Letter from Parliament - Jim Dobbin MP
Date published: 09 January 2012
I was saddened to read of the sudden death of Councillor John Byrne the deputy Mayor of Bury. John was a former leader of Bury Council and former Mayor. John was my agent in 1992 election in Bury North when I stood as a Labour Parliamentary candidate against Alastair Burt MP who is now a minister in the Foreign Office. John Byrne was a longstanding and powerful political voice across Greater Manchester. My sympathy goes out to his wife Brenda and their four sons. He was a great example of a man who served the public in his local community as a councillor and teacher for many years.
This will be a busy year for local government elections in England, Scotland and Wales. We have elections for Mayor of London, Greater London assembly elections, directly elected mayors in some cities and elections for Police and Crime commissions in every police authority. We’ll be election exhausted by the end of all that.
Congratulations to Rochdale Borough, home of the legendary Rochdale Pioneers. Rochdale has been declared the world capital of co-operatives. This decision was taken during the International Co-operative alliance General assembly in Cancun, Mexico. 2012 could see the growth of more co-operative models across the public services. As you may be aware Heywood and Middleton is a Co-operative Party constituency.
It is now widely accepted by economic pundits that Ed Balls was correct after all and George Osborne was wrong. It’s just a shame that George has deliberately imposed his austerity budget and economic policy mistakes on millions of poor families and pensioners. Even middle income families are suffering. Unemployment levels are soaring, youth unemployment is massive, public services are suffering and the Chancellor seems oblivious as he continues on his way through the confused mess he has created.
The country desperately needs a programme of targeted investment to generate growth and economic stimulus is essential if we are to turn the British economy around. David Cameron promised the private sector would create that safety net but forgot that much of the private sector growth comes from the public sector e.g. building contractors, local paint firms and many small to medium businesses, who are now shedding jobs because of the Government’s austerity programme. The future looks dire and I wish it were different.
Parliament resumes this week and the Health Bill and the Welfare Bill are still in the Lords. If they both become law it will be the end of the NHS as we know it and there will be much reduced care and welfare services.
Christmas and New Year bring families together and even in difficult times families bring strength, help and support. We had a houseful over the holiday period and it was chaotic but enjoyable. Although my comments have been less than positive, I also have faith that with the correct political leadership both here in the UK and across the world we will eventually emerge from this time of depression. I wish you all a Happy New Year.
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