Cliff Mitchell - 26/11/2019

Karen Bradley - promises versus actions

Actions not words!

Judge them by what they do, not what they say!

Karen Bradley is standing for re-election as MP for the Staffordshire Moorlands in the General Election on 12 December 2019. Her campaign is focused on 6 areas:

  1.     Proper funding for schools
  2.     Protecting our environment
  3.     More police on the streets
  4.     Helping combat loneliness and isolation
  5.     Enhancing our NHS
  6.     Get Brexit done

I have put Brexit last as this article is more about local issues.

You can see more about Karen Bradley's campaign here.

Karen Bradley has been our MP for over 9 years (since May 2010) and it is only fair she should be judged on what she has actually done, rather than what she says she will do if re-elected.

Let’s assess Bradley’s track record against each of her 2019 campaign areas. Under her own six headings we will summarise what her campaign message is versus what she has actually done over the last 9+ years in office.

Proper Funding for Schools

Karen Bradley:

I am working hard to support all our local schools and following our increase in funding in primary and secondary schools by £14 billion over the next three years, this year’s multi-million-pound fund will support our pledge to create more good school places, continue raising standards and getting fairer funding for Staffordshire. I am also working to give a long-term sustainable future to our local special needs schools, including Horton Lodge and Cecily Horton.

In parliament Karen Bradley voted consistently to turn our schools into Academies with no local authority control, to end financial support for 16-19 year olds in training and FE, and has supported an 8% cut in spending per pupil since 2010.

No wonder so many Staffordshire teachers have been made redundant. The future of the special needs schools she mentions is extremely uncertain. In particular residential care for our most vulnerable children is under serious threat.

Protecting our Environment

Karen Bradley:

The Moorlands is one of the most beautiful places in Britain and I am committed to protecting its natural beauty. I voted for a carbon neutral UK and support our plans to protect the environment. For our most rural areas, I have been lobbying for better broadband, more buses and protecting school transport. I am also working to save the brilliant Leek Show.

15 times Karen Bradley voted against measures to prevent climate change, almost always voted against greater public control of bus services,  voted against local government having powers to develop more integrated, frequent, cheaper and greener bus services with integrated Oyster card-style ticketing, and generally voted against a publicly owned railway system.

More Police on the Streets

Karen Bradley:

We have a lower than average crime rate in Staffordshire thanks to our fantastic Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner. We are determined to tackle all types of crime and keep our streets safe – delivering 20,000 more police to protect the public and with new laws such as on domestic abuse, give the police the powers that they need.

Since 2010, when Karen Bradley became an MP, there has been a drop of 20,600 police officers, representing a 14% fall. After accounting for the growth in population, the number of police officers per person in the UK has fallen by 19%. So a pledge to deliver 20,000 more police officers doesn’t even get us back to the levels in 2010! If new laws on domestic abuse are needed, why haven’t they been delivered in the 9 years she has been in power.

Karen Bradeley has also consistently attacked our right to privacy by voting for mass surveillance of people’s communications and activities.

Helping combat Loneliness and Isolation

Karen Bradley:

I have pledged to help tackle the important issue of Loneliness & Isolation. With initiatives such as my Senior Tea Dances, my Loneliness Conference and my Loneliness & Isolation Directory, I am determined to make a difference.

Spending on adult social care in England fell by 3% since 2010.
Karen Bradley:
    • Consistently voted against strengthening the Military Covenant
    • Consistently voted for reducing housing benefit for social tenants deemed to have excess bedrooms (which Labour describe as the "bedroom tax")
    • Consistently voted against paying higher benefits over longer periods for those unable to work due to illness or disability

Enhancing our NHS

Karen Bradley:

The NHS is one of Britain’s greatest assets and I am committed to keeping it in public hands, free whenever it is needed. It is not for sale. I am determined that we keep investing in our brilliant NHS and, with a strong economy, we can properly fund local health services and make sure that our NHS is there for you and your family. I will continue to make sure we have the right services locally, including at Leek Moorlands Hospital.

Karen Bradley consistently voted against restricting the provision of services to private patients by the NHS.

Adjusting figures to account for the population, the average annual growth in per person spending on the NHS was only 0.6% between 2009/10 and 2016/17.

47% of NHS Trusts are in defecit and there is a record high of 43,000 nurse vacancies in the NHS.

According to The Health Foundation:

  •  Essential parts of the NHS in England are experiencing the worst performance against waiting times targets since the targets were set. This includes the highest proportion of people waiting more than four hours in A&E departments since 2004, and the highest proportion of people waiting over 18 weeks for non-urgent (but essential) hospital treatment since 2008.
  •  The target for treating cancer patients within 62 days of urgent GP referral has not been met for over 5 years, and survey evidence suggests more people are experiencing lengthening delays in getting GP appointments.
  • Longer waits are a symptom of more people needing treatment than the NHS has the capacity to deliver. This reflects a decade of much lower than average funding growth for the NHS and workforce shortages, coupled with growing and changing population health needs. These pressures are exacerbated by cuts to social care and public health budgets, which make it harder to keep people healthy outside hospitals.

Get Brexit Done

Karen Bradley:

With Britain and Staffordshire Moorlands going to the polls on 12th December, I wanted to get in touch to encourage you to vote and to explain why, in this perhaps most important of General Elections, a vote for anyone other than the Conservatives will lead to stagnation for our great country.

Karen Bradley campaigned to Remain in the 2016 Brexit referendum. She said: “If you want a stronger, safer, better off Britain, then the positive choice is to vote Remain.”

According to the governments own figures, all of us in the West Midlands will be 13% worse off after Brexit.

'Get Brexit Done' is a myth – even if we legally leave the EU in January 2020 we will be in a transition period where nothing changes and we are faced with years of fraught and contentious trade negotiations. The idea that we have to leave the EU in order to “unleash the potential of this great country” is ridiculous. We have grown to be the 5th largest economy in the world while being members of the EU so what exactly is holding us back?

If you really want to 'Get Brexit Done' then vote to stop Brexit.

Stopping Brexit means we can IMMEDIATELY get back to addressing the real issues, like those above: the NHS, social services, policing, and climate change. No need for a transition period, no need to negotiate new trade deals with 70+ countries, no need for continuing, unnecessary damage to our economy.

If you want to stop Brexit then vote tactically. You can find all the information you need to make an informed decision here - just enter your postcode.


Cliff Mitchell
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