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hunt_tory_cuts_hurt_(1).jpgCalls have been made by Labour's Liz Savage for Southport Hospital to receive greater levels of support and funding after the latest Care Quality Commission report about standards there. 

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals found several areas of concern across Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust and rated services unchanged at Requires Improvement overall. 

The Trust was rated "Requires Improvement" for being safe, effective and responsive. It was also rated "Inadequate" for being well-led and "Good for Caring". 

At Southport Hospital the ratings for services stayed the same - "Requires Improvement". A number of problems were identified from not securing patients' notes securely to their risk assessments not being completed consistently.

It found that while mandatory training levels had improved, records for surgery showed that not all theatre recovery staff had completed immediate or advanced life support training. Across the hospital staff did not follow the trust’s infection control policy in relation to nursing patients with communicable diseases.

At the time of the inspection areas within the hospital were also not visibly clean. This included areas within spinal injuries, urgent and emergency care, surgery and medical wards.

The rating for the North West Regional Spinal Injuries Centre which is located the hospital, actually went down to "Requires Improvement" from it's previous "Good" standard.

Ellen Armistead, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals, North, said:

"While we saw some improvements they were limited. At the 2016 inspection we raised concerns regarding patients’ privacy and dignity... Unfortunately, at this inspection we observed patients were being cared for on the corridor in various states of condition and undress.

“The North West Regional Spinal Injuries Centre is based at this trust and it’s very disappointing to report that the rating for this service has fallen to Requires Improvement. 

“The pace of change needs to be addressed and the trust remains Requires Improvement overall.”

Ormskirk Hospital was also found to "Require Improvement" but the children's emergency department service was rated "Good". 

liz_savage.jpgLabour's Parliamentary Candidate for Southport, Liz Savage, says:

"The trust has been going through a tough time over the last couple of years, staff are under huge pressures due to the Conservatives handling of the NHS and it has also had local management issues. It needs greater funding and more support to help ease it through this difficult period. 

Damien Moore recently accused us of 'scaremongering' when we raised concerns about what was happening at Southport Hospital, claiming all was well there. Will he now accuse the CQC of the same?

When will the town's MP stop his charade and realise that there are serious issues that need to be addressed here? Our hospital and trust needs strong support and funding, not his weak platitudes."  


Latest standards report for local NHS Trust means MP must stop the "charade"

Calls have been made by Labour's Liz Savage for Southport Hospital to receive greater levels of support and funding after the latest Care Quality Commission report about standards there.  England’s...

Free_School_meals_spec.pngSouthport’s MP has been urged to reject Government plans to leave thousands of the poorest children in the town and across Sefton without a free school meal.

Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Southport, Liz Savage, has written to Tory MP Damien Moore urging him to put the children before party loyalty next week and oppose a plan the Government had tried to sneak through without a vote.

The policy could mean over 5,000 children across Sefton, many growing up in poverty, will not be able to access a free school meal, say the Children’s Society. 

The charity estimates it could affect over a million children across the country and may be the difference between them eating a hot meal that day and going hungry.damien_moore_pic.jpg

The plan will see an income threshold imposed on families receiving universal credit and the government is also planning to remove free childcare from those earning above the threshold.

For local families affected, the income threshold will create a cliff-edge, meaning some parents could be better off either reducing their hours, or not taking additional hours or pay rises. That’s because moving just above the income threshold would leave them worse off, which directly undermines the Government’s stated aim of Universal Credit - to make work pay.

The Government scheme to restrict free school meals and free childcare will be brought to the Commons next week, following an intervention from Labour to bring what it calls “these heartless and short sighted plans” to a binding vote.

liz_savage.jpgSpeaking about the scheme, Liz Savage said:

“The Tories are trying to dish up a particularly unpalatable plan to remove free school meals from up to 5,400 children in our area alone. 

It seems milk snatching wasn’t enough, they now want to remove the whole plate. 

“If Damien Moore wants to literally take hot dinners away from the children of his constituents, then frankly I’m not sure how much lower he can stoop.”

“The vote on Tuesday gives him an opportunity to show just whose side he is on; the poorest kids in his constituency, or this Tory government imposing heartless cuts on low income families. 

He needs to consider his priorities on Tuesday and I’ve written to him asking that they are the children rather than career ambition.” 

