Windlesham Fireworks 7 November 2014


The fireworks display at the Windlesham Field of Rembrance was a huge success last year. Can you help out to make this year's even better?

The fireworks display at the Windlesham Field of Rembrance was a huge success last year. Can you help out to make this year’s even better?

Sure Start centres close in Surrey under David Cameron


Press Statement from Richard Wilson, Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Guildford 10 August 2014

 

THE CHOICE ON CHILDCARE: TORY FAILURE ON SURE START REVEALED – 93 CENTRES IN SOUTH EAST HAVE CLOSED UNDER DAVID CAMERON

 

Ninety-three Sure Start Centres in the South East region have closed since 2010 despite Tory promises to protect the network, new analysis has revealed.

 

Every single council in England has been forced to cut its Sure Start funding by at least 40% – in the South East the figure is 44% or a reduction of £163.2m.

Figures unearthed in a Government consultation show that David Cameron is planning to cut the overall funding for Sure Start by 52% over this Parliament.

 

  • In Kent the number has dropped from 96 to 84 
  • In Surrey the number has fallen from 69 down to 58
  • In West Sussex following the merger of 8 centres there are 4 fewer Children’s Centres.
  • In East Sussex 5 centres have closed
  • In Brighton and Hove 3 have closed.
  • Following the merger of 8 centres there are 4 fewer Children’s Centres in West Sussex.

 

Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Guildford, Richard Wilson, said, “It is very disappointing that since 2010 Surrey has lost so many Sure Start Centres which are so valued by many parents. Recently it was also revealed that overcrowding in Surrey’s infant classes has more than doubled. David Cameron and Conservative Surrey County Council have targeted their austerity measures at the youngest children in the county and their parents.

 

“After failing Surrey’s families on childcare and education, Conservative councillors went on to vote themselves huge pay rises. There is a choice in Surrey. Labour is committed to protecting Sure Start and increasing free childcare where both parents work. Families in Surrey are struggling with rising living costs and stagnant wages. These measures will make a real difference.”

 

Today Lucy Powell MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Childcare and Children, will highlight The Choice facing the country next May. Voters face a choice between a Tory-led Government which has failed on childcare and which threatens more of the same and a Labour future which would help tackle the cost-of-living crisis with action on childcare.

Nationally the new analysis reveals that:

 

  • There are 628 fewer Sure Start centres now than in April 2010 – an average of three fewer every week. 
  • Many of those that remain have been downgraded and face an uncertain future under the Tories.
  • One in ten Sure Start centres provides fewer services, one in six has seen a reduction in hours, and one in five has fewer staff than in 2010.

 

Lucy Powell said: “The Tories promised to protect Sure Start but have delivered only failure. Thanks to them there are 628 fewer centres than there were in 2010, and those that remain are under pressure and facing an uncertain future.

 

“Only Labour is committed to renewing and reinvigorating Sure Start. We will reform the way local services work together to shift from sticking-plaster services to radical early help to provide good quality support to all families that need it.

 

“At the next election the choice is clear. The threat of five more years of a Tory Party which has let Sure Start wither on the vine, or a Labour future where Sure Start is protected and families are put first.”

 

 

Ends

 

For interviews please contact Danielle Glavin on 07941 425 421 or via email Danielle_Glavin@labour.org.uk

 

 

Notes to editors

 

 

Background cuts briefing

 

Cameron’s Sure Start Scandal – every single council in England forced to cut its Sure Start funding by at least 40%

 

  • New research shows that every council in the country has had to cut its funding for Sure Start by at least 40%.
  • Figures unearthed in a Government consultation show that David Cameron is planning to cut the overall funding for Sure Start by 52% over this Parliament.

 

Background

 

  • The table below shows the EIG cuts by region (in £m).

