Tory NHS cuts will slash local access to specialist care

Residents in Dunmow, Thaxted and surrounding villages could see local specialist care moved to Basildon under new plans.

The proposed Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), which local health campaigners have dubbed “Slash, Trash, and Privatise”, will see Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford merged with the hospitals in Southend and Basildon.

All three hospitals will be combined into one organisation with one specialist service concentrated at one of the hospitals, most likely Basildon. The proposals come just months after Broomfield Hospital’s A&E department was saved from closure.

Local health campaigners will be protesting outside Waterstones Chelmsford (76 High Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1EJ ) from noon on Saturday against the plans: https://www.facebook.com/events/1977513352574494/

Saffron Walden Labour health spokesperson Kevin Adair said: “The NHS in our area is stretched as never before. And yet the truth is that local services are being cut.

“In the future, if these proposed local hospital merger plans go ahead, patients and their loved ones face travelling long distances with no practical means of public transport.

“Anyone admitted to hospital requiring specialist treatment who lives anywhere in the local area from Chelmsford to Dunmow and Stansted will face the possibility of being transferred from Broomfield Hospital to Basildon. This is totally unacceptable.”

Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford is the nearest hospital for around 40% of the population of Saffron Walden constituency. Its future has a big impact on local health services.

Poor public transport links between Basildon and Dunmow and other parts of Saffron Walden constituency would also make it difficult if not impossible for patients and their relatives to get the specialist care they need.

If specialist emergency care was moved from Broomfield to Basildon, patients in Saffron Walden constituency will have to travel over 20 miles more for treatment. In Dunmow, the distance will be tripled from 11 miles to 33 miles.
Nearest A&E: blue = Broomfield, green = Princess Alexandra, orange = Addenbrookes. Source: NHS Direct

The move has no clinical basis and is driven by the government’s bid to slash £400 million from health budgets over the next few years. The Mid & South Essex STP’s consultation document talks about “closing our financial gap”, “address[ing] the financial challenges”, “to live within our means” and “more economical ways” to deliver local health services.

While Broomfield has been affected by the same A&E crisis seen across the UK, Basildon is adversely affected by Tory cuts with an A&E routinely on ‘black alert’. Campaigners have cast doubt on its ability to cater for additional demand on its services if it became the specialist emergency centre for mid and south Essex.

WALDEN CRIME SOARS 45% IN 2017 – LABOUR ASKS LOCAL MP: WHERE ARE OUR POLICE?

With Saffron Walden’s reported crime soaring 45%, the town’s Labour party spokesman Simon Trimnell has demanded local MP Kemi Badenoch deliver on her promise of more police resources.

Number of crimes per month

In November, Ms Badenoch urged local people to report crime, saying: “the police numbers allocated to us are calculated based on the number of crimes reported. This means that by not reporting crime we are making it more likely that police resources will dwindle even further – and so the vicious cycle continues. The answer? Report every incident, no matter how minor.”

While crime is approaching record levels, the town’s police resources have shrunk to the lowest level ever with no promise of extra cash from the Police and Crime Commissioner. Instead, Uttlesford District Council and Saffron Walden town council are having to stump up the cash to pay for a PCSO, who has fewer powers compared to a normal police officer.

Saffron Walden town council and Uttlesford district council have agreed to pay for a PSCO on a 50/50 basis over two years. The total annual cost of funding a PSCO in the town is £37,652. Labour town councillor Arthur Coote supported funding for the PSCO, but Labour is also demanding additional funds for more policing to stem the crime wave.

Simon Trimnell said: “A PSCO is no replacement for a traditional bobby on the beat and it shouldn’t be up to Uttlesford and the parish council to fund policing, that’s not their role. It is better than nothing, but still a lot less than the level of policing we had years ago.

“Austerity policies are making Saffron Walden more unsafe with fewer police. On the doorstep, we’re hearing more and more reports from residents of burglary and nuisance crime. I’ve lived in the town all my life and I’ve never known it this bad.

“It all comes down to central government policy. Where is Kemi Badenoch? Is she getting more funding for more police in the town now she’s been promoted in the government?

“Labour is promising 10,000 new police officers on the streets of Britain, paid for by reversing cuts to Capital Gains Tax, to return our police service to its former strength. Only then will Saffron Walden stop the rapid rise in crime.”

