Category Archives: Press Releases

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

Infants in Over-crowded Classes Soar In Surrey by 122%


Press Statement from Richard Wilson, Labour Parliamentary Candidate, Guildford
13 June 2014 – For immediate release

The number of infants in large classes of over 30 pupils has increased by 951 in Surrey since 2010.

In January 2010 there were 779 infant pupils in large classes and the figure is now 1,730, an increase of 122%.

Richard Wilson, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Guildford, said, “Over-crowded infant classes pose a real threat to children’s education and wellbeing. As the son of two teachers, I know the additional pressures that large class sizes place on teachers too.”
Before the General Election, David Cameron promised “small schools with smaller class sizes”.
But the new figures released on Thursday 12 June show it’s a promise they have failed to deliver.
Richard Wilson said: “Conservative Surrey County Council is failing pupils and parents. Infant class sizes are soaring and there is a shortage of school places for all ages. Local parents tell me that they cannot get places for their children in their preferred, nearby, state schools because the council has failed to provide enough places. This is a crisis for the families affected who will now face difficult school runs every day. This comes as leading councillors award themselves 60% pay hikes.

“Surrey has a critical shortage of school places while millions are being wasted elsewhere in the South East on Free Schools where there is a surplus of places. A future Labour Government will prioritise new school places in areas where there are shortages, have rigorous local oversight of schools and ensure that all teachers have or are working towards qualified teacher status.”

ENDS.

Government statistics from 2010 (see Table 14b) https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/218954/local_20authority_20tables_20sfr092010.xls

Government statistics from 2014 (see Table 11) https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/319510/SFR15_2014_LA_tables.xlsx
Number of infants in large classes (over 30)

Jan-10
Jan-14
Difference 2010-14
% change 2010-14
SOUTH EAST (4)
4,980
12,710
7,730
155%
Bracknell Forest
62
62
0
0%
Brighton and Hove
62
155
93
150%
Buckinghamshire
529
745
216
41%
East Sussex
562
1,094
532
95%
Hampshire
528
1,707
1,179
223%
Isle of Wight
65
187
122
188%
Kent
816
2,718
1,902
233%
Medway
62
319
257
415%
Milton Keynes
284
217
-67
-24%
Oxfordshire
186
563
377
203%
Portsmouth
62
217
155
250%
Reading
31
0
-31
-100%
Slough
126
186
60
48%
Southampton
124
219
95
77%
Surrey
779
1,730
951
122%
West Berkshire
190
282
92
48%
West Sussex
383
1,747
1,364
356%
Windsor and Maidenhead
128
282
154
120%
Wokingham
0
279
279

In their 2010 manifesto, the Conservative Party promised to create “small schools with smaller class sizes”.
A Conservative government will give many more children access to the kind of education that is currently only available to the well-off: safe classrooms, talented and specialist teachers, access to the best curriculum and exams, and smaller schools with smaller class sizes with teachers who know the children’s names.
Conservative Party Manifesto 2010, p. 51
David Cameron said in 2008 that it was “important to have small schools” so that children don’t “get lost”:
“…the more we can get class sizes down the better. It is also important to have small schools. Some schools have got so big that the children get lost in them. …What I want most in a primary school is one where the headteacher knows my child’s name and they’re not part of some enormous mass. You want your child to go somewhere where they can feel warm and safe and loved and identified.”
David Cameron, Yorkshire Post Q&A, 18 April 2008
David Cameron has created a crisis in primary school places. Two-thirds of all the places created by the Free School programme (aggregate figure for both primary and secondary) are not in the areas most in need of primary places.
NAO, Establishing Free Schools, 11 December 2013, http://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/10314-001-Free-Schools-Book.pdf
Last month, it was revealed that Michael Gove had diverted £400 million away from areas in need of new primary places to fund his Free School programme.
The Guardian, 10 May 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/may/10/gove-lunatic-raid-free-schools
In 2012 Michael Gove relaxed the rules on class sizes and the 30 pupil limit introduced by Labour.
“Schools can breach the limit in exceptional circumstances for 12 months on the proviso that numbers are brought down the following year.
But that requirement has now disappeared from the School Admissions (Infant Class Sizes) Regulations – quietly introduced a year ago – in a move that gives heads more freedom to maintain 30-plus lessons for a number of years without having to employ more teachers.
School leaders have admitted that growing numbers of heads were preparing to take advantage of the rule change to increase class sizes.”
Telegraph, 7 April 2013, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/9969834/More-infants-to-be-taught-in-supersized-classes.html

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

Parliamentary Candidate’s Reaction to European Election Results


Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate Reacts to Election Results

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

26 May 2014 – for immediate release

Labour had strong results in the European Parliament election in Guildford, the South East and Great Britain generally. In Guildford, Labour achieved 4,004 votes, 10.4% [note 1]. This is more than double the vote share achieved at the 2010 general election.

