GOVERNMENT proposals that could see Wigan’s Fire and Rescue Service privatised have been fiercely criticised by local MP Lisa Nandy.

It was revealed last month that Fire Minister Brandon Lewis had unsuccessfully sought support for the proposals from the House of Commons’ Regulatory Reform Committee.

Now Wigan MP Lisa Nandy is opposing the Government’s plan after Mr Lewis refused to drop the idea.

Lisa said: “Our fire services have already faced irresponsible cuts which have left them in a precarious position when it comes to saving lives and helping people to feel safe when they sleep at night.

“This proposal is surely a step too far, even for this Government. The very idea of privatising one of our emergency services is horrifying. Current Government plans will mean the loss of more than 5,000 firefighters and 1,000 support staff by 2015.

“I will oppose this Government’s plans at every opportunity. I simply will not accept private profit being put before public safety when it comes to Wigan’s fire and rescue services.”

March 21, 2013 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Lisa calls on Coalition Government to Stop Squeezing Family Incomes

Local Wigan MP Lisa Nandy has joined forces with Usdaw, the shop workers union, to call on the Coalition Government to stop squeezing family incomes by continuing to cut the help they get through tax credits and other benefits.

Just days before the Budget, at a time when many hard working families are already concerned about how difficult it is to manage their finances, Usdaw has arranged to take some of their members, who are being hit the hardest by the Government’s shake up of the welfare state to Parliament, to meet MPs.

John Hannett, General Secretary of Usdaw said, “Since coming to power the Coalition Government’s austerity measures have already taken hundreds of pounds out of the pockets of hard working families.

”Our members tell us, that despite working hard, it is getting more and more difficult to pay the bills, put food on the table and clothe their children”

“We are concerned that things are only going to get worse – as the Government’s flawed bedroom tax comes into force and further changes to tax credits later this year, hit almost 3 million families who will lose on average – £137 each month.”

“This week’s Budget is the Government’s chance to prove that it cares about children and families. It is time for this Government to do a U turn – stop cutting family incomes and start to support hard working families.”

Lisa said: “Usdaw has an important job to do – speaking up for their members. More than one in every four children are already growing up in poverty and of those children 62%, has at least one person in their home who is employed.”

Families in Wigan and around the country are getting squeezed tighter and tighter – it’s time for the Coalition Government to stop cutting and start listening to hard pressed families.”

March 19, 2013 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Lisa slams Government over senseless ‘bedroom tax’ on foster parents of more than one child

Wigan MP and Shadow Children’s Minister Lisa Nandy has criticised the Government for continuing to subject foster parents who care for more than one foster child to the ‘bedroom tax’, after seemingly performing a ‘u-turn’ on the unpopular policy last week.

On Tuesday last week Lisa tabled a new clause to the Children and Families Bill as Shadow Children’s Minister to highlight the negative impact the ‘bedroom tax’ will have on foster carers, as well as prospective adopters and grandparents who are special guardians.

Under the ‘bedroom tax’ policy, any social housing tenant who has a “spare” room, including rooms planned for adopted and foster children, will have to pay an extra £14 a week on average or move out of their home, a move Lisa fears will deter many people from becoming foster parents.

On Wednesday last week the Work and Pensions Secretary announced foster carers would be exempt from the ‘bedroom tax’ but with a catch – the exemption will only apply to foster parents of one child. This will increase the risk that children in foster care will be split up and means the thousands of children waiting for a foster home may have to wait even longer.

Lisa Nandy MP said:

“Earlier this week the Government said foster children would be spared the bedroom tax but now it turns out there’s a catch. Only foster parents who care for one child will be exempt, and everyone else will be penalised for caring for more children. This will be devastating for children who want to live with their siblings and shows a blatant disregard for all the children still waiting for a foster home.”


March 18, 2013 By : Category : News 0 Comment


Local MP Lisa Nandy has condemned the government for actively increasing health inequalities after new figures revealed that many deprived areas will receive far less funding for public health programmes than more affluent areas – despite higher levels of deprivation and lower life expectancy.

Wigan is set to receive £59 in public health grant per person. Meanwhile in affluent Kensington and Chelsea – where life expectancy for men and women is much higher – the grant is £130 per person.

