Weekly Round Up

(February 08, 2013)

steve-rotheram-looking awayGove

Ebacc = U-Turn

The Tory-led Government this week staged yet another U-turn, as it backed down on its controversial plans to scrap GCSEs.

In a surprise statement in the Commons, Education Secretary Michael Gove said that he was abandoning plans to introduce a new qualification in 2015.

David Cameron and Michael Gove should have listened to business leaders, headteachers and experts in the first place and not come up with a plan on the back of an envelope.

The Tories’ plans would have squeezed critical subjects like IT, Design and Technology and Engineering out.

No wonder the CBI said that Michael Gove risked “repeating the mistakes of the past” and the designer of the iPhone said that Gove would “fail to provide students with the skills UK employers need”.

It’s time for David Cameron and Michael Gove to go back to the drawing board.

Labour is ready to join cross-party talks to develop a curriculum and exam system that meets the challenges our country faces.

Pupils and parents need certainty now.

The Tories have to say whether they are just trying to delay their changes, or whether they will abandon their out of date plans altogether.

Tens of thousands in Liverpool to be hit by the bedroom tax

The Tory-led Government are pressing ahead with their unfair bedroom tax. 

With this tax due to come in to effect in April for tenants of working age, people in Walton are getting understandably concerned about how  they and their families will be affected.

This tax will cut the amount of housing benefit that people receive if they are deemed to have a spare bedroom in their council or housing association home.

Thousands of people are vulnerable to this change including:

  • separated parents who share the care of their children and who may have been allocated an extra bedroom to reflect this
  • couples who use their ‘spare’ bedroom when recovering from an illness or operation
  • foster carers because foster children are not counted as part of the household for benefit purposes
  • families with disabled children

The Tory-led Government is targeting hard-pressed families living in social housing, with those affected likely to lose an average of £728 per year.

This bedroom tax is unfair and the Government needs to think again before it’s too late.

Giant Stride for Equality in Britain


The Commons this week voted by a huge margin to allow same sex couples to get married.

I really welcome this vote. It was a proud day and an important step forward in the fight for equality in Britain.

The overwhelming majority of Labour MPs supported the change to make sure that marriage reflects the value we place on long-term, loving relationships – whoever you love.

I cast my vote in a proud Labour tradition.

When we were in government, we repealed Section 28, equalised the age of consent, ended the ban on gay people serving in the Armed Forces, changed the rules governing adoption and introduced civil partnerships.

I strongly support freedom of religion and everyone’s right to their beliefs. No faith group should be obliged to hold same sex marriages – and under this Bill, they won’t be.

But freedom cuts both ways – and the vote in the Commons this week shows that the rights we enjoy don’t depend on the gender of the person we love.

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