Voting for Walsall’s Best Interests

Councillors should put the interests of Walsall people first when they decide tonight who will run the borough for the next 12 months, council leader Sean Coughlan has said. His call for more>

More Improvements to Darlaston’s Bus Services

Public transport users in Darlaston are to get another boost to their services following the recent announcement of £120,000 investment in the town’s bus station. Two services are to be merged in more>

Remembering Tim Oliver

On the first anniversary of the death of the former leader of Walsall Labour Group, Tim Oliver, I would like to mark the passing of my friend and colleague who did so more>

Community Focus is Key to Council Success

Labour members of Walsall Council have laid out their plans for the future, in talks which will decide who will run the authority for the next 12 months. The “Community Focused” strategy more>

New Cash for Darlaston Transport and Road Safety

Shoppers and residents in Darlaston will be safer as £120,000 is invested in upgrading the town’s bus station and improving pedestrian crossings. Local councillor, Doug James, has welcomed the investment which he more>

Labour Wins In Walsall 2015

Labour were celebrating in the early hours of this morning as both Walsall sitting MPs increased their majorities despite a spending spree by their Conservative rivals; while Labour’s challenger in Aldridge Brownhills more>

Blue Badges Fast Tracked

People with disabilities who rely on a car for mobility are to get a fast tracked service in future as Walsall Council speeds up its systems to handle almost 5000 applications for more>

End to Zero Hours in Caring for the Elderly and Disabled

Social care is to change for the better after Labour led Walsall council announced companies who provide its home care service will be required to phase out exploitive zero hours contracts. The more>

Sun Shining on Labour in Aldridge – Brownhills

The sun shone on John Fisher and the Aldridge-Brownhills’ Labour team this weekend, not only in terms of the glorious weather but also in the number of voters saying they are ditching more>

Labour Lays out its Stall for Aldridge-Brownhills’ Shops and Business

Labour is taking its message to the High Street by visiting all the major shopping centres in Aldridge-Brown hills, offering voters and local businesses the chance to meet their parliamentary and council more>

Voting for Walsall’s Best Interests

Sean Coughlan, Leader of Walsall Council's Labour group.

Sean Coughlan, Leader of Walsall Council’s Labour group.

Councillors should put the interests of Walsall people first when they decide tonight who will run the borough for the next 12 months, council leader Sean Coughlan has said.

His call for political responsibility comes as members of the authority vote on a motion by 25 Conservatives to take control of the council but who need the support of Ukip and independents if they are to succeed.

The move is being opposed by Labour Party’s 27 members which has run the council since August last year, and which is being supported by the borough’s two Liberal Democrat councillors.

Cllr Coughlan said the decision taken tonight by the Ukip and independent councillors would have a major impact beyond their own wards and seats and affect the lives of all of Walsall’s 270,000 people.

He added that in the short time Labour has been in control it had begun to deal with many of the long standing problems which previous Conservative administrations had failed to tackle such as poor performing schools, low standards in children services and improving the quality of adult services by ensuring continuity of care for the most vulnerable.

Cllr Coughlan said: “Despite the massive cuts from the Tories in national government, in a relative small space of time we have started to tackle some of the chronic problems that were allowed to develop under the Tories in past years.”

“If councillors tonight decide to back the Conservatives by voting in favour of this motion, then they will return the borough to the control of a party whose only answer is forcing more austerity and deeper cuts on the people of Walsall.

“The Conservatives’ plans for Walsall mirror those for national government, such as their proposal to remove 100% of the council tax relief scheme to the least well off residents of Walsall. A move they put forward in their alternative budget proposal earlier this year; one that would have see even more people relying on food banks and more families with children in poverty.

“In contrast Labour will work with all our partners in other councils, the police, health bodies, the voluntary sector and local communities to address the serious shortfall in levels of external grants coming into the borough. As part of that, we shall look at how we can restore free community alarms for the over 80’s without a challenge under age discrimination legislation. We can do that by working with our partners in health, improving overall care and thereby reducing the numbers and risk of elderly residents requiring emergency hospital admission.

“So there is a very real and major difference between a Labour and Conservative run council and councillors tonight have to decide who they vote for; their own short term interests or the interests of all the people of the borough.”

More Improvements to Darlaston’s Bus Services

Doug James welcoming investment in Darlaston

Doug James welcoming further improvements in Darlaston’s public transport.

Public transport users in Darlaston are to get another boost to their services following the recent announcement of £120,000 investment in the town’s bus station.

Two services are to be merged in to a single improved route extending the frequency buses run between the Town Centre and Walsall.

Local Labour councillor , Doug James, who has been campaigning for  the improvements, said:”I welcome the decision by Centro to incorporate the No 9 bus route into the existing, long established No 333x route.

“This will ensure the service, which only had short term funding, will continue well into the future and allow residents in the Darlaston area access to a service with greater frequency with four buses an hour and the ability to travel directly to Walsall. In addition, the 333x will also provide additional Saturday services.

