No change in Alwoodley this year, but thank you for backing Labour

At face value a disappointing result but there are positives for Labour in Alwoodley.

There is no doubt the Conservative Party knew it had to hold Alwoodley and that there would be very little joy for them in the rest of Leeds NE, so Alwoodley was the focus of their attentions. In the face of this pressure, with UKIP the home for the vote of those people with a real distrust and alienation from mainstream politics, Labour still polled much the same vote as in 2012; and this without the volunteers that would have helped put more work in to the ward and build a greater connection.

If we learn from Moortown and Roundhay, where over recent years Labour have built a substantial presence leading to resounding victories for Sharon Hamilton and Ghulam Hussain then there is no doubt that Labour can and should build a similar presence and have a real impact in Alwoodley.

This year was always going to be tough. Many people across the ward have said that Peter Harrand has been an effective ward councillor for many years, so we wish him well, and we will continue to scrutinise Alwoodley’s three Conservative Councillors and hold them to account.

As we now look forward to 2015 and the next Council Elections which will be alongside the General Election we must look carefully at how Labour makes it relevance to Alwoodley clear, and gets its message across.

And to the 1910 people who voted Labour and voted for our candidate Keith White this year – Thank You, and we will continue to work for you across the ward in partnership with our Labour colleagues in Roundhay and Moortown and our Labour MP Fabian Hamilton.

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Action needed on the Cost of Living Crisis

Working people are £1500 a year worse off under the Tory/LibDem Government
Working people are an average of almost £1,500 a year worse off under this Government. Almost a million young people are unemployed and Energy bills are up by almost £300 since 2010.  So what was David Cameron and George Osborne’s response? A tax cut for people earning over £150,000.

Ed Miliband has announced Labour’s plan to tackle the cost of living crisis, which includes, for example: freezing gas and electricity prices until the start of 2017; cutting taxes for 24 million working people by introducing a lower 10p starting rate of tax; reducing VAT, expanding free childcare for 3 & 4 year olds to 25 hours a week for working parents; building 200,000 homes a year by 2020 and many other initiatives.

Labour’s plans to tackle the cost of living for people on low and average incomes received unexpected support this week with the Institute for Economic Affairs publishing a report which says that Labour’s policy to cut VAT would deliver the most benefit to the poorest in society.

Alwoodley resident John Hales discussing the cost of living crisis with Keith White and Fabian Hamilton

Alwoodley resident John Hales discussing the cost of living crisis with Keith White and Fabian Hamilton

Alwoodley resident John Hales talking to Labour candidate Keith White and Fabian Hamilton MP about the problems hard working families face said: “It’s very hard to make ends
meet now with big increases in our power bills and things generally getting so expensive. May people in Alwoodley really do need help.”

For details of Labours plan to tackle the cost of living crisis visit Labour here.

Action on crime priorities for Alwoodley

Keith White Labour’s Alwoodley Candidate for the 2014 Council elections has welcomed Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson’s new initiative to help reduce burglaries and help local people who are burgled.

This new initiative involves:

  • ensuring full house to house enquiries are conducted close to a burgled house so that people are aware that a burglary has taken place and any evidence available is gathered;
  • making sure the victim knows what action has been taken and the police are there to prevent any repeat or other offences locally; and
  • offering crime prevention advice to local residents including a home security assessment to make properties more secure.

Keith comments “For Alwoodley preventing, reducing, and detecting burglaries is a local policing priority and recent information shows burglaries in our area reducing by 18%. This new initiative will make a difference and help to reduce crime further in our community.”

Labour is also campaigning to keep more of the proceeds of crime seized by the police local so they can be used to support measures to tackle and reduce crime further. Currently the Treasury takes half and only half is kept here in West Yorkshire.  Labour is campaigning to keep all that money here working to make your area safer. You can sign the petition here.

Tory top down re-organisation of the NHS delays development of new Medical Centre for Alwoodley!

We’ve all known for a while that the Tory instigated and unnecessary changes to our NHS will cause problems, and now those problems are hitting Alwoodley.

A much needed new Health Centre proposed to be built off King Lane near Moor Allerton Centre has been delayed thanks to the abolition of the local Primary Care Trust that had given the proposal the go ahead.

The Tories top down changes to the National Health Service mean that even though the scheme has the backing of the Council, local GPs and the local community keen for new services and an end to parking misery around older GP’s surgeries, the scheme now needs a new approval from NHS England; and that doesn’t look like happening quickly.

Your Labour council is working hard to try and break this logjam working with all relevant parties; and Alwoodley Rose will keep you informed.

Our NHS is 65…

Our NHS turned 65 years old on 5th July 2013 and yet far from being pensioned off it is working harder and achieving more for us than ever.

Despite the scare stories and the attempts to run down what our health service does by the Tories who seem determined to break it up the those who work in and those who use the NHS know what a great service it provides.

