In the budget for 2011, the previous Lib Dem council cut the funding for Police Community Support Officers (PCSO’s), a move that was widely criticised by residents across the City. Labour restored funding for 10 PCSO’s when they came to power last May and we are already seeing the benefit of these additional officers. “PCSO’s work closely with the community on issues such as road safety around schools and tackling ASB. They support the work of the local Tenants and Residents Association and ‘Friends of’ groups in our parks” commented Cllr Bryan Lodge, adding ”People feel safer when they see a uniformed presence on the streets; the Tory / Lib Dem government are hell bent on cutting police numbers so I’m glad that we can fund additional PCSO’s in Sheffield. Once again, Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems are propping up the Tories in their savage cuts that will only add to peoples fear of crime”.
Back in October 2011, repairs on the Town Hall clock were heavily criticised by Lib Dems. The repairs were deemed necessary under health and safety grounds and admittedly, the cost of repairs at approximately £19,000 were high. But clearly people walking below the clock would be at risk after harsh weather had taken its toll on the clock faces.
Wind forward a few months and we have Lib Dem Cllr Diane Stimley encouraging the council to spend £7000 to clean a statue of Queen Victoria in Endcliffe Park!. As Lib Dem leader Cllr Mohammed said at the time of the clock repair “It seems like an eyewatering amount of money to spend at a time when vital front line services are feeling the squeeze.” Will he be saying that to Cllr Stimley? I doubt it.
Birley ward Councillors Bryan Lodge, Denise Fox and Karen McGowan recently met up with Basegreen resident Mr Doug Hancock after he told them about problems facing mobility scooter users. “I’m grateful for the dropped kerbs that have been put in but they sometimes get blocked by parked cars” said Doug. “I’m not blaming drivers as they probably don’t realise that they are blocking them, but I wondered if there was anything that could be done to make it more obvious”. Bryan, Denise and Karen have arranged for a white ‘H’ marking to be installed to keep the area clear. Commenting on the news, Cllr Bryan Lodge said “As Doug points out, drivers don’t always realise the problem. I suppose until you’re faced with these types of problems, like many local residents who use mobility scooters, you don’t fully appreciate how hard it can be to get up the kerb. I tried to lift Doug’s scooter and it’s not that easy. I’m sure that drivers will respect the markings when they are put in and help to make life a little easier for everyone”
My Spring Report which covers my work in Yorkshire and the Humber and in the European Parliament over the past few months is now online.
You can view it at: Linda McAvan MEP’s Spring Report (report in .pdf format)
As the extent of two health scandals have become clear in recent months, both emanating in France but affecting people across Europe, much of my committee work has focussed on revising health regulations at European level. Many of you will be aware of the breast implant scandal, but an equally shocking failure of regulation was exposed after it was discovered a French drug company had left a drug widely believed to have harmful side effects on the market for several years, causing the deaths of hundreds, possibly thousands of people. As the spokesperson for the Socialists and Democrats group on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee, closing these regulatory loopholes and improving coordination between national and European regulators has been at the forefront of my work recently.
These startling cases also show how interconnected we are with other European countries. With stronger Europe-wide legislation and closer working relationships between national institutions these health scares could have been prevented or at least better contained.
In contrast to the progress we are making in reforming European health regulations, there still appears no obvious end to the Eurozone crisis. With right-wing governments across Europe determined to savagely slash public spending and with unemployment as high as 20% in some European countries, economic recovery in the short term seems unlikely to a lot of people. Across Europe millions are out of work, pensions and wages are being cut, yet still there is little to no growth, particularly in the UK. Labour and our sister parties are campaigning for more investment in jobs to kickstart the economy and drive Europe forward. Austerity is not working.
As we know, there is an alternative to cuts and it is up to us as Labour Party members to effectively communicate our vision out of economic trouble to the rest of the country. We have a perfect opportunity to make our voices heard at the forthcoming local elections.
Best of luck to all candidates and I look forward to seeing many of you out on the campaign trail.
If you are a Twitter user then please feel free to follow me on http://twitter.com/lindamcavanmep
Member of the European Parliament for Yorkshire and the Humber
Labour Members of South Yorkshire Police Authority are fighting the Coalition Governments proposals to get rid of South Yorkshire’s helicopter.
The original proposals from the National Police Air Service (NPAS) meant the existing South Yorkshire based helicopter would have been absorbed into the national structure, and that the county would have received air cover from bases in West Yorkshire, Humberside and Derbyshire, with significantly longer response times for most of the area. The Police Authority voted to keep the helicopter, only to be told by the government that this wouldn’t be allowed. “It’s great for the Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems to bang on about support for the Localism agenda that David Cameron and the Tories are rolling out, but when it comes down to an issue that local people really want, our own dedicated police helicopter, our views don’t count” said Cllr Bryan Lodge “Why isn’t Mr Clegg standing up for the people of Sheffield and South Yorkshire against this government? It seems localism is OK, but only where it suits the Coalition Government!”