 

 

2010-11

2014-15

     
 

Predecessor grants before in year reduction and excluding Two Year Old Offer grant

Early Intervention funding within start-up funding assessment

 

Change 2010-11 to 2014-15

   

2013-14 prices

   

£

%

           

Region

         

North West

427.3

232.4

 

-226.3

-49.9%

North East

171.5

91.9

 

-92.1

-50.6%

Yorkshire and the Humber

293.9

162.3

 

-153.2

-49.1%

West Midlands

305.1

172.7

 

-154.9

-47.8%

East Midlands

212.5

124.6

 

-103.7

-45.9%

East of England

242.6

150.1

 

-110.7

-43.0%

London

500.8

296.6

 

-241.4

-45.4%

South East

349.2

212.0

 

-163.2

-44.0%

South West

222.1

133.4

 

-105.3

-44.6%

Source: House of Commons Library

 

  • The planned budgets for the Early Intervention Grant (EIG)* for the 2014/15 and 2015/16 financial years reveal a reduction in real terms of 52% (amounts are £m).

 

2010/11

2014/15

2015/16

Baseline

Indicative budget

Cash reduction

%

Real terms reduction

%

Indicative budget

Cash reduction

%

Real terms reduction

%

2725

1585

-1140

-42

-1261

-46

1451

-1274

-47

-1408

-52

*The EIG covers the amount distributed to councils for Sure Start children’s centres and a range of other childcare and intervention programmes. The Government has removed the ring-fence for Sure Start funding.[1]

Source: Local Government Finance Settlement 2014-15 and 2015-16: technical consultation, 25 July 2013, http://goo.gl/SS1e1C

 

 

 

  • Before the 2010 General Election, David Cameron promised to “back Sure Start”.

 

“Yes, we back Sure Start. It’s a disgrace that Gordon Brown has been trying to frighten people about this.”

David Cameron, The Independent, 5 May 2010

 

  • But according to local authority responses to Freedom of Information requests, there are now 628 fewer designated children’s centres now than in April 2010 – that’s an average of around three fewer every week.

 

   

Designated Sure Start centres

 

Local Authority

As of official stats (April 2010)

Now

Difference (official stats)

Brighton and Hove

15

12

-3

Buckinghamshire

35

35

0

East Sussex

36

31

-5

Hampshire

81

54

-27

Isle of Wight

8

8

0

Kent

96

84

-12

Medway

19

19

0

Milton Keynes

20

20

0

Oxfordshire

45

43

-2

Portsmouth

16

9

-7

Reading

13

13

0

Slough

10

10

0

Southampton

14

4

-10

Surrey

69

58

-11

West Berkshire

10

10

0

West Sussex

49

45

-4

Windsor and Maidenhead

10

2

-8

Wokingham

10

6

-4

 

556

463

-93

 

 

Number of designated children’s centres, April 2010[1]

Number of designated children’s centres, August 2014[2]

Change in number of designated children’s centres since April 2010

Weeks since the general election as of 7 August 2014

Average reduction of children’s centres, per week

3,631

3,003

-628

223

2.8

 

  • For those children’s centres that remain, many local authorities have been forced to reduce services, opening hours and staff. Local authority responses to Freedom of Information requests show that one-in-ten Sure Start centres provide fewer services; one-in-six have reduced their opening hours; and one-in-five have fewer staff than in 2010. These figures could be even higher as some local authorities were failed to provide a useable answer.

 

 

Since 2010, number of Sure Start centres[3] with

% of designated children’s centres

Number of LAs that provided a useable answer

fewer services

306

10.2%

129

reduced hours

482

16.1%

136

fewer staff

625

20.8%

116

 

 

 

  • The Government’s own research shows services at children’s centres are already stretched to the limit, with budget pressures forcing managers to lay off staff, cut back on services and reduce opening hours.

 

“For some, the reorganisation had meant reduced centre hours or centre sessions as well as reduced partnership working. Others struggled to maintain the expertise of current senior staff (for example Qualified Teachers), whom might be at risk of relocation or redundancy.”

DfE, research report by the University of Oxford, 18 July 2013, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/224096/DFE-RR297.pdf

 

  • Earlier in the year the Government deleted Sure Start closure figures from their official website on the orders of Education Minister Liz Truss, reportedly as part of a “data cleansing” exercise[5].