The money comes from the Department of Health and is for local councils to promote healthy living and prevent illness. Despite the gains made in the last decade, there is still much more to do on public health: smoking kills 80,000 people a year, alcohol over 6,500 and around one in four adults are obese. What’s more, the evidence is clear that public health problems are closely linked to poverty. It’s known, for example, that deprived children are nearly twice as likely to be obese as the least deprived.

Local MP Lisa Nandy is calling on the health secretary Jeremy Hunt to look again at the allocations and abide by his Department’s own aim of reducing inequalities in life expectancy between areas.

Lisa said: “People in Wigan will find it hard to believe that Kensington and Chelsea, home to some of the richest people in the country, is due to get £130 per person compared to £59 in Wigan.

“The evidence is clear that public health problems are closely linked to poverty, but these latest figures show that Ministers have refused to listen to the evidence and have channelled funding to councils with wealthy and healthy populations at the expense of areas like ours.

“If the government is serious about reducing health inequalities rather than making them worse, Ministers must change tack and give Wigan a fair deal on public health funding.”

March 11, 2013 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Welfare reform shambles exposed

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy reveals 1,748 people will be hit by the Bedroom Tax in Wigan.

Lisa today revealed National Housing Federation figures which show 1,748 families will be hit by the government’s ‘Bedroom Tax’, losing on average £728 per year.

The Bedroom Tax will hit 660,000 households nationally, two thirds of them home to someone with a disability, at exactly the same time as the Government gives a massive £100,000 tax cut to 13,000 millionaires.

Lisa said: “David Cameron’s Bedroom Tax will hammer families in Wigan who are already struggling to make ends meet. It could actually end up costing taxpayers a fortune by forcing people into higher private rented properties, and stacking up the cost of evictions.

“Two thirds of the households hit are home to someone with a disability. Families who have soldiers serving abroad or who are fostering children will be penalised. Yet at the same time millionaires are getting a massive tax cut. How can that be right?”

March 6, 2013 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Loan Sharks Beware – Debtbusters Campaign launched by Borough MPs

A new campaign backed by the Borough’s MPs, Unify Credit Union Ltd, Citizens Advice and Wigan & Leigh Cooperative Party was launched on Saturday, 2nd March in Wigan, Leigh, and Ashton town centres. Over 500 people signed the Debtbusters petition at the event launches attended by MP’s Lisa Nandy, Andy Burnham and Yvonne Fovargue.

Wigan & Leigh Debtbusters is set to raise awareness of the detriment caused by payday lenders and others and that affordable loans, free help and advice is available through the Borough’s Credit Unions and Citizens Advice Bureau.

The campaign launch comes against a background of growing statistics that demonstrate the impact of debt on UK households. The Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) sets out how Household debt is set to rise by 36.3% in the next three years. By 2015 UK households will have amassed over two trillion pounds worth of debt.

Thirty nine percent of people are concerned about the amount of debt they owe and 43% think their personal financial situation will worsen in the next six months. A staggering 45% of people now say they frequently struggle to make it to payday, up by 8% since Christmas 2010.

In November 2011, 16% of individuals had become ‘zombie debtors’ – only able to service the interest of their debt and not reduce it, whilst 27% had no savings at all.

One in three (32%) of those who took out a ‘payday loan’ couldn’t pay it off, so had to get another one (so called ‘rollovers’).

The high-cost credit sector, made up of payday lenders, home credit providers and hire purchase agreements, is growing rapidly and increasingly causing many of its customers to get into severe debt problems.

Campaigners have welcomed the news that a cap on the cost of credit is set to be introduced but they warn that this is only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ and that regulation of the industry is required.

Labour & Cooperative Councillor for Astley-Mosley Common Jo Platt is set to raise the issue at this week’s full council.

Debtbuster’s Cllr Jo Platt said:

“Residents of the Borough are calling for action against legal loan sharks. Over the past couple of years they have proliferated in our area and the tough financial times means more and more people are turning to them and the extortionate loans which they offer.

“This motion sends a message that Wigan Council is serious about supporting our residents who are facing financial hardship. We support the introduction of a limit to cap the amount these companies can charge for loans, and we are committing to doing what we can locally to support responsible lending and discourage the loan sharks.”

Lisa Nandy MP said:

As living costs rise, more and more people are turning to legal loan sharks who charge extortionate rates of interest. These companies are parasites who prey on the vulnerable – people with low financial skills or mental health problems and people who simply have nowhere else to turn.