Across the South East, Labour took 15%, up from 8% in 2009, the last European election [note 2]. The vagaries of the d’Hondt system of proportional representation mean that although Labour nearly doubled the LibDem vote it wasn’t quite enough to gain another MEP in this region.

In the country as a whole (before Scotland has declared) Labour took 25.4% up by nearly 10 percentage points since 2009. There will be 20 UK Labour MEPs in Brussels for the next 5 years, up from 13.

Labour’s 2015 parliamentary candidate for Guildford, Richard Wilson, reacted to the result: “I am so pleased that Labour’s Anneliese Dodds has been elected as a Member of the European Parliament to represent this region. Anneliese has been a regular visitor to Guildford and joined us on the High Street, on doorsteps and at the University [note 3] to speak to voters face-to-face. She is a firm favourite with party volunteers and members of the public in Guildford. We are very lucky to have such a hard-working and talented new MEP.”

Guildford Labour Party members have been knocking on doors for months to hear voters’ concerns and explain Labour policies. Thousands of leaflets were delivered by volunteers, Labour did not need to employ people to do this.

Richard Wilson continued, “On behalf of the Labour Party I would like to thank the staff of Guildford and Waverley Borough Councils for conducting the election with their usual diligence. Also, I am extremely grateful to the Labour supporters who gave up their free time to help by knocking on doors, delivering leaflets or telephoning voters. We have a great team of volunteers here and our efforts are starting to bear fruit.

“Most of all, I would like to thank the voters who cast their vote in this election for Labour. Unlike the Conservatives, Labour has representation in the European Parliament from every region of Great Britain. We have been out on the streets of Guildford taking the pulse of public opinion. People will no longer blindly vote Tory here. LibDem voters are almost impossible to find and frequently people are persuaded not to vote Ukip when they hear about their policies, such as abolishing the NHS and legalising hand guns.

“Labour fought a policy-rich election which resonated with voters. We pledged to restore the right to see a GP within 48 hours, raise the minimum wage and protect tenants. Across the UK our party is reconnecting with voters conversation by conversation, doorstep by doorstep, street by street. Nationally, we have knocked on 7 million doors in this campaign. And, even though Ukip and the Tories have outspent us with seven-figure sums, Labour had more activists out on polling day than all the other parties combined.”

Ends

Note 1: Guildford declaration here http://www.guildford.gov.uk/media/17043/European-election-results—Guildford/pdf/European_Election_Results_2014_Final.pdf

Note 2: BBC News http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/politics/eu-regions/E15000008

Note 3: Anneliese Dodds and Richard Wilson launched the Growing Knowledge report in Guildford http://www.guildfordlabour.org/eu-money-supports-scientific-research-in-guildford

Note 4: Richard Wilson is available at Richard@guildfordlabour.org or on 01483 511272.

Note 5: South East Labour Party regional press office is on 0118 923 9402 / 07941 425 421

 

Parliamentary candidate Richard Wilson with Anneliese Dodds MEP in front of the statue of Alan Turing at the University of Surrey

Parliamentary candidate Richard Wilson with Anneliese Dodds MEP in front of the statue of Alan Turing at the University of Surrey

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

Press Statement – Surrey Council Pay Hike Petition


Press Statement from Richard Wilson, Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, Guildford

19 May 2014 – for immediate release

Petition Launched to Reverse Councillors’ Pay Hike

A petition has been launched on Surrey County Council’s own website to force leading councillors to return the massive allowances they recently voted themselves.[note 1]

The entire Independent Remuneration Panel resigned after the Conservative majority group on the Council ignored its recommendations and forced through huge rises for its appointment holders [note 2]. For example, the Deputy Leader’s special allowance was increased by 60% and he now collects nearly £44,000 per year in allowances.

