Angela lends her support to the International Diabetes Federation

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Angela Smith diabetic testAngela recently joined volunteers from the International Diabetes Federation and staff from Novo Nordisk and Roche, leaders in diabetes care, to raise awareness of the increasing prevalence of diabetes in the UK.

Diabetes, in particular type 2 diabetes, is a significant and growing health issue, affecting over 382 million people worldwide. The IDF believes that, unless action is taken, this could rise to 592 million within by 20351. The IDF and its member organisations – which include Diabetes UK – are working to improve the political and public awareness of diabetes as a major disease and the critical interventions that are necessary to counter it and to ensure that people with diabetes receive the high quality treatment they need to avoid unnecessary complications.

Around 3.2 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes in the UK2 but it is estimated that a further 850,000 people may be living with the condition without realising it. This means that around 1 in 16 people in the UK are living with the disease – or approximately 6,230 people in the average constituency. If diagnosed early, diabetes can be actively managed to help mitigate the serious consequences of the disease.

Angela had a diabetes test and met with healthcare professionals at a special event in Westminster to find out more about the disease. The event was held with the support of healthcare companies Novo Nordisk and Roche.

Commenting on the test, Angela said:

“With diabetes rates increasing across the country and around the world, I am pleased to support the International Diabetes Federation in raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of diabetes and complications such as cardiovascular disease, blindness, amputation and hypoglyceamia. Getting tested takes only a few minutes and could save you years of illness. If you are concerned about diabetes, talk to your GP or pharmacist about having a blood glucose test, as I did the other day.”

Good diabetes care can help improve the health outcomes and the quality of life for people with the disease. To support this it is essential that people with diabetes have access to the right treatments. However, even for treatments approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for use in the NHS there are considerable variations in how these are being prescribed to patients across England. Beyond the human cost of diabetes, there is a significant financial burden on the NHS and wider society as the result of preventable complications. It was estimated in 2011, that £9 billion per year from the NHS budget is spent on diabetes. Factoring in loss of working days through hypoglycaemia, early death and informal care costs, the cost of the condition to the UK is projected to rise from £23.7 billion to £39.8 billion by 2035 unless action is taken now to address the impact of diabetes.

Sir Michael Hirst, President of the International Diabetes Federation said: “Diabetes is one of the most pressing health issues in the world today and we are pleased to have the support of MPs like Angela in raising awareness of the condition. Early detection of diabetes is essential in preventing complications like stroke and blindness. We hope that this event will help further raise awareness of the condition in the UK.”

Peter Meeus, Managing Director of Novo Nordisk said,

“At Novo Nordisk we are committed to improving diabetes care for all people with diabetes and are proud to be able to support an awareness raising day such as this. People with diabetes deserve the highest quality of care available for their own well-being and to prevent damaging complications. They can only receive this if they are given access to the best and most appropriate treatments available.”

 

Brett Lewis , Director of Diabetes Care at Roche UK and Ireland, said,

“At Roche, we believe all people with Diabetes deserve the best healthcare. Our purpose is to support people at every step of their journey with diabetes, helping them to live an unrestricted life. As a market leader in the field of blood glucose monitoring systems, Roche is pleased to be involved in making this awareness raising day a reality. Having a blood glucose test is quick and easy and could help identity those at risk of developing diabetes and reduce long-termcomplications. We hope that MPs will continue to raise awareness of the importance of getting tested with their constituents and in Parliament.”

Angela calls for more help for Energy Intensive Industries

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Angela Smith MP well known supporter and campaigner for manufacturing has today called for more help for manufacturers. The call came during in a speech she made on the recent budget.

While she welcomed the reduction in the carbon floor price and the renewable obligation, commenting that the measures are welcomed by manufactures in her constituency, all of which are incredibly important to the local economy and jobs. She reminded the House of Commons the carbon floor price, when introduced was a unilateral tax not felt anywhere else in Europe and that when the freeze takes effect in 2016, UK manufacturing will still be paying more for carbon than is paid in any other country in the European Union.

For instance INEOS, the chemicals company say they will face annual costs of £4 million as a result of the carbon floor price. With UK manufacturers facing wholesale prices for electricity 45% higher than those faced in France and 70% higher than those faced in Germany.

These costs are leaving energy intensive industries such as those present in her constituency with expensive energy bills compared to their competitors.

During the speech she reminded Ministers the game is still not over on energy prices and that we need to see much more from the Government in support for these foundation industries. “Companies that are crucial for jobs and wealth creation in the future”, she said.

She also asked when the backdating of the compensation already announced for the carbon floor price will actually be decided. “The decision has already been delayed to 9 April and manufacturing deserves clarity about it”, she told the House.

Saying further “the industries need to know the extent to which compensation for both the carbon floor price and the renewables obligation levies will apply and how many sectors of manufacturing industry will be included in that package?

Commenting on her speech Angela, said;

“It is welcome that this government has finally realized the imposition of the unilateral carbon floor price has put UK manufacturing at a disadvantage to the rest of Europe and the partial back tracking has been welcomed by manufactures. But there is still some way to go and UK intensive energy users are still paying more for their energy than in the rest of Europe. If we don’t address this it will be UK companies and UK jobs that could suffer.”

 

ENDS

Notes:

Angela’s full speech to the House of Commons is reproduced below.

