Leave (Premature Birth) Bill will be presented as a Ten Minute Rule Motion in the House of Commons on Wednesday 26th October. The Bill will amend the Employment Rights Act to allow extended leave for parents of babies born prematurely. Over 100,000 people have signed a petition supporting the campaign.

Figures show that over 60,000 babies are born prematurely every year, putting extra financial and emotional pressure on thousands of families. Babies born too soon also start their development at an earlier stage, meaning they require extra care. With this not possible under current laws, parents often have to leave their job and lose further income.

All of this means families of premature babies face huge challenges:

  • Parents of premature babies face over £2,000 in extra costs, because of the need for travel to and from the hospital, childcare for other children, and lost wages while they cannot work
  • 4 in 10 mothers will suffer postnatal depression if their baby is born prematurely – compared to 1 in 10 mothers of full term babies
  • One third of neo-natal units have no psychological support – meaning thousands of parents are left to cope on their own

The next step for the Bill will be to receive a date for its second reading – a full debate on the proposals.

Speaking about the proposals, Lisa said: “Giving birth early can be an incredibly stressful experience and we need a change in the laws around maternity leave to recognise the emotional and financial strains of a premature birth.

“Many parents who have a premature baby are forced to choose between going back to work or leaving their job to care for their child. There is cross-party support for these proposals and I’m hopeful that this campaign will continue to attract support.”

The petition calling for the change can be found here: https://www.change.org/p/extend-maternity-leave-for-mothers-of-premature-babies

October 24, 2016 By : Category : News 0 Comment

PM Pressed for Answers on Child Abuse Inquiry

Yesterday, Wigan MP Lisa Nandy pressed the Prime Minister for answers on what she knew and when about major problems with the inquiry into child sexual abuse.

You can watch a video of the exchange below:

October 20, 2016 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Lisa Demands Real Action on Child Poverty

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy has demanded real action from the Government to tackle child poverty. Lisa made the call in response to new figures which predict a massive increase in the numbers of children living in poverty as a direct result of Government policy.

Speaking directly to Damian Green MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Lisa said: “He should be ashamed that the IFS is predicting a staggering 50% increase in child poverty over the course of this Parliament under his Government, who are still committed to a policy where a living wage does not pay enough to live on and where tax and benefit changes will be directly responsible for that increase in child poverty. When will the 2.5 million children who currently go without enough food to eat—who go hungry in this country—see some real action from this Government?”

You can watch the exchange below:

October 18, 2016 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Lisa Backs Mayor’s ‘Hats for Hospice’ Day

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy has thrown her support behind ‘Hats for Hospice’ day, a campaign organised by the Mayor of Wigan, Ron Conway, to support Wigan and Leigh Hospice.

On Wednesday 19th October, the Mayor is asking as many people as possible to wear a hat and donate £1. The proceeds will go to Wigan and Leigh Hospice which has been providing specialist care for patients with a life-limiting illness for over 30 years and currently cares for over 1,200 patients in Wigan Borough every year.

Speaking about the campaign, Lisa said: “This is a great idea to raise money in a fun way for a very important cause. Wigan and Leigh Hospice do a fantastic job of caring for people when they are most in need of help and I am proud to support this campaign. I would urge everyone to get involved so we can raise as much money as possible. I would also like to say a big thank you to Wigan Athletic Community Trust for their help in publicising this campaign.”

Donations can be made online by following this link: www.wigan.gov.uk/Council/Mayoralty/Mayors-charity.aspx or alternatively cheques can be made payable to ‘The Mayor of Wigan’s Charity Appeal’.

October 12, 2016 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Back on track? Rail Minister signals support for MPs’ bid to save Piccadilly link

Rail campaigners received a boost this week as the new Rail Minister signalled his support for a proposal that will save direct services in to Manchester Piccadilly.

Local MPs Lisa Nandy and Yvonne Fovargue, who have been fighting to save the direct rail link between Southport to Manchester Piccadilly, met with the newly appointed Rail Minister, Paul Maynard, to discuss the issue last week.

The MPs outlined the level of public anger about the proposed changes on the Southport-Wigan line and put forward a blueprint for change. Following the meeting the Minister gave the Department for Transport the green light to work with the train operator Arriva and planners at Rail North to find a solution.

Yvonne Fovargue MP said: “Wigan Passengers value a direct train service and resent the current proposals that improve services for other areas at their expense. I am not prepared to allow my constituents to be treated so poorly and the Minister was left in no doubt at the meeting as to the strength of feeling that exists.