Wigan’s Credit Unions, Welcome and Unify, provide an affordable alternative for people struggling with debt. I’m asking people to turn their back on these pay-day lenders and use the ethical credit unions on their doorstep.

More people struggle with debt in Wigan than elsewhere. The Government must act to cap total interest on loans and stop these companies from ruining people’s lives for a quick profit.”

Andy Burnham MP said:

“A toxic mix of the rising cost of living, unemployment and wage freezes mean many Leigh households are struggling and a lack of regulation of this market by the Government means these legal loan sharks are exploiting this to push many families further into debt.

“With one in three payday loans taken out to pay off other payday loans it is clear these high cost credit products are problematic.”

Yvonne Fovargue MP has spent her working life fighting the impact of irresponsible lending and her campaigning in Parliament led to the announcement by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) that they will introduce a ‘power to suspend’ payday lenders who are causing harm to borrowers.

Yvonne Fovargue MP said:

“For many people payday loans can be a sensible option and with proper financial planning can offer a product that meets their needs. However, there are far too many cases of payday lenders acting in a manner which is wholly inappropriate and loads debt onto people with no consideration of the customer’s needs – rollovers being the obvious example of this reckless behaviour.

“There is an alternative and our local credit unions, like Unify and Welcome offer low cost affordable loans. Likewise my advice to anybody worried about debt is don’t suffer in silence. Wigan & Leigh Citizens Advice offer free and impartial advice to people in debt.”

Pictured with Wigan Debtbuster organiser Darren Burgoyne

March 5, 2013 By : Category : News 0 Comment


Early Intervention Grant for Wigan cut by 45.5% since 2010.

Local Wigan MP Lisa Nandy has slammed the Tory-led government for slashing funding for Sure Start Children’s Centres and other early intervention programmes by £45.5% in real terms since May 2010.

The figures, compiled by the independent House of Common Library, have sparked fresh concerns that already over-stretched services for children and families will suffer further from April as the next wave of cuts hits Wigan council.

This further round of cuts have not been applied fairly, with Wigan’s cut of 45.5% being far more severe than those in affluent areas under Tory control such as Wandsworth, whose budget cut was significantly lower.

In response to these figures, Labour have launched Labour Friends of Sure Start, a new campaign network.

Lisa said: “Parents will rightly be worried about what will happen to the services they value, and in many cases rely on. Children and parents in Wigan are being made to pay the price for this Government’s economic failure.

“I have signed up to Labour Friends of Sure Start to add my voice to the national campaign to protect Children’s Centres and other important early intervention programmes, and I hope those who value them as much as I do will join me.”

“Families in Wigan have been let down badly by David Cameron’s failure to keep to his word and improve Sure Start.

“This out of touch Government are showing yet again that they have got the wrong priorities – gifting the highest earners tax cuts of £40,000, while slashing programmes which help tackle child poverty, improve educational and health outcomes, and help save the whole country money in the long run.”

Supporters can sign up to Labour Friends of Sure Start at


The figures were compiled by the House of Commons Library on 18 January. Wigan’s budget in 10/11 was £17.6 million, compared to £10.3 million in 13/14, a reduction of £8.4 million or 45.5% in real terms.

February 22, 2013 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Lisa Nandy MP Celebrates ‘Inspirational’ Wigan Scheme to Battle Addiction

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy was delighted to attend ADS’ (Addiction Dependency Solutions) award-winning ‘Bridging the Gap’ graduation ceremony in Wigan recently to celebrate the achievements of 24 local people and their families who have overcome addiction and turned their lives around.

The flagship scheme is unique to ADS, helping people to overcome substance and alcohol misuse and gain the skills they need to find work and rebuild their lives. ADS helps people develop confidence, skills and qualifications so they can move into work or further education. The award winning programme also offers support to family and friends who have often faced a harrowing journey themselves, supporting a loved one in difficult circumstances.

Such programmes are hugely important to Wigan which has a significantly greater problem with drug and alcohol misuse than the national average. In 2012 the rate of hospital stays for alcohol related harm was 50% higher than the national average and the rate of drug misuse is also significantly higher. The economic cost of addiction is also high, with alcoholism costing the NHS alone £3 billion a year.

Students who win a place on Bridging the Gap must attend for 15 hours a week, with help available to pay for transport and childcare costs. The emphasis of the course is getting people back into employment, providing opportunities for work placements and support to gain new qualifications.

