Leeds NWLabour IWD: Julie Heselwood, Weetwood candidate, on Labour’s record in getting women into politics.

Leeds NW CLP have been running a series of posts this week in preparation for International Women’s Day today. This is the last – by Julie Heselwood, a member of Adel and Wharfedale Branch who is standing as Labour candidate in Weetwood this May. The series has also included our own Megan Davies on social media and feminism. But there have been posts on Eating disorders [Kate Langston], Domestic Violence [Deputy PCC Isabel Owen], feminism and rape culture [Freya Potter], Women and Austerity [Leonie Sharp]. Two great personal testimonies to the ideals which inspire them from Councillor Janette Walker and Otley’s mayor, Pam Gill – plus Linda McAvan MEP on what the EU has done for women and Yvette Cooper on what Labour offers Women. The whole series makes excellent reading – a testimony to what Labour women are contributing – nationally but also locally here in Leeds NW – to the left-wing debate.

Leeds North West Constituency

At the 1987 General Election just 21 Labour women MPs were elected. This prompted 4 women – Barbara Follett, Barbara Roche, Hilary De Lyon and Jean Black – to form the Labour Women’s Network in 1988.They were disappointed and frustrated at the low number of women elected in the recent election and wanted change. Julie with Yvette Cooper Julie with Yvette Cooper

After just 10 years of campaigning, the 1997 General Election saw a large increase in the number of women in the House of Commons, with 101 Labour women MPs elected. This was also a victory for Labour Women’s Network, who had played a crucial role in getting more women selected, then elected as MP’s. Booklets on Labour’s selection procedures had been published; telephone helplines initiated; subscriber newsletters mailed; fringe meetings organised; and a stand staffed at major Conferences….

When LWN was founded, fewer than 10% of Labour MPs were women. Women now…

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Fairer Deficit reduction: Cameron’s tax cut for those on over £150,000 to go + 10p tax rate restored, Ed Balls announces

Yesterday’s speech by Ed Balls was an important milestone in Labour’s progress towards 2015. You can read a summary – and link to the whole speech – here.

Leeds North West Constituency

Yesterday [Saturday 25 Jan] Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls announced that the next Labour government will reverse David Cameron and George Osborne’s tax cut for people earning over £150,000 for the next Parliament to help get the deficit down more fairly.

In a speech to the Fabian Society Annual Conference, Ed Balls said that fairer deficit reduction meant that the top rate of tax would need to be raised from 45p back to 50p.

Ed Balls also announced a binding fiscal commitment that the next Labour government will balance the books, deliver a surplus on the current budget and get the national debt falling in the next Parliament

Latest figures from HMRC show that – in the three years when the 50p top rate introduced by Labour was in place -people earning over £150,000 paid almost £10 billion more in tax, than was estimated when the government conducted its…

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A long-term answer to deep-seated problems: Ed Miliband tackles the bankers, and sets Osborne’s political agenda.

On 16 January a very interesting article appeared in the Financial Times. It was written by Philip Stephens, associate editor of the FT. And its message was simple and direct: the banking system is – still – broken. ‘The bankers have got away with it. They have seen off politicians, regulators and angry citizens alike … Continue reading A long-term answer to deep-seated problems: Ed Miliband tackles the bankers, and sets Osborne’s political agenda.

Austerity isn’t working, and isn’t worth it – in Leeds North West or anywhere else

Leeds North West Constituency

Wednesday’s Labour Market Statistics looked good – or rather they looked a little better than the run of bad figures for the last three years. And we welcome them – any improvement is to be welcomed, since every single number is a real person, with a real life. And it is real people who have been carrying the burden of this Coalition Government’s austerity programme for too long.

Unfortunately, as we’ve stressed before, even these apparently improving figures hide very real regional variations.

