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>

Tory Hammer Blow for Education in Walsall South

A decision by the Government not to grant £4 million for badly needed improvements to Joseph Leckie school, which serves Walsall South, has sparked fury and dismay. Councillor Allah Ditta and Valerie more>

Labour Launches Campaign with Warning on NHS and Economy

The Labour Party kicked off its election campaign in Walsall with an endorsement by the party’s spokesman for Health, Andy Burnham, and a warning that the borough and the country can’t afford more>

Roads Boost for Borough

Roads across Walsall are to benefit after the council’s ruling Labour group won more than £5 million of extra cash to invest in the borough Major A, B and C roads in more>

A Fairer Future for All

A guaranteed interview for veterans applying for council jobs is at the heart of a strategy to create a fairer, better and more prosperous Walsall. The borough’s ruling Labour group has won more>

Residents Cleaning Up Leamore

A new community group has been set up in Leamore to improve community safety and the environment.  The Leamore Community Group covers the whole of Leamore and meets regularly  at the community more>

Keeping Bobbies on the Beat in New Invention

Walsall Council is helping to keep Bobbies on the beat by turning an unused space above New Invention library into a rest room and canteen for police. The move will allow officers more>

Libraries remain Open But Only Voting Labour Will Save Services

Libraries in Walsall are to remain open after the Council’s ruling Labour group used reserves to fund the service for another 12 months. The council’s Labour leadership took the unusual step to more>

EDL Demo Exploiting Brave Soldier’s Death

A proposed demonstration in Bloxwich by supporters of the EDL has sparked fears of a repeat of the violence the borough suffered three years ago. Local community leaders have criticised the planned more>

Bringing Decisons Closer to the People

Radical plans to give local people a bigger say about where they live and the services they receive have been given the go ahead by Walsall Council’s cabinet. The Labour run council more>

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

Steve Wade, John Fisher and Barbara Cassidy will be laying out Labour’s stall this Saturday

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 candidates.

The party’s general election candidate, John Fisher, will be joined by councillors and candidates for Walsall Council to get out their plans to improve local centres and support shops and small businesses.

Labour will back small businesses by reversing a proposed cut in Corporation Tax for the largest firms and instead slash and then freeze business rates for over 1.5 million smaller business properties.
John Fisher, a self-employed Business IT Consultant, said Labour will help businesses to grow, creating wealth and jobs, by improving access to finance for small and medium-sized businesses.

He added: “The shops and high streets across Aldridge-Brownhills, are the focal points of our communities and vital for the local economy.

Every part of this constituency is important for Labour, and this tour is a great way to meet shoppers in person to discuss the issues in this vital general election.”

Labour’s team will be available on Saturday 18th April at the following places…

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Tory Hammer Blow for Education in Walsall South

016A decision by the Government not to grant £4 million for badly needed improvements to Joseph Leckie school, which serves Walsall South, has sparked fury and dismay.

Councillor Allah Ditta and Valerie Vaz have said that they are deeply disappointed that the Department of Education has refused an application for funding for improvements to the Walstead Road West Academy which has over 1,000 pupils.

The decision by the Education Funding Agency was revealed only last week and is a blow for teachers, governors , parents, pupils and local politicians who have been lobbying for improvements to the school; built over 75 years ago.

Since the reversal of a promised £10 million by the Tory led Coalition Government in 2010, the school has been fighting for funding to improve facilities for pupils. The latest decision will halt plans to replace some of the school’s oldest buildings.

Valerie Vaz, who as MP for Walsall South campaigned for the funding, said she was appalled by the decision. “I was outraged when the Conservative-led Government withdrew funds which had been allocated to Joseph Leckie Academy under the Labour Government’s Building Schools for the Future programme in 2010.”

“Having raised the issue at PMQs and Education Questions, I arranged a meeting with the Schools Minister alongside the Head Teacher, Keith Whittlestone and Cllr Ditta. The meeting was positive and it was agreed that an official would visit to see the state of the buildings and to advise the School. I am appalled that the School has now had to bid again in what is effectively a lottery to address serious issues including asbestos.

“I congratulate Joseph Leckie Academy on continuing to provide a good education to students despite the poor state of repair of the buildings.”

Cllr Ditta, who is a school governor and represents the Palfrey ward, added: “Despite all the difficulties Joseph Leckie faces with old and, in places, dilapidated facilities it is still managing to give a good education to the children of Walsall South. But this decision will only make it more difficult to continue doing that and in the long run, adversely affect children’s education.”

The funding would have paid for a further stage of improvements, the latest of which saw £3.5 million in capital spending.

 

Labour Launches Campaign with Warning on NHS and Economy

DSC_0022The Labour Party kicked off its election campaign in Walsall with an endorsement by the party’s spokesman for Health, Andy Burnham, and a warning that the borough and the country can’t afford another five years of Tory rule.

Mr Burnham was presented with a Walsall football club ball at the launch held outside Walsall Gala baths, which has been saved from the threat of closure by the Labour council with a promise of £1million investment.

The former Health Minister took the opportunity to show his sporting skills but the joking stopped when he warned that if the Conservatives are returned to power the impact on the NHS and local services would be devastating. Speaking to assembled supporters and candidates he warned: “The NHS can’t afford another five years like the past five years. Your local hospital has been under massive pressure. The cuts Walsall has had to deal with are just not right. It’s getting harder and harder to get a GP’s appointment and hospital care is under threat because of the cuts in social care for vulnerable people, which in turn is one of the root causes of the A&E crisis which we now see across the country.”