Saffron Walden Labour Party’s latest crime report has published the following statistics:

  • Overall crime was up 45% in January-November 2017 compared to the same period in 2016
  • Anti-social behaviour represented the largest proportion of reported crime at 29% of the total
  • Violent crime was the second largest contributor at 21%, followed by criminal damage and arson (11%)
  • The rise in crime was caused by a 40.5% rise in ASB, 60.2% rise in violent crime and a 63.0% rise in burglaries

Saffron Walden crime statistics can be viewed here: http://www.ukcrimestats.com/Neighbourhood/1248

Tina Knight Debacle Highlights Need for Cabinet Equalities Post

Saffron Walden Labour Party is calling on Uttlesford leader Howard Rolfe to appoint a Cabinet Member for Equalities to address issues arising from the controversies around Cllr Tina Knight’s comments to Radio 2 on the Presidents Club.

Said Alexandra Routledge, Saffron Walden Labour Party’s Women’s Officer: “Many members of the public were rightly upset by Cllr Knight’s comments and we are pleased there is cross-party determination, both nationally and locally, to confront abusive behaviour towards women. Condemnation of one person’s misguided statement is not enough. We need to tackle harassment and abuse of women and the attitudes that are contributing to the problem.

“Saffron Walden Labour party believes we all need to take ownership of these problems and create practical solutions. A member of cabinet dedicated to equalities issues can help promote standards in public life and inclusiveness in policy-making.

“Many councils have created this portfolio and it has helped in their role as service providers and employers as well as improving the overall quality of local debate.”

On 29 January, UDC published its latest guidance on equalities, covering discrimination based on sex, age, disability, race, religion, sexual orientation and other matters. This is an obligation on the council under the Equalities Act 2010, which seeks to strengthen the laws preventing discrimination and the inequalities that still exist in society today.

The council is required to conduct equality impact assessments and implement equality policies. An Equalities cabinet portfolio would help put this strategy into practice.

Walden MP’s Tweet Supporting Scandal-Hit Tory “Inexcusable”

Saffron Walden Labour Women’s Officer Ally Routledge responds to local MP’s appointment as a vice-chair of the Tory party after defending Toby Young’s controversial tweets:

“It is inexcusable that the first woman MP for Saffron Walden would go out of their way to defend the comments made by Toby Young.

“Recently, we have seen women speak up about sexual harassment in politics and Mr Young’s comments on women MPs at Prime Minister’s Questions were inappropriate and highlight the problem with misogyny in politics.

“The resignation of Toby Young is welcome but he was not fit for the role of the Chair of the Office for Students in the first place.

“Kemi’s new role as Vice Chair of the Conservative Party for Candidates means that she will have significant power in selecting the next generation of Tory candidates. I hope she applies higher standards to make politics more diverse and welcoming for women than she has with her comments regarding Toby Young.”

Local Tories in Disarray Over Police Cuts

Local Conservatives are in complete disarray over policing as police numbers are slashed, police stations are closed and crime soars.

At a local residents meeting with the Essex Police and Crime Commissioner, held at Saffron Walden Town Hall on Monday, Tory infighting broke out as internal party tensions came to the fore.

After the meeting, local Labour activist Simon Trimnell said: “It is quite clear to me that the local Conservative party is in complete disarray. The police and crime commissioner Roger Hurst, a Conservative, blames lack of police in Saffron Walden on Conservative central government cuts while local Conservative councillors are blaming him. Meanwhile, Saffron Walden’s Conservative MP is demanding we all report more crime to get more police.”

Essex crime rates in September and August this year were the worst and second worst months, respectively, since 2010, according to the latest crime statistics. In Saffron Walden, reported crime rose 37% in January-September compared to the same period in 2016. Violent offences rose 49% while anti-social behaviour grew 39%, accounting for 20% and 30% of total reported crime, respectively.

Saffron Walden is one of the communities targeted for cuts under the Tories as Essex reduces the number of police stations in the county from 80 to 30 in a bid to save the force £63 million between 2017 and 2020.

Local MP Kemi Badenoch Fails to Make the Grade

Local MP Kemi Badenoch fails to make the grade in an end-of-year report by Saffron Walden Labour Party.

Constituents have complained to local Labour activists that she is failing to pay attention to their concerns. Response times to letters have been one area of concern with many claiming it can take weeks for a response.

Many are shocked by the answers they receive, which appear to have been plagiarised from other MPs’ statements. Responses to letters on the UN’s criticism of the government’s treatment of disabled people were identical to a letter Home Secretary Amber Rudd MP issued on her website (https://www.amberrudd.co.uk/disability-rights-violations). Local residents also received letters in response to concerns over universal credit that were very similar to a statement made by Conservative MP Graham Stuart on his website (https://www.grahamstuart.com/campaign-responses/universal-credit/). See attachments.

Saffron Walden CLP Chair Bill McCarthy said: “Constituents have been used to Alan Haselhurst’s prompt and individual responses, even if they disagreed with him.

“While she has grand ambitions, our MP isn’t prepared to do her own homework and instead plagiarises her colleagues. It’s poor form and she doesn’t make the grade.

