Tristram Hunt MP

Working hard for Stoke-on-Trent Central

Home

Recent Activity

THIS is the moment in the electoral cycle when Members of Parliament start pounding the streets to explain to their constituents just what they have been up to for the last five years – and what they would like to do with another five years.

It is the moment when the trust between representative and elector is either renewed or severed.

So, like most MPs seeking re-election, I and my team have been on the doorstep – in Bentilee, Abbey Hulton, Boothen, Eaton Park and elsewhere – finding out what is energising and enraging the Stoke-on-Trent electorate.

First up is the cost of living. It is hugely welcome that the price of petrol, some utilities, and even food prices have begun to stabilise, but time and again local residents have told me just how hard it is to make ends meet.

Low wage work, insecure employment contracts, zero hours job offers, exploitative agency contractors, absence of trade unions, and the systematic undermining of pay through mass foreign hirings. 

This is the new employment landscape which is making it more and more difficult to build a career, get a mortgage, save for the future, or have that sense of security which allows families to prosper.

Jobs are growing in Stoke-on-Trent, but it is the type of work which we need to improve. There are broader political answers to this – such as raising the minimum wage, offering tax breaks for companies to pay the living wage, clamping down on agency exploitation – but we also need to make sure we build up Stoke-on-Trent as a high-wage, high-skill city. 

At the moment, too many families in the Potteries are having to rely on multiple jobs at low wages topped up by benefits. And we need policies on education, training, inward investment and regeneration to tackle that.

After the cost of living, the second big doorstep issue is the NHS. The challenges facing Royal Stoke University Hospital – among the most pressing in the country – are feeding through.

There are too many tales of cancelled operations, over-long waits, and delays to test results. Residents are universally appreciative of the humane and professional care they receive from the NHS, but there are real concerns about the impact of moving Stafford services into Stoke and continual pressures on GP surgeries. 

The truth of the matter is this: We have an ageing population putting extra strain on the system and all the recent NHS reorganisations haven’t helped. We also need a bit more money in the system – which the Labour Party wants to come from a Mansion Tax on high-value properties.

Just as concerning for Stoke-on-Trent voters is the strain on council services. After years of cuts and austerity, the closure of swimming pools and care homes, the reduction to museum hours and community centres, residents are feeling frustrated. At the same time, more work needs to be done to explain the need for the new Central Business District and Smithfield development in Hanley. 

The council’s ambition to consolidate their buildings on one site, save money, and promote the regeneration of the city centre needs greater clarity.

And then there are the usual issues that arise from everyday urban living: the bins left out on the road; the uncut hedges abutting the back garden; the noisy neighbours; controlled parking zones and speed-bumps; the poor response times from Kier; the wait for a decision on a new council property.

But what is perhaps equally interesting is what has not been raised on the knocker.

There are certainly pockets of anger about anti-social behaviour, but broader concerns about crime and disorder have not featured particularly heavily in our canvassing sessions. And this speaks to a wider trend across the country on falling crime rates.

Very few people have raised High Speed 2 and the controversy around the station being centred on Crewe. And when immigration as an issue has come up, it has been a debate about ensuring that public services get the resources they need to deal with any rising demand.

As a politician, it is good to debate all these issues – whether people intend to vote Labour or not. What is more of a struggle is dealing with the disenchanted and not interested: those who think that either nothing changes or we politicians are all the same.

But the only way I think you can counter that charge is to begin with a decent doorstep debate. And that’s what I will be doing up to and beyond May 7.

Key issues revealed in doorstop debates

THIS is the moment in the electoral cycle when Members of Parliament start pounding the streets to explain to their constituents just what they have been up to for the...

Labour is committed to taking urgent action in tackling tax avoidance, which is why the first Finance Bill of the next Labour Government will include measures to close loopholes used for tax avoidance, increase transparency and bring in tougher deterrents. We will also draw up legislation for consultation on clamping down in some of the most complex areas.

Labour will back the multilateral approaches first and foremost, but we reserve the right to take unilateral solutions where international agreement cannot be achieved.

We also agree with the Tax Dodging Bill campaign that there should be a rigorous and independent “spillover analysis” of UK corporate tax rules and assessing whether they have harmful knock-on effects on the ability of developing countries to collect their own taxes.

The reality is that David Cameron and George Osborne have totally failed to tackle tax avoidance in the last five years. They have failed to close the loopholes Labour has highlighted and the amount of uncollected tax has risen under this Government. And this week in Parliament Tory MPs voted against Labour’s plans to crack down harder on tax avoidance.

The next Labour Government will close loopholes that cost the exchequer billions of pounds a year, increase transparency and toughen up penalties. Labour will act in our first Finance Bill to:

-       Introduce penalties for those who are caught by the General Anti-Abuse Rule

-       Close loopholes used by hedge funds to avoid stamp duty

-       Close loopholes like the Eurobonds loophole which allow some large companies to move profits out of the UK and avoid Corporation Tax

-       Stop umbrella companies exploiting tax reliefs

-       Scrapping the “Shares for Rights” scheme, which the OBR has warned could enable avoidance and cost £1 billion and is administered by HMRC, and so ensure HMRC can better focus on tackling tax avoidance

-       Tackle disguised self-employment by introducing strict deeming criteria

-       Tackle the use of dormant companies to avoid tax by requiring them to report more frequently

Labour’s measures to tackle tax avoidance will also include:

-       Ensuring stronger independent scrutiny of the tax system, including reliefs, and the government’s efforts to tackle tax avoidance

-       Forcing the UK’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies to produce publicly available registries of beneficial ownership

-       Making country-by-country reporting information publicly available

-       Ensuring developing countries are properly engaged in the drawing up of global tax rules

On Wednesday 11 February, Labour MPs held an Opposition Day debate in Parliament calling on the Government to take action on tackling avoidance and back the measures we are committed to introducing in our first Finance Bill. But they voted not to, further proving that only a Labour Government will tackle tax avoidance.

Labour’s Plan to Tackle Tax Avoidance

Labour is committed to taking urgent action in tackling tax avoidance, which is why the first Finance Bill of the next Labour Government will include measures to close loopholes used...

code_club.jpg 

Tristram Hunt MP recently visited The Willows Primary School in Penkhull to meet with teachers and representatives of Google's nationwide computer coding education programme, Code Club.

While at The Willows, Tristram had a chance to meet with pupils to discuss their computer programme creations and observe how they are learning the language of computer coding through classroom-based activities.

Tristram commented: "This was a wonderful opportunity to come to one of our local primary schools to see first-hand how computer literacy is being taught to pupils in Stoke-on-Trent"

"What makes programmes like this important in today's classrooms is that it goes beyond traditional approaches to ICT lessons to broaden computer literacy in areas such as computer programming. These are the skills the UK needs in our 21st century, knowledge-based economy"

Tristram visits Google Code Club

  Tristram Hunt MP recently visited The Willows Primary School in Penkhull to meet with teachers and representatives of Google's nationwide computer coding education programme, Code Club.


View More Activities

The Labour Party will place cookies on your computer to help us make this website better.

Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site.

To find out more about these cookies, see our privacy notice. Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.