The Milton record

% vote share for Labour and Conservatives candidates in Milton ward, 2001 - 2015

% vote share for Labour and Conservatives candidates in Milton ward, 2001 – 2015

This graph shows the Labour and Conservative vote shares in Milton ward for every local election contested on the current boundaries.

The general picture is of declining Conservative vote share, whilst Labour’s has dipped and recovered. We are still not at the level we were in 2001, although in numbers of actual votes secured we went beyond 2001 this year. Had the Greens not secured 10.9% of the vote then the Conservatives would not have held on in May. The 1658 votes Gary Sergeant attracted would have won in any other year, and if one presumes that the majority of greens support would have come our way then a good majority would have been ours.

I have no idea whether the Greens will put up a candidate this year, my campaign must concentrate on what we will be doing and not be distracted by who the potential opposition is. I have got to concentrate and beating the Tory candidate, for this ward is a tight two-horse race, whatever the actual size of the field.

I am a long way from confident of success, but I know that me and my team will work hard. I am heartened by the huge increase in Labour membership since May, and this augers well for the mechanical side of winning elections.

I will also keep up my campaigning on those issues dear to me. Whatever residents may think of the causes I champion, and consequently what view they hold of me, they cannot accuse me of not being prepared to tackle some of the bigger issues.

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Labour councillor wants the Cliffs Pavilion pedestrian crossing improved

Cllr Julian Ware-Lane believes that the pedestrian crossing at the Cliffs Pavilion, installed by the previous administration, is a flawed system. There is a north-south crossing that links the site of the old Beecroft Art Gallery with the Cliffs Pavilion, and this traverses a large triangular traffic island.

“I raised it at the time, have mentioned it since, and am raising it again – this crossing is inadequate”, says Cllr Ware-Lane.

Cllr Ware-Lane wanted a third exit from the triangular traffic island, running east-west across Westcliff Avenue. “This was ruled out as dangerous, yet if it is dangerous with a crossing, what is it like to cross without a crossing?” asks Julian.

Cllr Ware-Lane believes that good signage warning of people crossing would make it safe. This is a popular area for pedestrians, of all ages and the crossing adequately services those travelling from either the north or south, but leaves those from the east with a very tricky and potentially dangerous conundrum. Those who are not so fleet of foot literally take their life in their hands when negotiating this busy road junction.

Cllr Ware-Lane also criticises the choice of plants. “I am told that these are too tall and partially obstruct the view of on-coming traffic for those vehicles approaching this area from the west. There is also the question of why indigenous bee-friendly plants were not used. With bee species under threat in the UK, the Council should be setting an example through its choice of plant species.”
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Southend Council cabinet back Labour motion against tax dodging

The cabinet of Southend Borough Council has voted to back a motion proposed by Labour councillor Cheryl Nevin, seconded by fellow Milton councillor and Labour candidate for Southend West, Julian Ware-Lane, criticising the government’s failure to tackle tax avoidance.

The motion notes that the Treasury loses up to £120 billion of tax due to tax avoidance by multinational corporations, whilst council budgets are stretched through austerity. Southend has seen its budget cut by almost £12 million for 2015/16 alone. It calls upon the government to take action to end the large-scale avoidance of tax.

Cllr Nevin was approached by a number of Southend residents asking her to support the motion, which is part of Action Aid’s “Towns against Tax Dodging campaign”.

Cheryl said, “I am delighted that the cross-party cabinet has seen the benefits this motion will bring to our town, and hope that this will put pressure on the government to reverse the trend of cutting tax collector posts across the UK. The money lost due to tax dodging could ease the strain of cuts on Southend, and many councils like it.”

Julian Ware-Lane said, “I was delighted to be able to endorse Cllr Nevin’s motion. Tax dodging robs local authorities of funds that would be spent on services such as libraries and care homes. We must have a robust and fair tax system.”

More details about the ActionAid campaign can be found at: http://campaigns.actionaid.org.uk/page/speakout/townsagainsttaxdodging_councils

Here is the motion:

This Council resolves to support Action Aid’s campaign TOWNS AGAINST TAX DODGING, for tax justice, supporting the motion:

“While many ordinary people face falling household income and rising costs of living, some multinational companies are avoiding billions of pounds of tax from a tax system that fails to make them pay their fair share. Local governments in developing countries and the UK alike would benefit from a fairer tax system where multinational companies pay their fair share, enabling authorities around the world to provide quality public services. The UK government must listen to the strength of public feeling and act to end the injustice of tax dodging by large multinational companies, in developing countries and the UK.”

The council notes:

–‐ It has been estimated that the UK Treasury loses as much as £12 billion, although recent estimates from PWC put it much higher at £120billion in tax dodging by multinational companies every year – enough to significantly reduce the UK national deficit which is putting such pressure on Local Council budgets.

—Developing countries lose three times more to tax dodging than they receive in aid each year, enough to give a basic education to the 57 million children currently missing out.

–‐ The UK has a particular responsibility to end tax dodging, in the 1 in 5 world’s tax havens in the British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.

