It’s the Queen’s speech today, the second this year, and I know exactly what my constituents in Weaver Vale want to hear – I’ve been talking to them about it in on the doorstep for the past 6 weeks now.
When the Government outlines its priorities for the next five years, I want the cruel cuts against schools of the previous Conservative Governments reversed and additional funding secured- funding so that we can hire and retain good staff, maintain our school buildings and fund the equipment children need to have a great start in life. Further education has been cut to the bone in recent years too and I want to see much more investment there, including a new college campus in Northwich.
I want the Government to secure the future and funding of our NHS. More staff, more beds, fewer people sitting on waiting lists and in corridors. We desperately need a new hospital for Halton, yet the Tories have turned us down twice. If we don’t see substantial, sustained investment, our NHS will continue to buckle under the weight of 10 years of ideologically-driven cuts.
We must have public services that are properly staffed: more police on the streets, more PSCOs, more nurses, more doctors. Matt Hancock maths won’t cut it here, we need to recruit, train and retain good staff working in good conditions to work in our vital public institutions, and that means
It’s also vital we get, at the very least, the five week wait for Universal Credit scrapped. Universal Credit has pushed families into poverty and forced thousands to rely on foodbanks. The five week wait can push families deeper into poverty when they should be receiving help, and it should be scrapped urgently.
So many women in Weaver Vale need the Government to match the Labour party commitment to giving compensation to 1950s women who have lost out as a result of changes to the pension age. When he ran for leader Boris said he would ‘do everything’ to help women who have seen their retirement plans scuppered as a result of the change – let’s see if he thinks its important enough to mention today.
We also desperately need an extension of the local user discount scheme for the toll bridge. There are 33 bridges in London, and none of them are tolled. Tolls are causing misery for families and causing real harm to businesses in our constituency. If it wouldn’t happen in London, it shouldn’t happen here.
We expect the Withdrawal Agreement to be voted on tomorrow. Brexit is now firmly in the hands of Boris – let’s see how ‘oven-ready’ Brexit really is, and whether it’s done in a year.
I want the Government to start tackling our housing crisis. I want a firm commitment from the Government to stop repeatedly ‘consulting’ on the Leasehold scandal, and start actually doing something about it. We must free the four million households trapped in leaseholds and prevent more people from becoming trapped in this feudal ownership system.
So that’s my Queens Speech Wishlist this Christmas – the things Weaver Vale residents should be looking out for this time round. I’m not certain we’ll get what we want, but I am certain that over the next five years I’ll keep fighting for the these things whatever the Government has planned for today.