Glastonbury and Street County Council Election Candidates Emma King and Jane Ratcliffle met Glastonbury Festival’s Michael Eavis in Pilton to discuss the May election.
Michael, who is a long-time member of the Labour Party and stood as a candidate for Labour in the 1997 General Election, wished the two candidates all the best and thanked them for their work in the local community and for standing in the election for Labour. The election will take place on May the 4th 2017 and to be allowed to vote you must be registered on the electoral roll by midnight on Thursday 13 April. To register go to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
On Monday 20th March Yeovil CLP was delighted to welcome many members from across Somerset and Dorset to their open meeting “Energising Labour in the South West: learning from Momentum”.
Martin Menear of the Momentum National Coordinating Group and Momentum Somerset Founder Gary Tucker (who is also Labour Bridgwater’s newly-elected Branch Secretary) gave speeches detailing what Momentum is about and the successes achieved right here in Somerset. Martin spoke about what Momentum is and is not whilst also answering questions about Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Gary spoke about Momentum Somerset’s achievements in empowering members to become more active, particularly through social media and email campaigns.
This week the Tory budget was described by Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn as showing “utter complacency” over the state of the economy and “ignoring the needs of workers”. He said Philip Hammond “..failed to understand the reality of life for millions of people and the crisis facing public services” .
The Labour response to the budget will hardly be heard in the press or on the TV and so Labour activists everywhere took to the streets of their towns today to spread the message themselves.
In Bridgwater a stall was set up at the Cornhill. Newly elected Labour branch secretary Gary Tucker said “It was a very organised, productive day of action. Many people stopped by for a chat, took leaflets and signed the petition. Just by listening to fed-up voters it became clear that the Tories’ failed ‘long-term plan’ is deeply affecting everyone- employed, retired, students and now particularly the self-employed. Bridgwater residents told us the Tories are not on the side of working people. The Tories lied here and they’ll keep on lying! The Tories are not on the side of working people at all. We raised awareness of how working people deserve better than a failing Tory economy. We particularly wanted to chat to self-employed people who now will have to pay more in National Insurance due to the rise. These people today felt particularly let down because this was a key election pledge and the Tories have broken this pledge. ”
Labour Branch Chair Jane Grenfell said “ Today we were addressing the Tory party’s abysmal economic record. Working people here in Bridgwater are overworked, undervalued and increasingly overdrawn under the government’s long term economic plan. The plan seems to be more Tory Austerity, regardless of the evidence that it just doesn’t work. Government borrowing is going up every year despite the cuts to public services. It’s not a plan it’s an attack on working people. The Tories have even turned on the self-employed entrepreneurs they so frequently rely on for economic growth.The reaction from the people of Bridgwater was very positive, at one point they were tugging leaflets out of my hand! Interestingly several people asked about how to vote. If you have not registered to vote in the County Council elections on 4th May, you still have time. Just visit aboutmyvote.co.uk. “
As Labour attacked the chancellor for not giving more money to the NHS the Tory front bench simply sat back and laughed.
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn described Theresa May’s first Budget as “utterly complacent about the state of our economy ahead of Brexit”…. “ complacent about the crisis across our public services” and “..entirely out of touch with the reality of life for many millions of people in this country.” Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell added “While doing nothing to solve the crisis in the NHS, in social care or in schools — the Tories have continued with massive tax giveaways for those at the top.” The Labour position nationally is that the Tory budget lacked ambition and fairness for our country. Here in Bridgwater we’re fighting an election campaign -so what did local Labour have to say?
A protest march took place on Thursday (2nd March 2017) morning as parens and students from North Petherton took part in a ‘Big Walk’ to oppose Somerset County Council plans to remove school transport. Following an assessment of the route from the town to Robert Blake Science College in Hamp as “safe” the County Council has withdrawn the free service book bus service. Labour County Candidates Jane Grenfell (North Petherton) and Chelsea Chadwick (Huntspill) joined them and experienced at first hand how UNsafe the route actually is.
Unite Community has organised an on-line petition, calling upon Somerset County Council to reinstate the County Transport Forum, which was suspended in 2013. This is supported by Bridgwater Town Council who are urging the public to please sign it if you have not already done so.
Why is this important?
UNITE COMMUNITY spokesperson Glen Burrows says “No matter who we are we all need to get from A to B in our lives. Working transport means we can enjoy our lives and participate fully in society. It means we can reach employment opportunities and contribute to our country. It means healthy and supportive families, friendships and communities. It means access to the public services that we have already paid for.”
