The Bridgwater Citizens Advice Bureau has highlighted the huge problems in the roll out of Universal Credit, which is forcing many working families into debt, homelessness and towards food banks, due to the inadequacy of the implementation of the system. Universal Credit is failing to support many vulnerable people locally. Growing income inequality and insecurity accentuated by austerity is not needed in a modern society. Sedgemoor Labour Leader Cllr Mick Lerry (Bridgwater Victoria) says “We should not be experiencing a time when those people who rely on “hard work” are facing a decline in their living standards.”
Cllr Lerry launched a major attack on the failings of Universal Credit saying “Unemployment does not appear to be the problem locally it is in fact low wages. All people should be entitled to a basic income that allows individuals and families to live without the fear of debt and homelessness. Such a policy would allow families and individuals to investment in their future and the local economy. Business and employers can rely on Welfare to boost the wages of employees, which is really a subsidy for employers while employees remain on low wages. Citizens who pay their taxes are paying for this subsidy.”Continue reading “Sedgemoor Labour Leader attacks ‘failing’ Universal Credit”
Labour is telling the Bridgwater and West Somerset MP, Ian Liddell-Grainger he should be telling ministers what a disaster Universal Credit has been.
Universal Credit (UC) is a replacement for a group of other benefits, including Jobseekers Allowance and Housing Benefit. Bridgwater has had early experience of UC, because the district of Sedgemoor was chosen as a pilot area. UC is due to be rolled out in many other parts of the country later this year. The experience in Sedgemoor has been a terrible one for claimants. Payments are delayed for weeks and it is nearly impossible to get sensible answers to queries.
Putting Pressure on ILG
Andy Lewis of West Somerset Labour Party worked for several years with benefit claimants. He has written to Liddell-Grainger saying:
As you know, Sedgemoor has been a pilot area for Universal Credit. As I am sure you also know, there have been many problems with its implementation.
Citizens Advice Sedgemoor, in a report last year, highlighted problems including long waits for payment, difficulties with the online claiming system and the near-impossibility of meaningful contact with Universal Credit by phone. It concluded that people are falling into rent arrears and other debt as a direct result of the shortcomings of Universal Credit. More recently, Citizens Advice nationally has made clear that the problems with Universal Credit are continuing.
Universal Credit is scheduled to be introduced in other parts of the country this autumn. I am writing in the hope that you will tell ministers that based on the experience in Sedgemoor, wider implementation should be delayed until the many problems have been ironed out and it has been made into a system that is fit for purpose.
Universal Credit has caused much hardship in Bridgwater and other parts of Sedgemoor. I hope you will agree that it would be wrong to put other people through this, and that Universal Credit must be seen to work properly in the pilot areas before it is extended further.
A sensational surge in the Labour vote in the Bridgwater and West Somerset area saw local councillor Wes Hinckes achieve a tally of 16,663 , a brilliant 29% of the vote, yet at the same time Tory incumbant Ian Lidell-Grainger increased his own vote and clung on to his feudal seat.
The Labour vote in Somerset virtually doubled yesterday as young voters surged towards Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, Brexiteers who voted UKIP in 2015 turned to Labour and the Lib Dems faded.
Labour’s total for the county was up 90 per cent – from 27,188 in 2015 to 51,897 this time. The biggest triumph was in Bridgwater and West Somerset, where Labour’s Wes Hinckes won 16,663 votes, pushing the Lib Dems into a distant third place. That was a 74 per cent increase in the Labour vote – up from 9,589 in 2015.
Labour up across the county
And across the county there were similar stories. In Somerton and Frome, the Labour vote was up 148 per cent, from 4,419 to 10,998. And there were big increases, too, in Taunton Deane, where we won 9,689 votes (up 81 per cent) Wells with 7,129 votes (up 88 per cent) and Yeovil – 7,418 (up 83 per cent).
Labour growth around South West
Elsewhere in the South West, there was a clean sweep for Labour in Bristol, we held Exeter and gained Plymouth Sutton and Devonport (that’s one place, not three, unfortunately)
So on a great night for Labour across the country, a base for future success here in Somerset. And we may get the chance soon enough. If this turns out to a re-run of 1974 (and it feels a bit like it) we can do it all again in October.