I do not intend to reflect on the broader points about the Budget in relation to deficit reduction and borrowing figures, because my hon. Friends have articulately made those points this evening. My right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton South East (Mr McFadden) did so particularly well in an excellent contribution. I wish to focus on the package of support that the Chancellor promised energy-intensive industries last week.

Before I discuss that, I wish to comment on how the Chancellor intends to balance the books in relation to his tax proposals. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has already raised that question, because the Budget is, of course, not quite as neutral as it looked at first glance. The measures on personal tax allowances and the doubling of relief for business investment, welcome as that is—I do support it—are apparently paid for by forecast savings within the budget from Whitehall itself, but they are not identified clearly in the Red Book. In addition, these things are apparently to be paid for by extra income from measures to reduce tax avoidance. Paul Johnson of the IFS has said:

“A set of definite and permanent tax cuts look to have been matched by more unspecified spending cuts, some changes in the timing of tax receipts, and our old friend tax avoidance measures.”

It is incumbent on the Government to explain to the House just how robust their plans are for reducing tax avoidance and, just as importantly, to give us clear details about exactly how these spending cuts will be made to balance the books and pay for those increases in the personal allowances. It is important that the House is made aware of exactly where the money is going to come from to pay for all this, and it is just showing respect for the House to set out those details.

I wish to discuss in detail the measures designed to help foundation industries, particularly those on the carbon floor price and the renewables obligation. The measures are welcome; my constituency is home to Tata Steel, ceramics companies, British Glass and the paper industry, in the form of SCA, so it is incredibly important to my local economy that these measures go through. However, we must put on the record the fact that the carbon floor price and its freezing from 2016 reflects changes to a policy that was introduced by the Chancellor and which became operational only a year ago. So we are, in effect, seeing a reduction in a tax that was introduced by this Government and which is already levying significant damage to manufacturing industry. It was a unilateral tax not felt anywhere else in Europe. Even when the freeze takes effect in 2016, UK manufacturing will still be paying more for carbon than is paid in any other country in the European Union. Even with the levy freeze in 2016, INEOS at Runcorn will face annual costs of £4 million as a result of the carbon floor price. With UK manufacturers facing wholesale prices for electricity 45% higher than those faced in France and 70% higher than those faced in Germany, the Government have to commit—I would like this from Ministers tonight—to ongoing support for foundation industries in this country, because of course the game is not over. The work that needs to be done to make manufacturing industry cost competitive is not finished, and we need to see much more from the Government. These industries are crucial for jobs and wealth creation in the future.

I wish to make a couple of other brief points. First, we need to hear whether the backdating of the compensation already announced for the carbon floor price will actually be decided. The decision date has already been delayed to 9 April and manufacturing deserves clarity about it. Secondly, we need to know the extent to which compensation for both the carbon floor price and the renewables obligation levies will apply: how many sectors of manufacturing industry will be included in that package? We know that the European Union state aid guidelines are restricting the number of industries that can benefit from that compensation. I want Ministers to say whether they will commit to going to the Commission to argue rigorously for an extension to the number of sectors that will be included in that compensation package. The points made about the EU were relevant; we need to see the Government batting for UK manufacturing within the EU and trying to ensure that we get as comprehensive a compensation package as possible, agreed within the Commission as soon as possible.

Barnsley MPs urge Government to put fairness at the heart of local government funding

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Angela, along with the three other Barnsley MPs, Michael Dugher MP, John Healey MP, and Dan Jarvis MP have written a joint letter to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government demanding a fairer local government funding system. The Barnsley MPs would like to see areas receive funding based on need so poorer areas are able to protect the vital services and schemes which make such a difference to people's lives. Their letter follows the news that concessionary travel for the elderly and disabled in South Yorkshire is to be cut, an issue which constituents have raised with the MPs.

The most recent Local Government Financial Settlement means that between 2010/11 and 2015/16 Barnsley Council will face a reduction of 17.7 per cent spending power per household, the equivalent of £168.07 per head, while councils in some of the wealthiest areas in the country will actually see an increase in their spending power per household over this period. Out of all of the 326 local authorities, Barnsley Council is the 47th worst hit by cuts per head of population.

The Barnsley MPs have been contacted by concerned constituents following the announcement of changes to concessionary travel for the elderly and disabled in South Yorkshire. The changes made by the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) include the removal of concessions from all train services and scaling back weekday free travel times. SYPTE are also cutting 45 jobs from their workforce.

The South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) has made it clear that the changes to elderly and disabled concessionary travel are a direct result of Central Government cuts imposed on the local councils.

Commenting, the MPs said:

“It is clear that David Cameron and Eric Pickles stand up for the wrong people. These massive cuts are being distributed unfairly and elderly and disabled people in Barnsley are suffering as a result. Meanwhile, some of the wealthiest areas in the country are set to receive an increase in their spending power.

“This Tory-led Government say that those with the broadest shoulders should bear the biggest burden, but they are doing the exact opposite and hitting Barnsley and those that can afford it least the hardest at a time when hard-working people are already struggling with a cost-of-living crisis.

“The changes to concessionary travel for the disabled and elderly are only the latest services to be lost in our area, despite the hard work of Barnsley Council. Labour wants a fairer system which would see areas receive funding based on need so poorer areas are able to protect the vital services and schemes which make such a difference to people's lives.”

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