“According to the press, she isn’t even willing to make the constituency her permanent family home. Many are wondering whether she’s taking local people seriously.”

Best Result for 47 Years as Labour come 2nd in Saffron Walden

Labour made history in Saffron Walden, gaining 2nd place for the first in 47 years, and with the highest number of votes ever.
Labour’s candidate Jane Berney, almost doubled her vote from her 2015 campaign, and established Labour as the opposition in the Constituency, and with further polls showing an additional 8% increase in support for Labour nationally and yet another substantial increase in membership of the Party all since polling day.
Labour are now confident in making further in-roads into the Conservative heartland in Essex, with another possible General Election looming due to the Governments loss of their overall majority.
Jane Berney called upon the newly elected MP Kemi Badenock to apply whatever pressure she can on the Prime Minister to take a collaborative approach to Brexit Negotiations, and to forget about working with the DUP to keep their very slim majority in the Commons, as this would invalidate the Good Friday Agreement to be impartial, and put the Northern Ireland Peace Process at risk. Jane Berney urged Mrs Badenoch and Mrs May to put the good of the Country above personal and Party interests.

General Election 2017: Saffron Walden

Conservative
Kemi Badenoch 37,629 61.8%
Labour
Jane Berney 12,663 20.8%
Liberal Democrat
Mike Hibbs 8,528 14.0%
UKIP
Lorna Howe 2,091 3.4%

Majority 24,966
Turnout
60,911
Conservative hold
Swing
2.2% To Labour

Campaigning was suspended today due to second mass murder of civilians

The tragic events of last night on London Bridge and in the Borough Market are heart breaking. This is the second mass murder of citizens of all opinons, faiths, race, and nationality during this election campaign. The Labour Party stands united with the Country in our condemnation of such barbarism, and in our resolve to carry on our democratic way of life regardless.

I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world. True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion.
We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda. They have alienated many from learning about Islam. True Muslims know or should know that it goes against our religion to try and force Islam on anybody.
Speaking as someone who has never been accused of political correctness, I believe that our political leaders should use their position to bring understanding about the religion of Islam and clarify that these misguided murderers have perverted people’s views on what Islam really is.

Response to Head Teachers Questions about funding Schools in Essex

Jane Berney’s response to questions from Head Teachers
What are your priorities with regard to the allocation of funding to all schools and each pupil?
Labour will not waste money on inefficient free schools and the Conservatives’ grammar school vanity projects. Instead we will reverse the cuts in real terms made by the current Conservative government and the Conservative – led coalition that proceeded it. We will introduce a fairer funding formula that will not leave a school worse off and we will also redress the historic underfunding of certain schools.

How will you ensure that school budgets are protected in real terms for the duration of the next parliament? Please avoid telling me that more is being spent on schools; we have more children of school age than ever and costs are rising.
By introducing a fairer funding formula, we can ensure school budgets are protected in real terms. We will also put £150 million back into schools by reversing the Conservatives’ plan to impose the apprenticeship levy on school.

Some schools are looking to create classes of 60-100 children in the school hall because they cannot afford enough teachers. What are you going to do to prevent that?
Labour has pledged to reduce class sizes to under 30 for pupils aged five, six and seven. We also aim to do this for older children as resources allow. This will be achieved by reversing the cuts imposed by the Conservatives.
Our children should be provided with a broad curriculum, great support and enriching activities. How will you ensure that my child has the educational experience they deserve?
Labour believes that every child is unique and a Labour-led education system will enable each child to find their own learning path through a wide choice of courses and qualifications. As part of this we will also stop ‘teaching to the test’ and ensure that teachers and school leaders have the training, the support and resources they need.
Labour believes that investment in schools and education is vital for the future prosperity of our country. My children have benefited from an excellent state education, that has met their needs and instilled in them a love of learning and equipped them with the skills to participate fully in the world of work. Their school, like so many others, is facing funding cuts which can only mean future generations will not receive the same benefits. I think this represents a gross a dereliction of duty on the part of the current government and should be condemned as such.
We will also scrap Tuition Fee’s from September, stopping our young people from being saddled with debt for choosing to enhance their education and social worth that we all benefit from in the long run.

How will you ensure education for children with Special Educational Needs is adequately resourced? A large funding gap in this area is detracting much needed funds from all schools.
Labour’s policy on Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) is based on inclusion. This focus on inclusion will be further embedded into teacher training so that all school staff, children and their parents are properly supported.

Campaign Resumes in Great Dunmow

After the tragic events in Manchester, all parties have agreed to carry on the General Election Campaign from Saturday 27th May 2017.

Members held a street stall in Great Dunmow High Street, giving out leaflets and talking to voters.