Jennie Archibald, ADS Wigan’s Training Co-ordinator said: “The benefits of this scheme are immense. When students go on to secure full-time employment or into further education you get a measure of the programme’s importance to people and their families.”

Lisa said: “At a time when public money is scarce, helping people to overcome addiction is crucial to individuals, our local communities and our local economy.

“We are fortunate that Wigan has such a pioneering scheme. I was inspired by the graduates, staff and volunteers who I met today. They demonstrate that it is possible to overcome addiction and that it is never too late to rebuild your life”

February 19, 2013 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Let’s be more responsible

Lisa Nandy MP and local Cllr. Phyll Cullen have given new Government measures to underpin and strengthen responsible dog ownership a cautious welcome. Lisa and Phyll have been campaigning alongside the RSPCA for a crackdown on irresponsible dog ownership which blights communities in Wigan and across the country.

They described the measures as “a move in the right direction” but warned that the proposals fall short of the action needed to end attacks on people and animals.

The new measures mean that from April 2012 all dog owners will need to have their dog microchipped and registered on an online database. It will ensure that dogs can be traced and identified more easily, which will help to prevent repeat attacks by dangerous dogs, and ensure strays can be more easily identified.

The proposals will also toughen up the existing law which bans some types of dogs from being bred for fighting. It will ensure greater protection for the welfare of suspected prohibited dogs that have become the subject of court proceedings. The police will have discretion to release a suspected prohibited dog where they are completely satisfied that it is in the care of a responsible owner. They will be allowed to put extra restrictions on the owner, requiring the dog to be muzzled and on a lead when in public.

Lisa and Cllr. Cullen support the RSPCA’s aim to further strengthen preventative measures, such as dog control notices and the introduction of dog registration to improve dog owners’ accountability, deter casual acquirers of dogs and fund owner-education services. Early intervention with owners prevents suffering to animals, as well as protecting public safety where owners fail to control their dogs.

Lisa Nandy said: “These new proposals are welcome news. Since 2005, eight children and six adults have been killed in fatal dog attacks and concerns have been raised about attacks on postal workers, health visitors and social workers. There are many dog lovers in Wigan, who have been increasingly concerned about irresponsible dog ownership and today’s announcement is a big step forward.”

Cllr. Phyll Cullen said: “I have been contacted by countless constituents who are worried about the abuse of animals. Being a dog owner is not just about feeding your dog properly or taking it to the vet. It also means being responsible for your dog’s behaviour. This announcement will help protect local communities and protect animals.”

Pictured Lisa, Phyll and the fiesty Benji

February 11, 2013 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Launch of Sunbeams Baby and Toddler Group in Shevington

A new local group for parents and pre-schoolers was officially opened by Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan on Friday, 1st February.

Sunbeams Baby and Toddler Group will open at Shevington Youth Club and will provide a much needed playgroup for local families every Friday 1.30pm – 3pm including school holidays.

Organiser Vicky Galligan, who lives in the Shevington area and has a 16 month old daughter Kate, wanted to start a group to give parents and carers an opportunity to get together and provide quality play facilities for young children.

She says: “I started a facebook group for mums in Shevington and Standish which has really taken off and I wanted to give more local parents the chance to meet up and chat. With help from Wigan and Leigh Housing’s Better Neighbourhood Fund, we have been able to buy some fantastic brand new play equipment and hire a lovely roomy venue. We’ve also had some fantastic toys and games donated and if anyone else has some good quality toys for under 5s that they no longer need, please get in touch and we can collect.”

Neil Turner, Chair of Wigan and Leigh Housing, says: “We set aside £250 000 every year to support local community groups and activities and improve the quality of life on our estates through our Better Neighbourhood Fund. We are delighted to support Sunbeams and wish Vicky and the group every success.”

Lisa said: “I am delighted to officially open Sunbeams Baby & Toddler Group. Early years provision is critically important to a child’s future learning and development. I’m proud to support the work Shevington and Standish Mums are doing with Wigan & Leigh Housing for the good of local children and families.”

All are welcome to come along and admission is just £1 per family. The group is also looking for more volunteers to help serve refreshments. To volunteer or to donate toys, please email Vicky on You can also contact Vicky via her facebook group – find Shevington and Standish Mums.

February 1, 2013 By : Category : News 0 Comment