 

  • At Annual Conference 2013, Labour set out plans to tackle the rising cost and insufficient availability of childcare and help families feeling the pinch and struggling to balance work and family life. Labour will introduce:

o   A primary childcare guarantee, giving all parents of primary school children the guarantee of childcare availability through their school from 8am-6pm.

o   The extension of free childcare for working parents from 15 to 25 hours.

 

 

 

[1] Department for Education, Numbers of Sure Start children’s centres: April 2010, 17 June 2010, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/219406/main_20text_20osr142010.pdf

[2] Current figures are based on local authority responses to the Freedom of Information request “Please provide the number of designated statutory children’s centres now”, received between April 2014 and July 2014. Manchester, Nottingham and Wigan did not provide an answer, so data was taken at 18 November 2013, before it was deleted from an official website. Some local authorities were keen to highlight that reductions were due to mergers.

[3] Figures are based on local authority responses to the following Freedom of Information request:
“How many Sure Start centres in [local authority] provide fewer services now than they did in 2009/10?
“How many Sure Start centres in [local authority] have reduced their opening hours since 2009/10?
How many Sure Start centres in [local authority] have fewer staff now than in 2009/10?”
Responses  received between May 2014 and July 2014.

 

[5] The Mirror, 2 January 2014, http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/sure-start-closure-figures-deleted-2978571

[1] DfE, 21 August 2012, http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandyoungpeople/earlylearningandchildcare/delivery/funding/a0070357/eig-faqs#faq3

 

 

Richard Wilson

Parliamentary Candidate

Guildford Labour Party

Twitter | Facebook | Blog | Website | YouTube | Donate

 

Promoted by Alex Wilks on behalf of Richard Wilson, both of 9b Martyr Road, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4LF

 

 

 

Twitter Squad! If you dare to question British police, expect a visit.


Today it emerged that armed police officers in the UK have been bringing their guns along to routine police work causing members of the public to feel threatened. I tweeted today’s BBC story here:

Of course, this tweet is not a criticism of any individual officer, or even police officers in general. It is a criticism of the system which has allowed creeping militarisation of the police in this country. Despite that, I received a barrage of abuse from police tweeters. There were some reasoned comments amongst them but it was mostly abuse, including swearing intended to intimidate or distress me. From police officers.

I have had online abuse from police officers before, of course. Members of Twitter Squad are never brave enough to do it face-to-face. I have been called a “police hater” because I disagreed with deploying water cannon on the UK mainland. Apart from members of Twitter Squad, everyone above the age of 8 knows that just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean they hate you.

Twitter Squad represents a small number of police officers, the rest of whom must be deeply embarrassed by their cretinous behaviour. The specimen in this article, Peter Kirkham, called me the same word he called Theresa May. This is a pattern of behaviour one should never see from a police officer. I think Twitter Squad members, presumably British police officers, committed about 4 communications offences against me today. I have deleted the swear words in a couple more:

Pleb Evans

Along with the swearing, I was accused of “not having a clue” and being an “idiot”, “stupid” and “a toff”!

Twitter Squad is now a threat to anyone who speaks out about policing. They aim for a more authoritarian, oppressive police and should be called out by politicians for their disgraceful cowardly behaviour (like Nick Herbert did in the link above). I’m from Glasgow and I know as many swear words as these brave tweeters in blue but I don’t use them to abuse anyone who disagrees with me. The time has come for chief police officers to act to permit members of the public to discuss policing without having the dogs of Twitter Squad set on them. If they don’t act, politicians should.

Most adults realise that just because I am standing for Parliament does not mean they have permission to abuse me. It is surprising that such a large number of police officers can’t grasp that. I think there is a culture of exceptionalism in British policing. For too long a minority of police officers have believed they are above the law. We have seen outrageous cover-ups of police behaviour and even some sort of police black ops editing of Wikipedia.

Twitter Squad is a disgrace to british policing. They are touchy, abusive louts who only want the police to be more violent and run for their benefit. If the police are the public and the public are the police, we all need to stand up to these thugs.

