Use this link to read this article by newly elected Karin Smyth MP, for Progress Online, in which she outlines her determination to work with people of all political persuasions in the years ahead.
2015 Election acceptance speech:
I’d like to thank the returning officer and all of the staff here and in polling stations across the constituency who have worked tirelessly during a very long day and night. Thank you also to the police for their presence here this evening.
I’d like to thank the team who have worked hard for months to ensure this result tonight. Most of all, perhaps, I owe a debt of thanks to my family for all their support, now and into the future.
I’d like to thank my fellow candidates for what has been a very civilised and policy-focused campaign. I have thoroughly enjoyed debating with them and wish you all the best for the future.
Dawn Primarolo has served Bristol South for 28 years, during which time her dedication and commitment to her constituents was evident for all to see.
It is an honour and privilege to have been entrusted by the people of Bristol South to be her successor in Parliament.
Bristol South is one of the most economically deprived constituencies in the country. There are many thousands of residents living locally who absolutely cannot afford another five years of the Tories’ austerity policies, which have hurt the lowest paid and the most vulnerable in our society, whilst giving a tax cut to millionaires.
I would like to make a solemn promise to the people of this constituency – whether they voted Labour, voted for another party, or if they didn’t vote at all – that I will work my very hardest in Westminster and across Bristol South to ensure they continue to have a dedicated vocal champion for many years to come.
Britain will never succeed if we follow the Tory plan of a low wage, low skill economy – a race to the bottom in which ordinary, working people are always the losers. This approach will not secure more and better paid jobs for south Bristol.
We believe that prosperity must be built for the many, not the few.
That means winning a race to the top, with well paid, high skilled jobs in new industries, and more people setting up, leading and succeeding in business. This private sector growth needs to be supported by an active government, investing for the long-term, setting clear priorities, and enabling businesses to grow.
Bristol should be a world leader in low carbon technology and green jobs. When we open new renewable energy sites, we want to see British manufacturing companies producing the plants, equipment and technology that make them possible.
Our low carbon industries can create a million more of the high skilled jobs we need to win the race to the top.
Far too many young people in south Bristol are having real difficulty finding decent jobs. Many more high quality apprenticeships are needed, so that young people can get the experience and confidence that they need to get on in life.
Only one in ten employers in Bristol and across the UK offers apprenticeships and that needs to change. Labour wants every firm with a major government contract and every employer hiring skilled workers from outside the EU to pay back the country by offering apprenticeships.
With new skills and opportunities the next generation will not be left behind.
• Promote the Living Wage through legislation
• Increase the National Minimum Wage to £8 an hour
• Ban exploitative zero hour contracts
• Create a million new high tech, green jobs by 2025
• Insulate five million homes over the next ten years
• Cut business rates for 1.5 million business properties
Ed Bramall, manager for a local Housing Association, writes:
In 2010 the biggest single cut imposed by the current Government was on money for new housing. It is no surprise that Bristol’s housing problem has exploded into a crisis with 2 families a day becoming homeless due to ever rising private rents and pitifully few new affordable homes to rent.
Every day I see families in our city forced to live in damp or overcrowded conditions, with inevitable impact on the health of their children. I know that this crisis can only be solved by building homes.
It is clear to me that far too often speculators sit on development land, waiting for prices to rise ever higher. That’s why I support Labour’s plans to give Bristol City Council the power to force developers to build where they have planning consent, or be forced to hand the land over to someone who will.
Money for the building of new, affordable homes has to be a priority. Families will benefit with new high quality homes, and so will the tax payer as this will reduce the £9 billion a year in housing benefit paid to private landlords.
Everyone should be able to live in a safe and secure home in the community where they have their roots. I know that Labour will get Bristol building again.
Everyone should be able to have a decent home, but for many who want to buy, owning a home has become an impossible dream.
The present Government’s “Help To Buy” has simply boosted unaffordable prices yet further. There are very few signs that more homes have been built anywhere as a result of this policy.
Labour has committed to 200,000 new homes a year by 2020. Here in Bristol South there are already plans to build 2,000, all on brownfield land. We must get on and build them and make sure they go to those who need them most. We want to ensure that first time buyers from south Bristol are given priority when these houses go on sale, not buy-to-let landlords or speculators.
In the last few years there has been a dramatic rise in private sector tenants. Young families have been priced out of home ownership, which is at a 30 year low. Across Britain more that 1 million families are now part of “Generation Rent”. These families, and everyone else who rents, need security for the longer term, not the constant worry of rent rises or short-term tenancies.
Labour will ensure that three year secure tenancies become the norm. We will ban agents from charging tenants hundreds of pounds in unfair letting fees and we will limit annual rent increases to inflation. In the future every tenant will have predictable rent over a longer term which will provide affordability, stability and security.
I first joined the NHS in 1989 to make services better, fairer and to reduce health inequality. It’s why I have chosen to spend most of my working life in the NHS. I was proud to be part of the team that brought us the South Bristol hospital as well as other improvements. To do this we co-operated across Bristol and beyond to plan services according to need. But now services are put out to tender.
We are at a crossroads with our NHS. Labour has set out our plan based on collaboration not competition, prevention of ill health and joining up health and social care. We know demand is increasing – we need a plan to manage this based on patient need, not leave it to the market.
This is the most important election since 1945 for our NHS.
So what would a Labour government do?
♥ Scrap the 2012 Health Act – Put patients needs over private profit
♥ Restore accountability to the Secretary of State – So everyone knows who is in charge of the NHS
♥ An NHS with Time to Care – A truly integrated service for physical andmental health and care for the elderly
♥ A GP appointment within 48 hours, guaranteed – And the right to book an appointment more than 48 hours ahead with the GP of your choice.
♥ Tackle the obesity crisis – Force multinationals to reduce sugar & salt in their food
I am proud and excited to have been selected by Bristol South Labour Party as their parliamentary candidate for the next General Election.
I was chosen by Labour Party members as the person charged with taking up the helm when Dawn Primarolo retires at the next general election.
The people of Bristol South have had a strong passionate voice representing their issues and standing up for their needs in Westminster and locally for over 25 years in Dawn Primarolo. They will rightly expect a high standard of representation going forward. I am delighted that the members of the local party have put their trust in me to deliver that for them.
I want to thank the Bristol South Labour Party for their vote of confidence in me. I am excited about working together, and with the wider community, to show that only the Labour Party have the understanding of the challenges facing Bristol South, and the ideas to pursue the opportunities.