Assemble 12pm Tavistock Square, London WC1 March through London to Parliament
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urged “everyone who cares for our NHS” to join him at a major demonstration in London next month.
Mr Corbyn made the call today as tens of thousands are set to join the biggest ever national demonstration for the NHS on Saturday 4 March.
The demonstration, called by anti-austerity organisation the People’s Assembly and Health Campaigns Together, takes place with the NHS facing the biggest crisis in its history.
The protest will demand: *a fully funded, publicly owned, NHS & social care service *No cuts, no closures, no privatisation *End the pay restraint for NHS staff
At the Sedgemoor District Council meeting on the 22nd February, the ruling Tory Group steamrollered through their budget which included a council tax increase of 3.4% – an additional £5 per year on a Band D property, and a 1.25% charge for the Somerset Rivers Authority. This equates to a £1.80 per Band D property. The vote was carried 34-8 with all Tories both Ukippers and the solitary Lib Dem voting it through with the 8 Labour members opposing.
Somerset County Council today approved a budget which included a Council Tax increase of 1.99 per cent and with protestors massing outside County Hall to highlight the threats to social care, it was passed by a unanimous Conservative vote whilst all opposition parties Labour, Independent ,Lib Dem, and UKIP voted against.
Local Government continues to face the largest decrease in funds across public services, with a reduction in funding of £16m this year alone and an ageing population adding to the increasing social care bill. Continue reading “Labour Attacks Tory County Budget”
Leader of the Labour Group on Somerset County Council Cllr Leigh Redman is also Bridgwater Town Council’s spokesman on ‘all matters EDF’ . This week he’s angry, and here’s why.
In last weeks Bridgwater Mercury was a story that I felt was nothing but an EDFe positive propaganda that was unbalanced and gave the wrong impression, I made comment of this to them and thought I was going to get a right of reply in tomorrows edition, so held back my comment, it now appears that my letter or comment will not be appearing tomorrow!!!!!!
So here it is:-
EDFe & SCC’s response printed in last weeks Mercury was little more than regurgitating old statements, at a time when local businesses are being impacted in a negative way by their road works, the story was nothing more than repeating not addressing complaints.
Yes some £16 millon for road improvements is being spent, these are to mitigate their deliveries and busses keeping traffic moving.
Need for a By-Pass supported by all councils
Heres an important bit, EDFe studied the need for a Bridgwater bypass, that included all councils greatly supporting that need, but decided it was not going to include this in their proposal, EDFe decided it was not in the application and as such not in the final DCO, as ‘it did not fit their timetable’ as it was at that time, hindsight is a wonderful thing, the Secretary of state welcomed the significant levels of mitigation put in place because the bypass option was never included!
The proposals on the table are based on their (EDFe) interpretation of the detailed transport analysis they paid for, but misses some important safety pinch points like Bath road (as reported in a previous Mercury) & Westonzoyland bridges over the railway, why?
Yes the jetty will save 280 HGV movements a day, but the number of movements agreed in the DCO are still insufficient for all their requirements, there is no proposal to reduce freight movements so you have to assume there was not enough in the first place, hence the need for transit points at Huntworth and Dunball that allows smaller loads to be grouped, so even with the jetty most of the HGV movements will be maxed out (upto 500 movements each way, averaged over a quarter with a max of 750 fully loaded HGV’s a day).
The Case for Compensation
Another important bit, during the inspectors investigations many groups argued for the need of compensation packages, during this time EDFe successfully argued that the mitigation they proposed would negate the need for compensation. Hindsight again but we are now seeing traders being expected to take, in some cases an 80% reduction in footfall and income! There is a big difference between compensation for those who can show a financial impact due to the EDFe works and putting up a few signs to mitigate the impact.
I know that all the councils that cover Bridgwater are doing their best to help within the limits of their areas, EDFe are right about lots of money being available, but what they fail to make clear is that most of it is ring fenced and there is NONE for compensation.
Yes doing both junctions at the same time will reduce the works from 41 to 29 weeks duration.
Max Out the Work programme
Come on EDFe, if you care that much about our town, why not get your contractors to max out the work program (include every Saturday you can) to shorten further the program and put in place a compensation package that will stop our businesses suffering, I will continue to say that EDFe need to recognise their work is and will continue to cause a negative financial impact on most of the businesses around the Bristol road / Drove works and MUST put in place a compensation scheme that will help