There was a public outcry at the scale and audacity of the rises. The Council has come under fierce criticism about the deteriorating state of Surrey’s roads, despite Conservative council candidates at the last election pledging to fix potholes. The public feels powerless to stop councillors from enriching themselves and to force them to fix our roads.

However, this could be about to change. Under the council’s own rules Surrey residents can set up a petition on its website and Richard Wilson [note 3] has done just that. The petition calls on councillors to “return the massive unacceptable pay rises awarded to leading councillors”. There is nothing the council can do to remove the petition.

Richard Wilson explained, “Like many people, I felt enraged by the blatant abuse of power by councillors who voted themselves huge pay rises. This petition is an ideal method for angry Surrey Council Tax payers to express how they feel. When I set up the petition I had a short negotiation with the council’s staff to make sure it complies with their rules. I was happy to remove all references to names of political parties from it because this is not a party political issue. I am not trying to make political capital from this petition. In fact, I have written to all the councillors who opposed the pay hike to invite them to sign the petition. To show this is a cross-party issue I have also invited my Ukip and LibDem opponents to show they oppose it too. I would like to thank the Ukip parliamentary candidate for signing the petition so quickly.” [note 4]

Richard Wilson added, “Surrey County Council recently voted not to pay all its employees a Living Wage. I was in the public gallery when the Conservative Leader, Cllr Hodge, angrily dismissed the idea of giving employees dignity by permitting them to feed, clothe and house their families from their own pay packet as being unaffordable. Now those very workers will be paying increased Council Tax to finance fat cat Tory councillors. By ignoring independent advice and grabbing this much taxpayers’ money for himself and his appointees he has shown he is totally out of touch with the electorate. I call on Cllr Hodge to return the allowances to the previous level and consider his position on the council.”

After being open for about 2 days the petition already has nearly 100 signatures and is one of the most popular petitions on the council’s website. Anyone can sign the petition but signatures only count when confirmed by clicking on the emailed link which is automatically sent out and usually goes to the “junk” folder.

Ends

Note 1: The petition can be found here http://petitions.surreycc.gov.uk/moneygrab/

Note 2: From the BBC website http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-surrey-27398200

Note 3: Richard Wilson’s blog gives more biographical information http://wilsonrichard.com/about/ and he can be reached on Richard@guildfordlabour.org or 01483 511272.

Note 4: The UKIP candidate’s tweet of support is here:

 

photo RW

 

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

 

 

Rail Fares Petition


Rail Price Hikes Petition To Launch in the SE – news from Labour.

Labour’s parliamentary candidates and councillors will launch a petition on Monday 6th January calling for a tough cap on rail fare rises on all routes.

Across the region in Berkshire, Hampshire, Buckinghamshire, West Sussex, Surrey, East Sussex and Kent, Labour’s General Election candidates and campaigners will take the petition to railway stations.

Under David Cameron there have been four years of inflation busting rail-fare hikes with ticket prices up 20% since 2010.
This year train tickets will increase by an average of 3.1% outside of Greater London, in Reading tickets to London will increase by 3.2% while in Deal and Dover passengers will have to pay £5,012 a year, up from £4,864.

Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Mary Creagh, will be in Dover and Deal on Monday to meet commuters and to hear their concerns.

Gordon Marsden, Labour’s Shadow Transport Minister, will be in Crawley with Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate Chris Oxlade to meet commuters during the morning rush hour at Three Bridges station.

Mary Creagh said:”David Cameron’s cost-of-living crisis continues as fares rise this week by up to five per cent, while season tickets have gone up by twenty per cent under this Government, costing hard-working commuters hundreds of pounds.

“Over the last three years David Cameron has failed to stand up for working people, allowing train companies to hit passengers with inflation-busting fare rises of up to nine per cent.”

Some of the campaign activity in your area on Monday 6 January:

Kent:
Dover PrioryStation, Dover, at 7.30am.
Labour’s parliamentary candidate Clair Hawkins and campaigners will be on hand with their petition.
Deal Station, Deal, at 1.15pm.
Mary Creagh and Clair Hawkins will meet passengers after holding an HS1 Lobby event.
Chatham Train Station, Chatham, ME4 6PN, from 07.00am.
Cancelled and likely to be at Rochester now.

