Thursday, 15 October 2009

Stop Human Trafficking

Last night I was at a Helen Bamber charity event in Ronnie Scott's. Great evening organised by Stephen and Trixie Brenninkmeijer with support from Emma Thompson.

The Helen Bamber Foundation is a human rights charity, working with survivors of human rights violations. Do you know that children are sold for as little as $20 each? Do you know that 2-4 million men, women and children are trafficked across borders and within their own country every year? More than one person is trafficked across a border every minute, which is equivalent to five jumbo jets every day. It is a trade that earns twice as much worldwide revenue as Coca Cola. It needs to be stopped.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

The political conference season is over, which for most people will be a blessed relief. But with the economy struggling and unemployment rising, the need for a change is growing.

The economy is critical and that's why at the Conference, Conservatives outlined how they will aim to tackle the mess we're in.

There are a number of key pledges for council tax payers, business, first time buyers and pensioners:

  • - freeze council tax for two years
  • - introduce a £50bn National Loan Guarantee Scheme to underwrite bank lending to businesses and get credit flowing again
  • - provide tax cuts for new jobs with a £2.6bn package of tax breaks to get people into work
  • - abolish Stamp Duty for nine out of ten first-time buyers
  • - raise the Inheritance Tax threshold to £1 million
  • - cut the main rate of corporation tax to 25p and the small companies' rate to 20p
Policies like these will have a positive impact not just nationally but on the people and businesses in Chiswick, Brentford, Isleworth, Osterley & Hounslow and I'd urge you to find out more about our economic plans by clicking on the link below.

Labour cuts back on right to buy

With housing such a high profile issue locally, courtesy of a group of squatters, I thought it was worth highlighting what a Conservative government plans for social housing.

The goal is to extend the opportunity for social tenants across England, by:

  • - Rewards for good behaviour: Offering tenants with a record of five years’ good tenant behaviour a 10% equity share in their social rented property, which can be cashed in when they want to move up the housing ladder.
  • - A ‘Right to Move’: Introducing a comprehensive national mobility scheme for good tenants who wish to move to other social sector properties.
  • - Supporting low-cost housing sector: Strengthening shared ownership schemes which allow those on intermediate incomes to part-own their home.
  • - Cutting waiting lists: Relaxing the rules that prevent thousands of habitable empty properties being used to house those on local authority waiting lists.

Labour has cut back on council tenants' ‘right to buy’, making it increasingly hard for people on lower incomes to own their own homes. We want to find ways to help tenants get into the property ladder.

An independent report commissioned by the Government has highlighted the benefits of the Right to Buy in promoting home ownership, giving people a stake in the state of their neighbourhood and creating mixed communities:

“The Right to Buy was one of the most successful housing policies… because the policy enabled many households to become owner-occupiers who would not otherwise been able to do so… It has been a positive influence in maintaining mixed communities in spatial terms. It has also provided a cheaper access point into owner-occupation for lower income employed households helping to sustain mixed communities are these properties are transferred into the market.’

(ODPM, Lessons from the past, challenges for the future for housing policy)

I’d be interested in your views on this, of course.

And if you’d like to know more about Conservative policy in this area check this out: