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Petitions

Volume 624: debated on Wednesday 26 April 2017

Closure of King George Hospital Accident and Emergency Department

I rise to present a petition against the closure of King George hospital accident and emergency department, signed by well over 10,000 of my constituents in Ilford North, as well as many constituents in Ilford South and other neighbouring constituencies. Were my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford South (Mike Gapes) not attending the NATO Parliamentary Assembly today, he would be by my side. This issue is of central importance to the people I was sent here to represent. For that reason, it was the very first issue that I raised upon election to this House. The Conservatives promised that they would keep the maternity and accident and emergency departments at King George hospital. Maternity has gone, and the closure decision for A&E has been taken.

The petitioners therefore request:

that the House of Commons urges the Government to undertake a review of the original decision to close King George Hospital A&E and in particular the criteria used which the petitioners believe are now out of date.

I look forward to continuing to champion this cause for many years to come.

Following is the full text of the petition:

[The petition of residents of the UK,

Declares that the petitioners are against the closure of the A&E department at King George Hospital in Ilford.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to undertake a review of the original decision to close King George Hospital A&E and in particular the criteria used which the petitioners believe are now out of date.

And the petitioners remain, etc.]

[P002041]

Ulverston Post Office

It is with considerable pride that my last act in this Parliament before prorogation is to present a petition of 7,846 residents of Barrow and Furness—of course, overwhelmingly in the town of Ulverston—to save Ulverston post office.

Ulverston post office has been an essential part of community life in its building in County Square for more than 100 years, so we were devastated to find that it had been placed under threat of closure by the Government’s latest reforms. There has been an extraordinary response from the town. Well over half of all the residents have already signed the petition. My particular thanks go to Mr Malcolm Tyson, who has probably gathered more than half these signatures on his own. He tells me he has walked more than 500 miles to save Ulverston post office, and I hazard that he would probably walk 500 more to be the one who did save it. This issue is critical.

The petition states:

The petitioners therefore request the House of Commons to make provisions to ensure that the Post Office remains open and available for use by the community.

As long as I remain the strong, independent Labour voice for Barrow and Furness, I will back them to the hilt.

Following is the full text of the petition:

[The petition of constituents of Barrow and Furness,

Declares that Ulverston Post Office has been a central part of the community for over 100 years and serves as a lifeline for many residents; further that the petitioners believe it should remain in County Square with no loss of services to users and no reduction in jobs for its local employees.

The petitioners therefore request the House of Commons to make provisions to ensure that the Post Office remains open and available for use by the community.

And the petitioners remain, etc.]

[P002042]

Transitional state pension arrangements for women born in the 1950s

I rise to present a petition on behalf of my constituents for transitional state pension arrangements for women born in the 1950s. Every constituency in this land will have thousands of women who have been affected by the changes to state pension provisions.

On Friday, in Porth in my constituency, I heard from one woman who had no idea she was going to be affected by these changes until I wrote her a letter about them. I think that the Government should have been notifying these women. I heard from another woman, who has worked for 43 years already in very strenuous, arduous jobs, and who has now had to take up three tough additional jobs at the age of 61 just to keep the wolf from the door, when the food bank in the Rhondda, which is based in Tylorstown, has had a dramatic increase in the number of elderly people, and particularly women, who are using it. It is perhaps an irony that the food bank is based in what used to be the Conservative club.

The injustice here is absolutely obvious. It is one thing to tell somebody at the age of 20 that they are going to have to work till 66, 67 or 68, but it is quite another to start telling people that when they are coming up to those years already, particularly in constituencies such as mine, where many of these women will be solely reliant on the state pension to make ends meet.

No woman was properly warned about this. The changes happened far too swiftly. Only 280 constituents have signed the petition, but I can assure the Government that if we had had a little longer in this Parliament, thousands would have signed up in the Rhondda. I just say to any Government that want to mess with the women of the Rhondda: they will see you off. I hope that presenting this petition will be the last thing I do in this Parliament, but I also hope that this issue will be the first I deal with in the next.

The petition states:

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to make fair transitional arrangements for all women born on or after 6th April 1951 who have unfairly borne the burden of the increase to the State Pension Age.

Following is the full text of the petition:

[The petition of residents of the Rhondda,

Declares that the 1995 Pensions Act has been implemented unfairly; further that Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI), agree with equalisation, but dont agree with the unfair way the changes were implemented — with little/no personal notice (1995/2011 Pension Acts), faster than promised (2011 Pension Act), and no time to make alternative plans; further that retirement plans have been shattered with devastating consequences; and further that hundreds of thousands of women have had significant changes imposed on them with a lack of appropriate notification.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to make fair transitional arrangements for all women born on or after 6th April 1951 who have unfairly borne the burden of the increase to the State Pension Age (SPA).

And the petitioners remain, etc.]

[P002043]