 

Patients in Guildford and Waverley wait over a week to see GP


Thousands of patients wait over a week to see GP under David Cameron

1 in 5 patients in Guildford and Waverley waited seven days or longer to see a GP the last time they tried, an official NHS survey has found.

nhs.jpg

20% of local patients – 40,000 people – faced a wait of a week or more when they phoned for an appointment in the last year. This is even worse than in England as a whole where 16%, or one in 6 patients, had to wait over a week.

Labour has pledged to invest £100 million in GP surgeries – saved by scrapping David Cameron’s NHS market rules that waste millions on lawyers’ fees and contract tendering – to guarantee appointments within 48 hours or on the same day for those who need it.

Richard Wilson, Labour’s Parliamentary candidate in Guildford said:

“David Cameron has made it harder for people in Guildford to get a GP appointment – proof he can’t be trusted with our local NHS.

“Within days of the last election, he abolished Labour’s appointments guarantee and now thousands of people here are waiting over a week. Labour will scrap David Cameron’s NHS market and invest the savings in helping people get a GP appointment within 48 hours or on the same day for those who need it.”

 

“This survey shows that in Guildford and Waverley the number of people waiting over a week for a doctor’s appointment is one of the highest in England. Residents of Guildford and Cranleigh tell me about unacceptable waits to see a GP nearly every day on the doorstep. The two current local MPs, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and former Public Health Minister Anne Milton, must act now to restore access to GPs with 48 hours. If elected next May repairing the damage caused to the NHS by the Conservative-LibDem Coalition will be my highest priority.”

Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said:

“This survey confirms what Labour has been saying. People want to be able to see the GP they trust, and who knows their family history, but are left phoning the surgery day after day only to be disappointed. Patients are waiting days or even weeks for appointments and that is forcing people to A&E in record numbers.

“People know from their own experience that the NHS is heading downhill under this Government.”

Ends

 Notes:

  • GP survey statistics – NHS England CCG Report (July 2014) see “Making an Appointment” sheet, column BN:  http://gp-survey-production.s3.amazonaws.com/archive/2014/July/weighted/July%202014%20CCG%20Report%20weighted.xls
  • Richard Wilson is available on richard@guildfordlabour.org or 01483 511272. He was selected by local party members as Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for 2015 last November. He is a 42-year-old airline pilot who has lived in Surrey for 14 years.
  • The figures above are for Guildford and Waverley CCG. Guildford parliamentary constituency covers nearly half of the CCG’s area. Most of the remainder is in South West Surrey parliamentary constituency, whose MP is Jeremy Hunt, the current Health Secretary.

 

 

photo_RW_-_Copy_460_vert.jpg

 

 

Richard Wilson

Parliamentary Candidate

Guildford Labour Party

Twitter | Facebook | Blog | Website | YouTube | Donate

 

Promoted by Alex Wilks on behalf of Richard Wilson, both of 9b Martyr Road, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4LF

 

First Victory Declared in Battle to Reverse Councillors’ Pay Hikes


Press Statement from Richard Wilson, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Guildford

First Victory Declared in Battle to Reverse Councillors’ Pay Hikes

15 July 2014 – for immediate release

Labour activists in Surrey are today declaring a victory in their campaign to reverse the massive pay hikes which leading Conservative county councillors voted themselves. In May, the Tory majority group on the council voted to ignore their Independent Remuneration Panel and hike their own Special Responsibility Allowances. Later that month, Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Guildford, Richard Wilson, started a petition which thousands of residents have signed on Surrey County Council’s own website to reverse the hikes. Today, the council’s Leader, Cllr David Hodge, issued a personal statement at the start of the full council meeting where he complained about the public not understanding his position but agreed to reduce his and his deputy’s allowance to the level recommended by the IRP.

Richard Wilson said, “Thank you to everyone who signed my petition. We have forced Cllr Hodge into this U-turn against his will. We are declaring victory today but our victory is not yet complete so I ask people to continue signing my petition. I aim to reverse all of these pay hikes, not just the Leader’s and Deputy Leader’s 60% hikes.

