Michael Dugher MP

Working hard for Barnsley East

Blog Archive 2012

Michael has written a piece for Labour Uncut today about the PCC and by-election results.

Click here to read the article: Results this week show middle England is moving away from David Cameron

Labour Uncut: Results this week show middle England is moving away from David Cameron

Michael has written a piece for Labour Uncut today about the PCC and by-election results. Click here to read the article: Results this week show middle England is moving away from David Cameron

In a speech on Monday, at the start of the first ever Living Wage Week, Ed Miliband unveiled his pledge to back a living wage of at least £7.45 per hour for millions of people.  Under the proposals, Whitehall contracts would only go to firms paying the living wage, while those who paid less could be "named and shamed".  He said that introducing the living wage would be an important part of rebuilding the country as One Nation, where the Government works with the best of British business to ensure that prosperity is shared more fairly.

These ideas build on the speech that Ed Miliband gave to the Labour party conference last month.  His speech in Manchester will be remembered partly for its delivery. It was delivered without notes for over an hour and even many of Labour’s critics acknowledge in private that it was his best yet.  In the short term, it forced David Cameron to rip up drafts of his own speech and deliver an entirely reactive response to Ed Miliband at the Conservative party conference.  But in the long term, it is Miliband's vision of ‘One Nation’ that will have the most significant and enduring impact.

One Nation is about coming together as a country to form a society and an economy where everyone has a stake and everyone has a responsibility. A country where prosperity is fairly shared and where the institutions that bind us together are preserved and enhanced.

The One Nation vision comes from a changed Labour party that can represent the interests of the whole country: private and public sector; north and south; the squeezed middle and those in poverty; the small businessman as well as the public service worker.  This approach will set us on a path to creating an economy that works for all working people, creates opportunity and rewards aspiration, and delivers the real change that people want to see.

One Nation is also about making sure that no one is forgotten and or left on the sidelines.  On further education, for example, it is about focusing not only on the 50 per cent that go to university, but on the 50 per cent that don’t.  This is why Ed Miliband has called for the introduction of a gold standard vocational qualifications and apprenticeships.

Labour understands that when a young person can’t get a job and is left languishing in long-term unemployment, this is not just a disaster for that person and their family, but for the whole country as well.  Long-term unemployment can have an impact on that individual’s health, their self-esteem, as well as their prospects of getting a job in the future.  But it is also a great waste of talent that could be being used to contribute something to our community and it affects the wider economy through the sheer cost of keeping people on benefits and not paying tax.

David Cameron's response at his conference was to talk of aspiration.  But the truth is his record and his policies just don't stand up to scrutiny.  How can young people reach their potential when the reality is the education budget has seen the biggest cut since the 1950s, tuition fees have trebled and support for young people to stay on at college has gone with the abolition of the Education Maintenance Allowance?

Since the election, it has become clear that David Cameron is not a One Nation leader that can unite us as a country.  His decision to defend a tax cut for the wealthiest, for example, at a time when millions of families with children are losing an average of £511 this year due to tax and benefit changes, will only serve to divide the country further.  How can it be right for millionaires to receive a tax cut at the same time as the most vulnerable people in our country have their safety nets ripped out from underneath them?

After trying desperately to ‘re-brand’ the party in the years in opposition, David Cameron and the Conservatives have been exposed for what they really are in government.  As well as hard-wiring unfairness in our society and our economy, they continue to undermine our cherished institutions, making us weaker as a nation.  During the last general election, Cameron notoriously launched a poster campaign promising that he would “cut the deficit, not the NHS”.  The truth is he has done just the opposite.  The deficit is rising because of his economic failure and the NHS budget has been cut two years running at the same time as implementing an unnecessary £3 billion top-down reorganisation.

We now have 5,500 fewer nurses, waiting times going up and public satisfaction with the NHS – that was at an all time high under Labour – is now falling.  Institutions like the NHS are part of our national identity and bind us together.  Millions of people felt a collective feeling of pride as the opening ceremony at the Olympics paid tribute to the NHS - I know I did.  Protecting the NHS is central to Ed Miliband's vision of One Nation.

Cameron has also failed to stand up to vested interests.  On the scandal that surrounded News International and the Murdoch Empire, he only acted to set up the judge-led inquiry after he was forced to do so by Ed Miliband.  On the banks, he has done nothing on bonuses, the LIBOR rigging rate scandal nor on the failure of the banks to lend to struggling SMEs.  And on the energy companies too, Cameron has failed to break the dominance of the big six.  Soaring energy bills are hurting families and pensioners yet the Government is not acting when it should be overhauling the energy market in order to deliver fair prices for all.

Ed Miliband’s speech on the living wage last Monday, like his previous important intervention on mental health the week before, is part of an ongoing effort to expand on his ideas of One Nation in the coming months.  His One Nation speech to the Labour party conference in September was only the start of a big debate about how we make the really big changes we need as a country.

Michael Dugher is Labour MP for Barnsley East, shadow minister without portfolio a vice-chair of the Labour party

Ed Miliband's living wage proposals this week build on his One Nation vision, writes Michael Dugher

In a speech on Monday, at the start of the first ever Living Wage Week, Ed Miliband unveiled his pledge to back a living wage of at least £7.45 per hour...