Southport MP urged to put local children first and keep their free school meals

Southport’s MP has been urged to reject Government plans to leave thousands of the poorest children in the town and across Sefton without a free school meal.Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for...

seftonj_parking_3_(2).jpgSefton Council has brought back cheaper 30-minute parking after strong representations from Southport Labour and also Southport BID.  
Parking meters will now accept a reduced fee of 80p after both groups pushed for the return of the half-hour charge which was scrapped two years ago. The one-hour parking charge will remain at £1.50.  
During his budget speech Sefton Council Leader, Ian Maher, revealed how recent strong local representations from Southport Labour's Mhairi Doyle and Janis Blackburne had helped convince him of the need to look again at the parking charge issue.  
Speaking afterwards, Councillor Maher explained:    
"I was delighted to be able to confirm that the 30-minute parking charge will return to Southport. We had very productive discussions with Mhairi and Janis from Southport Labour and Liz Savage on this matter and they all made a strong case that it was something we really needed to revisit. We hope this shows that we really want to work together with those who want a genuine spirit of cooperation. Constant confrontation from some quarters gets us nowhere and holds back progress on issues in the town."  
Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council's Cabinet Member for Regulation and Compliance, whose brief parking charges are, also gave credit to BID saying:  
"We meet regularly with the Southport BID and discuss many aspects that could benefit the busy town centre. After being approached by the BID to reintroduce the 30 minutes of parking, following further discussions we are happy to assist in making this happen through the difficult budget setting process. As a Council, we will always listen and hope this is well received in the town."  
mhairi_liz_and_janis.jpgSouthport Labour Chair, Mhairi Doyle MBE, said she was pleased that the representations had been well received:  
"Janis and I believe strongly in us all working together to get the best for Southport. It's been a very constructive approach all round and Sefton deserves much credit for that too."   
Liz Savage, Labour's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Southport, said the reduction would help those looking to "pop-in" to town:  
"I'm thrilled that Sefton has listened to our case and that of BID and has agreed to reduce the charge period. It shows they do listen and do really care about local concerns. The half-hour charge is great for those who just want to pop-in to town and let's not forget if you want longer then there are other options."  
"Sefton provides a fantastic park and ride scheme in Southport for instance that costs just £2 for a full day of parking at the Esplanade. It's something critics completely and conveniently like to ignore."

Southport Labour praised for parking charge success

Sefton Council has brought back cheaper 30-minute parking after strong representations from Southport Labour and also Southport BID.     Parking meters will now accept a reduced fee of 80p after...

action_day_steve1.jpgJust over 200 Labour campaigners gathered in High Park today to protest against the "scandalous and dangerous" problems at Southport Hospital and the current crisis in the NHS. 


The activists were addressed by Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram, as well as Sefton MP and Shadow Minister for Small Business, Bill Esterston, and local Parliamentary Candidate, Liz Savage, before setting out to brave the rain to leaflet and canvass in Norwood and Kew wards and set up a street stall in the town centre. 


The campaigners were told how eight years of underfunding under the Conservatives has resulted in the worst winter crisis on record with over 1 in 8 patients across NHS England having to wait in ambulances for treatment for over half an hour, 25,000 of them for over an hour; while average bed occupancy hit 93.9%, substantially above the recommended safe rate of 85%. 


Labour's Southport Parliamentary Candidate, Liz Savage, also described the local situation:


"Just a fortnight ago we raised concerns about what was happening at Southport Hospital and its A&E and were falsely accused of "scaremongering" by the local Tory MP, who claimed all was well at the hospital." action_day_liz_.jpg 


"Since then we've discovered that it is very nearly 15% below the four-hour treatment target and one of its A&E consultants felt compelled along with 67 others from across NHS England to write to Theresa May warning of chronic underfunding, systematic failure and patients dying in corridors. " 


"Only yesterday the local trust had to put out an urgent appeal for nurses over Twitter due to the pressure it was under. It's a scandalous and dangerous situation but Southport's MP and his party colleagues are dangerously complacent about it. We will not be. "   


Other MP's from the region also turned out with Bootle's Peter Dowd, Walton's Dan Carden and Wirral West's Margaret Greenwood joining local campaigners and activists from across Merseyside and Lancashire.action_day_dan___margaret.jpg


The event was one of two in the North West organised as part of a nationwide "Action Day" highlighting the difficulties the NHS is facing. Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour's Shadow Health Secretary, said:


 “Action Saturday is an opportunity for our passionate network of activists and supporters to mobilise in defence of our NHS. This unprecedented winter crisis has united our Labour movement around the shared goal of fighting together to safeguard the future of our NHS .


“Under the Tories, our NHS has been left underfunded, understaffed and overstretched. Despite the heroic efforts of our NHS staff, thousands of vulnerable patients have been left languishing on trolleys, stuck in the backs of ambulances and unable to receive the social care packages they urgently need.


