Your vote matters – make sure you’re in

Have you had your letter yet?

You should receive a letter from the council this month telling you whether you need to act to make sure you’re still registered to vote.

A new system called Individual Electoral Registration is now in operation in England and Wales. Under this system, individuals are responsible for registering themselves rather than one person representing a whole household as was previously the case.

Tell your friends and family to keep an eye out for their letter. But you don’t have to wait until you receive it – if you want to, you can register online right now at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. It’s a quick and easy process – I’ve just done it myself and it took less than a minute! All you need is your National Insurance number and date of birth.

No vote, no voice – make sure you’re in!

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I’ve been reselected as Labour’s candidate for Fallowfield – thank-you so much!

I just wanted to say a quick thank-you to everyone who came to our selection meeting last Thursday. I’m delighted to have been reselected as the Labour candidate for Fallowfield for next year’s elections.

It doesn’t seem five minutes since I was first elected in 2011, but the next local elections and the General Election will be here before we know it. If you’re able to help us deliver leaflets – even just to your own street – or help us with telephone or doorstep canvassing, please let me know on g.fletcherhackwood@gmail.com. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Breadline Britain

I came home last night to a letter from my MP.

On Monday, following the publication of the Below the Breadline report by Oxfam, the Trussell Trust and Church Action Against Poverty, I’d emailed him asking him to keep up pressure on the government to deal with food poverty. Here’s his (speedy as always) reply:

Dear Grace,

Thank-you for your letter dated 9th June.

I agree with you completely about how deplorable and dreadful it is that people should be living in such poverty in this country that they are unable to feed themselves and their families and have to rely on food banks. This Liberal Democrat/Conservative Government should feel very guilty at this harmful effect of their policies.

 

labour food banks

 

This is an issue on which I am extremely active. As recently as last Saturday I took part in a campaign in our constituency to highlight the shame of food banks.

Not long ago in Parliament I made a speech on this and attach a copy of it. (Link here.)

I assure you that I shall continue to be very active.

You can read the report here and join Labour’s campaign to end the scandal of food poverty here.

Fallowfield Library update – Friends of Fallowfield

After yet another weekend of meeting, emailing and thinking about Fallowfield library I wanted to post an update.

During the campaign to save the library from closure a group of residents and local business owners  formed a ‘Friends of Fallowfield Library’ campaign group.

Following the decision to go head with proposals to withdraw council provision and move to a community library for Fallowfield (along with five other libraries), the group has expanded their focus – not only changing their name to ‘Friends of Fallowfield’ to cover a wider community approach, but changing their brief to work with council officers and other partner organisations to develop a new model for our library.friends group

On Saturday I went along as the group worked on their new constitution and discussed their aims. The group is categorically not going to take responsibility for running the library. But the work they’ve done in researching alternative models and seeking sources of funding has been superb, and I’m beginning to feel that with their input, we could end up with an even better service at Fallowfield Library than ever before.

My speech to council on International Women’s Day 2013

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Friday 8th March was a day for the world to celebrate women.

I’ve written on this blog before – pretty comprehensively, I like to think – about what International Women’s Day is for and why it’s important, so I won’t do it again.

Instead, as Chair of Manchester Labour Women’s Forum, I made an intervention at Friday’s budget-setting council meeting about all the things making me angry this International Women’s Day. If you missed it – either because you weren’t there or because I was speaking too furiously fast to be heard – here it is:

It’s International Women’s Day today, as well as Angry Manchester Day, but I’ve found all the anger this morning a bit infectious, so I’d like to talk about some of the things that are making me angry.

I’m angry that women have been the hardest hit by the Tory-Lib Dem government’s freezing of child benefit; by the Tory-Lib Dem government’s cuts to childcare funding through Working Tax Credits; by the Tory-Lib Dem government’s decision to start charging for the use of the Child Support Agency; the decision to scrap the Health in Pregnancy Grant; and by the cuts to refuges and domestic violence charities that have seen Women’s Aid having to turn away over 200 women in danger in a single year.

Women make up the vast majority of victims of domestic violence, who will be hit by cuts to legal aid, and will find it harder to leave their partners thanks to welfare benefit cuts. Women are expected to make up 65% of the 710,000 redundancies this government has planned between now and 2017. Women in two-parent households will be discouraged from working under Universal Credit. And one-quarter of the victims of the Tory-Lib Dem government’s outrageously unfair bedroom tax will be lone parents, the vast majority of whom are women.

And as what I would like to think of as a final indignity, although I’m sure it won’t be, next month the Tory-Lib Dem government will introduce real term cuts to maternity pay, on the same day that they give millionaires a tax cut worth an average £100,000.

This is the Government’s Mother’s Day present – a hundred grand each to their own mothers and a maternity pay cut for the mothers of Manchester. I’m not sure about you, but I think my mom would have preferred something from Thornton’s.

We’ve heard today that this Government is not on the side of Manchester people. It’s certainly not on the side of Manchester women. And that’s why everyone in Manchester, especially women, needs to ask this group of Liberal Democrats, and John Leech MP, why they keep standing up for this government when this government is not standing up for us.