I believe it is important that my constituents know what I believe in and stand for. I hope these brief points will help you understand me and what I am working for in Stockton North and Westminster.
- We experienced year on year growth under the Labour Government until world events brought it to a sudden halt. It is the role of Government to invest in our banks, business, industry and public services to grow our way out of the world economic troubles;
- We must maintain public expenditure on schools and hospitals to provide our people with the best available facilities;
- We must use the public stake in the once private banks to ensure we don’t have a repeat of the debacle they created, and release the investment funds needed to grow our economy again;
- We must do more to invest in the poorest people in our community and give them the spending power to buy the goods they need.
Communities and Housing
- Social housing must be built on a massive scale – we need to give local councils real power and support to build hundreds of thousands of new homes across the country;
- We need to dig deep into our communities to reach the most vulnerable amongst our people, young and old, and give them more purpose in life;
- Community policing is starting to work and we’ve seen a massive reduction on crime under Labour with some great results in Stockton North – but resources need better targeting to our most difficult areas to ensure our people feel safer.
- We must guard against privatised services in our National Health Service and ensure the high standards achieved are raised even higher;
- There should be no lottery on prescription drugs – they should be properly and fairly targeted regardless of where patients live;
- It’s time the Stockton Borough had its new hospital like all the other areas and I look forward to seeing it, and the planned specialist health centres open, in a few years time;
- Investment in our NHS has seen waiting lists once counted in months or even years not counted in days or weeks – we must ensure continued investment to maintain this remarkable achievement by the Labour Government.
MPs’ expenses and allowances
- All expenses claimed by Members of Parliament should be supported by receipts whether they are for meals or other costs and details of my expenses are available here.
Jobs, Training and Investment
- The switch to low paid, low skilled jobs in many parts of Stockton Borough is lamentable and we must continue the hard work to bring more highly skilled and higher paid jobs to our community;
- Our traditional industries like fabrication work can be developed but more young people need proper training to work in these traditional industries, many of which continue to thrive;
- Investment in Stockton North continues to flow, even in difficult times, but the Borough needs a new, strong champion to help accelerate it
- I believe in votes at 16 – if a person can marry and pay taxes at that age, they should be able to vote too;
- Young people need a stronger voice in Government on a whole range of issues and I will be working with Young People’s groups to help deliver that;
- I think the young people of Stockton North should have a voice on what their MP does and I have been pleased to work with them to draw up Youth Manifesto commitments for me to adopt;
- Young people are wrongly demonised – more needs to be done to promote the tremendous asset our children and young people are now and will be in the future.
Taxation and Minimum Wage
- There are plenty of people who can afford more and we should be collecting it, so I support a 50p tax band for people earning over £150,000 per year;
- Dealing with city fat cats and excessive bonuses must be addressed, with some of the wealth created for our low paid and needy people;
- The minimum wage must be grown well beyond inflation;
- Whilst pay improved under Labour in the public sector, its value has suffered in recent years and we must look to reward these workers better in the future.
Energy and Environment
- The Government’s plans for renewable energy projects, such as wind, solar and wave power, as well as nuclear, can solve our needs – but we must campaign for greater investment to make this a reality;
- Energy costs in the home and at the petrol station need to be controlled to ensure that lower costs are passed on to consumers when prices fall as quickly as increases are when they rise. Failure to do so should attract penalties;
- We must protect the interests of consumers whilst ensuring energy companies have the resources to invest in new energy projects in the future
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Defence
- Our Government was conned on Iraq, but we need to do even more for peace in the Middle East – not just in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also in Israel and Palestine;
- We can be proud of our lead on Africa but we’ve only just started – we need to build a strong relationship with the American President and encourage him and others to increase aid to Britain’s levels;
- Trade with America is critical to us and partnership with Barack Obama is essential, but we mustn’t allow them to dictate terms;
- China and other emerging nations are important too as we develop new trade and other links. However, human rights are paramount. While progress has been made in some areas, much more needs to be done;
- We must do more to help refugees and asylum seekers. Many people who have suffered unimaginable atrocities themselves, or have seen their families die, live amongst us in Stockton North. We must protect them;
- Clarity is needed on immigration with recognition of the benefits others bring to our economy and community. We must ensure we attract the skilful people we need from across the world whilst ensuring immigration is properly managed.
- The Labour Party/Trade Union partnership needs to be developed and strengthened to help us all do the best for our people;
- Local MPs need to do more to work with trades unionists on jobs, investment and rights.
Education and Social Care
- Much has been achieved in education and social care for both children and adults, but we still have much more to do to get the best for all our elderly, children and communities;
- Standards in education and care are rising fast. Investment is promised and we must build on our progress.
House of Lords
- A fully elected second chamber is the only proper solution. No longer should unelected people be able to reverse the decisions of an elected House of Commons.
- I believe the law outlawing hunting with dogs needs to be strengthened to enable better implementation – and I’m amazed the Tories are proposing repealing the Act and bringing such a barbaric pastime.