Tag Archives: Guildford

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

 

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

Save the Boileroom!


Yesterday, along with community activist Alex Wilks, I had the chance to look round The Boileroom, a small independent music venue in Guildford which is threatened with closure. The owner, Dominique Frazer, introduced us to the dedicated staff and showed us how they try to live in harmony with their neighbours.

Owner Dominique Frazer, Richard Wilson and Alex Wilks

Owner Dominique Frazer, Richard Wilson and Alex Wilks

I had heard about the threat to The Boileroom from friends on Facebook and through the local newspaper’s website. There is a massively popular petition to keep the venue open.

There are no other venues in Guildford, and very few in the South East, which provide opportunities for local aspiring independent musicians to develop their talent and play alongside more established acts. The Boileroom pays local bands to perform and is credited by the Musicians’ Union as being a vital part of the live music industry. The Boileroom is hosting the launch event for the Guildford Fringe next week. They put on events for schools, train future music industry staff and succeed despite their more commercial rivals receiving public money as subsidies. They have even won an award from the Noise Abatement Society!

Unfortunately, new neighbours arrived in the next-door house about 18 months ago and they are having a speculative attempt at closing the venue down.

One of the reasons given is that they are disturbed by noise from the venue. We had a demonstration of the sound-proofing yesterday. Inside, some very loud music was played on the speakers. We went outside, through heavy double-doors and it was almost inaudible right outside the door. In fact, the traffic on York Road is far louder and sometimes we had to wait for it to die down to be heard when talking. These doors do not allow enough sound through to be a nuisance. There is a locking system which prevents one door opening until the other one is closed, therefore it is impossible for both double-doors to be open at the same time. It was suggested to me that perhaps windows might be opened if it was too hot inside. However, none of the windows in the noise-protected part of the building open and there is powerful air conditioning so that is not necessary.

The list of alleged breaches of the licence seems to comprise smears and unprovable anecdotes. The suggestions of harm to children are totally made up. The complainants claim that there have been “allegations” that the venue was overcapacity when running an event for schoolchildren. There were no such allegations. Also, the claim that parents have difficulty crossing the road is untrue and the local school confirm this.

Unfortunately, the people who have made the complaint against The Boileroom may have committed an offence by knowingly supplying false information. The Licensing Act allows for high fines to be levied on complainants if they are not honest.

Click to enlarge to read the official notice

Click to enlarge to read the official notice

The Boileroom is a valued community hub. I spoke to a passing neighbour when we were outside on the pavement. He confirmed that Dominique and her team do everything possible to live in harmony with nearby residents. The huge number of signatures collected on their petition already shows what a strong following they have. It is a shame that the local LibDem councillor has not taken up the invitation, like we did, to look round the venue and see what a fantastic asset it is to the community.

It is very disappointing that selfish neighbours can launch this speculative application to review the licence and cause so much heart-ache to so many people. Regular readers of this blog will be reminded of the fight to gain planning permission for the Terry Jayne School of Dance in Lightwater. The Taleban try to stamp out singing and music, let’s stand up against their equivalent in Guildford!

Save the Boileroom!

Enjoy Royal Ascot but don’t get caught short!


The final day of this year’s Royal Ascot race meeting is tomorrow. If you are planning to travel there by train from Guildford via Aldershot there is something you might want to know about:

South West Trains have replaced the usual rolling stock with sub-standard, old, worn-out carriages with no toilets! Private Train Operating Company, SWT say they recognise the need for toilet facilities on the 62 minute journey but they haven’t invested in new trains fast enough.

Travellers in Surrey are used to being forced to settle for second best, on the roads, rails and cycle routes, but this move is degrading for passengers. People tell me they work hard for a living and a trip to the races on Saturday is a small treat that they deserve. Now, the journey home could ruin the whole day. I won’t spell out what the lack of toilet facilities could mean in terms of discomfort and embarrassment.

Come on, South West Trains, if you don’t want to be known as Sub Standard Trains, give us our usual trains back!

SWT

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

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