Fabian at NHS Rally June2013

Fabian speaking at the NHS is 65 rally in Millennium Square, Leeds

On the Saturday before the official birthday of the NHS Unison organised a celebration rally in Millennium Square and amongst those attending to show their support was Leeds North East MP Fabian Hamilton.

Speaking at and after the event Fabian commented “The fact that the NHS is still so popular today is a testament to the vision of its founders and the radical nature of the change they brought about – providing healthcare on the basis of need rather than ability to pay. The NHS is one of the great achievements of country, created by a Labour Government, and it is an achievement we must continue to work hard to protect.”

ConDem coalition proves a LibDem vote is wasted…

Anyone reading or listening to local news may well be forgiven for wondering just who is in Government. Recent publications have seem Leeds North West Lib Dem MP Greg Mulholland worrying about and criticising the decision to close local fire stations in response to government funding cuts; regional news has also seen Yorkshire Lib Dems attacking the Tories for closing Yorkshire Forward and therefore jeopardising the regions’s ability to lobby for and secure European regional development funding.

But who is in government?

Oh yes; it is a coalition of Tories and Lib Dems.

So it is Greg’s party and colleagues who are cutting the funding that means North Leeds will lose fire stations; he is responsible for the funding decisions he is now complaining about; blatantly trying to have it both ways is a Lib Dem tradition.

And the Lib Dems are equally to blame with the Tories for closing Yorkshire Forward. They are every bit a part of this government and the cuts and pain being inflicted on Yorkshire and Leeds.

So if they are now trying to campaign against the government they are part of because it isn’t working for Leeds you will be forgiven for wondering what is the point of voting Lib Dem. They are the government failing Leeds just as the Tories are; this is what voting Lib Dem delivers. If you want an alternative to the Tories voting Lib Dem won’t deliver it.

What we can learn from our Super Soar-away Summer of Sport…!

What a summer we’ve had; if the diamond jubilee wasn’t enough we’ve had the Euro 2012 Football Tournament (with the usual England exit in the Quarter Finals but without the angst ridden hype beforehand); Bradley Wiggins winning the Tour de France; then the Olympics and a magnificent performance by Team GB; the Para-Olympics and even more super human efforts; followed by the first man to win a tennis grand slam event in over 70 years when Andy Murray won the US Open. Its enough to make a tabloid sub-editor weep and a popularist politician salivate.

But there must be more to it than that, surely?

Just how did these great achievements come about? What can they tell us about how change really occurs (its not that many Olympiads ago that Team GB won virtually nothing) and just how different was the public reaction to the Olympics and Para-Olympics to the pre-event build up?

It’s easy to say we should take note of the number of medal winners who praised the Lottery Funding invested in elite sport for their ability to compete and win. Easy because it’s true; Excellence always comes at a cost, personal in terms of dedication and commitment and financial because nothing can realistically be achieved with nothing. Cameron’s re-jigged cabinet take note.

The public reaction to the Olympics and Para-Olympics is even more important however. The level of interest and gone far beyond those normally or even peripherally interested in sport; the impact has genuinely reached virtually every community in the UK and the need for a lasting and telling legacy is greater than even the most optimistic of the London 2012 bid team could ever have imagined.

In many ways the Para-Olympics have been even more amazing and have created a climate of opportunity that simply must not be squandered. Never before have people with disability been presented in such a positive light; and after two years of government propaganda around benefits creating an image of scroungers and dependency. The British public have shown a remarkable level of positive support for our para-Olympians that has delivered an opportunity to improve the understanding of disability that has perhaps never previously existed (and in doing so taught us all something about our own level of understanding and attitude). It has been said that London 2012 has shown the world a vision of disability through the eyes of the British. If that is true we have to take the window of opportunity to make that vision truly so in every community in the UK.

The media is full of how we are united in wanting the spirit of London 2012 to continue. So just how are we going to deliver on this tangible desire for a legacy.

Legacy is not just about finding the stars for Rio 2016 it is about changing attitudes and culture that make a difference to daily life; and if the public response to the Olympics has shown us anything it is that the British public want something that goes beyond austerity; that raises up and celebrates human and social potential; that above all creates and enables hope and belief to deliver.

With the backdrop of the post Olympic atmosphere and the emotion of Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony still resonating how can more cuts; less rights; the enablement of privilege and the passing around of blame really deliver?

Having seen what investment can both achieve and unite isn’t now time for a new plan, one that brings together our communities and that invests in people. It is telling that the only funding commitment made by the coalition in response to the success of Team GB has been to protect funding for elite sport until 2016. For community sport all we have had is the compulsion of all primary school children in the competitive sport and a claim that cuts to community and school sports actually represent an increase. More spin than Victoria Pendleton’s pedals…

The lesson from our super summer of sport is not just about youth, or involvement in sporting activities; it is not just about health and diet; it is about every aspect of our communities and about how we deliver a better quality of life for all.

This summer we have inspired more than a generation now we need to deliver a lasting legacy that matters.