Press Release from Mark Sewards

Press Release from Mark Sewards, Labour Candidate, Harrogate and Knaresborough, General Election 2019

“Labour are standing strong in Harrogate and Knaresborough. In 2017, we doubled our share of the vote and secured our best result in the constituency for over 50 years.

I’m incredibly proud to lead a team of amazing Labour members and activists here. Together, we’ve already spoken to thousands of residents and delivered tens of thousands of leaflets since the election was called. 

While the Liberal Democrats continue to pull desperate stunts for publicity, we’ll be out on the doorsteps campaigning for every single vote on Thursday. 

Labour are the only party offering a real alternative to the Conservatives in Harrogate and Knaresborough and the only party offering to give people the final say on Brexit in a referendum”

Standing Strong in Harrogate & Knaresborough

Mark Sewards – Statement on Tactical Voting

“Labour are very hopeful about our prospects in Harrogate & Knaresborough. At the 2017 General Election, we doubled our vote share and achieved the biggest vote increase of any party. 

On the issue of Brexit, Labour’s position is clear. We will deliver a public vote on the final deal and resolve Brexit within six months so that our country can move past Brexit. I will campaign for Britain to remain in the European Union.

But this shouldn’t be a single-issue election. After 9 years of austerity, our public services are in dire need of investment and people need to be treated with dignity and respect when they are unable to work. The climate emergency threatens our planet and we need a green industrial revolution.  

There’s so much more that needs addressing in this country, some of which are the root causes of Brexit. That’s why Labour will be on the ballot on 12th December.”

– Mark Sewards
Labour Candidate for Harrogate & Knaresbourough Labour Party

The Grove Academy: A Crucial Educational Resource

The Grove Academy provides a crucial educational resource for young people in Harrogate. It is an essential facility for students who for one reason or another have difficulties with mainstream education. Ofsted rate the Grove as “outstanding”. So why should it be under threat of closure? Why should all the senior staff be expecting to leave in the New Year?

The answer is that alternative education provision needs a higher level of staff per pupil than mainstream schools – in other words, it is more expensive.
What better target for Tory cuts! A vital social resource, crucial to the lives of young people who may have had a difficult start in life, staffed by highly experienced teachers providing an excellent eduction.

The result is a planned reduction in provision at just the time when increasing numbers are being excluded from school and the Grove could be their last chance.
The Council need to think again and Labour would enhance rather than reduce the chances for our young people.

We’re ready. Are you with us?

The corrupt system: the tax dodgers, bad bosses, big polluters, and billionaire-owned media holding our country back.

This election is a once-in-a-generation chance to transform our country, take on the vested interests holding people back and ensure that no community is left behind.

Real change is coming because when Labour wins, the nurse wins, the pensioner wins, the student wins, the office worker wins, the engineer wins. We all win.

Labour puts its faith in the spirit and commitment to community of the British people, it is your country, not the property of born-to-rule Conservatives who protect the privileged few.

The elite are scared of the British people, which is why they’ll throw everything at us in this election because they know we’re not afraid to take them on.

But Labour is on the side of the many against the few who run a corrupt system.

Labour will be out in Harrogate & Knaresborough with the biggest and most confident campaign that our area has ever seen bringing a message of hope and change to every community. Even if the rivers freeze over, we’re going out to offer real change for the many not the few.

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Join Labour today and get involved with our exciting campaign. It’s time for real change. We’re ready. Are you with us? 
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Thomas Cook Scandal

Workers rights- or rather, the current paucity of them- have once more been thrown into focus by the collapse of Thomas Cook. What rights we think we have are rendered valueless by corporate accounting practices.

There has rightly been widespread coverage of the plight of stranded holidaymakers, and some coverage of TC staff continuing to offer help and advice for free. Much less has been heard of TC staff also stranded, having to pay £10,000 in one case to get home from Las Vegas! Nor was there much reporting of TC staff being handed 4 months bill for unpaid hotel debts owed by he firm.

The law allows outrageous behaviour by employers in such situations; immediate redundancy, upper limits on wages due (even for work which has been completed!), loss of pensions should the company be without assets….Workers have little or no chance to recoup what they are owed, and the taxpayers, too, are burdened with picking up a very expensive tab for the collapse.

It would seem that Thomas Cook management had opportunity to act- there was a Turkish takeover discussed in August, but management declined the offer. And why did the UK government not get involved earlier? And now staff- wageless jobless and often suddenly in debt due to necessary repatriation – face losing their homes and untold further consequences. It is unlikely that shareholders will lose houses and pensions! Many will have spread the risk by investing in other companies; TUI and Jet2 share values rose by 6% in the aftermath of Cook’s collapse. Other companies also enjoyed a boost to share values. Workers MUST be able to demand a change to such immoral and unfair practices.

