Labour pledges to save local businesses in East Hull

Karl Turner is concerned about the effect of business rate revaluation on businesses in Hull

It is a great tragedy that businesses who have formed part of East Hull’s trade for many years could be forced to relocate due to rising rates and Tory mismanagement. In particular, the business rates revaluation due to come into effect on 1 April has left many small businesses in East Hull at risk of going under.

Here in East Hull, we know that our businesses play a vital role in our dynamic and vibrant local landscape – not least in providing employment and opportunities. And yet, at the moment, many are just about surviving.

It is clear that businesses  have been let down by this Conservative Government. From delaying the revaluation to their failure to put adequate transitional arrangements in place, the Government have mishandled this whole process, and should provide immediate emergency relief to stop thousands of businesses going under.

Labour is therefore calling for a complete overhaul of business taxation to create the conditions for enterprises of all sizes to prosper.

Our five point plan on business rates will help local businesses survive the Tories’ devastating revaluation of business rates – including setting up an emergency transitional relief fund for businesses facing “cliff edge” increases in their rates; revising the appeals process to ensure businesses get a fair hearing; bringing forward CPI indexation so that businesses aren’t paying more because of inflation; excluding new investment in plant and machinery from future business rates valuation; introducing more regular valuations to stop businesses facing periodic, unmanageable hikes; and implementing a fundamental reform of the business rates system to better reflect the structure of the retail sector in the age of online shopping (reviewing the inclusion of the NHS and schools).

Additionally, my colleagues, the Shadow Business Secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, will be holding an emergency roundtable discussion with leading business organisations, including the Federation of Small Business, the British Retail Consortium, and the British Chamber of Commerce.

East Hull businesses are fed up of the business rates rollercoaster – they need stability and fairness to be at the heart of the Government’s business rates agenda.

That’s why Labour are working closely with business to radically reform our business taxation system so it is fit for the 21st Century” and serves best the interests of East Hull.


Combined Womens’ Action Group Make a Big Impression in Parliament

On Tuesday, hundreds of women born in the 50’s and early 60’s marched on Parliament for a mass lobby of their MPs to make their voices heard over unfair changes to their state pension ages.

Campaigners outside Parliament (Photo Credit – Patrick Daly)

I was pleased to welcome a delegation of women from my constituency who told me how the changes would affect them and how their plans for retirement have been scuppered with the acceleration of changes to the state pension age.

Tuesday’s lobby of Parliament by women born in the 1950s shows the strength of feeling towards the government over the unfair changes to their state pension.

Women born in the 1950s have been left high and dry by this change and the government have washed their hands of the matter. If ministers and secretaries of state have received even half the correspondence I have had on this issue they then surely they will sit up and take note. Instead it seems that the government has buried its head in the sand.

The campaign now hopes to build on the success of the lobby of parliament and will seek to increase awareness of the unfair changes and for government to come up with alternative measures.

Karl Turner addressing the delegation from East Hull


Karl Turner Questions Government on Mental Health in Prisons


Karl Turner MP today raised the important issue of mental health in prisons and asked the Prisons Minister what the government was doing to get a grip on the mental health crisis that is currently affecting our prisons service.

The suicide rate in prisons is at a 25 year high with 102 suicides recorded in the 12 months to September. This comes at a time when there has been a reported 36,440 incidents of self harm in the same 12 month period – an increase of 26% on the previous year.

The Howard League reported on 28th November that 102 people have lost their lives through suicide in prisons in England and Wales in 2016 and that the prison suicide rate, at 120 deaths per 100,000 people, is about 10 times higher than the rate in the general population.

The jointly-produced Howard League for Penal Reform and Mental Health report,
Preventing Prison Suicides, published on 28th November, identified a number of areas
contributing to vulnerability, including personal and contextual risk factors such as historic mental health problems, exposure to trauma and abuse, having lived in care, homelessness, drug use, receiving a sentence later in life, risk of deportation and child custody concern; aspects of prison life that impact vulnerability such as the prison routine, the prison environment, staffing resources; mental health intervention in prison, such as mental health services, safer cells, external projects and listening schemes and whether prison was the right intervention.

