A big thanks to all of the people who have supported us, from voters taking the trouble to go to the polls, all the deliverers and canvassers, lift-givers and to our hard-working candidates.
Tories lose control of County Council
Overall Labour gained 12 seats compared to the 2009 results, becoming the second largest group. The Conservatives lost their majority and now will have to either work in coalition or seek consensus if they are to continue to run the County Council.
The 22 elected councillors across Warwickshire will work hard to get our agenda (link to manifesto) implemented and will provide a strong voice for the people of the County.
Four seats gained from Tories here
We took four County Council seats in Rugby and Bulkington from the Conservatives. In Brownsover the husband and wife team of Alan and Mary Webb took 3,186 votes between them to defeat the sitting councillors. In Lawford and New Bilton, Maggie O’Rourke took the seat with a majority of 313. Bulkington saw local stalwart John Beaumont take over half of the vote to win the seat from the Tories.
Full results can be seen here: Warwickshire Elections
9.6% Swing from Tories to Labour
Comparing to the 2009 elections, the Labour vote share across Rugby constituency went up by 10.1%, while the Conservative vote fell by 9.1%. The Liberal Democrat share of the vote fell by over a third, and the Green share by nearly a half. UKIP were not as much of a feature as in other areas, so it is now clear that the main rivals to the Conservatives in Rugby are Labour.
In order to win the Parliamentary constituency, Labour require a swing of 6.3% from 2010, so these results put Mark Pawsey’s seat in jeopardy for 2015.
Local Labour County Councillors will switch the streetlights back on in Rugby if they gain control of Warwickshire County Council on the 3rd May. They believe along with many local residents that the decision to switch the street lights off in Warwickshire will lead to an increase in crime, road traffic accidents and people tripping and falling in the dark.
Already we are hearing of road accidents in other areas of Warwickshire, which are being attributed to the streetlights being turned off as well as an increase in crime. Labour County Council candidate for New Bilton and Lawford Maggie O’Rourke said,
It is estimated that just one serious road traffic accident will cost in the region of 1.6million pounds once you factor in the cost to services such as health, police and highway repairs.
She and all of her fellow Labour Party County Council candidates do not believe that this is a good use of taxpayer’s money in these difficult times. This Tory scheme has cost 1.5 million pounds to implement and it would be many years before this cost would be recuperated and savings made.
The Labour County Council put forward a cost saving program to keep the lights switch on which included cutting County Councillors’ allowances – this proposal was rejected out of hand by the Tory County Councillors, and opposed by the Lib Dems.
We have a full slate of candidates for the upcoming County Council elections on Thursday 2 May, and will be fighting in the Borough Council by-election in the ward of Bilton on the same day.
Labour will turn the lights back on
The Tories refused to listen to residents and switched off our streetlights after midnight. Despite Labour finding the funding, the Tories and Lib Dems voted to keep the lights off
Keeping council tax down
We would cut Councillor Allowances to enable us to keep council tax as low as possible. Families are struggling and councillors should share the burden of Tory cuts to local government.
Protecting and improving services
We will protect services for young and vulnerable people. We will work to ensure young people have opportunities for apprenticeships and good jobs and will tackle isolation among older residents.
Tackling crime and antisocial behaviour
Local people tell us they are concerned about crime. We will work with the police to ensure their concerns are dealt with.
Bringing investment to Rugby
We need more jobs. We will work to bring more investment to our town.
Standing up for the NHS
Labour is the party of the NHS. We will always campaign for Rugby to have access to the best possible health service.
For the full manifesto, click on this link: – Working together in Warwickshire – Labour 2013 (pdf, 1MB)
Local Labour Candidates are opposing the new town centre pedestrinisation scheme, which will cost an estimated 1million pounds. Brownsover candidate Alan Webb said,
I cannot see how this new plan will save our town centre and I do not believe that this million pound scheme provides value for money
Many local residents and my colleagues believe that this money could be spent on much better things. So far there has been no direct consultation with local residents about this new scheme. The local Labour Party does not believe that there is any evidence that this will help businesses in the town centre.
In fact the Local labour party candidates believe that it will lead to more traffic jams and could lead to frustrated motorist being driven away from shopping in Rugby town centre. The restricted access to North Street will increase pressure on the main residential roads near to the town centre, including Newbold Road, Railway Terrace, Lawrence Sheriff Street, Lawford Road, Oliver Street, Bilton Road and Dunchurch Road.
Also, because North Street will still be open to buses and taxis under the plans, it is not even true pedestrianisation.
The Tory controlled County and Borough councils have this year decided to spend £500,000 each on proposals to pedestrianise part of North Street.
