Labour Town Council Passes ‘Budget for Youth’

Thursday, 14 September 2017
Cllr Diogo Rodrigues, youth spokesperson for Labour controlled Bridgwater Town Council

In this years finance budget,Labour controlled Bridgwater Town Council ring-fenced £7,000 for youth spending. Cllr Diogo Rodrigues (Labour,Dunwear North), as lead member for youth, started a consultation with youth organisations, youth leaders and young people to get a better understanding of the youth provision in the town. At tonight’s Town Council meeting the BTC Youth Grant scheme was launched and criteria agreed.

Cllr Rodrigues, who is also the Youth & Student officer for the Bridgwater and West Somerset CLP,  introduced the budget proposals saying “The council set up a Youth Working Party tasked with detailing how the £7,000 youth budget would best be spent. We are now proud to put forward a youth grant system for this financial year, with the application process open immediately and a maximum of £500 available for each successful organisation. Applicants will have to meet criteria as set out in the application and will also be required to report back on the success of the project which funds have been used for. Continue reading “Labour Town Council Passes ‘Budget for Youth’”

North Worle victory shows nowhere off-limits for a Labour Party on the up

Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Bridgwater and Weston Labour members working together to win in Worle

Once, a lot of Labour members would’ve looked at a place like Worle and thought ‘not a chance’.

Solidly Tory for decades, it’s always somewhere Labour has struggled to make headway, despite strong challenges from excellent candidates.

But now that’s all changing. Around the country, we’re seeing Labour campaigning hard, outperforming expectations, and winning seats that have been Tory or Liberal for generations – and the West Country is no exception. Continue reading “North Worle victory shows nowhere off-limits for a Labour Party on the up”

Revealed – how Tory policy brought chaos to adult learning in Somerset

Friday, 8 September 2017
“..a terrible blow to this community ” Katherine See (West Somerset Labour)

You couldn’t make it up – that’s the devastating verdict from a further education expert on the chaos that has left Somerset Skills and Learning fighting for its life.

 Full details of the fiasco that stopped  classes  across the county are revealed  in the latest issue of FE Week – a respected further education newspaper.  It  makes clear that the Conservative policy of outsourcing council services is behind an “outrageous result for Somerset.”

FE Week reveals:

  • The funding for adult education services from Somerset Skills and Learning (SS&L) was cut from £3.4 million to just £111,000 even though SS&L is rated “good” by Ofsted
  • SS&L scored 525 out of 600 in its evaluation, but now faces a “catastrophic” reduction in its money
  • Other training providers which didn’t even bid for money were given grants of millions of pounds.
  • And crucially: If SS&L had stayed part of Somerset County Council its budget would not have been cut at all

Chief executive Susie Simon-Norris said funding had been withdrawn virtually overnight with no warning. She told FE Week: “We were encouraged by the government to leave Somerset County Council (in 2015) to become a community interest company and now it seems we’re being penalised for that decision.” Continue reading “Revealed – how Tory policy brought chaos to adult learning in Somerset”

Courses postponed and jobs at risk as Tory cuts hit adult education

Wednesday, 6 September 2017
Minehead ‘Skills and Learning’ centre

Labour is calling on the government to reverse a drastic cut in funding that is threatening the future of adult education and vocational training in Somerset. People due to start courses this month have been told they won’t be going ahead as planned and there are fears that trainers could lose their jobs.

 The courses affected are community-based classes  run by SS&L -formerly Somerset Skills and Learning. A statement on its website says:   “Due to government funding cuts we are not accepting course enrolments at this time.”

Somerset Skills and Learning was part of Somerset County Council until 2015, when it was floated off as an independent not-for-profit company.  Just two years on, it appears to be struggling to survive. The cut by the Education and Skills Funding Agency means it has lost 40 per cent of its budget. Continue reading “Courses postponed and jobs at risk as Tory cuts hit adult education”

Labour Lives : No 2 STUART RIDEWOOD

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Zero Hours turned STUART RIDEWOOD from fence-sitter to active member of Bridgwater Labour. What does it mean to you to be a Labour party member?  This is the question Anthony Lipmann asked one of our younger and committed members, Stuart Ridewood.

