Judge them by what they do, not what they say!
Jack Brereton was elected as MP for Stoke-on-Trent South in June 2017 General Election with a tiny majority of just 663. He was previously a parliamentary assistant to Conservative MP for Staffordshire Moorlands Karen Bradley.
He is standing for re-election as MP for Stoke-on-Trent South in the General Election on 12 December 2019. A swing of just 0.8% would be sufficient to unseat him.
Jack Brereton says his plan for Stoke-on-Trent is focused on 5 key areas:
- Backing small businesses and supporting our high streets
- Fighting for our local health services
- Improving local roads, buses and trains
- Tackling anti-social behaviour
- Delivering high-skilled jobs and raising aspirations.
It seems he doesn’t see climate change as a priority!
Although he has only been an MP for two and a half years we believe our MPs should be judged on what they do, not what they say, so we took a look at Jack Brereton’s track record against his own plan.
Under his own 5 priorities we will summarise what his plan is versus what he and the Tory government have actually done since coming to power.
Backing small businesses and supporting our high streets
Jack Brereton: “Ever since my election, I have been vocal in my support for local industries, especially local manufacturers and the ceramics industry, and about the need to regenerate high streets in Fenton and Longton.”
Jack may have been “vocal” in his support for local industries but he voted against a properly resourced industrial strategy and voted against increased funding of public services. He also voted against an energy price cap that would help local businesses.
Fighting for our local health services
Jack Brereton: "Following the Government's investment of £20 billion into the NHS, I have been fighting for as much of this funding as possible to come to provide local health services in Stoke-on-Trent South. This includes pushing for as many services as possible to be provided at a new health centre in the middle of Longton."
Great, so why did he vote for changing the NHS into a market where GPs buy services on behalf of their patients.
And why did he vote against increased funding of public services and against ending the public sector pay cap?
Under the Tory government people are being added to the elective waiting list faster than the NHS can treat them. The total number of people on the waiting list is now over 4.5 million, having grown steadily from 2.5 million in April 2010.
Improving local roads, buses and trains
Jack Brereton: "I have made it clear to the Government that public transport in Stoke-on-Trent must improve. This comes on the back of my campaigns for HS2 services, for more frequent services on the North Staffordshire Line, and for drastic improvements to local bus services."
If Jack Brereton “...made it clear to the Government that public transport in Stoke-on-Trent must improve” why did he vote against increased funding of public services and twice voted for reducing central government funding of local government.
Nearly eight million potholes could have been repaired using money councils have been forced to cut from road maintenance budgets since 2010. Routine road maintenance budgets have fallen from £1.1 billion in 2009/10 to around £701 million in 2017/18. Road maintenance has been stripped back to pay for a surge in demand for children’s services, adult social care and homelessness support amid a cut in central government funding of 60p in every pound between 2010 and 2020.
Buses are in 'crisis' as 3,000 routes reduced or scrapped. According to the BBC’s We are Stoke-on-Trent: 'Buses are so bad, going out is pointless'. Young people in particular were penalised when the under-18 bus pass was scrapped by Staffordshire County Council in 2018.
The quality of our rail services has also suffered. As of December 2018 more trains were cancelled or ran significantly late on Britain’s railways than in any other summer in the past 20 years.
But while passengers have suffered with appalling service and huge fare increases, the privatised rail firms have done very well under the Tories - they paid over £1 billion to shareholders in last 6 years.
Tackling anti-social behaviour
Jack Brereton: "The local police force and I have been working together to tackle hotspots of crime and anti-social behaviour around Stoke-on-Trent South, especially in the Meir and Fenton areas."
Youth services have been cut by 70% since 2010: £880m cut from services for young people since the Tories came to power. No wonder anti-social behaviour is a problem.
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!
- Nearly nine out of ten (87 percent) of councils have slashed spending by at least 50%.
- Half of councils have cut spending per young person by over 75 percent.
- On average, councils have cut spending on youth services by £70 per child since 2010/11.
- Just two councils – Labour-controlled Islington and Camden – actually increased per capita spend.
Knife crime has surged, with 43,516 offences reported to police in 2018 marking the highest since comparable records began in 2011.
Delivering high-skilled jobs and raising aspirations
Jack Brereton: "I have stated my determination for both businesses and schools to provide the best possible opportunities for people in Stoke-on-Trent South"
Apprenticeships provide alternative opportunities for young people to enter the work force but there has been a cut of 380 apprenticeship starts in Stoke-on-Trent South in 2017/18 compared to 2010/11 under the Tories.
High-skilled jobs need a well educated work force. So why did Jack Brereton vote:
- against restoring Education Maintenance Allowance
- against maintenance grants
- against nurses’ bursaries
- against increasing the minimum wage?
Our schools are on the brink of collapse following an 8% cut in spending per pupil since 2010.
If you want to 'Get Brexit Done' then vote to stop Brexit, otherwise Brexit will go on for the next 7 to 10 years at least.
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. Remember Jack Brereton has a tiny majority of just 663 and can be unseated with a swing of only 0.8%
Your vote really can make a difference!
Cliff Mitchell, Staffs4Europe Steering Group