“I am pleased that the Minister instructed his officials to find a solution and we will continue to pressure the DfT and Arriva to deliver a direct service.”

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy said: “The Rail Minister was left in no doubt about the level of public anger these proposals have caused. Many passengers who rely on this line to get to work have already had to put up with increased fares and overcrowding. Now they are told they may lose the direct service altogether. Passengers have been ignored all the way through this process. They have now been heard and we will ensure their concerns are addressed by the government”.

The original plan to end the direct link to Piccadilly in December 2017 – routing all trains on the line to Manchester Victoria – was formally announced by train operator Arriva after it took over the Northern rail franchise in April this year. Passengers immediately protested to Arriva bosses who infuriated MPs and passenger groups by admitting the changes had not been the subject of any consultation and claiming their “hands were tied” by the terms of the franchise.

MPs have been contacted by passengers alarmed at the prospect of longer journeys to get into work and changing trains to Piccadilly and the airport. A major concern has been the uncertainty in making a rail connection, especially at busy peak periods in the evening. Indeed, figures obtained by the passenger groups Southport Rail Transport Forum and Ormskirk Preston and Southport Travellers’ Association show that over 60%) of commuters to Manchester from stations between Southport and Wigan face losing direct train links to Deansgate, Oxford Rd and Piccadilly stations.

September 23, 2016 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Wigan MP Horrified By Move to Sack Firefighters

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy has said she is horrified by reports that every firefighter in Greater Manchester will be sacked. The Fire Brigades Union have revealed that firefighters will only be re-engaged if they agree to sign a new contract imposed on them by the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.

Firefighters have raised concerns about the safety of the new contract which would see them working 12-hour shifts and 250 posts slashed. The new contract is set to be imposed from the 1st April 2017. Speaking about the proposals, Lisa Nandy MP said: “I am horrified by these reports. This raises serious concerns about one of our emergency services, and is no way to treat people who run into danger to keep the public safe. I’ve been in touch with local FBU representatives to offer my support. It is vital that Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service listen to the concerns of the Fire Brigades Union and get back round the table to agree a deal rather than imposing a new contract.”

September 21, 2016 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Lisa Backs State Pension Campaigners

Wigan MP Backs WASPI Women Who Vow to Continue Fighting 

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy has backed Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaigners who have told Government Minister’s to think again and reverse the decision to raise the state pension age for millions of women. The campaign was dealt a blow when the Government pressed ahead with planned changes to the state retirement age for women, despite an independent report saying that the changes had not been communicated properly and that many women were unaware that they were about to have their retirement plans torn up.

The WASPI campaign have always maintained that, although the principle of equalisation with the male retirement age is fair, the changes should be deferred to allow those who are impacted more time to adjust their retirement plans.

Local campaigners from the WASPI Wigan Branch visited Lisa Nandy MP last week to hand her a petition to present to Parliament as the campaign seeks to pile pressure on the Government to back down. Speaking about the visit, Lisa said: “I am proud to support women from across Wigan who are fighting the great injustice of these changes to their state pension. With such growing support from MPs across several political parties it is becoming increasingly clear that Ministers must act.”

Local campaigner Jan Fulster said: “Instead of enjoying their expected retirement, many of my peers are now struggling severe financial hardship through no fault of their own. We the members of WASPI LPG, are determined to push the government into reconsidering the plight of ladies born in the 1950s, of whom there are 12,000 in the Wigan Borough alone, hence the petition. We are grateful for the tremendous support we have had in this matter from Lisa and our other local MPs.

Picture caption, from left to right: Gill Diggles, Jan Fulster, Lisa Nandy MP, Teresa Forrester and Sheila Carroll.

September 20, 2016 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Petition: Defend Rail Services to Manchester Piccadilly

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy has launched a petition to defend rail services to Manchester Piccadilly. The campaign has been launched following an announcement by Arriva that they are planning to re route all services on the Southport to Manchester line, with all trains being diverted to Victoria instead of Piccadilly. The changes would not only cause rush hour chaos for thousands of commuters but would also end direct services to Manchester Airport.

Lisa is working with fellow MPs Yvonne Fovargue, John Pugh and Rosie Cooper to put pressure on the company to back down and continue a Piccadilly service. The MPs are meeting with the new Rail Minister this week to ask for the Government’s assistance in reaching a compromise.

Anyone interested in signing the petition can do so by clicking here.

September 5, 2016 By : Category : News 0 Comment