Ian Austin MP

Labour MP for Dudley North

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Conference Diary, Wednesday 24 September

Labour's plan for the country is clear: we will make working people better off and save the NHS.

As conference comes to a close Labour's plan for the country is clear: we will make working people better off and save the NHS.

Both of these issues are really important here in Dudley where wages are below the national average and our local hospital is facing a deficit of £12 million.

It’s clear from what people have told me that there’s no recovery for struggling families in Dudley, whatever George Osborne claims. Prices keep going up as wages come down, leaving working people an average of £1,600 a year worse off under this Government.

Instead of helping, David Cameron made it his priority to cut tax for millionaires while raising it for everyone else.

Labour would not ignore the problem. We would push the minimum wage up to £8 an hour, making people on the lowest wages here in Dudley £3,000 a year better off.

We're determined to balance the books so this won't involve Government spending. In fact it would end the crazy situation where people on low pay have to get their wages topped up by benefits, and it would help make sure that no one can earn more out of work than in work.

When me or a member of my family is ill, we queue up at Russells Hall like anybody else in Dudley, so I’m really concerned about the £12 million deficit faced by the hospital.

This never happened to our hospital under Labour and it just goes to show that the NHS is just not a priority for the Tories.

I think lots of local people will be relieved to hear that Labour would give our hospital the support I needs and make front line staff the priority. Instead of wasting money on reforms we would get 20,000 more nurses in place, 8,000 more GPs and 5,000 homecare workers.

But we would do all this without borrowing a penny. Instead the money will be raised from a tax on houses worth over £2 million, a crackdown on tax avoidance, and extra contributions from big tobacco companies to go towards the costs they impose on the NHS.

In other news, me and my mate Tom Watson took time out last night to visit the Coronation Street studio where the Daily Mirror had organised an end of conference party.

I remember as a youngster watching it with my mum – it was amazing to visit the street and see the buildings in real life.

It’s not nearly as good as the Black Country Museum – but well worth a visit if you are ever in Manchester.

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