This week saw the launch of the 2012 Poppy Appeal, which will continue until Remembrance Sunday on 11 November.  Last year, I was very privileged to launch the appeal of my own branch of the Royal British Legion - the Hoyland and District Branch - in Hoyland town centre. This week I helped plant a 'virtual poppy' from Barnsley Central Library to promote the appeal throughout the Borough. This is the time of year when we all come together as a nation to express our unequivocal support for the amazing work of the Royal British Legion. 

Following the First World War, civilians wanted to remember the people who had given their lives in the cause of peace and freedom.  An American War Secretary, inspired by John McCrae's poem 'In Flanders' Fields', began selling poppies to friends to raise money for the ex-Service community.  The Royal British Legion (RBL) adopted the poppy for its fundraising in 1921 - and so the tradition began.

Last year, the Poppy Appeal raised a staggering £40 million, breaking all previous records.  This growing success is testament to the excellent work that the RBL does all year round in providing vital practical, emotional and financial support to all members of the British Armed Forces and their families. 

Wear our poppies with pride, writes Michael Dugher

This week saw the launch of the 2012 Poppy Appeal, which will continue until Remembrance Sunday on 11 November.  Last year, I was very privileged to launch the appeal of my own branch of the... Read more

Two years ago, Cameron and Clegg promised change. They promised an economy that would grow and that we were all in these difficult economic times together. But the reality is very different. They also promised real change, but the reality is somewhat different. Their refusal to properly deal with the banks is a case in point.

Hard-pressed families and businesses are still paying the price of the global financial crash. But the very same banks that caused the crash were allowed to get away with mis-selling products to small businesses, they are still failing to lend sufficiently to support the real economy, and yet they continue to shell out big bonuses.

We have reached a point where banks seem more focused on their global investments than their local customers. Banks used to seem far more rooted in our local communities (signs like the 'Yorkshire Bank' or the 'Midland Bank' could be seen on the High Street).

A culture was also allowed to build up that was too often driven by short-term gain and a quick return being the first priority. Ed Miliband has called this a “shift from stewardship banking to casino banking”.

So how can we start to re-build a better banking system? How can we shape the banking system so that bankers are not given an incentive to focus on the short-term? And how can we move to a system which people can have confidence in once again?

First, there isn’t proper competition in our banking system. There are only five major banks in this country and consumers do not have enough choice. We need more banks and this means ending the dominance of the big five. Retail and investment banking should be separated so that no bank is too big to fail and banks should be forced to sell off hundreds of more branches. The Government must also take further action to make it easier for customers to switch bank accounts. As Ed Balls has said, you’re more likely to be divorced than to change your bank account, and that’s partly because it’s difficult. To change this, the Government could consider proposals to have fully transferable account numbers, like with mobile phones.

Blog post: "It is time to properly reform the banking sector once and for all "

Two years ago, Cameron and Clegg promised change. They promised an economy that would grow and that we were all in these difficult economic times together. But the reality is... Read more

Michael has written an article for theHuffington Post today about introducting plain packs for tobacco products.

To the read the article, click here:   “Tackling the 'Silent Salesman' Glitzy Cigarette Packets - Plain Packs are an Idea Worth Trying”

 

Huffington Post: “Tackling the 'Silent Salesman' Glitzy Cigarette Packets - Plain Packs are an Idea Worth Trying”

Michael has written an article for theHuffington Post today about introducting plain packs for tobacco products. To the read the article, click here:   “Tackling the 'Silent Salesman' Glitzy Cigarette Packets -...

As reported in the South Yorkshire Times and the Sheffield Star, Michael has criticised the decision by the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts to close the children’s heart unit in Leeds.  

Michael has written a blog post about why the wrong decision has been made.  Click here to read the post.

Blog post: "The wrong decision has been made – the Leeds Children’s Heart Unit should remain open"

As reported in the South Yorkshire Times and the Sheffield Star, Michael has criticised the decision by the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts to close the children’s heart unit in Leeds.   Michael...

Michael has written a new blog post today about soaring energy prices and why the Government needs to get tough with the big energy firms.

Click here to read the post.

Blog post: “New figures for Barnsley East show it's time to get tough with rip-off energy firms”

Michael has written a new blog post today about soaring energy prices and why the Government needs to get tough with the big energy firms. Click here to read the post.

Michael has written a new blog post today about the how the Government’s mishandling of defence sums up everything you need to know about this Government - incompetent and unfair. 

Click here to read the post.

Blog post: “The wrong people are paying the price for the Government's incompetence on defence”

Michael has written a new blog post today about the how the Government’s mishandling of defence sums up everything you need to know about this Government - incompetent and unfair.  Click here to read...

Michael has written an article today for the Huffington Post website. 

To read the post, click here: ‘Baroness Warsi Has Serious Questions to Answer’

Huffington Post article: ‘Baroness Warsi Has Serious Questions to Answer’

Michael has written an article today for the Huffington Post website.  To read the post, click here: ‘Baroness Warsi Has Serious Questions to Answer’

Michael has written an article for LabourList today about why David Cameron will no doubt be grateful for the fact there is no Prime Minister’s Questions today. 

Labour List article: Last week was a shocker for the Government. This week is no better – and it’s only Wednesday

Michael has written an article for LabourList today about why David Cameron will no doubt be grateful for the fact there is no Prime Minister’s Questions today.  Read more

The Labour Party will place cookies on your computer to help us make this website better.

Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site.

To find out more about these cookies, see our privacy notice. Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.