Fareham Labour opposes Sure-Start cuts

Labour have condemned proposed County Council cuts to children’s services across the county and are fighting hard to defend vital services and opportunities for children and young people in the face of Tory cuts.

Under the County proposals three of the current four centres in Fareham are due to close. These are Keepsake at Portchester Community Centre; Sovereign at Brookfield Community School and Merryfields at Neville Lovett School, with only Oak Meadow in North-West Fareham set to remain open.

The last Labour Government’s Sure Start programme provided impressive support for local children and families. The Coalition Government of the Tories and the Liberal Democrats began dismantling the programme. The final end is now threatened and we must fight to protect these vital services in our community.”

 

Jo Hilder said: “When my children were younger, my Sure Start Centre was invaluable. It’s really comforting to know there’s someone you can ask questions.

“It’s hard being a young parent and we should be providing as much support as possible. It’s a shame the council are closing them down!”

Children’s centres offer a range of vital services to parents from pregnancy through to when children start school. Parents and children make friends, play, seek advice and support on a huge range of issues from child health, parenting, lifestyle and so much more. The Centre’s are a hive of activity with storytelling, singing, music, health visitors, breastfeeding support, advice on childcare options, links for schools, advice on language development, managing money and work and training opportunities. All of this and more is under threat from the Council’s plans and quite frankly we don’t believe that these cuts are necessary – the council has the money it just doesn’t have the will.

Oliver Brotherton, a teacher from Portchester, said: “The Tories have been cutting funding for Sure Start Centres from day one. These centres have been proven to help young parents and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. We should be fighting to keep them open! Once again, this government are punishing the less well off.”

Fareham Labour calls upon Tory controlled Hampshire County Council at their meeting on 13th May to reconsider its proposals and act to preserve these vital services.

Portchester Labour Party expresses disgust at local Conservative Candidate leaflets

Portchester Labour has expressed disgust at the distasteful leaflets currently being delivered in Portchester, printed on blue paper under the label ‘In Touch’

Portchester Branch Labour Party has been involved in local politics ever since the years following the Second World War. Over those years, party members have sought election at county and borough level as well as contesting seats at Parliamentary elections. As a political party we have robustly debated the way forward for our village, borough and nation with both Conservative and Liberal opponents.

Labour spokesperson Stuart Rose says “In all those years we have never read anything as bitter, biased and distasteful as the Conservative candidate’s leaflets currently being delivered in Portchester. This leaflet, while not attacking me personally or The Labour Party generally carried banner headlines reading: “Let them in scream the Lib-Dems” – alluding to the issue of The European Union membership and immigration.

Another leaflet was clearly in the same tone showed the Conservative candidate draped in the Union Flag and standing by the local war memorial. This is the nadir of local politics; many of those who died in the war were members of both The Liberal & Labour parties, indeed many were of other nationalities and races who fought alongside us such as the Polish airmen.

Portchester Labour insists on an apology from Trevor Alford and calls on the local Conservative Party to ensure that such offensive leaflets are not repeated in Fareham.

Fareham’s ghost bus stop

Bus stopFor over two years, a bus stop on Longfield Avenue has been without any service. Bus routes to the stop, known as ‘Cheviot Walk,’ ceased on 26 January 2014, leaving it abandoned. Fareham Labour Party blames the ghost bus stop on unnecessary cuts from the Conservative Government.

Longfield Avenue resident, Arthur Cooper (aged 90) said: “Since the bus has stopped running I’ve found it very difficult to get into town.”

Labour candidate for the Fareham South Ward, Richard Ryan said: “We need bus services which serve all residents. Some older people can’t walk very far to a stop into town and this might be their only form of transport.”

Fareham Council is currently seeking tenders to maintain the Borough’s bus stops. Richard continued “Although making sure bus stops are kept repaired, clean & tidy it would be a good idea to have buses to use the stops.”

Fareham Cycleways Petition

We, believe that cycling should be encouraged as a boost to fitness and good health and a sound environmentaly friendly alternative to the car. Cyclists should expect that they can make their journeys safely and the use of dedicated cycle lanes on highways or shared cycle and pedestrian pathways can make a significant contribution towards encouragement of this mode of transport. On major routes through the borough of Fareham the current provision for cyclists is sadly lacking.

I, the undersigned urge Fareham Borough Council to work with Hampshire County Council as the responsible authority to improve the provision for cyclists on the major routes in Fareham Borough with a particular priority to action on the main A27 route [The Avenue and Southampton Road] between Fareham Town Centre, Titchfield and the Western wards.

