Monthly Archives: June 2012

Bob Ainsworth signs Motor Neurone Disease Association’s Charter

Bob Ainsworth has signed the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association’s Charter in recognition of the rights and priorities of people living with MND and their carers.

MND kills five people every day, with half of people dying within 14 months of diagnosis.  This terminal disease can affect any adult at any age.  There is no known cure.

Unfortunately, this condition is still little understood and this contributes to many people with MND not receiving the care and support they need.  The MND Charter has been launched with the aim to change this.

The five-point charter sets out what good care looks like for people with MND and their carers and is designed to raise awareness and understanding of this devastating disease.

Bob said:

“I am delighted to sign up to the MND Charter and would urge others to do so as well to help raise awareness of this terminal disease and ensure that the rights of people with MND and their carers are recognised and respected.

“I have seen the difference that good services make to the lives of people with MND and I believe that everyone with this devastating disease should be supported to maximise their quality of life and die with dignity.”

 Liam Dwyer, a person living with MND and fronting this year’s awareness campaign said:

“Many people with MND die without having the right care, not having a suitable wheelchair, not having the support to communicate.  When living with MND, one month waiting for an assessment or a piece of equipment is like a year in most people’s lives, especially as half of the people with MND die within 14 months of diagnosis.”

The MND Charter, which has already received endorsements from the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) aims to ensure that people with MND and their carers have access to timely and appropriate information, care, services that allow them to maximise their quality of life and ensure they are treated with dignity.

Farah Nazeer, Direct of External Affairs, said:

“What matters most is that people with MND and their carers can access the right care, in the right place and at the right time.  We need to ensure that the needs of people with MND and the priorities for good care as set out in our Charter are recognised and respected.  We urge everyone to sign the Charter and show their support.”

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Coventry’s JSA Claimant Count still above the national average

Bob Ainsworth has welcomed the small drop in the Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) claimant count in Coventry, whilst calling upon the government to take action to tackle unemployment in Coventry, which is persistently higher than the UK-wide average.

Figure released on Wednesday 20June 2012 by the Office for National Statistics shows that in May 2012, the proportion of the working population in Coventry claiming JSA stood at 4.8%, a reduction of 0.2% from 5% at the same point last year. Despite this good news, the claimant count is still 0.9% higher than the national average. The variation between the UK-wide count and the Coventry count has fluctuated between 1.4% and 0.9% in the last year.

Bob said:

“The reduction in the claimant count is welcome news but the government needs to do more to tackle the problems that we face in Coventry and across the country. Unemployment among both men and women is persistently above the national average as is the number of people claiming JSA for more than 12 months.

“After the shambles of the government’s budget, the government needs to come up with a growth plan that targets support to areas, like Coventry, which have higher JSA claimant counts than the national average. A VAT cut for instance, which would bring down the price of fuel and put money back into the pockets of low earners, might be a good place to start.”

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Coventry’s average ESA appeals time above national average

Bob Ainsworth has unearthed shocking figures which show that the average length of time for the Tribunals Service to administer an Employment and Support Allowance appeal in Coventry was 36.3 weeks between 1 April 2011 and 31 December 2011 (the latest period for which information is available), well above the national average in England of 24.7 weeks.

The figures, which emerged in an answer to a parliamentary question asked by Bob, reveal that those whose appeals were heard in Coventry were likely to wait around an extra 12 weeks on average for the disposal of their appeal when compared with the national average in England. 

The figures further reveal that average waiting times in Coventry have been persistently higher than the English national average and have substantially increased over the past year from 21.1 weeks in the financial year 2010-2011 to its current level of 36.3 weeks.

Bob said:

“These figures clearly demonstrate that appellants in Coventry are consistently waiting longer on average for their appeals to be heard than those in other areas of the country.  This undoubtedly disadvantages those in Coventry, many of whom are already in a vulnerable position, and adds additional stress and anxiety to what is already a difficult process.

“The Government must act now to increase capacity across the Tribunals Service, but more importantly introduce measures to ensure that waiting times in Coventry reach parity with the national average.”

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Following the biggest decline in public satisfaction with the NHS in almost thirty years, Bob Ainsworth has called on David Cameron to live up to his promise to protect the NHS.  

Results from the annual British Social Attitudes survey show that public satisfaction with the NHS has fallen from 70% last year to 58% – the largest annual drop since the survey started in 1983.

The study, funded by the King’s Fund think tank, questioned 1,096 people about their views on health care between July and November last year. It also found drops in satisfaction with GPs, inpatient & outpatient services and accident & emergency services.

During the 2010 general election campaign David Cameron promised that he would “protect frontline services” but these results show that the British public clearly believe the NHS is deteriorating on his watch.

Bob said:

“The Tory-led Government inherited an NHS with the highest-ever levels of public satisfaction and in their first full year in charge these levels have plummeted by a record amount.

“We’re already seeing the results of this Government’s damaging health policies as the numbers of people who waited longer than 18 weeks for treatment in has increased by 43% within Coventry Primary Care Trust area.

“The Tories’ abysmal record on the NHS also includes wasting £3 billion on a reckless top down re-organisation, scrapping Labour’s waiting time guarantees for hospital treatments and GP appointment and making a £1.2 billion real cut in funding for England’s NHS services. The NHS is simply too important to keep going backwards under the Tories.

“The lessons to be learnt from this survey are clear: people want to see their NHS properly protected and David Cameron has to change course to stop it sinking further into chaos.

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Bob Ainsworth has unearthed shocking figures which show the equivalent of almost an entire ward in his constituency is living in fuel poverty.

The figures, which were revealed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change in response to a parliamentary question asked by Bob, show that the number of households in fuel poverty in Coventry North East constituency was estimated to be 9,000 in 2010, the latest year for which figures are available. 

The number of households in fuel poverty in Coventry as a whole was estimated to be 26,700 and 3.5 million households were in fuel poverty throughout England.

Bob said:

“These figures are shocking and show without a doubt that rising energy bills are contributing to a cost of living crisis affecting thousands of households in Coventry and millions of households nationwide.

“It is clear that soaring energy bills are hurting families and pensioners in my constituency and there is a great deal of concern that the Tory-led Government’s lack of action to tackle rising energy prices could push many more people into fuel poverty. 

“The government must act now to tackle rising energy prices and to ensure that help is provided to those in fuel poverty.  They should start by getting behind Labour’s plans to put over-75s on the cheapest tariff and overhaul the energy market to deliver fair prices for all.”  

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