Sign our petition on GP closures

We are gathering signatures for a petition to send to NHS England.

We are alarmed that the current GP practice in the heart of our communities of Brownsover and Coton Park has lost its contract as at 17/04/15 in favour of a caretaker service.

Claire_Alan_Brownsover surgery 2

We are demanding continuity of care for our community’s patients by the new practice, seeking to use a local building so that patient care may be continuous, including keeping the existing staff.

We also demand that the agreed medical centre as planned by the current practice holder next to the existing surgery be completed without delay so that patients can be treated locally.

You can print out a pdf copy of the petition for you and friends and family to sign here – NHS England Petition


GP Closures – Councillors speak out

Labour councillors are still unhappy at moves to close two local GP surgeries after a notice was posted on the front of their surgery door advising patients of imminent closure.

Claire_Brownsover Surgery 2

Claire Edwards explained:

“I have spoken to a number of patients this week who are still appalled to hear that both the surgery on Brownsover and at Albert Street are set to close on 17 April.   The lack of engagement or consultation with patients and residents is dreadful.

“NHS England have tried but I am still struggling to feel that there is any sense of urgency in engaging or communicating with patients, that the interim arrangements make sense and that they still insist that the former surgery at 2a Lower Hillmorton Road is a fit alternative for the thousands of patients at Brownsover.

“Letters to patients still only ask for feedback or enquiries by email. Frankly that is not good enough. And despite a promise at the first public meeting on 9 March, (where 50 plus patients attended) a telephone helpline has not been set up.

“I continue to be very concerned and upset at the lack of engagement with patients even now.

“We have had to fight tooth and nail to get any concessions, such as meetings for patients actually in Brownsover, and a Saturday morning one on 21 March.

“Letters to patients have been slow in arriving, many have only heard through the press or word of mouth.

“We have lobbied for transport arrangements to be part of the transfer arrangements and that patients are put at the heart of any future decision making.

“We are determined to get more answers to the key issues – why has such a poor interim arrangement at 2a Lower Hillmorton Road been deemed good enough for Brownsover patients – patients need a phone helpline, they need assurance from the new GPs (who we still don’t know) and a proper transport plan.   And what about the new medical centre on Brownsover – we need assurances that the new build is going ahead as a matter of priority because many patients feel they have to make their own alternative arrangements and are actively searching other GP surgeries in Rugby to move to. “


Shock at closure of GP surgeries

Labour councillors have demanded quick action to reassure patients and staff at two local GP surgeries after a notice was posted on the front of their surgery door in Brownsover advising patients of imminent closure. Claire Edwards explained:

Claire_Brownsover Surgery 2

“I have spoken to a number of patients this week who are appalled to hear that both the surgery on Brownsover and at Albert Street are about to close.  I demanded a meeting with NHS England and am pleased they responded quickly and we met today.  The lack of engagement or consultation with patients and residents is dreadful”NHS England have assured me that they will put in place robust alternative access to GPs, and are writing to all patients to ensure they are aware of the issues relating to the end of the contract with the current Albert Street and Brownsover surgeries.”I understand the current practices will close on 17 April and the new arrangements will begin on 18 April.  For the next year, there will be a new surgery at 2A, Lower Hillmorton road.  This is helpful for Albert Street patients but very difficult for Brownsover patients.”

County Councillor Alan Webb added:

“We have lobbied for transport arrangements to be part of the transfer arrangements and that patients are put at the heart of any future decision making.  We are pleased that NHS England have agreed to our requests and will be encouraging the establishment of a patients forum.

“We also pressed for a proper long term solution and build a new state of the art medical centre in Brownsover and they have reiterated that they are going ahead with those plans as quickly as possible.

“We also insisted that additional patient engagement sessions are arranged as quickly as possible and two extra sessions, on 9th and 13th March at the scout hut at Boughton Leigh junior school, Hollowell Way, will be held.  We are also hoping for a session out of working hours.”

Claire continued:

“If patients or residents have any queries or concerns at all and can’t get to these sessions then please do get in touch with us direct by email on    We are also asking that a telephone helpline is set up to support patients and that the new GPs make contact with patients direct.

“These interim arrangements must be closely monitored and we will ensure that much better engagement with patients takes place.  We will also ensure a long term solution with the building of a brand new state of the art medical centre in the heart of Brownsover.”


Tough on tax-dodgers

We have had many emails and letters to us, highlighting the need for a stronger and tougher raft of legislation to tackle the increasingly unacceptable levels of tax avoidance in this country. Claire Edwards, Parliamentary candidate has signalled that if elected she would take a tough stance on those do not pay their way.

Claire says

“I can assure you this very seriously and I am hearing a lot from residents and campaigners backing calls for a Tax Dodging Bill.  If elected as your MP I will firmly support Labour’s first Finance Bill which will act to tackle tax avoidance.

This Coalition Government has failed to tackle tax avoidance in the last 5 years and failed to close the loopholes we have highlighted.  And the amount of uncollected tax has risen.

Labour will include in our first Finance Bill measure to:

  • Introduce penalties for those who are caught by the General Anti-Abuse Rule.
  • Close loopholes used by hedge funds to avoid stamp duty
  • Close loopholes like the Eurobonds loophole which allow some large companies to move profits out of the UK and avoid Corporation Tax
  • Stop umbrella companies exploiting tax reliefs
  • Scrap the “Shares for Rights” scheme, which the OBR has warned could enable avoidance and cost £1bn and is administered by HMRC, and so ensure HMRC can better focus on tackling tax avoidance
  • Tackle disguised self-employment by introducing strict deeming criteria
  • Tackle the use of dormant companies to avoid tax by requiring them to report more frequently.

