The new state-of-the-art Royal hospital for Liverpool

I am very pleased that the Appointment Business Case for the new Royal hospital has now been agreed. This bring the new hospital a step closer.

I welcome this very important milestone achieved after so many years of campaigning.

The new hospital will bring improved health facilities helping to narrow the ten and an half year gap in the life expectancy between people in Liverpool and those in more prosperous areas.

The new Bio campus, expanding one of Liverpool’s growing sectors, will be a major step forward in Liverpool’s regeneration; putting Liverpool on the world stage for life sciences and bringing 5,000 hi-tech jobs.

Food banks

The combined impact of the Government’s policies and cuts are hitting the poorest hardest and pushing people into food poverty.

Trussell Trust foodbanks have seen the biggest rise in numbers of people given emergency food since the charity began in 2000. In the last year, there has been a 170% rise in people visiting food banks and the trust is launching three new foodbanks each week to cope with demand.

20 per cent of parents have skipped meals or gone without food to feed their children, in the past twelve months.

I visited a food collection centre at Tesco in Park Road. The store collected enough food to provide 20,995 meals to those in need in Liverpool, over the summer. This was part of the biggest ever national food collection.

Trussell Trust figures show that only four percent of people turned to foodbanks due to homelessness, 30% were referred due to benefit delay, 18% low income and 15% benefit changes.

I am pictured with Kevin Hassan, Chris Brennan (Park Road Store Manager), Becky Martin (Community Champion), Shelly Whitmore, Paul Edwards (Foodbank Manager, Trussell Trust)

Changes to our NHS

I am very concerned about the NHS (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) Regulations which will come in to force on the 1st of April.  

Labour tabled a fatal motion against the original regulations in the House of Lords and asked an Urgent Question in the House of Commons.  Following strong opposition, the Government announced that the regulations would be re-drafted.

The regulations have now been revised by the Department for Health but offer little improvement and will have the same impact. Labour is calling for the regulations to be annulled.

I have received many representations from constituents and I have signed EDMs on this important issue.

I voted against the Health and Social Care Bill when it was debated in Parliament.  I did not accept assurances made by ministers that the Bill would not lead to privatisation of the NHS.  These regulations will drive competition in to the heart of our NHS.

There are concerns that a decision not to put services out to tender could lead to a legal challenge by a commercial provider. This is likely to encourage services to be tendered to avoid such litigation.

I will continue to press the Government and fight against plans for privatisation.  It is clear that the Tory/Lib Dem Government cannot be trusted with our NHS.

Aigburth Station Refurbishment

I have intervened in the dispute concerning the “refurbishment” of Aigburth station and proposed demolition of the pitched roof shelter and wrought iron columns.

The works were due to take place over the next few days but Network Rail have telephoned me to say that this will be put on hold pending a meeting on site this Monday (25th), 11am.

This is an important opportunity for local residents to make their views known and I will be present.

Unfair ‘bedroom tax’ changes impact on Liverpool Riverside

I am concerned about the impact of the Government’s ‘bedroom tax’ on Liverpool Riverside.  From April 1st those in social housing deemed by the Government to have an ‘extra’ bedroom will lose 14% of their housing benefit unless they find a smaller home to move in to.  This policy risks homelessness and poverty.  

The Government’s ‘bedroom tax’ is unfair and two thirds of households hit are home to someone with a disability.  National Housing Federation figures show that in Liverpool Riverside 2,920 will be hit by the ‘bedroom tax’ losing on average £728 per year.  Riverside is the fourth worst affected constituency in the country as a result of this unfair and retrospective tax.

I have made continued representations to Ministers on this issue and have signed EDM 984: Under-Occupancy Penalty and the Vulnerable which notes that withdrawing housing benefit from social tenants with unoccupied bedrooms will hit the poor, the vulnerable and the disabled hardest and penalises parents with sons and daughters in the armed forces living at home.  I have also attended meetings in Liverpool and in Parliament with social landlords who are very concerned about this.

It is important that its implementation is closely monitored so that we can continue to campaign for change