Ian Austin MP

Labour MP for Dudley North

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Conference Diary, Tuesday 23 September

On Tuesday Ed Miliband announced a new fund to protect services at hospitals like Russells Hall.

On Tuesday Ed Miliband gave his last big conference speech before next year's general election and took the opportunity to set out Labour's vision for Britain.

Whenever I do one of my local surveys or someone in Dudley gets in touch with me about an issue they're concerned about, I always pass on their concerns to Ed Miliband as well as Tory Ministers. I think it's important that the people running the Labour party are listening to people in Dudley even if the government isn't.

That's why I was really pleased to hear Ed address so many issues that local people have raised with me.

Over the last couple of months I have spoken to hundreds of people in Dudley about Russells Hall hospital, and more than nine in ten said they were concerned about the effect that the hospital's £12 million deficit could have on services and waiting times.

I shared the results of that survey with Ed Miliband and today he announced that Labour would bring in a new 'time to care' fund to make sure the NHS always has the time to provide the care we all rely on.

20,000 more doctors, 8,000 more GPs, more midwives and care workers paid for by a 'mansion tax' on the most expensive properties to help hospitals like Russells Hall that have been hit hard under the Tories.

It was the same story with lots of other issues that come up all the time when I meet local residents. Ed set out plans to have as many people in apprenticeships as going to university, to build 200,000 new homes every year, to push the minimum wage up to £8 an hour, to tackle zero-hours contracts and to make sure that everyone is able to get a GP appointment within 48 hours.

Only Labour is listening to people in Dudley and proposing these policies to make them better off.​

We also heard from local woman Stephanie Peacock, not a politician from Westminster, who made a brilliant speech.

Steph is Labour’s candidate for Halesowen and Rowley Regis. I know people say that politicians are all the same, but she’s been working hard to knock on doors and listen to local people.

She told conference about the work that she's doing to reinstate bus services that local people rely on and she's pushing the government to make public transport more accountable to residents. It's another example of how a local campaigner can make residents' voices heard on a national level.

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