Trades Unions must be empowered to challenge the sharp practices of successive Tory governments. Trades Union rights are the bedrock of the new society promised by a Labour government. It is in our hands to vote for change, to vote for decency and morality, to vote for hope….to vote and promote Labour.

Paul Burns – Local Labour Party Campaigner

Queen’s Speech is a farcical pre-election party political broadcast

It is hypocritical for the Tories to set out these plans when they were the ones who imposed cuts and let crime soar in the first place. Everything was cut, from schools, to the NHS, to the police, to mental health services. They all had terrible consequences.

This Queen’s Speech is farcical. It is just an uncosted wish list which the government has no intention and no means to deliver, and nothing more than a pre-election party political broadcast.

The Home Secretary is right that the Tories have been a soft touch for criminals, with policies that predictably led to more crime. We always argued that cuts have consequences, and now the Tories are trying to pretend the consequences have nothing to do with them.

Labour in government will end austerity, and properly invest in our communities and transform society.

Corbyn’s alternative to cynical stunt Queen’s Speech

In a major speech in Northampton on Thursday 10 October, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, will condemn Boris Johnson’s “cynical stunt” Queen’s Speech and lay out Labour’s alternative for “real change” across the country.

Corbyn will call Boris Johnson’s Queen’s Speech next week “a farce” as no programme can be delivered with “a majority of minus 45”. The Labour leader will call out Johnson for “using the Queen to deliver a pre-election party political broadcast for the Conservative Party”.

Corbyn will insist that Johnson obeys “the law” and takes “No Deal off the table”. Once that happens, he will declare Labour “ready and champing at the bit” for a general election, saying the country could be weeks away from a Labour government Queen’s Speech.

The Labour leader will use his Northampton speech to lay out “a preview” of Labour’s “most radical, hopeful, people-focused programme in modern times: a once-in-a-generation chance to rebuild and transform our country”.

In particular, he will highlight the following immediate priorities for the next Labour government to deliver:

• £10/hour minimum wage
• Ban fracking
• Free personal care and prescriptions
• Scrap tuition fees
• End rough sleeping
• A Final Say Brexit referendum

On the farce of Boris Johnson’s Queen’s Speech, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, will say:

“On Monday, we will be treated to the farce of Boris Johnson’s Conservative government, amid full pomp and ceremony, setting out an agenda to parliament that it has no intention or means of delivering.

“This government isn’t going to put any legislation before parliament. It has a majority of minus 45, a 100 per cent record of defeat in the Commons and is seeking a general election which will end the parliamentary session the Queen is about to open.

“Holding a Queen’s Speech before an election is a cynical stunt. Johnson is using the Queen to deliver a pre-election party political broadcast for the Conservative Party.”

On wanting an election, Jeremy Corbyn will say:

“It wasn’t long ago that Johnson was pretending not to want an election. Now he is pretending that it’s Labour that doesn’t want one.

“So let me address this directly: Prime minister, we can’t trust you not to break the law because you’ve got form. We can’t trust you not to use the period of an election campaign to drive our country off a No Deal cliff edge that will crash our economy destroy jobs and industries cause shortages of medicine and food and endanger peace in Northern Ireland.

“So it’s simple: obey the law, take No Deal off the table and then let’s have the election. We’re ready and champing at the bit. There’s only one reason it hasn’t happened yet – we can’t trust you.”

On Labour’s “real change”, Jeremy Corbyn will say:

“We might be just weeks away from the first Queen’s Speech of a Labour government. And in that Queen’s Speech, Labour will put forward the most radical, hopeful, people-focused programme in modern times: a once-in-a-generation chance to rebuild and transform our country

“This is the real thing, not the pale imitation offered by Johnson and his Conservative Party.”

GDP Performance Failing

The effects of the Government’s failure are being felt across the economy but especially in our manufacturing sector.

The Conservatives’ dangerous No Deal Brexit comes on the back of a decade of cuts and a failure to invest to tackle the long-term challenges for the economy.

A Labour government will tackle the productivity crisis by ending austerity, boosting wages, and providing half a trillion pounds of lending and spending for economic transformation.

Our Campaign To Fix Universal Credit

“The choice of Harrogate as the testing ground for the next stage of the Government’s controversial Universal Credit system may seem like a matter of debate as part of a national controversy but the facts on the ground say it matters for many residents in the town.

The figures show that, as of February this year, a total of 4,633 people in Harrogate were already on Universal Credit in which all new claimants must wait five weeks for their first payment.

The Government had long insisted no-one would be worse off under Universal Credit than old-style benefits, but last October then-Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey admitted some would lose money. The Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates 1.9m people will lose more than £1,000 in entitlements.”

– Harrogate Advertiser

The Tories’ failing Universal Credit programme is plunging millions of people into poverty, leaving them unable to pay rent or put dinner on the table, and facing debt and eviction as a result.

Labour will stop the roll-out, and ensure our social security system genuinely protects people from poverty.