Labour’s measures to tackle tax avoidance will also include:

  • Ensuring stronger independent scrutiny of the tax system, including reliefs, and the government’s efforts to tackle tax avoidance
  • Forcing the UK’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies to produce publicly available registries of beneficial ownership
  • Making country-by-country reporting information publicly available
  • Ensuring developing countries are properly engaged in the drawing up of global tax rules.

Farewell to Les

It is with sadness that we mark the death of Les Bayliss, who passed away on 13 January after a long illness. Les was a stalwart Trade Unionist and a long-serving Labour Councillor, representing Brownsover in the 1950s and 1960s, and more recently Benn ward for 17 years.

He was known for his good humour and his dedication, as well as for his campaigning on local issues such as protecting the Orthodox Church on Clifton Road. There are many people in Rugby with fond memories of Les, and the local Labour Party members who knew him will miss him dearly.

His funeral will take place at 1pm on Thursday 12 February at St Botolph’s in Newbold. There will be a wake afterwards at the Railway Club (LMRCA) on Hillmorton Road.

Our thoughts are with Les’ family at this time.

Link to the Rugby Advertiser obituary



Tories presiding over lost voters

You can find out how to register to vote here


Today (5 February) on National Voter Registration Day, Labour’s parliamentary candidate Claire Edwards is urging people in Rugby who haven’t already registered to take action now or lose their ability to influence the general election’s outcome.

Her intervention follows Labour leader Ed Miliband’s recent speech accusing the government of “sitting by and watching hundreds of thousands of young people in our country lose their sacred democratic rights” due to changes they made to the registration system since 2010.

Claire Edwards said: 

“National Voter Registration Day is needed more than ever because under this Tory-led government which is backed by Mark Pawsey, there has been a huge drop of nearly a million in the number of people registered to vote. Despite Rugby’s population growing, the number of people registered here is down by 675. Labour warned that this would happen if the Tory and Lib Dems moved to individual registration, but they arrogantly ignored us.

“I’m concerned that young people have been particularly badly affected, with large drops in registration amongst students. I’m reaching out to local schools and Warwickshire College to meet our young people, listen to their views and encourage them to get involved in politics, not least by exercising their democratic right to vote. With tuition fees up from £3,000 to £9,000 under the ConDems, it’s no surprise that Mark Pawsey’s party seems so relaxed about young people not registering to vote.

“In the year of the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta and the 750th anniversary of the De Montfort parliament, it’s shocking that Mark Pawsey’s government could allow our voting system to be undermined like this. That’s why today I’m urging Rugby voters of all ages to register to vote.”

You can find out how to register to vote here


Claire slams 33% hike in nurses registration fees

Claire Edwards has slammed the latest hike in National Registration Fees for nurses, midwives, health visitors and community nurses.
Echoing the UNITE campaign against such a job tax she explained:

“All nurses have to be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council in order to be employed.  The fees have increased massively from £76 just 2 years ago, with another whopping rise to £100 last year and now to £120 from March 2015, another £20 rise.  That’s a massive hike in just a couple of years and in a period when pay has been eroded by 15% in real terms since 2010.


“And all this for an organisation sitting on £10 million reserves!

“It is a form of job tax and adds to an already heavy burden on hard working nurses and midwives and health visitors who are already struggling with massive workloads and the pressure of unfilled vacancies.

“It’s unfair and I full support the need for a better review of these fee increases, unfair hikes which bear no relation to the low pay and work stresses that our nurses and midwives are struggling with.   And they have no alternative to pay, not even by installments.”


Claire Reflects on Holocaust Memorial Day

“I am extremely honoured to have been included in the Mayor’s initiative to support the Holocaust Memorial Day in this the year of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and the other death camps in the aftermath of the Second World War.

We must do all we can to preserve the memory and ensure future generations from all walks of life not only know about the past but are determined to remember.

It is more vital than ever to unite against anti-Semitism, honour the survivors still with us and reaffirm our shared goals of mutual understanding and justice.

Commemoration of past atrocities must be combined with a determination to resist hate and intolerance today and into the future.

The Convention on Human Rights, forged after WW2 and the Holocaust makes clear we must protect freedom of expression, freedom of thought, conscience and religion.  But we must also protect people’s freedom from hate crimes, discrimination and incitement to racial hatred or violence.

I am particularly heartened by the work of all faiths and none across Rugby Borough to continue to work together in embracing tolerance, mutual respect and understanding as we formally support Holocaust Memorial Day.”

Claire Edwards

Claire Edwards

The mayor of Rugby, Cllr Ramesh Srivastava, will be marking Holocaust Memorial Day at a special event at Rugby Town Hall, Evreux  Way, Rugby CV21 2RR on Saturday 31 January at 3pm. The event will include the memories of Susi Bechhofer, followed by the lighting of candles at St. Andrews church at 4pm.


The Tory rail rip-off

Rail fare season tickets have risen by around 20% since 2010

Since 2010, the Government has allowed the train companies to hit passengers in Rugby with massive fare rises of around 20 percent.

station feb 28The new fare rises came into effect on 2 January 2015. Now some season ticket holders, especially those travelling to London, find that their season ticket this month has risen by hundreds of pounds.

For example a season ticket from Rugby to London with London Midland has risen from £4,800 to £5,640, a massive £840 increase, an 18% hike since 2010.

And, a season ticket for Virgin Trains from Rugby to London Euston has risen from £6,280 to an eye-watering £7,624, an increase of £1,344, equivalent to a 21% hike since 2010. Continue reading