Green MP wins rapturous applause at PCS conference in Brighton

23 May 2013

Green Party Brighton MP and vice chair of PCS' parliamentary group, Caroline Lucas, took to the podium this morning to present the report. She addressed a packed conference hall and spoke of the group’s busy year.

“We have been working hard on your behalf to oppose the austerity agenda pursued by the Coalition and to promote genuine alternatives,” she said.

“You would know more than most the devastating impact that this government’s economic policies have had on public services and employees within the public sector.”

She said the group has tabled numerous written and oral parliamentary questions and 30 EDMs, early day motions, while many group members have participated in key debates. 

Government’s attacks

“The government’s attacks on public sector pensions have been a prime focus of discussions,” Dr Lucas said. “Group members have campaigned intensely against the Public Sector Pensions Bill in both houses.

"We have also been incredibly active in challenging ATOS and the Work Capability Assessments.

“I know from first-hand experience how distressing these ATOS assessments are, as I’ve had really sick people coming to me who are made sicker and more distressed by the whole process of these assessments.”

Caroline said group members have also contributed to debates on Universal Credit, the issue of trade union rights, tax evasion and avoidance, privatisation and the use of, “emergency legislation to retrospectively change the law as a way to avoid to paying compensation to people on their shambolic forced labour programme”. This last a reference to the Workfare scheme.

Legislative victory

Trumpeting a notable PCS success she also told conference about our first legislative victory.

“Ministers also tried to repeal section 3 of the Equalities Act of 2006,” she said. “We briefed MPs and peers throughout each stage of the bill and there was a hard-fought battle regarding the general equality duty. After 18 months of campaigning to save key functions of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, PCS secured its first legislative victory.” 

She ended with a direct attack on the government and praise for the PCS  alternative.

“We know that the economic crisis isn’t actually a crisis for the government but an opportunity they have been looking for to roll back the welfare state,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to cut spending permanently and let inequality grow because they are ideologically bent on dismantling the public realm as if there is no alternative. So I would like to commend the PCS for advocating an alternative that we will all fight for.”


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