In our own Constituency of Leeds North West the number of those claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance is up by 12% year on the year to July; people claiming JSA for over a year has risen by 20% in that same period. There’s been no change in the number of 18-24 year olds claiming JSA for over 12 months, and in NW Leeds we’ve seen a shocking 113%…

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Yet more on Local Government Finance – Extra Government funding cuts hit Leeds

Leeds North West Constituency

We rather wish we did not have to constantly post on Local Government Funding. It’s the sort of area where, these days, news is usually bad news. But, as we’ve said before, Local Government funding matters to every single one of us. It determines what the Council can and can’t do for us. And, once again, the news is bleak.

It has been revealed this week that Yorkshire councils may have to find further savings of up to £150m as a result of unforeseen Government funding cuts.
Local authorities in the region were already expecting to have to find £300m of savings after Chancellor George Osborne set out his spending plans for the 2015-16 financial year in June.

But details that have now emerged of the way Whitehall-level cuts will feed through to local authorities have left councils in Yorkshire fearing that figure could end up being closer to £450m.

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The scandal of zero-hours Britain – and it’s getting worse

Adel and Wharfedale Branch member Megan Davies recently posted the article below on Left Futures. We thought you might want to read it. Ever since Tories won power in 2010, many have commented on the parallels between the dire inequalities of the present day and those of Victorian Britain. Never has this observation been as … Continue reading The scandal of zero-hours Britain – and it’s getting worse

The Greg Mulholland Spin Dossier No. 3: Regional Development Fund

Leeds North West Constituency

Our Leeds NW Liberal Democrat MP thinks of himself as a different kind of politician. This is how he presents himself on his website,
‘Whilst other politicians rely on spin, Greg is known as a plain speaker who is not afraid to speak his mind.’

In this, the third edition of The Greg Mulholland Spin Dossier, we continue to put his claim to the test.images

So what’s he been up to this time?
Mr Mulholland has used his website to welcome the fact that the Coalition Government has made £1bn of cash available through its Regional Growth Fund (RGF). On the 11th July, Mr Mulholland noted that, ‘the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership received a share of this funding for the enhanced Business Growth Programme which provides finance to enable business growth, a big boost for local jobs.’
The Leeds North West Constituency Labour Party welcomes this investment too…

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The Tories, the City – and all of us.

Leeds North West Constituency

In the next of our series on Tory party funding, we turn the spotlight on the Tories and the financial sector.

Not that that’s easy – in fact it isn’t easy to discover the real picture of Tory financial donations at all.
You may think that all party funding is open and accessible. And in one sense it is. But the publicly available figures only tell part of the story.
Donations are often made by family members, company directors will donate alongside partners at the same business, groups of wealthy people have even banded together to make political contributions. The result is that the real concentrations of donations are obscured.

Revealing the truth is time-consuming and laborious – and as a result most figures are a couple of years out of date. But academics like Stuart Wilks-Heeg of the University of Liverpool, and journalists like those in the Bureau of…

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The State, Enterprise and the Mystery of the Unemployment Figures

The claim that the Tory and Liberal Democrat Coalition is reducing or refiguring the size of the state and that this will free-up enterprise Britain is frequently trotted out by the Tory LibDem Coalition itself and by the Tory press. Half of this statement is true. Osborne, Cameron and Clegg are introducing measures that are … Continue reading The State, Enterprise and the Mystery of the Unemployment Figures

Britain is not Greece – Dispelling Myths about Debt

Leeds North West Constituency

Following the 2010 general election, Chancellor George Osborne and Danny Alexander, his Lib Dem assistant, argued that Britain’s indebtedness was as bad as that of Greece. Our own Greg Mulholland has parroted the same line, trying, typically, to implicate the Labour party.
So British debt like Greece?
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Well it wasn’t and it isn’t and it won’t be.

As it happens, neither important international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund nor national ones like the Institute for Fiscal Studies agree with Osborne and Alexander.
These organisations do think there is a problem with debt in the UK. There obviously is. Too many people have acquired too much personal debt in the guise of mortgages and credit cards, for example.
And, of course, the previous Labour government had to bail out the corrupt and corrupting banking system at the cost of hundreds of billions of pounds.

So what can be said…

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