“Until today, Hodge defended his 60% pay hike as the minimum necessary to do his job. If this is true, then surely he will now resign since his new lower allowance will not be enough. Hodge has been slammed by Conservative MPs, ministers and local parties. The public have spoken with one voice in supporting my campaign to reverse his ill-judged money-grab. His reputation has been irreparably damaged by this and I call on him to consider his position.”

Ends

Note 1. Leader, Cllr Hodge, will now receive an SRA of £35,548pa, up from £27,000 last year but less than the £43,000 he previously said was the minimum he could accept. This is on top of his councillor’s basic allowance of £12,418pa.

Note 2. Richard Wilson’s petition is here: http://petitions.surreycc.gov.uk/moneygrab/

Note 3. Richard Wilson is on 01483 511272

 

 

Richard Wilson

Parliamentary Candidate

Guildford Labour Party

Twitter | Facebook | Blog | Website | YouTube | Donate

 

Promoted by Alex Wilks on behalf of Richard Wilson, both of 9b Martyr Road, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4LF

My submission to Licensing Sub-committee on The Boileroom


Owner Dominique Frazer, Richard Wilson and Alex Wilks

Owner Dominique Frazer, Richard Wilson and Alex Wilks

Regular readers will be aware of the threat to The Boileroom, Guildford’s independent music and arts venue. It has been subjected to a review of its licence by (possibly) 2 nearby residents. After carefully researching the venue and the claims made against it, I decided to support the venue and write to Guildford Borough Council’s Licensing Team with my personal evidence.

You can read my submission here: Submission to Licensing sub-committee

If you would like to add your opinions, please email licensing@guildford.gov.uk

Click to enlarge to read the official notice

Click to enlarge to read the official notice

Letting Agent Fees


Recently I received an email from a local letting agent asking me to support his position that he should be allowed to continue to charge tenants administration fees. He said that Shelter, the housing charity, do not understand his point of view and charging tenants fees helps his business employ a number of staff.

I had to disappoint the letting agent because I believe that such fees are part of the reason that the accommodation market is broken in this country. Having healthy competitive markets is essential for a growing economy. Here is my reply:

Dear <redacted>,

I will not be supporting your position to allow letting agents to continue to charge tenants fees the way they do. I support Shelter’s campaign and I am pleased that this will form part of Labour’s manifesto for two main reasons: evidence I have personally encountered of unfair behaviour by letting agents and my belief that markets can benefit society but only if they are properly constituted to prevent abuse.

 

As a young graduate starting out on my career I was a tenant in the private rented sector for about ten years and paid large amounts in letting agent fees and had inexplicable sums deducted from deposits. Like most tenants, I had no choice, could not shop around between letting agents, and had no way of taking letting agents to court to recover my money.

 

I am pleased to hear that you believe you give tenants a good service. I have to inform you I have never encountered any private tenant who has told me they have received a service worth the money from any letting agent. Tenants say they feel exploited by letting agents. The industry has comprehensively lost the trust of tenants. I can understand why you would like to continue to charge tenants fees but your argument seems to be based solely on your own interests, not the tenants’.

 

The private rented accommodation market in broken. There are too many predatory market participants and money is extracted from the end customer without the healthy competition that a functioning market provides. While landlords can shop around for letting agents, tenants cannot. Therefore, tenants should not be paying the fees. Since you claim you are able to supply a competitive service, you should not be worried about customers (landlords) leaving you for other suppliers.

 

I do not agree with you that this will increase rents. Rents are set by landlords at the maximum level the market will sustain and this will continue to be the case.

 

In a functioning market, the customer must have choice. Currently, tenants only have the choice between paying letting agent fees to renew their lease or moving house. There is no market mechanism to hold these fees down. This has permitted the abusive behaviour by some letting agents which has made this new policy necessary.

 

Thank you again for getting in touch. I regret that we are not in agreement on this issue. You have my permission to place this email conversation in the public domain in any way you see fit. Would you be happy for me to do the same? Please contact me on this or any other issue in future.

 

Best regards,

 

Richard Wilson

Labour PPC Guildford

Promoted by Nick Trier on behalf of Richard Wilson, both of 9b Martyr Road, Guildford GU1 4LF

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