TOP

Burntwood’s Labour County Councillor calls on NHS Chief to make public their Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP)

17 November 2016

Dear Mr Stevens

On behalf of the Labour Group at Staffordshire County Council, I am calling for the immediate publication of the STP plans in order to engage the public in addressing the challenges faced by the Staffordshire care and health economy and to seek together, across the County, the most appropriate way forward.

The NHS in Staffordshire has suffered from chronic underfunding for many years.The pressure that this has caused, along with current increasing demands, such as, a rapidly ageing population, has been exacerbated by the failed NHS reorganisation (the Lansley reforms) which, in our view, further fragmented an already complex configuration of health commissioners and Trusts. The withdrawal of Government support for local authority funding , alongside the failures of the Better Care Fund proposals to shift resources from the NHS to local authorities, have led to further cuts to funding of public health and early intervention/preventative services, the very means by which future demands might be better managed.

The residents of Staffordshire deserve some honesty about the current financial situation both in the NHS and in local councils within our County. Communications regarding the STP should be frank and open and Labour would welcome a cross-party commitment to securing the necessary resources to effect any required changes.

We believe that it is imperative that the community-based and social care services commissioned by the County Council must be in place before the loss of hospital services and that there should be a greater focus on expanding primary care, including mental health services.

This will need clear and decisive leadership. Local authorities across the country have a proven track record of transforming services and we, therefore. call upon  politicians of all parties to take a firm and visible leadership role working with the NHS to address the historic, current and potential future problems within our health economy.

Health and care services in Staffordshire are under huge threat at this time. The STP could present an opportunity to transform them so that they meet the health and care needs of our residents now and for the future. It is time for politicians of all parties to face up to these problems and commit to working together to address them.

Yours sincerely,

SueSerious

Councillor Susan Woodward

Leader of the Staffordshire County Labour Group

 

 

Read More
TOP

County Council votes down support for Staffordshire women hit by changes to state pension age

Labour councillors at Staffordshire County Council were hoping to get support for women disadvantaged by changes in the State Pension Age – but have been voted down by the controlling Conservative Group.

Women have been given as little as one year’s notice of up to a six year increase to their State Pension Age (SPA). This shocking fact was revealed to Staffordshire County Councillors during the debate at the 13th October Council meeting on a Labour motion calling on the Government to reconsider the inadequate transitional pension arrangements for women born on or after 6 April 1951.

Labour councillors have called on the Government to take action to save several hundred thousand women born in the 1950′s from severe hardship after they had their retirement plans shattered. From the 1940′s until April 2010, the SPA was 60 for women and 65 for men. An increase in the SPA for women to 65, phased in between April 2010 and 2020, was included in the Pensions Act 1995. But in 2011 the Conservative led Coalition Government pushed through a speeding up of this timetable so that women’s SPA will instead increase to 65 between April 2016 and November 2018 followed by a further increase to 66 by October 2020. However, women were not notified of these changes leaving no time for them to make plans for the future.

No support from the Tories for Staffordshire women caught out by their government.

Cllr Sheree Peaple, moving the motion to Council said:  “Women through no fault of their own are facing a future of poverty because of an accident of their date of birth. They have to wait several years longer to get their state pension. Already disadvantaged by pay inequality or because they stayed at home to look after children rather than work, these women were given little or no warning of these changes to their SPA.”

SueSeriousCllr Sue Woodward, Leader of the Opposition and Labour Group, said:  “We were simply asking the Council to support women across the County who find themselves hugely disadvantaged by the pension changes, without having been told about the changes early enough. Many Councils have given their support to the WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) campaign, including Conservative Councils, so I was shocked and disappointed that the controlling group voted this down.

Frankly, they showed contempt for the issue and the women affected, as well as their family and friends. They had clearly failed to do their homework on the subject, showed minimal understanding of it and its impacts.”

This week, On Tuesday 11 October 2016, 198 public petitions were presented and read in the Chamber by 87 MPs, representing 198 constituencies. There are over 100 WASPI campaign groups across the UK, including in Staffordshire.

Cllr Woodward added: “There is a now groundswell of cross-party support across the country for the WASPI campaign but, sadly, the Tories at the County Council put themselves on the wrong side of a subject which is close to the heart of many Staffordshire residents.”

21st Century – not welcome here!

Image result for victorian mps

Watch Conservative members David Brookes (2:21 minutes in) and John Francis (2:32 minutes in) and see if you can work out which century they are from on the webcast here!  And remember this is a council that thinks it is really the House of Commons with its “Select Committees” instead of Scrutiny Committees and references by the Chairman to “This side of the House” instead of the Council Chamber.

Oh and the controlling group doesn’t think they should be called “Councillors” in the Council Chamber (!) as it demeans them – but Mr or Mrs.

22.10.16

Read More
TOP

A year in the life of the “New” Conservatives on Burntwood Town Council

                                        2015

June
  • They waste no time in wasting £1,500 on rejoining the Staffordshire Parish Council’s Association that the Council had previously decided was “not value for money”.
  • Burntwood Town Council leader Cllr Richard Mosson said: “It is essential that the residents of Burntwood are able to come  and talk to us directly about any issues or concerns that may effect [sic] them.”  [See May 2016]
July

Titanic

  • The first of many changes to their representatives is proposed in a desperate attempt to find members up to the job on the committee their Leader appointed them to.

Deckchairs come to mind.

 

August
  • The New Conservatives “… confirmed that there was not an urgent rush” to progress the Burntwood Neighbourhood Plan.
September

Confidential

  • An email from the Conservative Leader of the Town Council reveals his plan to use the proposed “Town Deal” (see November) for party political purposes is accidentally sent to Labour Councillor Sue Woodward.