–‐ The use of tax havens by UK companies is rife, with 98 of the FTSE 100 companies routinely using tax havens.

–‐ Large multinational companies pay as little as 5% in corporate taxes globally, while smaller businesses pay up to 30%, this cannot be right, or morally justified.

This council believes:

–‐ As a local authority we have a duty to provide the best possible public services. This council has faced significant cuts to services which is set to continue for future years, which is directly impacting disproportionately on the poorest and most deprived wards. Our ability to maintain quality local services would be significantly enhanced by the increased revenues from the Government tackling tax dodging.

—This local authority believe that Southend-on-Sea would benefit from any incoming Government redeployment of public sector staff away from London in supporting of this motion to collect lost tax.

–‐ All who benefit from public spending should contribute their fair share.

–‐ The UK must take a lead role in creating a fairer tax system and combating tax dodging.

#6monthstowin – a look at the prospects in Southend

With six months to go we are starting to get a picture of who is standing in Southend in the coming General Election.

For Rochford and Southend East we have four declared candidates:

James Duddridge‘s Conservative Party are in decline in the east of the borough, and things are not going so well in the two wards that form part of Rochford District. His party failed to win any of the ten wards that make up Rochford and Southend East, and they came second in total votes garnered. The Independents were first, and since it is unlikely they will have a candidate their vote will likely be shared by Labour and UKIP.

UKIP’s candidate is Cllr Floyd Waterworth. His selection was a surprise, and I honestly do not know what type of campaigner he is, for even though he represents the ward I live in I have not seen him outside of the council chamber. UKIP will do well, although I suspect theirs is likely a respectable third place.

The Green Party’s Simon Cross is a Kursaal activist and contested that ward in May. They will figure only on the margins, and in a tight contest their vote will matter insofar as to where it comes from. If you assume that Green supporters tend to come from the Left, then he will eat into the Labour vote.

Labour’s chances rest with Cllr Ian Gilbert; and 2015 in the east looks to be our best hope for success since 1980 and the by-election that saw Teddy Taylor scrape in. With the Tories set to lose more councillors in the east in May this is a contest that must be close. It really comes down to how much of the independent vote can be grabbed, and what the doubling of turnout will do.

The Liberal Democrats have yet to select. They will struggle and may even lose their deposit; certainly that was where their vote share was earlier this year.

As for Southend West:

David Amess is on surer ground than his colleague in the east, and he will console himself that the Conservative can still win a few wards here. However, he will be aware of UKIP’s presence and the west is increasingly looking like a four-way marginal. Mr Amess will still be the favourite, but he is in for a bumpy ride.

I (Cllr Julian Ware-Lane) am Labour’s candidate. Labour will do much better in 2015 than they did in 2010; it would be difficult to not improve on a dreadful national performance, and this will lift support locally. This seat has been Conservative since 1906, and whilst victory is possible the challenge will be to convince Labour supporters that it is so; and to persuade those who want the Tories out to back me.

UKIP’s Brian Otridge is the only other declared candidate at the moment. He will be cheered by the thought that had his party put up a full slate in the west in May they may well have garnered more votes than the Tories.

The Liberal Democrats have no candidate at the moment, which speaks volumes in itself. They will have a runner in the race, whose job it will principally be to distance themselves from the dirty deeds of the coalition.

The following table shows the vote shares (%) in each constituency extrapolated from the local election results of May just gone. General Elections are not like local elections, and the turnout in May will be about half of what it will be next year, and so you can only read so much into these figures.. But, the data does show the challenges facing both sitting MPs. We appear to be in an era of four-party politics in England, and if this carries through to the General Election there really is everything to play for in both halves of the town. As it stands, James Duddridge looks to have about a quarter of voters behind him at the moment, and David Amess a third. If the electorate gathers behind the most likely candidate to eject either of them then we could see the first Parliamentary change in the town since 1906.

Rochford and Southend East Southend West
Independent Group 27.5 7.1
Conservative 26.1 34.1
Labour 20.5 15.7
UKIP 16.7 22.5
Liberal Democrat 3.2 20.0
Green 1.5 0.8

 

Labour Candidate Julian Ware-Lane supports Labour’s one-week cancer test guarantee

julian portrait_01Cllr Julian Ware-Lane, Labour Candidate for Southend West, is backing Labour’s new pledge for a one-week cancer test guarantee.

The next Labour government will ensure that NHS patients in England will wait no longer than one week for cancer tests and results by 2020. Early diagnosis is a critical tool in the fight against cancer and this pledge could make a huge difference to those at risk from the disease.

The cancer test guarantee will be made possible by £750 million of new investment over five years, raised through a new levy on tobacco firms which make huge profits from their products which cause so much ill-health.

Julian also welcomes Ed Miliband’s wish that our health service have the best cancer survival rates in Europe, which could save up to 10,000 lives a year. The number of people waiting too long to get cancer tests are going up in Essex. In August this year, 63 patients waited longer than six weeks for cancer tests compared to 34 in the same month last year.

