Letter from Parliament - Jim Dobbin MP
Date published: 20 September 2011
The Boundary Commission has just published its proposals to begin a process that the Government hopes will present it with a long term majority Tory Government and yes, the Lib Dems bought into this as part of the Coalition agreement. The aim is to begin the process of reducing the democratic input to Parliament by getting rid of 50 Parliamentary seats across the UK with 7 in the North West. Locally 3 constituencies will be created across the borough of Rochdale that is Rochdale North, Rochdale South and Middleton. Rochdale North will necessitate dealing with Rossendale Council, Rochdale Council and Lancashire County Council based in Preston. Rochdale South links Oldham and Rochdale Councils and the new Middleton constituency links Rochdale, Oldham and Manchester Councils.
These links are only for parliamentary issues. However we might be seeing the beginning of the end of the Metropolitan Authorities. Heywood is split in two between Middleton and Rochdale South, Norden joins parts of Rossendale including Bacup and Whitworth, Bamford joins Rochdale South along with Castleton. Milnrow, Newhey, Royton, Shaw and Crompton become part of Rochdale South and Chadderton North and Chadderton South join Middleton along with Charlestown from Blackley. The target date for completion following a consultation process is 2013 before the next general election which may be in 2015. My advice to individuals and community groups affected by these daft proposals is to make their feelings known at the various public meetings that take place. The integral wards in Heywood in particular need to remain as part of Heywood Town Boundaries. This is one of the most blatant examples of a loss of identity within the community affecting our locality,
The Government railroaded its botched NHS re-organisation through the Commons by moving 1000 amendments to its own NHS Bill. As the Bill enters the Lords I am determined to do all I can to oppose this Bill that seeks to break up the NHS as a national service putting competition ahead of patient care.
David Cameron claims that the whole health profession is behind him and says so in the Commons. The Royal College of GPs and the Royal College of Nursing say that the Bill could potentially destabilise the NHS as we know it. Yet he continues to claim they are on his side. This re-organisation is detracting from getting on with the job of diagnosing and treating patients. This is starting to show with operations being cancelled and waiting lists growing. Unemployment levels are rising fast as jobs in the public sector disappear. Youth unemployment is at an all time high.
David Cameron’s popularity amongst women has nosedived. In the 2010 budget women were badly affected to the tune of £11.4 billion in losses to maternity grants, pregnancy help, tax credits, pensions and welfare reforms. The cost of childcare has caused many parents to get into debt.
In April the coalition government cut the amount parents can claim on childcare. Cuts in childcare make no sense at all –it simply makes it harder for parents to go out to work. This problem will get worse when further changes to childcare tax credits take place. What do you have against women and parenting, Dave and Nick?
I attended the Co-operative Party Conference in London on 8, 9 and 10 September as a Labour and Co-op MP where I was on a panel doing a question and answer session which I enjoyed. The Co-op movement is one of the few movements that are going from strength to strength and it originated in Rochdale. In the UK there are 5,450 co-operatives with around 12.8 million members and the co-operative sector has outperformed the economy as a whole since the credit crunch.
I had to Chair a number of debates in Westminster Hall, the second Chamber in Parliament. The topics are always interesting and of a wide nature.
I was pleased to meet up with old friends from Heywood’s twin town of Peine at a house party at the home of my friends and neighbours Chris and Margaret Raynor. The Heywood / Peine links are still strong and healthy.
We are now in Party Conference mode and I look forward to being in Liverpool for the Labour Party conference this weekend.
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