Blog - a range of views from the grassroots

Labour policies promote skills & new technology

The UK’s sustained growth between 1997 and 2008 was fuelled by the importance of skills and new technology. Rather than just austerity, the government should focus on building human capital... Read more

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RESPONSES TO THE BUDGET

For the first time in modern history, British economic growth is predicted to fall below 2 per cent in every forecast year. Thus the UK is facing the longest fall in living standards since records began.

Better off with the Tory Budget?

  RESPONSES TO THE BUDGET For the first time in modern history, British economic growth is predicted to fall below 2 per cent in every forecast year. Thus the UK... Read more

There has been talk of underfunding and recruitment problems in the NHS for a long time. But changes currently being implemented could make matters a whole lot worse, and could open the NHS up to privatisation on a scale not seen before. 

 

NHS for Sale?

There has been talk of underfunding and recruitment problems in the NHS for a long time. But changes currently being implemented could make matters a whole lot worse, and could... Read more

Funding cuts to schools across Derbyshire are hitting the most disadvantaged areas hardest.

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner, speaking at the Labour Party Confgerence this week,  has pledged to reverse £500m cuts to Sure Start and early years education and announced a new cradle to grave National Education Service if Labour are elected. Check here to see just how much each school in Derbyshire is going to lose. 

List of schools and budget cuts

How much is YOUR local school going to lose?

Funding cuts to schools across Derbyshire are hitting the most disadvantaged areas hardest. Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner, speaking at the Labour Party Confgerence this week,  has pledged to reverse... Read more

Town Hall 7.30pm - all members welcome.

Guest speaker: JIll Rapoport, former GP, on Action for the NHS

Full agenda below

Wirksworth & Masson Branch meeting Monday 2 October

Town Hall 7.30pm - all members welcome. Guest speaker: JIll Rapoport, former GP, on Action for the NHS Full agenda below Read more

Our friends at the blog BelperStuff had this to say recently:

BelperStuff has been following the progress of the new Tory regime in Matlock with ............ well ................ few expectations. One of the most intriguing promises was to reverse Labour's cuts to bus services which were honestly disclosed by Labour's Councillor Dean Collins in January of this year. He stated that because of government cuts the DCC would have to gradually cut subsidies from £4.2 million to £2.7 million over the 4 years up to 2020/21.New Blueprint for Derbyshire Buses. Don't forget that these are Tory government austerity cuts imposed on councils.

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Bus interior scene - Eustace Pain Elliot Nash (Russell-Cotes Art Gallery - Bournemouth)

 

Derbyshire Tories reacted to this by making the reversal of "Labour" bus subsidy cuts a major election pledge in May 2017. Many people voted conservative because they were promised that by voting Tory they would be protecting bus services. Below is that very promise .......... number 10 in their manifesto:

THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY MANIFESTO - DERBYSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL 2017 Working for Derbyshire

We know that Derbyshire Community Transport Schemes and subsidised bus routes provide a vital service for vulnerable and isolated people, particularly in the county’s rural and former mining areas.

We will reverse Labour's cuts and restore important access to health and social care, shopping and social activities. 

Here is a link to the Derbyshire Tory 2017 manifesto

So what have the Tories done now that they are in office?

In a DCC press statement made in September the Tories announced that they were reversing £3m of the cuts: 

 

You can read the September 2017 press statement here

............ and this is the salient announcement:

Subsidised bus services to continue

Bus passengers in Derbyshire are to keep services paid for by us as plans to cut public transport funding are reviewed. It had been proposed to withdraw funding for around 144 subsidised services from October 2017. Following consultation where more than 90% of respondents said they disagreed with the plan, we have now agreed to provide £3m to continue funding some of these services.

The future of individual services has yet to be decided but we will be working closely with operators to see if some can be run commercially. We will also continue to review the whole of the bus network, streamlining less well-used services by reducing their frequency and joining up other services to reduce duplication.

There is another reference to the £3m in the revised budget announcement of July 2017:

  • putting back £3.1m over two years (2018-2019 and 2019-2020) into public and community transport, reversing a previous budget saving and resulting in an additional £11.9m over the next five years you can find that here

Have the Tories made good on their manifesto pledge?

Not quite sure how putting an average annual sum of £1.55m can become an additional sum of £11.9m over the next 5 years ............ (surely 5 x 1.55 = 7.75) ............. must be Govian maths.

 

The total sum allocated for public transport in the Labour budget for 2017/18 was £13.7 million. It would be helpful if the new administration could publish their revised public transport budget figure for this current year and give an indication of what subsequent budgets might look like. The eagle-eyed amongst you have probably noticed that Councillor Collins was talking about a 4 year budget period (up to 2021) but the Tories are planning on a 3 year timescale (up to 2020). What do they propose in the 4th year? What is needed is a like for like comparison. That claim of an extra £11.9m over the next 5 years would equate to an additional annual figure of £2.38m. If we use Councillor Collins January 2017 press statement as a baseline then we could have expected the 2021/22 public transport budget to be around £12.2 but the revised Tory forecast would make that £14.58m. If inflation is included in the calculation then the 2021/22 budget figure would have to be in the region of £15m to keep parity with the 2017/18 figure. Obviously £3.1m over two years falls way short of the election manifesto promise.

