Labour Councillor Attacks Yeovil Parking Charge Hike

Saturday, 17 March 2018Leave a reply
Terry Ledlie (Labour, Yeovil South)

Labour Town Councillor for Yeovil South, Terry Ledlie, does not believe that plans to introduce car parking charges in Yeovil on Sunday, is in the best interests of the Town. South Somerset District Council is also planning a ten per cent rise to car parking charges, Monday – Saturday, and justify the proposed rises by saying it’s to help to pay for the maintenance of pay-machines.

Terry said  “I find this very hard to believe! Other towns like Radstock whose machines still offer free parking, will continue having to maintain their machines; so, in reality the argument of maintenance does not stack up. It would seem that  councillors are using rises in car parking charges to raise revenue, apparently up to £20,000 per year. However, this will be at the expense of hard working people and  these councillors forget that this move could have a negative effect on Yeovil, turning it into a mere Ghost Town. With this happening, more and more people are travelling away from Yeovil. It is time, that complacent councillors changed their approach and their willingness to manage the decline.”

Terry added “If Yeovil were to offer a scheme of free parking for the first hour then it would bring many more people to our Town and that would in turn boost the local economy”. Continue reading “Labour Councillor Attacks Yeovil Parking Charge Hike”

Frome By Election: 2nd Place Labour now the Alternative Voice

Friday, 16 March 2018Leave a reply
Labour now hot on the tails of the Frome Independents

The Frome Market Ward by-election held last night (15.3.2018) saw the ruling Independents for Frome (IfF) retain their seat and their 100% control of the Town Council but the real story of the night was the 43% increase in the Labour vote propelling their candidate Neil Burns into second place while Tory and Lib Dem votes crumbled, making Labour the alternative choice for Frome.

IfF candidate Mark Dorrington took 53% of the vote and on a reduced turnout of only 21% (down from the 61% of the 2015 election) meant the IfF vote had dropped by 4% ,which could hardly be seen as an indication of the massive community engagement promised in the new politics of the ‘Independent’ Town Council.

The Tory vote dropped by 22% and they dropped from 2nd to 3rd place while the LibDem vote continued to plummet a further 8% leaving them in last place. Continue reading “Frome By Election: 2nd Place Labour now the Alternative Voice”

Labour Challenge ‘One-Party Rule’ in Frome

Wednesday, 7 March 20182 Replies
Neil Burns
Neil Burns, Labour candidate in the Frome by election on March 15th

Frome Town Council caused a minor sensation a few years back when the ‘Independents’ won some seats on the council and then won all of them. However, in an effort to ‘break the mould’ of old party politics they had instead just created a ‘one party state’ of independents. On 15th March Frome people have the chance to break that mould with an input of socialism and can vote instead for Labour Party candidate Neil Burns.

Neil, who lives in Frome with his wife and their two children, is standing for the Market Ward in the Frome Town Council by-election. Neil says “Every election is a choice: you can choose more of the same or you can vote for a party with a plan for change -and that is the Labour Party.”. Continue reading “Labour Challenge ‘One-Party Rule’ in Frome”

Obituary- Ken Richards, Mick Briscombe, Jean Whitehouse

Wednesday, 14 February 2018
Ken Richards

Three former Labour councillors who served together on the 1999 Sedgemoor District Council have died within weeks of each other. Their funerals will be held during the same week.

Ken Richards was elected 10 times from 1973 until 2011 for the Bridgwater ward of Central and then later Victoria. He was Mayor of Bridgwater 5 times in 1981, 87,91,2001 and 2009. Ken was a Transport & General Workers Union organiser and worked in the Brickyards and British Cellophane. Ken passed away at Musgrove Hospital after a short illness on January 29th. He was recently a feature of ‘Labour Lives’ which can be read here.

Ken’s funeral will be at St Mary’s Church Bridgwater at 11.00 on Friday 16 February

Mick Briscombe

Mick Briscombe was elected 7 times as Labour councillor for the Sydenham Ward from 1973 until 1999, losing only once in 1987 when he stood against the party along with 5 colleagues under the banner of ‘Traditional Labour’. After a 4 year absence he was back in the party and regained his Sydenham seat for Labour. Mick, born Albert Sydney, was in the AEU Union and  was Mayor of Bridgwater twice in 1978 and 1994. Mick passed away on 11th February 2018.

Mick’s funeral will be on Thursday 22nd Feb 18 at 2pm in the Salvations Army Hall, Bridgwater.

Jean Whitehouse

Jean Whitehouse was elected twice as Labour councillor for Highbridge in 1999 and 2003. Also a popular children’s entertainer who went under the name Auntie Teapot, Jean regularly held fundraising events at her family’s Edithmead farmhouse. Jean passed away peacefully on 29th january 2018 aged 84 years .

Jean’s Service of Committal will be at Highbridge Cemetery on Friday 16th February at 11.30am to which all are welcome .

Labour Forces Tory Climb Down as County Removes Misleading Logo

Wednesday, 14 February 2018
Labour’s Kathrine See

Somerset County Council has been forced to change the design of it’s so called “Somerset Early Childhood Support and Services Offer”  due to a direct challenge from Labour’s Kathrine See who appeared at the scrutiny committee meeting on 26th January and accused the Council of misleading the public. She had with her a copy of the Councils latest service provision offer which was emblazoned with a large Somerset County Council logo.