This will make it easier for local people to travel to work or access public services such as hospital appointments. I want to thank Centro and the Darlaston & Moxley Bus Users Group for listening to residents’ needs and helping us deliver this benefit to local people.”

 

 

Remembering Tim Oliver

Tim Oliver, 28th May 1957 - 24th May 2014

Tim Oliver, 28th May 1957 – 24th May 2014

On the first anniversary of the death of the former leader of Walsall Labour Group, Tim Oliver, I would like to mark the passing of my friend and colleague who did so much for the people of Walsall and for the party he was such a proud member of.

Tim’s death on the 24th May robbed the people of Walsall, as well as his family and colleagues, of a conviction politician and community activist whose motivations were selfless, whose commitment was fixed and whose unquestioned intellect was always employed in the defence and the promotion of socialist principles he held dear.

Tim was a strategist, who always kept in mind the long view, forsaking easy political options while knowing cheap manoeuvres were in the end, self defeating and only added to people’s distrust of politicians. Politics to him wasn’t a game or a populist competition were you offered simple answers or quick fixes to complex questions. Tim knew that his style of politics meant he was in it for the long haul. His legacy following his tragic and untimely death should mean for all of us, that we keep the socialist fires burning in Walsall by continuing to speak up for those who struggle to be heard by their own efforts.

An example was the work he carried out on behalf of the most vulnerable as chair of the Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee on which he worked so hard to build an effective and efficient model which, in the long run, would help to continue to deliver those vital services in spite of massive cuts imposed by central government.

His work on Walsall Labour’s manifesto, which he worked on throughout his painful battle with cancer and almost up until his death, has stood the party in good stead and was implemented when Walsall Labour took control of the council last August. It is, therefore, no false claim to say that the successes of the Labour Party on Walsall Council are in no small part also Tim’s.

In his personal and political life his advice and support was much sought and freely given with promises rarely being made unless he knew he could deliver. He had a love of sport, music, a wicked sense of humour which was self effacing and a fierce loyalty to those he held dear. He would have been embarrassed by the accolades from friends, colleagues and political opponents alike following his tragic and untimely passing, looking over his shoulder and wondering who they were talking about but quietly pleased to have received them.

And in essence he was a quiet man, who only spoke up because he felt he had a duty to do so. For those of his who had the privilege to know and call him friend his gentle voice echoes to us all, as it still does within Walsall Council.

Barbara Cassidy

Community Focus is Key to Council Success

Sean Coughlan, Leader of Walsall Council's Labour group.

Sean Coughlan, Leader of Walsall Council’s Labour group.

Labour members of Walsall Council have laid out their plans for the future, in talks which will decide who will run the authority for the next 12 months. The “Community Focused” strategy is designed to build on improvements brought in by the Labour group after it took office in August last year, and is the basis of positive discussions with other parties on the future direction of the borough.

At present, Labour is the largest party on the authority with 27 members but its needs the support of other groups if the Council is defend services in the face of predicted massive cuts by the Conservative government. The new strategy aims to protect and improve the quality of life of all communities, particularly the most vulnerable, and give a greater say to local people over the services they need.

Leader of the Council, Sean Coughlan, said the plans were designed to take the council forward and build on successful initiatives such as the Schools Improvement program, the reorganisation of Children’s and Adult Care Services and proposals to devolve decision making to local communities.

“The election of a Conservative Government means that councils, up and down the country, are facing even more attacks on services. If we are not to go backwards we need to build on these positive steps already taken; much of which won support from other parties in the unseen work of scrutiny committees.

“This document sets out Labour’s commitment to continue to take the council in the right direction of dealing with the cuts whilst protecting the most vulnerable and returning power to people and the towns that make this borough vibrant and diverse.

“We welcome the positive response we have received from the Lib-Dem members of the council and look forward to more discussions with other members and groups.”
On June 3rd the borough’s 60 councillors will meet to decide who runs the authority for the next 12 months.

 

New Cash for Darlaston Transport and Road Safety

Doug James welcoming investment in Darlaston

Doug James welcoming £120,000 upgrade to Darlaston Bus Station

Shoppers and residents in Darlaston will be safer as £120,000 is invested in upgrading the town’s bus station and improving pedestrian crossings. Local councillor, Doug James, has welcomed the investment which he says will improve services for bus users and road safety at the St Lawrence Way station which serves Darlaston’s shops.

The improvements are a joint project between Walsall Council and Centro. The cash will improve existing bus shelters and the installation of digital information boards will tell passengers when their bus service is expected to arrive in real time. The money will also see the building of a new pedestrian crossing while an existing crossing at the junction of Dorsett Road and King Edwards Street will be upgraded.

Cllr James said: “I’ve been working with Walsall Council and West Midland’s transport authority, Centro, along with local residents for sometime and it’s pleasing to see how hard officers from both organisations have worked and responded to the needs of local people. The investment will improve the facilities and road safety for local residents, shoppers and passengers.”

Work on the improvements is expected to begin at the end of June.