Leader of Walsall Council Sean Coughlan said voters needed to return Labour to fix a broken economy. “In the short period we have been in office in Walsall we have protected the most vulnerable from massive government cuts where ever we can, we have invested in facilities like the Gala Baths which add to the health and well being of the borough, we have secured jobs and supported businesses, begun to tackle the terrible state of our schools and set out our plans to give everyone in Walsall a fairer future. On May 7th the only way voters can take Walsall and the country forward is by voting Labour.”

Walsall North’s David Winnick, who is one of the most experienced MPs in parliament, said: “Like others in the Labour Party I was delighted that Andy Burnham came to the borough. He has warned respectively, that the Tories couldn’t be trusted with the NHS and made that clear on Monday. I also pay tribute to Andy for the way in which as Health Minster in the Labour Government he helped modernise the Manor Hospital.”

Valerie Vaz, who has represented Walsall South for five years, spoke of Tory plans to privatise the NHS through the back door and Labour’s determination to prevent that. “As a member of the Health Select Committee, I saw first-hand the disastrous reorganisation of the NHS leading up to and following the Health and Social Care Act. £3 billion was wasted. The recent announcement by the Labour Party about a cap on private companies’ involvement puts patient care before profit.”

Labour candidate for Aldridge Brownhills, John Fisher, highlighted the need to boost the economy to help tackle both social and health inequalities. “Walsall and the country need a vibrant economy, not only to put more money in the pockets of voters but also to protect the services, such as social care, that our most vulnerable citizens rely on. Labour’s plans to merge social care and health care while building a growing economy will ensure that none of our citizens are left to fend for themselves.”

Roads Boost for Borough

Cllr Lee Jeavons

Cllr Lee Jeavons

Roads across Walsall are to benefit after the council’s ruling Labour group won more than £5 million of extra cash to invest in the borough

Major A, B and C roads in the borough will see increased resurfacing and repairs over the next three years in following a successful bid for £5.1 million from the Government’s Highway Maintenance Challenge Fund.

The council is matching the grant with £630,000 and the additional spend is on top of the authority’s own budget. Councillor Lee Jeavons, portfolio holder for transport at Walsall Council, said the funding will enable the authority to tackle the “wear and tear” on the borough’s urban roads, while helping to improve transport access for regeneration schemes in the borough.

He said: “I am thrilled that Walsall council is to receive this funding. Walsall’s Labour authority has worked with it’s neighbours to secure a deal for the West Midlands that will undoubtedly benefit residents and encourage regeneration, providing benefits for years to come.”

A Fairer Future for All

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

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

A guaranteed interview for veterans applying for council jobs is at the heart of a strategy to create a fairer, better and more prosperous Walsall. The borough’s ruling Labour group has won cross party support for its vision for the borough, entitled ‘Shaping A Fairer Future.’

The strategy will focus on creating more jobs and homes, improving education and training, supporting local businesses and protecting the most vulnerable in the community. Its intention is to deal with the long standing failures of the previous council leadership and to tackle low wages, high unemployment, child poverty, low educational attainment and health inequalities.
A promise of a guaranteed job interview for veterans is central to the policy’s determination to reach out to the whole community, especially those overlooked and ignored in the past.

Priorities include protecting the most vulnerable such the elderly, disabled and children at risk, creating jobs and new homes, improving health across the borough, improving our schools and protecting and supporting our local communities and town centres. It will build on the steps the council has already taken in the last seven months, such as cutting councillors’ allowances, paying staff a living wage, driving up standards in schools and appointing the borough’s first armed forces champion

Council leader, Sean Coughlan, who presented the strategy said:
“A Fairer Future is about building better opportunities and hope for Walsall. Its aims are to give businesses and the people of Walsall reason to have confidence in the future despite the huge difficulties we face. Services are being cut and not just luxuries. Since 2010, 40% of all the Government imposed cuts in Walsall have fallen on the most disadvantaged. We have to stop the vulnerable carrying the can for a national and international economic crisis.

“Rather than just hope for a better future, what we believe what we must do is build that future. We will find new and innovative ways of working together, with locally designed solutions that are shaped around and met the needs of our communities.”

One of the first steps of the plan will be to develop community hubs for each of the borough’s six area partnerships, drawing on the views and needs of local people and partner organisations such as whg and voluntary sector groups. This will give community groups – no matter how big or how small – the ability to influence the decisions of Councillors and the authority at a local level and hold them to account.

Deputy leader of the council and portfolio holder of regeneration, Mohammed Nazir added: “In the future the council will spend more of its money with local firms, boosting Walsall’s economy and helping local businesses. It will review its contracts and procurement practices so decisions have a positive impact on local jobs and skills. Support social enterprises that put profits back into creating more jobs; giving opportunities for apprenticeships and training to local people. It will also offer a guaranteed interview for all available council jobs to former armed service personnel.”

Councillor Carl Creaney (centre right) with serving and ex-members of the Armed Services.

Councillor Carl Creaney (centre right) with serving and ex-members of the Armed Services.

Armed forces champion, Cllr Carl Creaney, said the promise of job interviews for veterans was symbolic of the ethos behind the plan.
“It is easy to forget the sacrifices of our veterans, and when they leave the forces it is sometimes difficult for them to readjust to civilian life. A guaranteed job interview will be a big help to them but it also illustrates a shared value between veterans and our plans for a fairer future; which can be summed up as ‘We won’t accept anyone being left behind’.”