West Sussex:
Three Bridges Station, Crawley, West Sussex, from 8am – 11am.
Chris Oxlade and Gordon Marsden will be meeting commuters.

East Sussex:
In Brighton & Hove the local teams will launch the petition at:
Falmer Station, Station Approach, BN1 9PU, 9 to 10am
Preston Park Station, Clermont Road, BN1 6SG, 7:30 to 9am
At the Clermont Road/Station Road entrance.
Hove Station, Goldstone Villas, Hove, from 8 to 9am

Surrey:
Guildford Station, Guildford from 08.30am.
Labour’s parliamentary candidate Richard Wilson will be gathering signatures with some of the local Labour team.

Buckinghamshire:
Milton Keynes Central Station and Bletchley Station, from 7.30am
Andrew Pakes and the local campaigners will be on hand to meet commuters.

Berkshire:
Tilehurst Station, Reading, from 07.15am.
Victoria Groulef and councillors will be at the station asking commuters to sign the petition.

Hampshire:
Southampton Central Station, Southampton, during the rush hour.
Rowenna Davis and John Denham MP will be at the station with the petition.

Labour’s Top Euro Candidate Highlights EU Exit Risk in Surrey Heath


Press Statement – Labour’s Top Euro Candidate Highlights EU Exit Risk in Surrey Heath

 
Press Statement – 26 November 2013 – For immediate release
 
Today, 26 November 2013, Labour’s top-ranked European election candidate [note 1], Anneliese Dodds [note 2], visited the Siemens site in Frimley to highlight the damage that would be done to the Surrey economy if the UK left the EU. Last week, Juergen Maier, the Managing Director of Siemens UK said that this would be “disastrous” for British manufacturers [note 3].
 
Siemens employs 13,000 workers in the UK, including 1,000 at its site in Frimley. It has been in the UK for 170 years but Mr Maier said that if Britain left the EU it would be “quite difficult for me to continue to invest in these factories.”
 
After visiting the Frimley site, Anneliese Dodds said, “I’m very grateful to Managing Director of Siemens Healthcare, Peter Harrison for meeting with us at such short notice.  He explained the danger of the ambiguity created by having an EU exit referendum hanging over the country. We need high quality manufacturing jobs here in Surrey and across the South East. We should be encouraging more of these kinds of jobs here. Instead we are creating uncertainty which is harmful to businesses like Siemens looking to make long term multi-billion pound investment decisions.”
 
Accompanying Anneliese Dodds was local community activist and Labour Party member, Richard Wilson [note 4]. He said, “Many local people work at Siemens and if Britain left the EU they could face losing their jobs. David Cameron’s weak leadership and pandering to the eurosceptic right by threatening to leave the EU in 2017 has already damaged investment in Britain. Good employers like Siemens need to be able to plan ahead and the risk of us leaving the EU will be giving them pause for thought. This can only harm the prospects of their workforce in the UK, including here in Surrey.”
 
Ends
 
Note 1. The election to the European Parliament will take place on 22 May 2014. It is proportional representation using the party list system. There are 10 MEPs in the South East of England.
 
Note 2. For more information about Dr Anneliese Dodds: www.anneliesedodds.org.uk or on Twitter @AnnelieseDodds
 
Note 3. This was reported in the Sunday Times here: www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/business/Economy/article1344195.ece and mentioned on Mr Maier’s Twitter account @Juergen_Maier
 
Note 4. For more information about this press statement, or for photographs taken during the visit, contact Richard Wilson on 07939 273229 or 01276 479658 or richard_wilson@hotmail.com Richard Wilson’s details are here http://wilsonrichard.com/about/

Freedom of Information Act Reveals Shocking Increase in Waiting Times at Frimley Park Hospital


Press Statement 15 October 2013 – For Immediate Release

 

Freedom of Information Act Reveals Shocking Increase in Waiting Times at Frimley Park Hospital

 

A recent Freedom of Information Act request [see note 1] has revealed that waiting times at Frimley Park Hospital’s A&E department have shot up since the general election. The request was made by well-known local NHS campaigner Richard Wilson [see note 2].