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Proud of our local election result, our fight for a fairer country continues

The Labour vote in Fareham at 7,800 was incredibly close to the outcome in 2010 and similarly the Conservative vote was little changed.

Our candidate, Stuart Rose spoke at the declaration of result and paid tribute to the hard-working team that had supported his campaign saying, “I’ve never before seen such a groundswell of activity at a local level”, adding “I’m really proud of our campaign” and thanking all those who had helped make a difference.

Whilst we share the disappointment of fellow members across the country at the national result, we continue the fight for a better an fairer country.

Decision on Whiteley access welcomed

WhiteleyFollowing pressure from residents and local organisations, Fareham Labour Party is pleased that Tory Hampshire County Council has finally agreed to maintain the access to Whiteley via Yew Tree Drive open on a permanent basis, following the successful conclusion of the trial which took place earlier this year.

 

This access is a badly needed measure to cope with the traffic congestion around Segensworth and junction 9 of the M27 which has on occasions led to gridlock in Whiteley.

We also welcome the progress made towards approval of the construction of a bypass around Subbington and the proposals for improvement works in the coming years for the busy St Margarets roundabout and the A27 route between Segensworth and the Titchfield gyratory. These measures to ease traffic congestion in Fareham Borough will be welcomed by residents who suffer delays in their daily journeys.

A figure to be proud of – or not ?

wpid-imag1630.jpgA recent report from the Office of National Statistics show that Fareham has the highest car ownership rate in the whole of Britain. The figures say that our town has 538.7 cars registered for every 1000 residents. This is 65 per cent higher than neighbouring Portsmouth.

Although these figures may show that Fareham is a relatively wealthy town we believe it also shows an over-relaince on the car primarily due to a lack of good public transport and local infrastructure. In fact for many Fareham residents, they find themselves forced to allocate a significant proportion of their earnings to run a motor car simply because there is no viable alternative. Whilst we support the initiatives to alleviate traffic hot-spots such as the Stubbington by-pass, the solution to Fareham’s traffic crisis cannot simply be to build more and more roads.

Fareham is woefully lacking in Public Transport aside from the Train Services from Swanwick, Portchester and the main Fareham station, whilst even these have services that come to an end relatively early in the evening and are of limited use to residents who wish to work or seek entertainment in the later hours in either of our neighbouring cities.

Meanwhile, the provision made for cyclists in Fareham is woefully inadequate, the Borough and County Councils appear to have no apparent strategy, where cycle routes exist these are short and isolated and there is no real provision made on the key traffic corridors – A27 and and A32 – through the borough of Fareham.

Over many years Labour has pressed for better buses services and we regret that First Bus continues to cut services and refuses to improve services which force people to use cars rather public transport.Tory controlled Hampshire County Council of course is not helping by cutting subsidies to bus companies.

Labour’s solution would be to coordinate public transport with bus and train services linked where possible. We would seek to improve bus subsidies in the borough so that key routes can be maintained with better frequency and and introducing an ‘Oyster type card’ (such as used in London) across Hampshire to make travel easier and cheaper.

Only by making public transport and other alternatives to the car such as cycling a real priority will we reduce the number of traffic movements and the consequent traffic jams.

Labour Condemns GP Funding Cuts

Fareham Labour Party has condemned GP Funding Cuts. Spokesperson Richard Ryan said:

“Almost everyone with recent experience of GPs surgeries will recognise the truth of Dr Richard Roop’s comments (GPs Surgery’s Under Pressure Due to Funding Cuts – The News 25 April). In the last year it has become much harder to get an appointment with a GP and we have less choice, or frequently no choice, of which GP we want to see. The Royal College of GPs has stated that almost 11% of the NHS budget was spent on general practice in 2005, compared with 8.5% in 2011 – a cumulative loss of £9.1bn at the same time as 40 million additional appointments are being requested.

This is undoubtedly part of the reason for increased pressure in A & E departments across the country. Primary Care is a crucial, perhaps in many ways the most crucial, part of the NHS. It is our first point of call when we have a health problem, or at least it should be. The Labour Party recognised the importance of the NHS and primary care and invested in it.

The Conservatives just want it privatised. The idea of paying for GP appointments is already being floated by some Conservative commentators.”

Labour has been receiving support across the political spectrum which has included the former leader of the SDP Lord David Owen donating money to The Labour Party because he supports Labour’s proposal to reverse the 2012 legislation saying that “Unless there is a change of Government the NHS in England will be completely destroyed by 2020”.