So far there has been no direct consultation with residents of Rugby regarding this major proposal – there will only be consultation after the May elections, and after the decision was made to spend £1M
There is no evidence that this will help businesses in the town centre. Pedestrianisation will lead to more traffic jams and could result in frustrated motorists being driven away from shopping in Rugby town centre to out of town centre.
Restricting access to North Street will increase pressure on the main residential roads near the town centre, including Newbold Road, Railway Terrace, Lawrence Sheriff Street, Lawford Road, Oliver Street, Bilton Road and Dunchurch Road.
Queuing traffic, particularly at rush hour, will become even worse. It may also lead to fewer parking spaces being available at weekend.
This scheme will still allow access to buses and taxis in North Street which could prove to be very dangerous for pedestrians – that’s not pedestrianisation!
When council funding is being cut, there are better ways to spend £1 million. If you agree, you can sign our petition here.
If Labour wins control of the County Council, we will do what we can to stop this half-baked scheme and put the money to better use.What Rugby town centre needs is a council that is going to work with local residents and businesses to identify ways of enhancing our town centre that are sustainable, environmentally friendly and can be supported by our current road networks.
Since February, most of Rugby’s street lights have been off during the small hours as part of the Tory County Council’s programme of cuts.
The project to set up the ‘Switch Off’ actually cost over £1.5 million, meaning that it will be years before any of the savings recoup the outlay. In the meantime, many people have become concerned at the possible impacts in terms of crime and road safety. Last weekend the local police asked that the lights be left on due to snow. But even in more clement weather, the darkened streets feel less safe for people who are going to or from shift work.
The Tories claim that this is also about cutting CO2 emissions. However, the County Council rejected even more effective alternatives such as dimming the lights, or using LEDs.
When the measure was passed last year, Tory county councillors were making arguments that burglars would be easier to spot because they’d have to carry torches! Meanwhile, in nearby areas – such as Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire – problems at accident blackspots have meant that lights have been switched back on.
Rugby Labour will be collecting signatures for a petition to demand a rethink at County Hall. If you don’t see it, you can sign the online version here: Switch the street lights back on in Rugby.
If Labour gain control of the County Council in the elections on May 2, we will work to reverse the policy.
This week George Osborne unveiled his fourth budget. There are some signs that he has listened to reason: a holiday on National Insurance that targets small businesses was a Labour suggestion, and some money will be used to spur capital investment.
This is no more a tinkering budget, with a few minor eye-grabbing measures. A 1p cut in beer duty is not unwelcome, but will not have much of an effect. As Osborne has said that this will overall be a ‘fiscally neutral’ budget, this means that any give-aways will be being paid for elsewhere. The coalition government is basically sticking to ‘Plan A’ – Austerity. This is despite the effect on the economy:
- Growth is a major concern – after another fall in GDP at the end of 2012, the signals are not good. If the first quarter of 2013 sees another fall, the UK will officially fall into recession for the third time since 2008. Every time this government produces an estimate of future economic growth it is lower than the last one. Osborne inherited a recovery and has squandered it
- It was announced on Budget day that unemployment had gone up – it remains higher than in May 2010. Youth unemployment is particularly worrying, with the number of unemployed between 16 and 24 heading towards a million. Continue reading
Local member John Slinger sent the following letter to the local papers concerning our Conservative MP Mark Pawsey’s vote against marriage equality:
I was disappointed that Rugby MP Mark Pawsey voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. He was good enough to respond to me on Twitter when I asked him why he had done so. He replied that he took the same stance as 22 Labour MPs and that Labour MP Rob Flello’s speech during the debate in the House of Commons summed up his thoughts. Despite being a Labour activist, I also disagree with those 22 Labour MPs. I hope Mr Pawsey will give a fuller explanation of his vote on this important moral issue in due course.
It is rare for me to do this, but I must concede that the Prime Minister is to be commended on having fought for this progressive measure, which will, at long last, afford dignity and equal rights to gay people regarding marriage. It is unfortunate that Mr Pawsey wasn’t able to support his leader, the Leader of the Labour Party, other politicians and the majority of the British public.
On Thursday night Baroness Royall, Labour’s leader in the House of Lords, addressed Rugby Labour Party’s charity fundraising dinner, in aid of Warwickshire charity, Carers Support Service, (the charity that runs Warwickshire Young Carers Project which supports young carers in Rugby).
Rugby Labour Party members, local politicians such as leader of the Labour Group at Warwickshire County Council, Cllr Jane Tandy, and several people from the local community who wanted to find out more about Labour, listened to Baroness Royall speak about Labour’s policy agenda and the damage being done to the fabric of society by the Conservative-led government. Continue reading