Kathrine said “The document contained a list of all the available groups and services for parents and preschool children in Somerset. However, Labour had high lighted the list for West Somerset showing that 70 % of the entries are actually provided by voluntary groups, private franchises and other individuals not associated with the County Council. One group had even been set up by the mother of a child with additional needs in direct response to the cut in services at her local Children’s Centre. When the group that Siobhan Lennon-Patience had been attending with her son, was cut by the Council she was left with no choice but to set up her own support group. She is keen to stress that this was not part of David Cameron’s ideological big society but a hard-pressed mum being forced to take action, that she really did not want to, in order to plug the void left by the Council. She felt the need to step in and help parents who had been left with no support what so ever even though she already has more than enough on her plate.” Continue reading “Labour Forces Tory Climb Down as County Removes Misleading Logo”

A “Sad Day For Democracy” as Somerset Tories Close Ranks to Close Children’s Centres

Monday, 12 February 2018
Demonstrators outside County Hall

At todays meeting of the Tory controlled Somerset County Council Executive, Councillors voted unanimously to close two thirds of Somerset’s Childrens Centres and at the same time agreed the transfer of health visitors and school nurses from the NHS to a new Family Support Service, run by the county council.

Angry protesters including health workers, Trades Unionists, Labour Party members, children and a person in an inflatable baby costume,braved the cold to greet councillors on their arrival at Tauton’s County Hall.

The Unite union, which organised the demonstration, said the changes risked “wrecking a great service” with 24 Sure Start centres  replaced by eight “family centres” which will co-ordinate work in the surrounding areas and the remaining 16 buildings expected to be used by nurseries.Councillors also agreed to bring the employment of the county’s health visitors and school nurses in-house from April 2019.

Somerset County Council’s cabinet member for children, Cllr Frances Nicholson (Conservative, Exmoor & Dulverton) , said   “I understand that some people are anxious, but this is about doing things better, and the next steps will be taken carefully and at the right pace.” Continue reading “A “Sad Day For Democracy” as Somerset Tories Close Ranks to Close Children’s Centres”

Somerset’s services for families and children threatened by planned shake-up, warns Unite.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Services to families and children in Somerset will be hit if the Tory-controlled county council takes these activities back in-house and then imposes cuts to a vibrant service, Unite, the UK’s largest union, has warned.

Health visitors and school nurses fear that not only will services they provide to some of Somerset’s most vulnerable families be adversely affected by the planned cuts, but there will also be a steady salami-slicing of their pay, and terms and conditions.

The council wants to takeover these services currently provided by the Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust from 1 April 2019.

Demonstrate 12 Feb

Unite is organising a demo of community nurses and families to protest at the proposals when the council’s cabinet meets to discuss the plan at Somerset County Hall, Taunton at 09:00 for 09:30 start on Monday 12 February.

Unite, which represents the majority of the 200 health visitors and school nurses, wants the cabinet to throw out the proposals which, the union says, is more to do with cost cutting than enhancing service provision. Continue reading “Somerset’s services for families and children threatened by planned shake-up, warns Unite.”

Anger as County Council set to ignore results of the Children’s Centre Consultation.

Monday, 29 January 2018
SCC ‘Providing for Life’…but ‘are they?’

The results of the ten week Somerset Family Support Service and Children’s Centre Consultation has now been made public. The 47 page report produced by the independent body “Dialogue” was seen by the Council’s Scrutiny Committee in County Hall last Friday.

West Somerset Branch Secretary Kathrine See has studied the report and says “The report not only contains scepticism of the questionnaire and consultation process itself, but a huge amount of concern, mistrust and public criticism of the proposals regarding the future of Children’s Centres and services.The report clearly states that “In general people did not support the de-designation of the Children’s Centres” and “Participants overwhelmingly believed that services should continue to be delivered through Children’s Centres”. Continue reading “Anger as County Council set to ignore results of the Children’s Centre Consultation.”


Tuesday, 9 January 2018

The venue for my meeting with Bridgwater Labour member, Sadie Trent (as is now customary), is in a coffee shop. It is a day on which the subject of unrecyclable coffee cups is much in the news and, sadly, in our case, we have added to the waste mountain as Costa Coffee were not able to serve drinks in their best china due to the breakdown of their washing machine.

Born in 1992, now 25 years old, Sadie measures the time of her birth according to the political state of the country at the time. In other words, she was a baby of the ‘Major’ years or, as her parents call it, the ‘major disaster’ years.

Schooled locally at East Bridgwater and Robert Blake, she was always interested in the arts and is today, after a year of journalism at Exeter, studying PPE plus International Studies via the Open University Continue reading “LABOUR LIVES:- No 6 SADIE TRENT”

Young People Shocked by MP’s Lack of Understanding

Saturday, 6 January 2018
ILG meets some young people

Three local young people met with Bridgwater and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger before Christmas to seek his views on discrimination against young people in work, on benefits and generally, and were shocked by his apparent lack of understanding of the problems faced by young people trying to find work and somewhere to live. This is part of an ongoing campaign for rights for young workers, organised by Bridgwater Labour Party and local trades unions

One of the issues raised with Mr Liddell-Grainger was lack of affordable housing. The average private rent in Bridgwater is between £475 pcm and £695pcm for a 2 bedroom. Mr Liddell-Grainger responded that house prices in Bridgwater are generally lower, so a place to live is within most people’s reach. Does he really believe that young people on a living wage or with temporary or zero-hour work contracts can maintain a roof over their heads and afford the basics? Continue reading “Young People Shocked by MP’s Lack of Understanding”