 

Finally

A cynic might well say, "so what's new .......... Tories make big promises to get elected then do exactly the opposite once they have your vote".

The trouble is that they do it time after time, election after election. "oh yes ..... (the cynic would say) ............ but all parties renege on their election promises".

Maybe so but in this instance it would appear that Labour were more trustworthy than the Tories. In fact there are other Tory promises that have already been broken that will feature on this blog.

As usual BelperStuff tries to be a reliable source of information. If you spot any factual inaccuracy then make a comment below and if something needs correcting it will be corrected.

 

Tories promised Derbyshire Bus Services would be protected

Our friends at the blog BelperStuff had this to say recently: BelperStuff has been following the progress of the new Tory regime in Matlock with ............ well ................ few expectations. One... Read more

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Everyone must take urgent action to save the NHS

Do it NOW, before the Autumn statement

In just five years time all Derbyshire health care could be delivered by private companies. That’s how close we are to losing the NHS, warn an alliance of local groups campaigning to keep the NHS.

An ACTION PLAN that we can all take part in was launched at a public meeting in Matlock this week. 

NHS - take action NOW

Everyone must take urgent action to save the NHS Do it NOW, before the Autumn statement In just five years time all Derbyshire health care could be delivered by private... Read more

ALL IS NOT WELL AT AMBER VALLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

 



LOCAL PLAN IN ABSOLUTE TATTERS 

 



CALLS FOR TORY LEADER CLLR BUTTERY TO RESIGN

 

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Amber Valley Borough Council has been criticised by a government housing inspector as making an ‘unreasonable’ decision - and he has awarded costs against the council in favour of a local campaign group. The Council refused to back their own planning board and did not defend an appeal against the decision to not allow 200 homes on contaminated land at Somercotes.

The inspector said “It is not clear as to why the Council decided not to defend its decision. Having regard to this lack of explanation I find that the Council’s decision not to contest the appeal was unreasonable…….. I find that unreasonable behaviour resulting in unnecessary or wasted expense, as described in the Planning Practice Guidance has been demonstrated. I conclude that a partial award of costs against Amber Valley Borough Council is justified.”

The 200 homes formed a significant element of the number of houses required by the Local Plan, and together with the judgement preventing homes being built at Kedleston Rd, there now appears to be an unsustainable shortfall. Other sites earmarked in the Local Plan include the World Heritage Buffer site at Belper Lane, but bizarrely not the former ABRU site in Belper which has just had planning agreed.

The public consultation is set to be examined by the councils Scrutiny committee after Labour Councillors complained that the results were withheld from councillors until after the decision on the draft local plan was made. 

Belper North’s Labour Councillor Ben Bellamy has called on the council leader to resign, saying:

“Amber Valley is in crisis. The decision not to defend the democratic conclusion of the planning board was unacceptable. The decision to earmark contaminated land that could be of danger to residents into the Draft Local plan for housing was unacceptable. Elsewhere putting World Heritage Buffer Zone land into the plan, Green belt land into the plan and yet ignoring and refusing to put viable sites, like the Abru factory, call into question the competence of the current council. Any chance of having a Local Plan decided by local people is disintegrating – over a million spent – and for what? Amongst this crisis the August meeting of the council was cancelled. Leader Councillor Buttery should consider his position and resign– it looks not like leadership , but more like crisis management.” 

Meanwhile sites such as the field lane car park extension – that the council spent £1.6 million on for a leisure centre that was never built lies empty, and the abandoned river gardens tea rooms deteriorates and looks in danger of collapse. Cllr Bellamy said:

“Council tax payers are paying the cost of a borough council that has closed our local offices; turned off the majority of the CCTV cameras that kept us safe; wasted millions on the Local Plan and failed projects; run out of ideas and is running out of money.” 

“Meanwhile in Belper we have a World Heritage Status that they have put under threat by encouraging inappropriate housing developments; our jewel in the crown River Gardens Tearoom project still not funded; playgrounds rusting; and thanks to the Conservative government our hospital is set to close and Belpers schools are facing horrendous budget cuts taht will affect our childrens education.”

Amber Valley Tory Council in Tatters

ALL IS NOT WELL AT AMBER VALLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL   LOCAL PLAN IN ABSOLUTE TATTERS    CALLS FOR TORY LEADER CLLR BUTTERY TO RESIGN   Amber Valley Borough Council has... Read more

 

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Hospital Closures in Derbyshire - Consultation a Farce!

    Read more

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August 6
city of 300,000
can we forget that silence?
in that stillness
the powerful appeal
of the white eye sockets of the wives and children who did not
return home
that tore apart our hearts
can it be forgotten?

TŌGE Sankichi, translated by Karen Thornber

Hiroshima Day

  August 6city of 300,000can we forget that silence?in that stillnessthe powerful appealof the white eye sockets of the wives and children who did notreturn homethat tore apart our heartscan... Read more

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