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Labour local government conference February 2013

One of our members, Simon Bishop, was one of the 500 people who attended what was the first Local Government Conference in nine years, though it looks like there will be another soon.  Whilst key senior MPs were there, including Ed Miliband, Harriett Harman, Hilary Benn, Jack Dromey, it was very much led by members and councillors.


The key messages from the conference were:


The blame for the cuts must be put on Government.  There were examples of how that was being done.  The Government's divisive narrative is Good Government let down by Bad People, we know the truth is the reverse.

25 Labour Councils now pay the living wage, with Barking setting it at £9 per hour.  Newcastle City Council have got their pay differential down from 15:1 between highest and lowest to 11 1.   In contrast in the private sector the ratio can be as high as 264:1.

The bedroom tax will have huge implications, hitting the disabled, those with children in the armed forces, foster carers even.

We need to look at innovative ways to support people, and those wanting to help such as credit unions.  For example facilitating them to open on High Streets especially  near to payday lenders .  One figure quoted was three million people will use payday lenders this year, with one million usingloans to pay their rent.  

Don't expect major changes in planning legislation.

Labour will look to decentralise the DWP especially the Work Programme.

We should all be getting involved for instance at with events locally in Warrington on March 7th and Chester March 14th.

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