Your local Labour Councillors support the Living with Nature programme at Dyke Vale Road and were joined today by over 75 people who took part in the Easter Egg Hunt. Councillor Karen McGowan said “it’s great to see so many young people and their families supporting this event and enjoying the area. Thank you to all those staff involved in organising today’s event”.
Living with Nature is a three year programme, funded by the Big Lottery, focussing on improvements to sites on Sheffield Homes land, which are all currently identified as Play Areas (although many have had old equipment removed in recent years). This is a partnership which involves Wildlife Trust for Sheffield & Rotherham, Sheffield City Council, the University of Sheffield, and Sheffield Homes.
The greenspace at the junction between Dyke Vale Road and Carr Forge Road is a designated play space, managed by Sheffield Homes. It is being re-developed to provide better and more exciting play opportunities, high quality public greenspace for all and improvements for wildlife and nature.
The aims of the programme are to improve the play value of the sites, and to increase their biodiversity and value to wildlife. This will be done through an intensive process of community engagement with local tenants and residents as well as existing community groups, to create a sense of local ownership of the completed facilities; increase social cohesion in the areas concerned; and to encourage people to be more involved in terms of the ongoing upkeep and positive use of their local community greenspace. For details of the site see http://www.wildsheffield.com/what-we-do/projects/living-with-nature
Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Andy Burnham MP, came to Sheffield today for the regional launch of Labour’s local election campaign. During his visit to Sheffield, Andy took time out for a chat with local Birley councillors Bryan Lodge and Karen McGowan. We discussed concerns raised by members of the public across Birley over the recent Tory/ Lib Dem imposed changes to the NHS and cuts to Police numbers in the region. Andy confirmed that a future Labour government will reverse the NHS changes.
Sheffield Central CLP are holding a fundraiser this month, and it looks a good one! For those wishing to attend, and hear Shadow Chancellor Rt Hon Ed Balls MP speak, here are the details.
Sheffield Central Constituency Labour Party Fundraiser
Friday 20TH April 2012
7.00pm for 7.30pm
Rt Hon Ed Balls MP – Shadow Chancellor
LIVE entertainment from Ken Follett and ‘ClogIron’
Sheffield College, Granville Road, Sheffield S2 2RL.
‘Pie and Pea’ supper. Please say if you want vegetarian option when you book your ticket.
Ticket: £15.00 & £7.50 young members
For more details, please contact: Jim Smith, CLP Secretary,email@example.com
Cheques should be made payable to ‘Sheffield Central Constituency Labour Party’
Donations of Raffle prizes MOST WELCOME!!
Proposed Coalition changes to local planning laws have been controversial, with many fearing that green belt land could lose vital protections. In a constituency like Sheffield South-East, this could result in countryside at present enjoyed by all being lost to developers.
Fortunately our MP Clive Betts, in his role as chairman of Parliament’s backbench Communities and Local Government Committee, has been leading the fight against the worst aspects of the National Planning Policy Framework. On hearing news that changes to proposed legislation have led to increased protection for our green spaces, he said:
The select committee listened to the campaigners, and the Government listened to the select committee. Great credit should go to everyone who has campaigned to get this change… the draft NPPF would have reshaped England very differently if the initial plans had gone through.
Full story at the Daily Telegraph website:
On Tuesday 10th April the new energyshare Fund will be launched with 8 awards of between £2,500 and £5,000 available to local energy projects. To be in with a chance there are two ways of applying – raise £5k of your own through Peoplefund.it and British Gas and energyshare will match it; or submit an online application to be considered for three lots of £2,500.
Last time around the scheme helped 4 communities realise their renewable energy projects, and between them they are set to generate enough energy to power 1,169 houses and earn a projected annual income of £500,000. This year they want to help more groups on their way, so whether you want to raise funds yourself or are looking to support a local community, register your interest on energyshare today.
Further information is available at www.energyshare.com/community-fund/
Following the decision of the Fire Authority on Monday 26th March to close Mansfield Road fire station and the retained station at Mosborough, Birley appears to be in line for a new fire station. Labour councillors Bryan Lodge, Denise Fox and Karen McGowan will seek to work with the Fire Authority to ensure that the views of the local community are considered in developing the new facility.
Are you a community group that works within Birley ward boundaries, or are you wishing to set up such a group? Then please visit the website of Birley Ward Community First Panel:
Birley Ward Community First Panel is part of a nationwide programme set up to help community groups, and is run under the auspices of the Community Development Foundation. The money isn’t available in all parts of Sheffield, but since Birley is one of the wards chosen to participate eligible Birley groups can get financial help which could make a real difference to what they’re doing.
To find out more, simply visit the website of Birley Ward Community First Panel. If you’not part of such a group yourself, please pass the information on. Let’s do all we can to boost community groups in Birley!