Labour MP Virendra Sharma has accused the Government of a stitch-up after the Chancellor handed hundreds of millions of pounds to the wealthiest Tory councils to ease the pain of spending cuts – but offered nothing to Ealing.
Ealing has suffered some of the highest spending cuts since 2010, but has received nothing at all in today’s announcement. Meanwhile, leafy Surrey – one of England’s wealthiest shires – today gets a hand-out of £24m despite suffering far fewer cuts in recent years.
Tory MPs became alarmed when they realised their areas might soon see cuts similar to those imposed on the rest of the country. They threatened to vote down the Government’s planned cuts until Communities Secretary Greg Clark announced a £300 million ‘transitional grant’. The Government have refused to say where the extra money comes from.
Labour analysis shows that £255 million of the grant – 85% – goes to Tory councils. Areas where Labour runs the council receive just £17 million, despite suffering the harshest cuts since 2010 and having higher levels of deprivation.
Virendra Sharma MP said:
Between 2010 and 2020 the local area will have suffered £180m worth of cuts, accounting for over half of Ealing’s controllable budget. While the Tory government have found millions in extra funding for well off shires, they have offered the people of Ealing nothing.”
Steve Reed MP, Shadow Minister for Local Government, said:
The Government is covering up where this money has come from and won’t explain why almost all of it is being handed to Tory councils just weeks before council elections across the country. Councils that have already been cut to the bone since 2010 are getting nothing but more cuts. The Tories have picked millions of pounds from taxpayer’s pockets to buy off their own MPs when faced with a rebellion in the House of Commons. This is a blatant misuse of public money in a shameless attempt to buy votes and buy off Tory MPs.”
Labour MP Virendra Sharma has accused the Government of a stitch-up after the Chancellor handed hundreds of millions of pounds to the wealthiest Tory councils to ease the pain of...
A number of my constituents have contacted me regarding the issue of drones in such close proximity to Heathrow and RAF Northolt. I asked the Secretary of State for Transport to let me know what steps his department was taking to ensure the safety of local residents.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent steps his Department has taken to protect people living in the vicinity of (a) Heathrow and (b) RAF Northolt from (i) drones and (ii) unmanned aerial vehicles
Virendra Sharma MP
A cross government working group led by the Department for Transport is undertaking a detailed analysis of the range of risks posed by drones. This work is ongoing and kept under constant review. Further work is now proceeding to capture and evaluate potential mitigation measures and strategies. Initial guidance on tackling the risks has been provided to constabularies across the UK. Work is also underway to qualify the specific level of risk posed by small drones to commercial air transport. We are talking to both the Civil Aviation Authority and airports to find technical solutions to the problems around airports, these include mandated geo-fencing or frequency jammers. The CAA has also worked with major drone manufacturers on the geo-fencing capabilities of their products, which has included providing a list of locations such as airport control zones.
Robert Goodwill MP
I also asked a question about the regulation of drones more generally.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on public safety of placing the regulation of (a) drones and (b) unmanned aerial vehicles within the purview of the Civil Aviation Authority.
Virendra Sharma MP
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is the independent statutory authority responsible for regulating civil aircraft, including RPAS and small drones. However, the Department recognises that there are types of offenses relating to drones that are not aviation specific or pose an aviation risk and are more social, so the degree to which the CAA should be involved is currently under review. We are currently developing a Memorandum of Understanding between the DfT, the CAA, the Home Office and Police to better establish where responsibility lies for enforcing breaches of drone related regulations.
A number of my constituents have contacted me regarding the issue of drones in such close proximity to Heathrow and RAF Northolt. I asked the Secretary of State for Transport...
Thank you for contacting me recently concerning the Alzheimer's Society campaign, 'Fix Dementia Care'. I was able to attend today’s drop in session and was shocked and appalled to learn the effects that government cuts are having on dementia care within the constituency.
I support this campaign and appreciate that dementia is one of the greatest challenges facing our country. The Alzheimer's Society estimates 850,000 people in the UK are already living with dementia and that number is set to rise to over a million in the next five years.
I believe our health and social care system needs to change urgently in order to meet this challenge and to ensure that people with dementia get the support and care they need.
We need improvements in the quality of care and support for people with dementia, yet this will not be achieved until we find a solution to the funding crisis in social care. The huge cuts to social care budgets in recent years have left hundreds of thousands of older people without support.
The scale of the cuts is forcing local councils to cut the services that would have helped to support people outside hospital. As a consequence, more and more people with dementia are spending time in hospital and, once admitted, are finding that the support is simply not in place in the community for them to return home.
The number of days patients are kept in hospital because there is nowhere safe to discharge them has doubled under this Government. This is a clear sign that Government cuts to social care have come at a huge human cost to some of the most vulnerable people in society and have put huge financial pressure on hospitals.
I stood on a manifesto at the last General Election which made action to improve care quality and patient safety a priority. It included pledges to recruit extra nurses to help provide safe levels of staffing onwards, recruit 5,000 new home-care workers, and end time-limited 15-minute care visits.
I hope the Government carefully considers the issues raised by the 'Fix Dementia Care' campaign and takes action.