Anita Lower for Newcastle North : Fighting for YOU, local people, a stronger economy, fairer society, opportunity for everyone

April 1, 2015 7:47 AM

Helping young people and their families

Anita is proud that Liberal Democrats in government have delivered an extra £38 million for the most disadvantaged children in Newcastle schools through the Pupil Premium - a wholly Liberal Democrat idea. This money is being using to help all from exam takers down to the youngest entering the education system. We've already seen improved results for local children at GCSE level as a result.

Anita welcomed the announcement from Liberal Democrats in government that we are increasing free childcare to 15 hours a week for all 3 and 4 year olds, and all 2 year olds from poorer families. Anita will keep pushing for even more improvements to this provision.

The cost of housing is one of the toughest challenges for families and local people. Anita is standing up to property developers who want to cover the Green Belt with "executive houses" far from facilities and is pushing for more affordable homes close to existing ones.

Giving old people the respect they deserve

Anita is delighted that the Liberal Democrats in government have delivered a record rise in the state old age pension, which is now worth £650 more than 2010 under Labour.

Labour's financial mess left the most vulnerable at serious risk. That is why it was so important to make sure pensioners are guaranteed an increase in their pension every year.

Never again will Newcastle's pensioners be subjected to insulting and degrading pension rises such as Labour's derisory 75 pence increase. The Liberal Democrats have made sure that pensions rise at the same rate as earnings, prices or 2.5% - whichever is the highest.

In Parliament Anita will keep campaigning to make sure no future Labour government can take away the pension increase again by keeping this "triple lock" in law.

Fighting for fair taxes, jobs and transport

Anita says "Liberal Democrats in government kept their promise to cut taxes for low income taxes by making the first £11,000 you earn tax free. This puts more money in the pockets of x00,000 across Newcastle.

The tax cut of up to £18 a week for local workers is only happening because the Liberal Democrats fought for it - and they'll keep doing so in the future.

Since 2010, 2 million new apprenticeships and 2 million extra jobs have been created across the country. 30,000 more people in the north east are now in work. 30,000 are employed in the digital sector, around 27,000 by Nissan and its supply chain.

"As a result, exports from this region rose 7.2% last year and we have made huge productivity gains," says Anita. "Some of this is because of direct help to local companies from the Regional Growth Fund, which Liberal Democrats in government have pushed for throughout the last Parliament."

Labour is trying to take charge of transport in this region. Liberal Democrats in government have championed "devolution on demand" which will help this to happen. But Labour's infighting in the region means they have been much slower off the mark than other regions - and they can't agree for instance whether the next stage of revitalising our Metro should be to go north to relieve congestion for Newcastle's commuters, or to push further south to Durham.

Protecting and building our NHS

Anita believes the NHS, free at the point of use, devised by Liberals during World War II, is OUR NHS - it doesn't "belong" to Labour or their Union paymasters. Their scare stories frighten the vulnerable and the old. Liberal Democrats in government have seen a 10% (£10 billion) rise in spending. Anita in Parliament will keep fighting for the further increase of £8 billion by 2020, the amount NHS chiefs say is needed.

"We can be proud that in Newcastle we have world leading treatment centres for things like heart surgery, Ebola treatment and premature baby care. We've seen massive investment in new buildings at the RVI over the last few years - and we have the health care professionals to make the best use of them for superb patient care," says Anita.

And Anita wants to make sure mental health is given the same priority as physical health - we need to change the fact that just £1 in every £9 spent on health goes to mental health.

Serious issues need serious solutions. People with physical health issues benefit for standards for waiting times, while mental health patients do not. Shortening waiting times for mental health patients will save lives.