Speaking afterwards Karl Turner, Labour MP for East Hull said “It is simply not good enough that the Health Secretary has yet to visit a prison mental health facility and it seems neither has the Justice Secretary.

“We are currently in the midst of a prisons crisis and the Government needs to get a grip on what is frankly an out of control situation.

“Prisoners should have access to the same care and mental health resources as anyone else and it is deplorable that this government is yet to find a solution to this problem”

You can see Karl’s question to the Prisons Minister here

Karl Turner MP Attends Opening of Siemens Wind Turbine Blade Factory

(R-L) Karl Turner MP, Alan Johnson MP, Diana Johnson MP

Karl Turner today attended the official opening of the Siemens wind turbine blade factory on Alexandra Dock in East Hull.

The opening marked the culmination of nearly a decade of planning and dedication from a number of people and organisations determined to make a dream into a reality.

Karl’s first meeting as an MP back in 2010 was with representatives of Associated British Ports and Siemens to discuss how best to drive the project forward and what support the city’s MPs could give.

As the first blade is revealed, Siemens announced it had employed almost 700 people in Hull so far, with 96% living within a 30-mile radius of the city, having received more than 23,000 job applications.

A further 100 permanent staff are employed at Alexandra Dock working for Siemens’ suppliers and recruitment up to a total of 1,000 people will continue into 2017 as the site becomes fully operational. Hundreds more jobs have been created during construction and in the supply chain.

The Siemens factory and associated facilities are Hull’s largest-ever inward investment and at the forefront of an exciting wave of development as Hull prepares to be the UK City of Culture in 2017.

Hull City Council Leader Cllr Steve Brady said: “With this world-class facility coming fully into production, Hull will be firmly at the centre of a new industrial era as we embrace the opportunities of the low-carbon economy.

“Importantly, hundreds of local people will have high-quality employment within a company with a global reputation for manufacturing and technological excellence.”

Labour MP for East Hull Karl Turner said “This is a historic day for the city and a proud day for me as the local MP.

“This is the biggest investment ever into Hull and a massive vote of confidence in the city and it’s future prospects.

“The fact that 96% of the workforce is from Hull and the surrounding area shows the depth of talent that we have to offer and is surely sends a strong signal to any potential future investment into the city.

“Hull City Council grabbed this opportunity with both hands and it is through the sheer hard work of local stakeholders that this investment was able to happen”.

Blade Silos that will be used to transport the blades out to sea

Karl Turner MP welcomes u-turn on ‘pay to stay’ policy that would have hiked local rents by an average of £1,038 a year

karl paint
Picture: Jerome Ellerby

The Government last night abandoned its controversial ‘pay to stay’ policy, which would have imposed crippling rent hikes on working council tenants.

In Hull the proposal – dubbed the ‘tenant tax’ – would have seen the rents of those affected rise by an average of £1,038 a year.

In a statement released yesterday evening, Housing Minister Gavin Barwell said: “Social housing has a crucial role to play in supporting those in most housing need. To that end, powers were provided for in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 to introduce an income based rents policy, requiring local authorities to set higher rents for higher income council tenants.

“Since the summer, the Government has been reviewing this policy. We have listened carefully to the views of tenants, local authorities and others and as a result, we have decided not to proceed with a compulsory approach. Local authorities and housing associations will continue to have local discretion.”

Responding to the announcement local MP Karl Turner said:

“I am pleased that this disastrous proposal has been ditched, as it would have had a devastating impact on the people of East Hull.

“Families in East Hull would have been subject to the rent hikes, putting a strain on their finances and in all likelihood forcing many out of their homes.

“That is why Labour has opposed this plan from the outset and I strongly welcome this change of heart from the Government.”

Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey added:

“This welcome u-turn is a victory for Labour’s year-long campaign against the ‘tenant tax’ which was set to hike rents for thousands of middle income households.

“Having recognised this move was a big mistake, Ministers must now re-think the rest of their failed housing decisions over the last six years.

“After disastrous figures last week showing that the number of new affordable homes for social rent has fallen to the lowest level since records began, top of the list must be reversing the forced sale of vital council homes and the huge cuts to investment in new genuinely affordable homes.”

An Open Letter to Constituents on Brexit

Dear Constituent,

Last week the High Court held that the Government could not use its Royal Prerogative to invoke Article 50 and that it would be Parliament that has the final say on when Article 50 is invoked. This is the procedure which effectively starts the divorce proceeding from the European Union by giving notice to the remaining 27 member states.

I have received many emails and letters from constituents seeking my position and I would like to take this opportunity to reply.

Some sections of the right wing media and Parliamentarians who really should know better have used the judgment to sow the seeds of division. It is important to note that the High Court judgment was unanimous and independent of outside influence.

Labour accepts and respects the referendum result and recognises that the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union. But the role of Parliament in deciding how we exit is vital. One of the central arguments put forward for leaving the European Union was taking back control of our sovereignty, the High Court judgment makes sure that Parliament is indeed sovereign and that should surely be celebrated.

I campaigned to remain in the European Union because I thought that staying within would be best for jobs and growth in Hull. The European Union has directly invested millions into our local economy and this can be seen in the Siemens blade factory, the new Spencer Group development on Bankside in East Hull as well as our fantastic stadium facilities at Hull KR which was built using money from the European Union Regional Development Grant Funding.

Despite this, I absolutely and categorically respect the majority of people in East Hull who voted to leave the European Union. I consider it my duty to make sure your voice is heard loudly and clearly. So if the Supreme Court upholds the decision of the High Court, I will not frustrate the process by voting against triggering Article 50.

To be clear, I will give my full backing to the Government in their endeavours to leave the European Union. During the negotiation period between the Government and the European Union, I will do all that I can do to make sure the best deal is delivered for people in East Hull. This means proper protections on employment rights such as maternity and paternity leave, statutory sick pay as well as crucially important health and safety legislation. We need a fair deal for East Hull coming out of these negotiations.

I am determined that East Hull does not lose out in this process and that our great city continues to flourish. I look forward to working with my colleagues across political divides in Parliament to scrutinise the Government’s plans and seek the best deal for Hull.

Yours truly.


Karl Turner MP

Pressure From Karl Turner Changes Government Policy on Sexual Assault Referrals to Military Police

karl paint
Picture: Jerome Ellerby

The Government today announced a small change to the law that will have a massive impact on many women and men in the military.

Schedule 2 of the Armed Forces Act lists the crimes that are automatically referred by a Commanding Officer to the Military Police. Currently sexual assault, voyeurism, exposure and sex in a public lavatory are excluded from the mandatory referrals process.

Karl Turner MP has consistently called for the the four named offences to be included in the mandatory referrals process in order to safeguard members of the armed forces who put their lives on the line to protect our country.

Speaking after the announcement Karl Turner, Labour MP for East Hull said “This change in Government policy shows that when pressure is applied to the Government and the topic is kept on the agenda, Labour can make a difference in opposition.

“It is not right that these crimes, which are serious in nature, are exempt from the referrals process that is used by the armed forces. We must make sure that all of our armed forces are able to go to work in a safe and secure environment, knowing that if they have a complaint, that this will be taken seriously and not subject to effective veto from a Commanding Officer”.

You can see the announcement made in the House of Commons chamber here

You can read Karl’s contributions to this policy area below:

List of Questions to the Ministry of Defence

Service Prosecution Authority – Oral Question



Karl Turner Attends RMT Demo In Support For Southern Dispute

Karl Turner yesterday joined RMT protesters in Parliament to show support in the Southern Trains dispute that has been brought as a result of dangerous proposed changes to train guards on Southern Trains.

