Tag Archives: David Cameron

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

 

 

 

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

 

Europe’s far right and why voting on 22 May matters


Fascism, racism and anti-Semitism are growing all across Europe. In French local elections recently the National Front made huge gains. In Greece the Golden Dawn draws support from inside police stations and not just from the occupants of the cells. Geert Wilders in the Netherlands “says what everyone is thinking” according to one of his supporters I spoke to. The True Finns, now known as The Finns Party, got 19% of the vote in 2011. Far right parties in Latvia and Poland are members of the same grouping in the European Parliament as the British Conservatives since David Cameron took his MEPs out of the more moderate EPP grouping. Some of these MEPs hold an annual commemoration of the Latvian Waffen SS of the Second World War.

Here in the UK, Ukip and Conservatives are pushing the same buttons, whipping up anti-foreigner sentiment, blaming economic austerity on immigrants and the vulnerable. Since 1945, Europe has been largely at peace because we have cooperated with each other. Increasingly now nationalism and xenophobia are returning.

On 22 May, the UK will elect its Members of the European Parliament by proportional representation. Every Labour vote will count, wherever it is cast. Now is the time to stand up against the rising fascism and racism. In a few years time it will be too late. I’ll be pulling out all the stops for this election. The general election is just over one year away. Next month’s election will be the most significant electoral event here this year. It is absolutely vital that all Labour supporters do everything they can over the next 5 and a bit weeks to ensure we elect as many Labour MEPs as possible to counter racism from the UK and the other 27 members of the EU.

Join me (and ‘like’ this) on the campaign trail and let’s make sure we leave it all on the field!

Be part of the Guildford Labour election campaign!

Be part of the Guildford Labour election campaign!

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.

Downgraded Chancellor Offers No Hope For The Future


Today, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, delivered his Autumn Statement and did nothing to address the cost of living crisis for working people. He crowed about the very recent figures showing that the 3-year period of flatlining has finally ended. He forgot to mention that in 2010 he promised to remove the deficit by next year and keep the country’s credit rating. In reality, the deficit is stuck and our credit rating has been downgraded twice.

As the BBC’s Robert Peston pointed out nearly all of the recovery is due to people saving less and borrowing more. This is storing up horrendous problems for the future but Osborne doesn’t care about that. He is a short-term, calculating politician.

He showed this by offering financial incentives for fracking companies. Here in Surrey, this would trash our countryside and only produce more carbon emissions to trash our climate too. Once the shale gas has been extracted and burnt, it is gone, forever. What does Osborne propose we do for energy then?

The main thrust behind the Conservative and LibDem economic policy is austerity. 80% of the deficit reduction planned for the years ahead is due to cuts. Social security will be cut even further. The Coalition is targeting the most vulnerable in society.

Their plan would make the British state the smallest it has been since 1948. I believe this is not what the British people want. We want a properly funded NHS and social care system. We want a high quality state education system and we want a social security system to look after us in hard times. This is where Cameron and Osborne and their ideologically right wing supporters are most out of touch with the British people.

PMQs: Ed Miliband challenged Cameron on A&E crisis


Last Wednesday, I was so pleased to hear Ed Miliband take on David Cameron about the waiting times crisis in Accident and Emergency wards across England. This is such a pressing threat for all of us, including here in Surrey. As usual, local radio broke this story before the mainstream national media. I was interviewed on BBC Surrey in their Guildford studios a couple of weeks ago about this (audio only):

More information is on this earlier blog post.

The fact is that there are 6,000 fewer nurses in the NHS since the election in 2010. Wherever the NHS or social care system is squeezed, the effects are felt in A&E.

The NHS 111 phone number which replaced NHS Direct is 46 cut-price contracts across the country where nurses have been replaced by computers and usually computer says, “Go to A&E.”

Social care for elderly people is being delivered in 15 minute slots by private contractors paying the minimum wage. Because of this the number of over 90-year olds arriving in A&E on a ‘blue light’ ambulance has increased by 66% over the last two years. These are our mums and dads and grandparents and they are being failed utterly by the Tory-LibDem policy of privatising and fragmenting the NHS, which nobody voted for. In fact, they promised in their manifesto that there would be NO top-down reorganisation of the NHS!

Last summer saw the first ever summer crisis in A&E. This winter could see the NHS reach breaking point. The Surrey Heath Labour Party is conducting a Community Survey to understand local people’s experience of the NHS and what they would like to see changed. You can fill it in here.

Here is a copy of the survey leaflet which is being delivered across Surrey Heath constituency at the moment.

NHS Survey winter 2013/14

There has been a great response already. The NHS is the country’s greatest achievement, don’t let Cameron destroy it!

Right wing press smear Ed Miliband’s late father


The most practical kind of politics is the politics of decency. – Theodore Roosevelt

In the last few days the Daily Mail newspaper has published articles and an editorial smearing Ralph Miliband, the late father of Labour leader Ed Miliband. They claim he “hated Britain” and was “evil”. In reality Ralph Miliband loved Britain and served in the Royal Navy during the war.

The Daily Mail complained about people not showing respect for the dead earlier this year. Now they smear a man who died 19 years ago.

These are the men who "hated Britain"

These are the men who “hated Britain”

In 1938, after Hitler had opened concentration camps in Nazi Germany, the Daily Mail was supporting fascists in Britain and Germany. The then proprietor, Lord Rothermere, the great grand father the Daily Mail’s current chairman, met with Hitler and publicly supported him up until just a few months before the start of the war.

The Mail’s attack on Ed Miliband by smearing his late father is an extraordinary new low for the right wing press. It makes me wonder what they will get up to in the next 18 months. Despicable though this is, the Tories know that negative, cynical campaigning works. David Cameron refused to condemn the Mail’s attacks and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt joined in today. It is clearly a coordinated attack and, it seems, the coordinator must be Australian Lynton Crosby, Cameron’s campaign supremo. This is going to get worse and worse in the run up to the general election.

Negative politics damages our country and its people. I’ve been subjected to personal abuse (like this and this and this), swearing, threats and even an assault by political opponents in Surrey Heath. The newspaper that said “Hurrah for the black shirts” would approve of these thugs too, no doubt. Social media is used as a weapon here by Tory councillors to abuse anyone who dares to question or analyse council policy. Local democracy is under threat too.

Ed Miliband has called for decency in British politics. This is much needed at every level. Heroes like Ralph Miliband fought to save our democracy, we mustn’t hand it over to unaccountable powers who smear and abuse. Let’s call them out whenever and wherever they cross the line.

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