A huge thank you to the 256 Shortlands residents who voted for me on Thursday.
We should have done better, and we now need to do more to communicate that the Tory and Lib Dem coalition cuts go too far, too fast. The residents who supported me understand that with unemployment reaching its highest level since 1994, we need a plan to create and support new jobs.
The Government’s economic policies have resulted in 2.57 million people now out of work – the highest in 17 years. One in five young people are without a job.
The UK has experienced zero economic growth over the last nine months and Japan is the only G7 country that has grown more slowly over the last year. The International Monetary Fund has warned that if the UK’s economic situation deteriorates further then the Tory-led Government will have to change course and slow down the cuts and tax rises.
Labour has taken action and set out a clear five-point plan to create jobs, help struggling families and support small businesses:
- A £2 billion tax on bank bonuses to fund 100,000 jobs for young people – which they would be required to take-up – and build 25,000 more affordable homes.
- Bring forward long-term investment projects in schools, roads and transport to get people back to work and to strengthen our economy for the future.
- Temporarily reverse January’s damaging VAT rise – an extra £450 for a couple with children would provide a boost for our high streets and help struggling families.
- A one-year cut in VAT to 5% on home improvements, repairs and maintenance to help homeowners and small businesses.
- A one-year national insurance tax break for every small firm which takes on extra workers would help small businesses to grow and create jobs.
By cutting spending and raising taxes too far and too fast this Tory-led Government is getting our economy into a vicious circle. By choking off the recovery and putting tens of thousands of people on the dole, claiming benefits rather than paying taxes, the Government is making it harder to get the deficit down.
There is a better way – Labour’s plan for jobs and growth will get our economy moving again and help get the deficit down in a steadier and more balanced way.
We’re in the middle of October, and the weather is unseasonably warm. The last few weeks of visiting residents in Shortlands, I must say, the reception has been equally sunny. Today was especially good, not least because we had a very special guest. London Mayor candidate Ken Livingstone joined us on the doorsteps of Bromley and spoke to many residents about their concerns.
There were two issues that came up frequently – rising fares and rising crime. People feel that Bromley Council are making some irrational cuts to services and I would like to challenge them on this.
With your help I will stand up to the councils proposals which will hit the easier targets in our borough, our children, young people, and the elderly.
Please vote for me on October 20th to put a stop to some of these unfair cuts.
London Mayor Boris Johnson has announced above inflation fare increases for January 2012. At the launch of the Fares Fair campaign with Eddie Izzard, Ken Livingstone pointed out that since Boris became mayor in 2008, a single bus fare will have risen by a breath-taking 56%, and a weekly bus and tram pass by 47%. A weekly zone 1-4 travelcard will have gone up by 23%, costing us an extra £461 per year more, while a weekly zone 1-6 travelcard is up by 22%, or £509 a year more. The rising cost of living is hitting public transport users hard. At a time when family budgets are being squeezed the last thing we need are such steep fare rises.
Freedom Passes give pensioners and those people registered as disabled, free travel on most forms of public transport. Bromley Council has a poor record in supporting this scheme.
A vote for Gareth on October 20th will ensure that the Council Tax you pay is used in the most efficient way, so that everyone is treated fairly in Bromley.
Bromley Council have said they are going to cut school crossing patrols.
All of them.
Every single one.
There are two major lollipop controlled road crossings in Shortlands: Hayes Lane for Highfields School, and Westmoreland Road for St Marks School. These are very busy, very dangerous roads. The proposal to remove these school crossings, saving £233,000 is breathtaking. I don’t understand how the council isn’t worried about putting children’s lives at risk in this way.
If you feel strongly about this, please complete the online petition by clicking here.
Everyone [apart from the Tories, it seems] agrees that we must give every child in Bromley the best possible start. Cutting children’s services is short-sighted, do we really have to wait for an accident to happen before something is done about this?
Bromley council has also decided to cut the previous government’s Sure Start programme. The original plan was to cut the current 18 Children and Family Centres in Bromley to just three. But following a consultation they are now planning to cut 12 centres, that leaves just six centers for London’s largest borough. The map shows where the remaining centers will be located. Each one will reach an average population of 2500–3500 children aged 0–5, which almost trebles the recommended maximum of 1200 children. The Department for Education produced this leaflet as a guide: The Sure Start Children’s Centres Statutory Guidance produced in 2010, says: “the more affluent areas, or where the demand for services is found to be less, numbers may be larger, up to around 1200 children.”
Families in Shortlands will lose out – there will be no dedicated children’s centre in our area.
And as our children get older they will also find youth clubs being closed by Bromley council.
Despite well publicised crime in Shortlands, and the rioting and looting that went on in the borough, local police teams will be losing local Police Sergeants.
A Tory led council has proved to be no defence against these cuts.
We must ensure that those in charge listen to reason. The Labour Group and I think that to slash funding for youth groups, together with cutting police numbers is a recipe for more unrest, like the riots we witnessed in August. Add to that, the total number of 16 to 24 year-olds without a job rose to 972,000 in the three months to July this year.
Youth Clubs in Bromley are being closed, and police numbers being cut. I don’t think it’s difficult to work out that this will lead to young people feeling more frustrated and angry. There is no justification for the crime that went on during the riots, but shouldn’t we expect our leaders to consider the reasons why young people felt they needed to take to the streets?
Youth Clubs won’t solve the problem, but closing them will only add to young people’s frustration.