Author: Craig Stanley

Government Cancels Chancellor’s Budget Starving Local Public Services of New Cash

The Government has announced that it has cancelled the Chancellor’s November budget. Over the past decade of austerity the Conservative Party has starved local public services of cash and has consistently made a political choice to cut hardest the funding to cities, urban areas and the poorest parts of the country. 

The chronic underfunding of local council services, like care for the elderly, housing, and youth provision continues. The people of Nottingham have been hit hard by Conservative cuts. Compared to 2013 Government funding for local public services has fallen by £101 million per year. At the same time local schools in Nottingham have lost out on £71million, which equates to £496 per child. We’ve lost many hundreds of Police officers to Government funding cuts and community policing teams across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire have been devastated. 

In his latest Spending Review, Conservative Chancellor Sajid Javid again raided the pockets of local council tax payers. He announced that £500million would be added to council tax bills nationally to stop councils going bankrupt, such has been the scale of Tory cuts.

While the Conservatives continue to be obsessed only with Brexit it seems that our towns and cities have yet again been forgotten. With the cancellation of the Chancellor’s budget and no end in sight of Tory austerity councils up and down the country will have no choice but to reduce local services even further. Faced with huge funding gaps to the tune of billions of pounds nationally, Council tax payers will once again find themselves paying more, for less.

Cllr Sam Webster,
Portfolio Holder for Finance
Nottingham City Council

Sherwood Kids lose £520,000 in Tory School Cuts

Sherwood Kids lose £520,000 in Tory School Cuts

Sherwood School Cuts

Under new government proposals, Nottingham schools are set to lose over £22 million by 2020, whilst schools in some of the wealthiest areas of England are set to gain.

In Sherwood, schools are set to see funding reduced by over £520,000, an average of £467 less per pupil.

That is why Nottingham Labour is against the proposed cuts and asked parents to take part in a consultation. The results were forwarded to the Government. Over 4500 parents told us that they thought the cuts were unfair and would be damaging to their child’s education.

In Sherwood, Labour Councillors spoke with parents and encouraged them to take part in consultations.

Your Nottingham Labour Councillors will continue to fight to stop Conservative cuts and ensure that Nottingham children receive the good standard of education they deserve.

Nottingham Labour Councillors and MP’s have written to the Department for Education expressing the views of parents and opposing cuts. Sherwood Councillors will continue to campaign against these cuts and fight for additional funding in Sherwood schools.

Portfolio Holder for Education, Employment and Skills, Councillor Sam Webster said, “These budget cuts will mean cuts to important aspects of school life. Faced with reducing funds, schools in Nottingham will have to reduce services.

And it’s the added enrichment – the out of normal hours services, the holiday clubs, the breakfast clubs, the trips to broaden the horizons of our children, the reading sessions for parents, the extra-curricular sports, culture and arts activities – that I fear will be first to go.”

Nottingham Labour Committed to a Green Future

Nottingham Labour has all the right policies in place for our green future, such as the Nottingham Community Climate Change Strategy 2012-2020 and our commitments to Climate Local, the Nottingham Declaration, UK100 and a pledge to end fuel poverty.

We have a lot of programmes underway with existing funding.

  • Through Salix interest-free loans we have spent over £2m on energy efficiency on our buildings  since 2009, saving  £500, 000 a year and 4.5T of CO2.
  • We have used Government funding (HNDU) to pay for various feasibility and mapping studies to look at projects to expand or make more efficient the district heating scheme that should progress in the next few months.
  • Horizon 2020 (EU) funding has triggered the REMOURBAN programme of smart cities measures including deep retrofits (energy efficiency, generation, and storage) of 366 homes worth £5.5m (about 50% matched by tenants’ money).
  • The Big Six ECO scheme has enabled around 6000 homes to be fitted with external wall insulation – about 4000 social houses and 2000 private.  Match funding came from the rent account and Green Deal for Communities Fund.
  • We used Feed In Tariffs to fit 4000 homes with solar panels before the tariff dropped dramatically.
  • We have an Ultra Low Emission Vehicles programme (Government funding) for £6m of work on electric buses, rolling out electric car chargers, and helping businesses to switch fleet to electric.

But many of these funding streams have been stopped, reduced or will be withdrawn.

What we now need are clear proposals from Government on future funding.  We can make most schemes work, and would not invest unless we make a long-term saving, but we need certainty and stability of schemes.