As a vibrant campaign reaches its close, candidates and activists across Somerset are preparing for the final effort to bring out Labour votes.All over the county, Labour activists and supporters have been energised by a campaign that has pushed forward Labour’s values of social justice while the Tories offered their discredited policy of more austerity.
And with the Liberal Democrats still tainted by their disastrous coalition with Cameron, Labour is the clear choice for all who want to register opposition to Theresa May.
For us: a radical manifesto, a charismatic leader, a brilliant campaign giving hope for Britain.
Against us, a robotic, untrustworthy prime minister at the head of a government based on fear.
With Labour: a secure NHS, public control of vital services, a million new homes, a constructive partnership with Europe.
With the Conservatives: more hard times and a crumbling public sector, more hungry families at food banks and a clumsy, expensive Brexit.
Labour candidate,Wes Hinckes, makes his final pitch to the voters of Bridgwater and West Somerset.
I have been asked by many people during this campaign why it’s so important to vote Labour I tell them because of our manifesto.
It is a manifesto which will change our country’s destiny.
Here is why I believe in it and why I believe you should too.
Jeremy Corbyn in the foreword says “Let’s build a fairer Britain where no one is held back. A country where everybody is able to get on in life, to have security at work and at home, to be decently paid for the work they do, and to live their lives with the dignity they deserve.”
Less than 2 days from the General Election which Theresa May called, smug in her 24 point lead over Labour, the tables have turned. Polls are showing Labour just 1% behind and a collapse in the Lib Dem, Green and UKIP votes. People are genuinely supportive of the Labour manifesto and Jeremy Corbyn is attracting 10’s of thousands at his rallies.
In Bridgwater, the Labour controlled town at the hub of Somerset Labour, stocks are running low as demand for election material and offers to distribute leaflets, knock on doors, staff street stalls and put up posters reaches fever pitch. The popular newspaper ‘Bridgwater and West Somerset Rose’ has virtually been snapped up to the extent that we have decided to print it’s content here so everyone can have the chance to see why people are now looking to Labour for the change this country needs. Continue reading “Bridgwater Labour Party Working Overtime to Keep up with Demand”
Bridgwater and West Somerset Labour candidate Wes Hinckes has travelled widely across the constituency during these last 4 weeks and is reaching out to communities that many candidates haven’t managed to reach out to before. This week he’s been talking to farmers.
Our country needs a food, farming and agriculture strategy for the 21st century.
We must develop a British Agricultural Policy that is matched to a long-term vision for the role of farming in the UK.
So polling day approaches – and as usual the idea of tactical voting rears its head. People say we must vote locally in the best way to beat the Conservatives. A website that advises on tactical voting points out that Labour came ahead of the Liberal Democrats in Bridgwater and West Somerset in 2015, so the tactical vote here is a Labour vote. Case closed, you might think. But I’m going to argue that it’s not as simple as that. I think tactical voting is a mistake. I think people in seats where the Lib Dems are in second place should also vote Labour – and I’m going to try to explain why.
In the first place, you just don’t know what’s going to happen. In Bridgwater and West Somerset the facts are that Labour came ahead of the Lib Dems in 2005 and 2015. They beat us in 2001 and 2010. Why? Who knows? And no-one knows what’s going to happen this time, either. Continue reading “Vote Labour-Wherever You Are”
Who would have thought that with less than a week to go until the General election Labour would be within striking distance of the Tories with some polls showing a mere 3% gap. Certainly not Theresa May who takes her voters for granted and assumed it would be a walkover. What’s the reason? Labour offered a genuine socialist manifesto and people liked it and Jeremy Corbyn went out to meet the people and people liked him.
People have already been voting, by post, but the key to victory will be getting out the millions of people who don’t usually vote because ‘what’s the point!’ or ‘they’re all the same’ -now they’re not and people know it. Corbyn’s Labour Party is different and the choices on the table are different. The changes really will change Britain.
Here in the Bridgwater and West Somerset Constituency Labour are polling well and it’s no surprise. A rejuvenated party and an energetic candidate have been mobilising from Minehead to Watchet to Bridgwater with street stalls, door knocking, leaflets and posters while the Unity House headquarters has been open to the public and has seen a steady trickle of new and old supporters dropping in to offer help now the scent of victory is becoming a reality. Continue reading “Labour Step Up Campaigning as Final Week Polls show 3% gap”