Born in Taunton, educated at Haygrove Academy in Bridgwater, at 28 he finds himself in the vortex of Zero Hours contracts. Discharging between 80,000 and 120,000 cases in a 12 hour day his team at Morrisons are part of the legions of Zero Hours workers making life apparently easier for the consumer but with little prospect of personal stability, on-the-job training, or advancement. Stuart says he is not even worried so much about the money as the lack of respect in the system for a person’s work. Continue reading “Labour Lives : No 2 STUART RIDEWOOD”

Labour Campaigners out in force for North Petherton By Election

Saturday, 2 September 2017
Julie with some of the Labour canvass team campaigning in the North Petherton election

On Thursday 14th September there will be a by-election for a vacant seat on the North Petherton Town Council and already Labour supporters have been out there in force putting out leaflets and knocking on doors. In a 3 way contest Labour-Tory-Independent, the local Labour candidate is resident Chelsea Chadwick, already a District Councillor and also the Labour Party’s Womens’s Officer.

Bridgwater and West Somerset Labour members have been out every day canvassing for her. New member Julie Cordiner gives us her impressions. Continue reading “Labour Campaigners out in force for North Petherton By Election”

Labour Lives: No.1 KEN RICHARDS

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Bridgwater is a Labour town. In this series we look at the people that have shaped our town and our party and the people still doing it today. To launch the series, current Town Council Labour leader Brian Smedley interviews five times Mayor Ken Richards.

When I first stood for council in 1990 Labour was at a low ebb. Having fought with ourselves over the nuclear issue in 1987 we were down to 4 councillors. And now even one of those was standing down and causing a by-election in the Victoria ward. It was the height of the Poll Tax and I was selected to fight the seat. On my first day I went to Brendon Road and was astounded to find every single window had a ‘Vote Labour’ poster in it. What a morale booster! And from there we went on to win the by-election with more votes than all the other 3 parties combined. Continue reading “Labour Lives: No.1 KEN RICHARDS”

Bridgwater TUC Calls for ‘Solidarity Hour’ as Argos Strike Steps Up a Gear

Sunday, 27 August 2017
Bridgwater Trades Unionists showing solidarity in the town centre

The 3 -week strike of 280 Unite members at the Huntworth ARGOS warehouse is still on, after ACAS talks broke up on Thursday without agreement.

Bridgwater Trades Union Council is asking all local trades unionists to show their solidarity over the next few days by helping give out the Unite strike leaflet  , helping give out the Bridgwater TUC solidarity leaflet, turning up for the Unite ARGOS strike picket SOLIDARITY HOUR on Tuesday 29th August from 1.30pm to 2.30pm and sending   messages of support/solidarity to the Bridgwater Unite ARGOS striker.

Local Labour members have been joining supporters on the picket line and in solidarity action in the Town Centre and outside the Argos store. Cllr Brian Smedley, Bridgwater Town Council Leader, said ” This strike is not just about workers defending their terms and conditions, which they have every right to do, it’s about the openess of the dealings between the management and workers and the potential of losing the Argos brand in Bridgwater and people may not be aware that Argos has been bought out by Sainsburys. I would urge Labour members to support the solidarity action and stick up for our town and its future.”

Continue reading “Bridgwater TUC Calls for ‘Solidarity Hour’ as Argos Strike Steps Up a Gear”

Argos Workers Strike at Bridgwater Depot

Friday, 18 August 2017
Unite the Union on strike at Bridgwater Argos

UK catalogue retailer Argos faces three weeks of strikes across its distribution network in a dispute over the failure of the company to negotiate a national agreement covering redundancy and severance packages.Unite, the country’s largest union which represents the 1,100 workers affected, warned that deliveries to customers will be severely hit.  Strikes by the warehouse staff began early in the morning of Tuesday 15 August and will continue until early in the morning of Tuesday 5 September.

Bridgwater Trades Union Council Secretary Dave Chapple urged local people to support the action saying “Unite ARGOS Bridgwater picket lines are from 5.30am till 3pm so try and get along to give solidarity from your union.” His call was backed by UNITE delegate and Bridgwater Labour Councillor Brian Smedley who said “Argos are clearly being unreasonable and  the Union is simply seeking guarantees about their members futures including relocation packages, agreed redundancy or severance terms and challenging future  attacks on their terms and conditions. They should be supported.” Continue reading “Argos Workers Strike at Bridgwater Depot”

Labour Protests Weston A&E Closure

Friday, 18 August 2017
Protests against Weston Hospital cuts

Weston Labour Party are calling on comrades across the South West for help in their campaign to protest A&E Closure in their town. A statement today read  “Bridgwater, Wells ,North Somerset, and of all Constituencies fighting the cuts to our NHS imposed by this Conservative Government. What happens to one of us today will surely happen to another tomorrow.”

Continue reading “Labour Protests Weston A&E Closure”