 

The data supplied by Frimley Park Hospital Trust shows that in some months before the election as few as 1% of patients had to wait over 4 hours, compared with as many as 6.7% this year. Also, the typical waiting time before 2010 was often less than 2 hours. By 2013 most people were waiting over 3 hours in many months, an increase of over 50%.

 

Richard Wilson said, “The whole of the country is suffering a crisis in A&E and Surrey Heath is no exception, as this information from Frimley Park Hospital shows. This is a direct result of government policy. The Tory-LibDem Coalition have conducted a massive top-down reorganisation of the NHS. They are allowing ‘any willing provider’ to bid for NHS contracts. This is fragmenting and privatising the NHS which is Britain’s best-loved institution.”

 

On the situation in Surrey Heath, Richard Wilson said, “In Surrey Heath some doctors’ surgeries still use premium phone numbers despite this being banned in the NHS. This deters people from visiting their GP and makes it more likely they will have to use A&E. The out-of-hours GP service and NHS 111 phone number, which are both contracted out, cannot cope. Frimley Park Hospital is highly regarded by local people but, with these additional burdens, this winter could see its A&E department reach breaking point.”

 

Ends

 

Note 1: The data is available here: http://wilsonrichard.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/ae-wait-times.pdf

Note 2: Richard Wilson is a community activist living in Windlesham. He is 41 years old and works as an airline pilot. He was the Labour Party candidate for Bagshot, Windlesham & Chobham division of Surrey County Council on 2 May 2013. More information is here http://wilsonrichard.com/about/ or on 01276 479658 or 07939 273229 or richard_wilson@hotmail.com or on Twitter @windleshamrich

Local Campaigner Challenges Michael Gove on ‘Gagging Bill’


Press Statement – For Immediate Release

 

Local Campaigner Challenges Michael Gove on ‘Gagging Bill’

 

Well-known local community campaigner, Richard Wilson, challenged top debater and Conservative MP, Michael Gove, to defend the so-called Gagging Bill [see Note 1] which is being rushed through Parliament at the moment [see Note 2]. In a 20 minute meeting on 4 October the two men debated the effect that the Bill will have on charities and non-party political groups including Oxfam, 38 Degrees, The Countryside Alliance, The Royal British Legion, anti-racist groups and even small village societies.[see Note 3]

 

The Bill proposes reducing the amount non-party campaigning groups can spend from 5% to 2% of the limit for political parties. Also, the threshold annual spending where groups will have to register with the Electoral Commission is being halved to £5,000. The non-party groups and charities will have to include staff time in their costs too, which political parties don’t.

 

Richard Wilson said, “This Bill will tie up small local groups in red tape if they attempt to campaign on important local issues which might crop up in a future election. For example, if a village society asked candidates to sign a charter to protect the Green Belt they would be influencing an election and therefore regulated by this unnecessary law. I explained to Michael Gove that people want to have their voices heard on issues which matter to them and this law would have a chilling effect on democracy. Mr Gove said that people could join political parties if they want to have their say. I believe he is out of touch to suggest this. Many people are cynical about political parties and want to campaign on individual issues which this Bill would prevent.”

 

He continued, “If this Bill is passed in its current form then the only people who will be allowed to comment on important issues in the year before an election will be the big political parties and big newspapers like the Daily Mail. After the smear stories in the Mail recently I think most people will not welcome this.”

 

The meeting ended with the pair disagreeing on the Bill but Mr Gove did agree to tell his cabinet colleague Andrew Lansley, the Leader of the House, that he had received a strong representation from a constituent opposing the Bill. Demonstrations are scheduled outside the Houses of Parliament next week when the Bill will be debated in the House of Commons.

 

Ends

 

Note 1: The Gagging Bill is short for the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill 2013-2014. Part 2 of the Bill concerns non-party campaign groups and charities.

Note 2: The Bill was announced at the start of the summer recess and has already reached Report stage on 8 & 9 October 2013.

Note 3: The meeting took place at Michael Gove’s constituency office in Windlesham.

 

Richard Wilson is a community activist living in Windlesham. He is 41 years old and works as an airline pilot. He was the Labour Party candidate for Bagshot, Windlesham & Chobham division of Surrey County Council on 2 May 2013. More information is here http://wilsonrichard.com/about/ or on 01276 479658 or 07939 273229 or richard_wilson@hotmail.com or on Twitter @windleshamrich

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