Cliff Mitchell - 28/11/2019

Bill Cash – promises versus actions


Actions, not words!

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

Bill Cash is standing for re-election as MP for Stone in the General Election on 12 December 2019.

Bill Cash says  that his top 5 priority areas, if re-elected, would be:

  1. Democracy
  2. The elderly, infirm and disabled
  3. Business opportunities, investments, infrastructure and public services
  4. Health, education, law and order, defence
  5. International matters

Let’s assess Cash’s track record against each of his campaign areas. Under his own 5 priority headings we will summarise what his manifsto message is versus what he has actually done over the last 22 years in office.

Democracy

Bill Cash: “To ensure that our democracy respects the decisions of the British people and Parliament.”

Bill Cash and the Tory Government have shown scant respect for our parliamentary democracy.

Bill Cash's Tory government ignored the will of parliament and acted unlawfully when they prorogued parliament. They also had to be taken to the High Court to prevent them invoking Article 50 without first having the approval by parliament.

Bill Cash voted to prevent parliament from having sufficient time to  consider the 599 page EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill, insisting only 3 days was required.

According to the Tory Manifesto (page 48) they intend to challenge our vital inbuilt constitutional checks and balances between the executive, the judiciary and parliament. They propose to

“Look at the broader aspects of our constitution: the relationship between the Government, Parliament and the courts; the functioning of the Royal Prerogative; the role of the House of Lords…
We will ensure that judicial review is available to protect the rights of the individuals against an overbearing state, while ensuring that it is not abused to conduct politics by another means or to create needless delays.”

The elderly, infirm and disabled

Bill Cash: To continue to improve the conditions for the elderly, infirm and disabled people from all walks of life.

It sounds good but in reality Bill Cash voted:

  • 47 times for a reduction in spending on welfare benefits
  • 5 times against raising welfare benefits at least in line with prices
  • 12 times against paying higher benefits over longer periods for those unable to work due to illness or disability
  • 14 times for reducing housing benefit for social tenants deemed to have excess bedrooms (the "bedroom tax")
  • 2 times gainst strengthening the Military Covenant.

Bill Cash's votes have real consequences:

Since 2010, while his government has been in power, the number of rough sleepers in England has increased more than 250%

Spending on adult social care in England has fallen by 2.1% in real terms since 2009/10.

Many UK disabled people cannot afford proper food or cannot afford to keep their homes warm due to benefit cuts.

  • 27% of working age disabled adults have less than £50 spending money per week after paying income tax, council tax and housing costs.
  • 54% of those without social care or with inadequate care feel isolated and lonely.
  • 53% felt lack of help worsened their mental health.
  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission reported disabled people were disproportionately harmed by tax and welfare changes since 2010, and disabled families lost up to £10,000 annually.

The Social Metrics Commission report that in 2017-18:

  • An estimated 14.3 million people are in poverty in the UK
  • 8.3 million are working-age adults, 4.6 million are children, and 1.3 million are of pension age
  • Just under half (49%) of those in poverty are in “persistent poverty” (people who would also have fallen below the poverty line in at least two of the last three years).

A shocking 1.6 million food bank parcels had to be handed out to needy families in the last year, largely as a consequence of the botched implementation of Universal Credit, voted for by Bill Cash,

Business opportunities, investments, infrastructure and public services

Bill Cash: “To strive to always improve business opportunities, investments, infrastructure and public services (not HS2) – every penny of which is paid for by reasonable taxation. This is a practical way of improving conditions for everyone.”

Fine words, but what has Bill Cash actually done to "improve conditions for everyone"?

He voted:

  • 4 times for reducing central government funding of local government
  • 29 times against more powers for local councils
  • once against greater public control of bus services (there has only been one vote)
  • 3 times against a publicly owned railway system.

Public expenditure as a share of GDP droppped every year since 2010/11 while total gross government debt increased by £643 bn from £1.2 trillion to £1.8 trillion.

In their 2015 manifesto Bill Cash and the Conservatives promised to build 200,000 starter homes by 2020.
None have been built, not one!

Health, education, law and order, defence

Bill Cash: “To keep health, education, law and order and the cutting of crime and sound, properly financed defence at the top of our priorities.”

So if Bill Cash wants "To keep health, education, law and order and the cutting of crime and sound, properly financed defence at the top of our priorities" how do you account for what he has actually done while in government?

He voted:

  • 4 times against introducing foundation hospitals
  • 5 times against restricting the provision of services to private patients by the NHS
  • 29 times for greater autonomy for schools, and
  • 11 times for Academy schools, taking them out of local authority control, and turning them into businesses
  • 2 times for ending financial support for some 16-19 year olds in training and further education
  • 7 times for reforming the NHS so GPs buy services on behalf of their patients, turning the NHS into markets
  • 4 times against introducing foundation hospitals
  • 5 times for the Iraq war
  • 3 times for mass surveillance of people’s communications and activities.

And the consequences are there for everyone to see (and feel).

  • Record high of 43,000 nurse vacancies in the NHS
  • 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.
  • Since 2010 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!
  • The size of the British army has been steadily falling. Britain's armed forces are now at their smallest since the Napoleonic wars.
  • Cuts to the defence budget in recent years have left the British Army half as capable as it once was, a former Chief of the General Staff, General Lord Richard Dannatt, has said.

International matters

Bill Cash: “To ensure that we continue to adopt a responsible attitude towards international matters. This include climate change, encouraging the UK to be the global leader in cutting harmful emissions as soon as reasonably possible; opposing plastic waste in the oceans and elsewhere; and, developing practical and new renewable technologies, including off-shore wind turbines (but not on land in the constituency). This is an important global issue, as is my acclaimed International Development (Gender Equality) Act 2014, which I drafted, promoted and successfully campaigned for – supported by leading women campaigners from right, left and centre and across all parliamentary parties and internationally – to impose on Government a legal duty on the £13 billion we provide in international aid to protect young girls and women from e.g. violence, FGM, and forced marriages and to promote their interests.

Bill Cash voted 17 times against measures to prevent climate change so how dare he now claim a 'responsible attitude' towards international matters when his actions have been totally irresponsible. Now he says he supports wind turbines but has the gall to say "...but not on land in the constituency" - classic and irresponsible NIMBYism!

He voted 4 times against financial incentives for low carbon emission electricity generation methods, 3 times against a publicly owned railway system and voted against greater public control of bus services.


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.


 

Credits

Cliff Mitchell, Staffs4Europe Steering Group
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