It takes time to train a workforce in some of these skills (fitting solar panels, installing solid wall insulation and so on), and so many young people, nationwide, have been let down by training in a skill that is still needed but that people can no longer afford.

Our next set of schemes is ready, we can flex our priorities to meet Government targets, but we must ask what are their priorities now?

Our priorities are clear.  We want to lift residents out of fuel poverty when the figures are moving relentlessly the other way.  We want to attract whatever funding is available.  We want to engage with local communities.

Will there be energy proposals from Phillip Hammond in his Spring Budget?  I wonder.

Councillor Alan Clark, Portfolio Holder for Energy and Sustainability

Nottingham Works – Helping Young People into Employment and Training

Over the past year, Nottingham Works has helped hundreds of young people into work or training places. The programme, that is funded in partnership between Nottingham City Council and the European Union, provides mentoring for 18-29 year olds who are unemployed, Traineeships for 16-24 year olds and general careers support and guidance. The scheme also offers financial support to employers who create jobs for young people.

Nottingham Labour made a manifesto commitment in 2015 to guarantee a job, training place or further education place for every 18-24 year old in the city; that is why Nottingham City Council and Labour Councillors secured the £6.9 million in EU funding to make this project possible.

The scheme is designed to help young people, who are at risk of social exclusion, into work. Last year alone the scheme supported;

  • 550 people into the Intensive Careers Support programme

 

  • 124 people into Traineeship’s

 

  • 50 people into Nottingham North Traineeship’s

 

  • 199 people into the Step into Work programme

 

  • 30 employers through the Nottingham Jobs Fund Plus

In addition to supporting projects such as Nottingham Works, Nottingham Labour has helped to ensure that all entry level jobs and training places at Nottingham City Council are only available for city residents.

If you would like more information or to see what support is available to you, please visit the Nottingham Jobs or Nottingham City Council website.

Councillor Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Education, Employment and Skills.

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day – Wednesday the 8th of March 2017

It’s a shocking statistic that, on average, two women every week are killed by their partner or ex-partner, and that 1 in 4 women will experience Domestic Violence (DV) in their lifetimes.   Sadly these figures haven’t changed for decades.  

We also learn this week that Nottinghamshire’s Police Force was rated ‘Inadequate’ in the way it identified and responded to vulnerable victims, with women reporting Domestic Violence highlighted as a concern.  They say they have already taken steps to address this.

Nottingham Labour has promised to cut the number of victims of crime by a fifth in the City.  Because of this we have made sure that Nottingham City Council support services for those experiencing Domestic Violence, such as Women’s Refuges, have been protected from cuts.  This is despite the £82M cut in funding handed down by the Tory Government over the last four years.

Progress made – more to be done

So although International Women’s Day is partly a celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, the day also marks a call to action for improving the lives of women.

I’m proud of what the Labour Party achieved between 1997 and 2010 to help women dealing with Domestic Violence;

  • ‘Go’ orders, to remove a perpetrator from a property for 14-28 days.
  • specialist teams of Prosecutors to handle DV cases
  • IDVAs, Independent Domestic Violence Advocates to help women through the courts process.

Attitudes have changed so much that even the Tories have started to recognize the scale of the problem.  They’ve introduced;

  • Making controlling behavior and emotional abuse a crime
  • Stopping violent partners from cross-examining their victims in the family courts
  • More funding for women with complex needs, such as alcohol and drug dependence, for which Nottingham has received an extra £100,000.

And I cheered last week when the Labour policy of Compulsory Sex and Relationship Education was announced.  This will be introduced in all schools in England and will teach children a greater understanding of safe, respectful and healthy relationships.

The Women’s Quilt 

I’ve spent many hours over the last few months sewing patches for The Women’s Quilt.  The Quilt is made up of patchwork squares, each one containing the name of a woman killed by a partner or ex-partner between 2009 and 2015 – 598 squares.  The Quilt is being launched in the House of Commons at 11.30am today, International Women’s Day, just before Chancellor Philip Hammond announces his budget.  I hope it will soon be displayed in Nottingham.

The Quilt currently measures 3 metres by 3 metres square.  On International Women’s Day, although I have hope for the future, I still ask the question ‘How much bigger will the Quilt have to grow?’

 

If you are experience Domestic Abuse or Violence, or know someone who is, please call the 24 hour Helpline for help and advice.  0808 800 0340 – and 0341 for text phone with Language Line.

IF YOU OR A FRIEND IS IN DANGER PLEASE DON’T HESITATE TO CALL 999.

Councillor Linda Woodings