What is Labour Conference and what was my role there?

Long read: Conference diary

Labour Members met in Liverpool now a decade on from the financial crash which opened the door for brutal cuts to public services, and people in Oldham will feel the real impact of that more than most.

We also met at a time when big issues on jobs, the economy, Brexit and housing need real research, thought and policies. I won’t go into detail here but the conference speeches are widely covered by the media.

You would have heard a firm commitment to bring into local authority control academies and free schools and to stop the opening of new free schools. Critical to the National Education Service is a commitment to early years with a pledge of 30 hours free child care and investing in its workforce with decent pay and qualifications.

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The housing crisis is a national scandal

This article originally appeared on Progress Online on 24th September 2018

Theresa May has orchestrated some excellent PR this month. In a last minute attempt to paper over some quite significant gaps in her government’s domestic agenda ahead of Tory conference, a number of half-baked housing policies have flown off the shelf.

Most notably came the announcement of £2bn in funding for housing associations. There are a few snags with this though. First, its déjà vu from this time last year when May announced a £2bn council house building fund at the 2017 Tory conference. It was the first time since 2010 that the government had committed any new funding to social housing. Unfortunately 12 months on we are still waiting for this fund to materialise – along with the homes our country desperately needs.

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The Tories have no plan to grow the economies and cultures of our towns and cities

This article orginally appeared in the New Statesman on 24th Septembeer 2018

Most people agree that the vote for Brexit was in part driven by the economic and political disenfranchisement of many communities across the country, which for too long have been overlooked by Westminster.

That’s particularly true of small towns in the Midlands, North and on the coast. These places have lost their traditional industries and the same areas have been hit badly by the Tory government and the austerity over the past eight years.

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Annie Kenney ready to return home to Oldham

A big step towards finally recognising Oldham’s working class Suffragette Annie Kenney

The Annie Kenney Project has taken a huge leap forward this week, with the clay statue formally being handed over to the Foundry.

It’s a first glimpse of the statue, with its amazing detail and quality by the hands of sculptor Denise Dutton.

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