Labour’s manifesto must commit to repealing the Bedroom Tax

On Thursday we had an all members meeting of Elmet and Rothwell Labour Party. Former MP Colin Burgon gave an interesting talk on what we could learn from the left in South America. But it was actually far more than that and he explored how the world and history is interconnected.

The meeting also discussed my motion calling on the Labour Party’s 2015 general election manifesto to include a clear commitment to repeal the the bedroom tax. I know from my local case work and talking to people at community meetings that this is one of the Tory cuts that people hate the most. It effects a surprising number of people as many people who aren’t hurt directly still know someone who is.

I fully understand Ed Miliband and Ed Balls arguing that we can’t make spending commitments yet without knowing what the economy will look like in 2015. However, the bedroom tax is different. It is one spending pledge amongst many. But it is one that we are campaigning strongly on and people feel strongly about. If people are to believe and trust that we will be different then we have to make this one small step to show that we are.

The full text of the motion was:

This constituency notes:

a) On April 1, 2013 the Coalition Government brought in reductions to housing benefit payments where tenants are deemed to be under-occupying their homes. This has been called the ‘bedroom tax’.

b) The restrictions are estimated to affect 1,857 households in council and social housing in Elmet and Rothwell.

c) The estimated average annual increase for one extra bedroom is £473 or £845 for two or more bedrooms.

d) There is insufficient supply of social housing in both Leeds and Elmet and Rothwell to enable most people to move into smaller properties.

e) The bedroom tax is one of a number of changes to social security provision that will hit the most vulnerable and economically disadvantaged hardest.

f) And applauds the efforts of Leeds City Council’s Labour group to help alleviate the worst effects of the bedroom tax.

g) That it is concerned that the Labour Party shadow cabinet has not yet made a clear statement that Labour will repeal the bedroom tax.

Elmet and Rothwell CLP will write to Liam Byrne, the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, requesting that the Labour Party 2015 manifesto contains a clear commitment to repeal the ‘bedroom tax’.

It would be great if you could consider putting a motion through your own constituency also requesting that our manifesto contains a commitment to repeal the bedroom tax.

Elmet and Rothwell selection for Labour’s Parliamentary candidate

I have been asked by local Labour Party members to put my name forward to be selected as Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for the new constituency of Elmet and Rothwell.The constituency contains most of the old constituency of Elmet (currently represented by Colin Burgon MP), as well as all of the Rothwell ward from the old Morley and Rothwell constituency (Colin Challen MP) and parts of Leeds North East (Fabian Hamilton MP).

I’m humbled and honoured by the support and encouragement that I’ve received from members right across the constituency from Wetherby in the north, through to Garforth, Swillington and Methley, and of course my own ward of Rothwell. I’ve lived in the constituency and have been an active Labour Party campaigner here for most of my adult life. I’ve lived in Methley and Swillington and now live in Carlton, Rothwell with my husband Stuart and little girl Esme (who we’ve just signed up to attend our local school).

Elmet and Rothwell has a proud Labour history, rich in industry, culture and tradition. It is a constituency that Labour must win if we are to protect all that we have achieved since 1997 – and if we are to achieve even more in the future.

Finally I’d again like to thank Colin Burgon MP for all his dedicated service to the the local Labour Party and our local communities. For 26 years – through good times and bad – he has dedicated his life to working for us. I bring enthusiasm, passion, experience, commitment and bags of energy to continue to unite the local Labour Party and ensure we keep campaigning to win Elmet and Rothwell.

Elmet and Rothwell Labour Party meeting

Excellent all member meeting yesterday evening of Elmet and Rothwell Labour Party. Whilst this is a difficult time for us as a party it was great to see members fired up and speaking passionately about the issues that matter to them. Colin Burgon, our retiring MP gave a really interesting speech, I can identify with a lot of what he was saying, especially about his background having grown up on the Gipton Estate, and I think this has meant that Colin can identify with people when they are going through hard times. I grew up on Portobello Estate in neighbouring Wakefield then lived all my adult life in Elmet and Rothwell, growing up I also knew what it was like to struggle and do without. It is clear that members are sad to see Colin go as he has worked tirelessly on local issues.

Renewing the local Labour Party in Elmet and Rothwell

We had a good Rothwell Labour Party meeting this week. We had a lively discussion about what we all thought about recent national issues, including the devastating recent Euro election results, the expenses scandal, ID cards and elected mayors. We also talked about the issues local to us such as the incinerator which is to be built near us, that our MP is retiring, the fact that Oulton residents are feeling the effects of having lost their library, are amongst some of the subjects we got around to discussing.

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Open farm Sunday in Swillington

Swill farm 023Today was ‘Open Farm Sunday’ which is great as it gives everyone the opportunity to experience the countryside and connect with the land that feeds us.

We went to a local farm, Swillington Organic Farm, which was taking part, with our little girl Esme. I know Swillington well, having lived there before we moved to neighbouring Carlton, Rothwell, I represented Swillington as a Garforth and Swillington councillor for 6 years so have many friends.We have also gone to the farm shop for its lovely produce several times, as well as getting our Christmas trees there regularly. We were lucky as we bumped into Colin Burgon MP for Elmet and Rothwell who was also enjoying the delights of the farm.

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