The union is engaged in a bitter dispute with GTR southern who are seeking to remove conductors / guards and extend Driver Only Operation (DOO) to all its services. There have been 15 days of strike action with seven more days scheduled in the run up to Christmas beginning this week.

The government have refused repeated requests to meet the union and in a recent report the Transport Select Committee also felt obliged to tell the government to meet the union and said there was  case for Southern to be stripped of the franchise.

RMT protest.jpg

Karl Turner MP raises postcode lottery of mental health counselling provision at Prime Minister’s Questions

Karl Turner today probed the prime minister over mental health counselling provision and the postcode lottery that many people with mental health issues face when seeking talking therapies.

Karl raised the issue following the tragic death of his nephew, Matty, who at 25 tragically committed suicide. Despite having a referral from a GP, Matty was told that he would have to wait around 6 months for counselling.

At the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session, Karl Turner asked the Prime Minister what was being done to sort out the crisis in mental health provision that can be a dangerous waiting game for those seeking treatment.

Speaking afterwards Karl Turner, Labour MP for Hull East said “It’s a tragedy that many mental health patients are having to wait long periods of time to receive the vital treatment they need. Whilst the introduction of waiting standards is welcome, it is a postcode lottery whether or not people are being seen in time and more needs to be done.

Karl at Prime Minister’s Questions

“It cannot be right that in some cases people are waiting up to 149 days to receive treatment whilst in other parts of the country people are seen in a matter of days. There have even been reports of some people waiting up to four years and this is simply unacceptable.

“I am calling on the Prime Minister to make sure that mental health provision has real parity of esteem and is front and centre in any government priorities”.

You can see a video of the exchange between Karl and the Prime Minister here –



Karl Turner gives support to University of Hull campaign on Anti-Slavery

Today marks World Anti-Slavery Day, which is aimed at raising awareness of the issues and problems surrounding modern slavery. To mark the day, the Wilberforce Institute of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE) at the University of Hull have carried out a public awareness campaign to show how modern slavery is hidden in plain sight.

One of the ‘Hidden in Plain Site’ workers boxes

‘Human packaging’ is being left at high-footfall locations in Hull city centre on Tuesday October 18, Anti-Slavery Day, to underline the fact that modern day slavery is hiding in plain sight. A new study by YouGov and the University of Hull’s Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE) found that less than one in ten people (8%) know the true scale of slavery in the UK which is affecting up to 13,000 people according to Home Office estimates.

John Oldfield, Director of WISE said: “Tackling slavery remains unfinished business, here in the UK and across the world. Modern day slavery often plays out in plain sight and can be difficult to detect, especially if people don’t know what signs to look for, which our research has highlighted is the case. What’s clear is that there is still a critical amount of work still to be done to increase widespread public awareness.

“The Modern Slavery Act was just the start. Along with the ongoing support from the Prime Minister, it is a good step in the right direction, not least because it means that big businesses must now look at modern slavery within their own operations and within their supply chains, But, the government must continue to drive forward the fight against slavery across all businesses and industries, regardless of turnover.

Karl being interviewed for local media on Anti-Slavery

“Hull is proud to have been central to an abolition movement once before, which is why we are marking Anti-Slavery Day with our #HiddenInPlainSight campaign, taking place across the city today, which aims to highlight the plight of modern day slavery and encourage people to look twice at what is happening all around them. Modern Slavery is an issue that won’t be solved until everyone opens their eyes and commits to tough action.”

Karl Turner, Labour MP for East Hull said, “this is a great piece of work from the University of Hull highlighting the problems surrounding modern day slavery and how it is hidden in plain sight.

“Modern day slavery is a massive issue in the UK and it is important that we continue to show people that there is more work to be done. The study that has been carried out by the Wilberforce Institute of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE) is world leading and I am committed to supporting this campaign and its objectives”

Karl and a constituent at one of the installations