Like many people in Stockport, I’ve been watching the RAAC concrete crisis unfold with concern. Concern not only for the safety of school children and staff, not only to see if a local school would be named (thankfully, as it stands there are no confirmed RAAC schools in my constituency), but also because of what it represents for our public services more generally.
Hospitals and other public buildings are also now at risk of closure, further reinforcing the idea that, in 2023, England’s public services are at breaking point. Our children deserve to learn in safe, secure environments.
Patients deserve to be treated in safe buildings. These are principles that everyone I know agrees with, but they seem to have been neglected by a Government lurching from one crisis to the next.
I want local people in Stockport to be represented by a Government that recognises the importance of long-term planning and responsible decision-making. I don’t want decisions made once the crisis is already happening.
Sadly, sticking-plaster solutions seem to have become the hallmark of this Government, something that needs to change urgently. I think a lot about the challenges faced by a possible incoming Labour government after the next General Election.
We will of course have to prioritise addressing the immediate crises in our public services. However, just as important as that work will be making our public services fit for the future, ready to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
The NHS is a prime example. We will have to act to tackle the immediate crisis of record-high waiting lists, but we will also have to make sure that the system is staffed properly and that the new technology that the NHS is crying out for is embraced.
The NHS has been around since 1948 and must adapt to meet the needs of the population it serves. This kind of work is what the people of Stockport rightly expect, and something that I am absolutely committed to delivering if Labour are given the honour of forming the next Government.
There has been some tremendous work locally to breathe new life into Stockport. A wide-ranging regeneration scheme, the brainchild of the previous Labour administration, has made a huge difference to transport, housing and more. These efforts have made a real difference to the lives of local people, but they need to be matched nationally by the Government.