Ben Bradshaw

Working Hard for Exeter

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During the election campaign in Exeter, I will be speaking at the following candidate public question time events:

- Leading Women UK Event – Magdalen Chapter Hotel, Thursday 16th April, 5:45 till 8 PM

- Regen SW Hustings, Westpoint Arena, 21st April, 10 till 11 AM

- Exeter College Hustings, St David’s Church, 23rd April, 1:30 till 2:30 PM

- Question Time, Exeter University , 23rd April, 6:30 till 7:30 PM

- National Pensioners Convention Devon AGM, White Ensign Club, Trinity House, South Street, Friday 24th April, 1 till 2 PM 

- Christians Together General Election Hustings, Exeter Cathedral, 27th April, 7:30 till 9:30 PM 

Candidate Question Times

During the election campaign in Exeter, I will be speaking at the following candidate public question time events:

This week’s Budget changed nothing for working people here in Exeter.

George Osborne spent an hour telling people they’ve never had it so good. But after five years of the Tory government, working people are still an average £1,600 a year worse off.

The Tories came into office promising to protect our National Health Service, make people better off and balance the books. But their plan hasn't worked and the Budget said nothing about the NHS. I’m worried that the NHS as we know it won’t survive five more years of the Tories.

The Tory government started Budget day with plans for extreme spending cuts and they ended Budget day with plans for extreme spending cuts which go beyond simply balancing the books.

They would mean deep cuts to police, defence and social care which are almost impossible to achieve. That’s why I believe the Tory plans can only be achieved by putting the NHS at risk and raising VAT again.

That’s what you get from a Tory Chancellor who gives with one hand and takes away much more with the other. The Tories can’t build a better future for working people because they only stand up for a privileged few.

Labour has set out a better plan for Britain's future; a plan that works for ordinary families, rewarding the hard work they do and saving the NHS they rely on.

So a Labour Budget will raise living standards by increasing the minimum wage and with 25 hours of free childcare for working parents.

We will save our NHS from the Tories with 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 GPs and cancer tests guaranteed in one week, paid for by closing tax loopholes and a mansion tax on properties over £2million.

We will cut business rates for small firms, reduce tuition fees to £6,000 a year and guarantee an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the grades. We will cut taxes for millions of working people through a lower 10p starting rate.

And we will balance the books in a fairer way by reversing the Tory tax cut for millionaires and scrapping the Bedroom Tax.

That’s the Labour Budget we need; a better plan that puts working families first and saves our NHS. Not a Budget flop from a Chancellor whose plan is failing working families here in Exeter.

We Need A Better Plan And A Labour Budget

This week’s Budget changed nothing for working people here in Exeter.

I asked a number of questions in the House of Commons yesterday, which can be found below.

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Air Pollution

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab): If the Government’s record in tackling lethal air pollution is as good as the Under-Secretary, the hon. Member for North Cornwall (Dan Rogerson), claimed earlier, why is Britain facing unprecedented fines and legal action in the European courts for failing on every single air quality measure?

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Dan Rogerson): I am happy that the right hon. Gentleman is focusing attention on this. As he will no doubt be aware, one of the key factors is transport fuels, especially diesel, and the failure of vehicles to meet in real-world conditions what was shown by testing when they were approved for use. We must make improvements at the European level on vehicles standards and testing. We also make funds available to local authorities to help them take measures locally to deal with air quality. It is a crucial issue.

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Church Commissioners

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab): What the Church Commissioners’ policy is on paying the living wage.

Canon Sir Tony Baldry: The Church Commissioners and the Archbishops Council are committed to paying the living wage and ensuring that all staff and contractors who are employed at directly owned commercial and residential properties are paid at least the living wage. Other parts of the national institutions, including the Church of England, are committed to paying the living wage and are following the Living Wage Commission’s recommendations to put in place a transitional programme that involves all staff being paid the living wage by 2017.

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Bass Stocks

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab): Given the collapse of our bass stocks, and the fact that the latest figures show a worrying 30% increase in the number of commercial landings of bass, will the Minister please finally take meaningful action to save our bass? Will he, for instance, provide for an immediate increase in the minimum landing size, which is something that I signed off 10 years ago when I was the fisheries Minister?

George Eustice: I know that the right hon. Gentleman has been pursuing this issue. As he will know, at the December Council we argued strongly for measures to be taken on bass. We pressed the European Commission to take emergency measures to ban pair trawling, which was done in the new year. We are currently discussing with other member states and the Commission the possibility of a bag limit for anglers, and also catch limits for the remainder of the commercial fleet. I can also tell the right hon. Gentleman that we are considering raising the minimum landing size nationally.

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Personal Sex and Relationship Education

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab): Is not the hon. Gentleman making a strong argument for mandatory personal sex and relationship education in schools, which is something the Opposition now support? Sadly, his party has not quite got there yet.

Mike Freer: The right hon. Gentleman makes a good point. If he bears with me for just a minute, he might find that I am in agreement.

We have to accept that many teenagers will become sexually active, yet sex and relationship education—SRE—remains poor. The National Aids Trust recently published a report showing that in SRE there is little teaching about, among other things, same-sex awareness or HIV transmission. Teachers can be nervous of sex education full stop, let alone same-sex issues, sexual health or, in particular, HIV. That is compounded when schools struggle with homophobic bullying, which can contribute to teenagers feeling uncomfortable about seeking advice or information about their attractions or about having a safe sexual relationship when the time comes.

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Devon NHS Financial Crisis

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab): May we have a statement from the Health Secretary about the Government’s plans to intervene in and support the most financially challenged NHS areas in England? As my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Paul Farrelly) told the Prime Minister yesterday, his area faces a £200 million deficit, and my own area of Devon faces a deficit of £430 million. I was told that an announcement would be made this week, alongside the new integration pilots, but that did not happen. Will the Leader of the House assure us that the Government are not seeking to bury bad news in the run-up to the general election?

Mr Hague: The House has had innumerable opportunities to debate health matters over the last few months, and I am sure that they will be discussed further during the Budget debates. The national health service is benefiting from 9,500 more doctors and 7,500 more nurses than it had in 2010, but if my right hon. Friend the Health Secretary has any further announcements to make before the election, he will of course be able to come to the House and make a statement in the usual way.

Parliamentary Questions

I asked a number of questions in the House of Commons yesterday, which can be found below. ----

My piece for The Exeter Daily, on the need for the Government to come clean and announce its plans to deal with the financial crisis in Devon NHS, is available to read online here.

Government Must Announce Plan To Deal With Devon NHS Crisis

My piece for The Exeter Daily, on the need for the Government to come clean and announce its plans to deal with the financial crisis in Devon NHS, is available...

My piece for the New Statesman on the future of the BBC's funding model and governance is available to read online here.

Future of the BBC

My piece for the New Statesman on the future of the BBC's funding model and governance is available to read online here.


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