Julian said: “Many people I have spoken to in Southend West are concerned about David Cameron’s plans for the National Health Service. An expensive top-down reorganisation is not what is wanted at the moment, and the privatisation agenda sits ill with many. The Tories haven’t just destabilised our health service; they’re holding it back from meeting the challenges of the modern world as well. Only Labour can be trusted to protect and improve the NHS.”

“I am backing Labour’s pledge to guarantee that NHS patients in England will wait no longer than one week for cancer tests and results by 2020. Early diagnosis means treatment is more likely to be successful so this is an essential pledge if we’re going to lead the fight against cancer and save more lives in our area.”

We need an NHS that meets the challenges of the modern world. We need a modern health and care service that offers the best cancer survival rate in Europe. Only Labour can be trusted to protect the NHS and with the Time to Care Fund and the one-week cancer test guarantee, we’ll ensure we have a health service fit for the 21st century.

Milton councillors in the news

Leigh and Westcliff Times, October 21st edition, page 10

Leigh and Westcliff Times, October 21st edition, page 10

Southend Echo, October 27th edition, page 8

Southend Echo, October 27th edition, page 8

Cllr Cheryl Nevin and I get pretty regular press coverage, and this is down largely (in my humble opinion) to our industry as campaigners and councillors. Whatever our residents may say about us (and whilst many will be kind we do have our detractors) they cannot accuse us of being either low-profile or lazy.

Leigh and Westcliff Times article October 2014

In about half a year’s time the people in Southend West, and beyond, will have a very important decision to make, which is who will run the country for the following five years.

The General Election is scheduled for May 7th and on the morning of the 8th of May we will wake up to either another five years of David Cameron and his Conservative-led Government, or we will have a Labour Government. Of course there will be other choices, but ultimately it boils down to this. And what of those other choices? We now know that the Liberal Democrats are content to rubber-stamp all of the Tories plans , even if this means breaking just about every promise they made in the run-up to the previous election. UKIP out-Tory the Conservatives, and seem to principally campaign on their aversion to Europe and immigrants. There may be other candidates, but until we change the way we vote (and I am a long standing member of the Electoral Reform Society) the reality remains of effectively a Lab-Con contest.

However, there is no denying that politics in Britain is changing. If I am elected to represent Southend West I hope to promote the modernisation of our democracy. A good starting point would be votes at sixteen, which proved so successful in the recent Scottish referendum.

In recent weeks there has been quite a lot of chatter about our relationship with Europe and immigration. I am pro-Europe, but I also firmly believe that the EU must change. It has to be made more democratic, it must be able to account for what it spends, and it must not be an excuse for wasteful agricultural policies.

As regards to immigration it strikes me that the debate is marred by misinformation and prejudice. Whilst there are issues with the significant numbers who have arrived in the last fifteen years, we must not lose sight of the benefits that we have gained from immigration. However, mistakes have been made, although for some there will be nothing right about any immigration policy. I think that Labour has learnt from the past and has a different approach. Local people should not be denied the opportunity to get work and so Labour’s plan to ban recruitment agencies that only recruit overseas workers, and to ensure that every large firm hiring a migrant worker from outside the EU must offer an apprenticeship in return is welcome.

Of course, the ratio of workers to the retired is going out of kilter to the extent that we may be faced with a choice between more immigration or penury for the old. Retirement age has already been advanced, and may have to be pushed further back at some point.

UKIP are getting a lot of publicity at the moment, particularly because of their rhetoric about immigration and the EU; yet UKIP cannot stand up for working people. From privatising our NHS to cutting taxes for the richest, they will not serve the working people of Britain. They are more Tory than the Tories.

Labour has recently announced six ambitious national goals for the next decade. These goals will be there to raise people’s sights for what can be achieved . We must be prepared to make our country work for all people again:
1. Giving all young people a shot in life: Ensure as many school-leavers go on to apprenticeships as go to university.
2. Tackling the cost-of-living crisis: Help working families share fairly in the wealth of our country so, when the economy grows, the wages of everyday working people grow at the same rate.
3. Restoring the dream of home ownership: Meet demand for new homes for the first time in half a century – doubling the number of first-time buyers getting on to the housing ladder each year.
4. Tackling low wages: Halve the number of people on low pay in our country, changing the lives of over two million people.
5. Leading the world on green jobs: Create one million more high-tech jobs by securing the UK’s position as a world leader in green industries.
6. Saving our NHS: Build a world-class, 21st century health and care service.

The Labour plan is to cut taxes for millions on middle and low incomes. Labour will bring back the 10p starting rate of tax. Labour will also save and transform the NHS with 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs. The NHS improvements will be paid for by an Our NHS Time to Care Fund, and this will be funded by asking the wealthiest to pay a little more, tackling tax avoidance and asking tobacco firms to pay their fair share.

Southend West needs an MP and a Government that will work for the many, not the few, who will protect cherished public services, giving everyone a stake in our society.