Friday, 9 January 2009

A letter to the Tories

This is a letter sent out to Party members by [BFF of the Labour Club] James Purnell and Ed Miliband. It takes a few nicely aimed shots at the Tories callous disregard for the results of inaction.

[Underlining was added by me]

Dear [Nahuatl]

I thought you'd like to see the letter that Ed Miliband and I are releasing this morning about the impact of the Conservative cuts announced by David Cameron this week.

When it's cold outside pensioners need our help the most - yet the Tories are against our £60 increase for pensioners and are now proposing cuts equivalent to 32,000 of the most vulnerable households not getting the help they need to heat and insulate their homes through the Warm Front scheme.

It's the latest example of the "do nothing" Party refusing to give real help to the people who need it most.

We think it's important that the Tories' plans are widely known - so please forward this email to as many of your friends and families as possible.

Our letter

Dear Greg Clark and Chris Grayling,

We are writing to you because of our concern about the cuts you are proposing now and the impact they will have on pensioners. People would be dismayed to learn that you would propose to cut help for pensioners in these difficult economic times.

By opposing the Pre-Budget Report, your party has already set itself against the measures we are taking to help pensioners during the winter, such as paying pensioners an extra £60 this January, trebling the value of the cold weather payments that are being paid out now, increasing the standard minimum income guarantee, and an extra £100 million pounds allocated to the Warm Front scheme over the next two years.

Now your leader has announced a new policy to restrict the budgets for the Department for Energy and Climate Change and for the Department for Work and Pensions to a 1 per cent real terms increase for 2009/10.

“…maintaining the government's spending plans for the NHS, schools, defence and international development, but restricting other departments to a 1 per cent increase in real terms.” (David Cameron, speech on spending plans, January 5 2009)

This policy would be equivalent to cutting £80 million from the Energy and Climate Change budget and £30 million - on top of the £1.3bn cuts you have already planned - from the Work and Pensions budget. David Cameron plans for you to walk in and make these cuts immediately.

“Now what I would do, let's say there's an election April this year, I'm free, election April this year, I'd immediately instruct my ministers to go into their departments and say instead of the increase of perhaps 2% real terms you're expecting, it's a 1% real terms increase” (David Cameron, Press conference, January 5 2009)

Cuts on this scale from the Department of Energy and Climate Change would be equivalent to 32,000 of the most vulnerable households not getting the help they need to heat and insulate their homes through the Warm Front scheme. On average the help that a household receives in installing heating systems, insulation and other energy efficiency measures saves them about £300 a year. Unless you can confirm exactly where your cuts will fall, then these 32,000 vulnerable households could be denied the help they need. The cuts you are proposing, if they fell upon the Warm Front scheme, would also put jobs in the construction industry at risk.

You are already opposed to the additional help we are giving to pensioners at this difficult time. We hope you will reject David Cameron’s plans to do nothing to help pensioners and confirm where your cuts will fall.

Given the public concern about this issue, we have released a copy of this letter to the media.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
James Purnell, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

PS - you can find out more about the Warm Fronts scheme here

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