 

 

October
  • Burntwood’s New Conservatives (and their MP of course) stay silent over the £1.3 million cut in funding for vulnerable people in Lichfield and Burntwood.
November
  • The Town Council’s Leader admits playing Party Politics when his email is made public about the Town Deal.
December
  • The Town Council’s Leader says publicly that the Town Deal would be “a distraction” to the anger of his old Conservative colleagues at the District and County Councils who have worked with Labour representatives on the Town Council for some years.

Shed

  • A new shed is discovered at the Old Mining College purchased by the Town Council – the only new initiative used in response to a question from the Opposition Leader.
  • The Conservative Leader admits that they were “..  a little slow out of the blocks with the Neighbourhood Plan”.

 

                   2016

January
  • The Conservatives propose to change the name of the Old Mining College centre to The Burntwood Town Hall.

Chauffeur

  • At a cost of £500 Burntwood’s Conservatives force through the purchase of Badge of Office for the Chairman’s consort, apparently because he got mistaken for a chauffeur, at a civic event.
February

The Conservatives force through a 37% increase in Council Tax for Burntwood’s residents – although they had originally proposed a 60 % increase which Labour councillors had also challenged.

Following opposition by Labour Councillors and the public the Conservatives do a U turn and keep the old name of The Old Mining College.

March

RestartFor the first time in over a year the Town Council restarts consultation with the public on the Neighbourhood Plan.  “Back to the future” said one member of the public.

 

April

It is discovered by a visitor to the Old Mining College that the shed (see December) has mysteriously disappeared. Why, where too and at what cost is yet to be revealed.

To the relief of many old Conservatives the Leader resigns although his two deputies may remain.

May

“Burntwood  Town Hall”, sorry, “The Old Mining College”, is now reopened by the New Conservatives who engage the services of the Lichfield City Town Crier!  The MP has been sent a map so he can find Burntwood and attend the ceremony.

At the Annual Town Council meeting Conservatives admit to Labour’s Sue Woodward that they were not transparent in replacing Chasetown’s Old Mining College’s railings at a cost of almost £6000 and agree to consult next time on the expenditure of section 106 money. They are supposed to!

Conservatives stop advice surgeries after only 11 months after saying they were “essential” (see June ).   Labour representatives continue theirs (held 10 am – 11 am in the Library on the first Saturday in each month) as they have done since 1995.

 19.05.16

 

 

Read More
TOP

You local Labour representatives

Cllrs contact details

Read More
TOP

Actions speak louder than bluster

In September last year our knowledgeable MP, Michael Fabricant discovered Food Hygiene Ratings.

He found that one of his favourite Indian Restaurants was rated just ONE star by Lichfield District Council’s Environmental Health Department. Mind you it could have been the Thai Rainbow Restaurant as he has got his Chinese Spring Rolls mixed up with his Indian Samosas – on camera.

He said: “Hygiene ratings should be visible with the scores being ideally placed in the restaurant window or door before you enter. Trip Advisor scores are often on display, but they don’t indicate the safety of the food being served. This has got to change.”

LDCciviclunchSo what did he do earlier this month? Join the Lichfield District Council’s Civic Lunch at the Old School House, Weeford. Did he ensure they put their Food Hygiene Rating on the door before he left? What do you think?

It is always worth checking out ratemyplace.org.uk before visiting – and you might be surprised how many low star hygiene rated restaurants are in Burntwood and Lichfield District.  Even our Leisure Centre has only three stars!  You can see the Inspection Reports on line.

 

Burntwood Town Council spends extra money to avoid chauffeurs: Lichfield District reducing theirs?

Burntwood Conservatives on the Town Council voted to spend over £500 on a civic chain for the Chairman’s consort – so he didn’t get mixed up with the chauffeurs!

Next week Lichfield District Conservative Cabinet are due to make a decision on their chauffeur and civic car and things like lunches.

Labour councillors had persuaded Lichfield District Council to issue a questionnaire during May and June 2014 to find out what residents thought about council services.  Almost 90 per cent of respondents to the suggestion, to save money: “Stop having a Chairman’s car and driver” said “yes”.

A report to the Cabinet recommends that the Civic Duties Allowance be reduced from £6,490 to £3250 but that the annual £16,830 chauffeur and car bill only be reduced by about £3000.

It is a reasoned report but possibly purchasing a diesel car is not good news and possibly contradicts their state procurement policy.

28.03.16

Read More
TOP

Burntwood Town Council – but not as we know it

Since the Conservatives won control of the Town Council last May controversy and U turns have followed.

60percent was the increase in Council Tax proposed in January by the Conservative Leadership, Councillor Mosson and his two – yes two – deputies (the district and county council’s only have one each) but Labour’s questioning has almost halved it to (only) a 33% increase for council taxpayers!

Astonishingly the budget meeting itself was moved just to suit the Leader who couldn’t make it and presumably couldn’t trust his two deputies to , er, deputise for him!

And now the Old Mining College fiasco.

Chasetown Mining College was renamed The Old Mining College in 1998 when it was converted by the County Council into a community resource centre.  It was renamed but they did keep the “Mining College” part.

OMCAt the Town Council meeting on the 28th of January the Conservatives proposed to change it to “The Town Hall” – not even Burntwood Parish Hall or anything but plain old “The Town Hall” – giving the impression there aren’t any others in the country.

Labour objected to this and now it looks like they are backtracking although we would advise you to sign the petition to keep the old name just in case.

Even the daughter of one of the leading Conservative members has publicly objected to it  and must surely have been distraught to see it being proposed!

17.02.16

 

 

 

 

Read More