“Labour founded the NHS, our proudest achievement, and on the year of its 70th anniversary we will fight to save the NHS from Tory underfunding, cuts and privatisation.”  



Hundreds of Labour supporters protest in Southport against Tories' "scandalous and dangerous" NHS Winter Crisis

Just over 200 Labour campaigners gathered in High Park today to protest against the "scandalous and dangerous" problems at Southport Hospital and the current crisis in the NHS.    The activists...


Liz Savage, Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Southport, explains why she believes local MP Damien Moore has revealed a staggering lack of understanding about one of the biggest issues in his constituency and a dangerous level of complacency... 

Southport Hospital is struggling to cope and the NHS is creaking at the seams. Across England, staff are being pushed to the very brink, while patients are being "managed in corridors, some dying".
Make no mistake, for all the denials by some, our NHS is in crisis. It's a crisis of complacency, one that could threaten its very existence.  liz_profile_pic.jpg
When Southport Hospital's figures for Christmas Week were released at the start of the month, we raised concerns that 133 patients had to wait for between 30-60 minutes in the back of an ambulance, 60 of them for over an hour. We also expressed concern over the 100% bed occupancy rates that were revealed.
Our local Conservative MP, Damien Moore, then took it upon himself to attack us for speaking out. He falsely claimed we were trying to undermine the hospital; he talked of patients being seen to efficiently; he proclaimed his confidence and he boasted how "Southport hospital and the wider health system has prepared earlier and more extensively than ever before for Winter this year". He then accused us of "scaremongering".  
Just days later the truth of the matter became abundantly clear. 
Sadly, our fears were fully justified. The situation in our hospital and across the NHS is shocking and perhaps even worse than we thought.  
Further data released within days of Damien Moore's boasts revealed that across NHS England the A&E figures for the "Four Hour Treatment Rate" across December were the worst ever since records began, missing the 95% target by a fraction under 10%. Last year was also "the first time ever" in NHS history that all of its key targets for A&E, cancer and planned operations across the UK had been missed. Not exactly something worth crowing about.
Here in Southport it was painfully obvious that it wasn't just a one day blip that our hospital was enduring, as Damien Moore had claimed. Instead, the figures showed that for the whole of December the "4Hr Rate" was even worse, running at fractionally over 80% - very nearly 15% below target. That is truly troubling. It is patients suffering; local residents, suffering; your community, suffering.
photo_2.JPGStaff suffer too. From the strain of watching their patients' struggle, the frustration of not being to help in the way they want and from sheer overwork. Local paramedics have revealed how they spent 9 hours of a 12-hour shift simply waiting with patients waiting to be admitted. They got their first break 11 and a half hours into their shift. We have been told how nurses are having to be shipped in from Liverpool to help Southport Hospital cope.
The signs and stories were there, that's why we spoke out. Our local MP it seems either turned a deaf ear, preferring to parrot out the party line, or, has simply revealed a staggering lack of understanding of what is really going on in the hospital and his constituency.
Things are so bad that a few days ago one of the hospital's A&E Consultants, Dave Snow, felt compelled (along with 67 other Emergency Medicine Consultants from across NHS England) to write to the Prime Minister Theresa May and warn her of the dangers.  
The picture they paint of the situation is truly disturbing. Systematic failure; severe and chronic underfunding; staff in despair and patients dying in corridors.
Perhaps Damien Moore believes they are all "scaremongering" too?
As well as detailing the thousands of patients being kept waiting for treatment in ambulances ( just as we highlighted locally) and staff shortages, the consultants also gave a snapshot of what they have to deal with:

"Some of our own personal experiences range from

        Over 120 patients a day managed in corridors, some dying prematurely

        An average of 10-12 hours from decision to admit a patient until they are transferred to      a bed

        Over 50 patients at a time waiting (for) beds in the Emergency Department

        Patients sleeping in clinics as makeshift wards" 

Whatever our local MP believes, or wants you to believe, it's clear that what's actually happening in the NHS actually is scary.  
Instead of falsely shouting "scaremongering", Damien Moore and his colleagues need to recognise this crisis and the dangers it presents. They also need to halt their planned multi-billion pound STP cuts to health services and dismiss the proposal to downgrade our hospital's A&E service and reduce its hours.
This crisis is not the fault of the hospital staff, although it may be causing a "crisis of faith" amongst some of them. Who could blame them if so? They face all this and yet have had their pay cut drastically in real terms too by the Conservatives, aided by the Liberal Democrats.
The Conservatives continued insistence on the pay cap is some thank you.
Facing a nursing shortage, the Tories decided to cut the bursary for nursing training and have overseen a 96% drop in EU nurses coming here, that's some solution.
This crisis is part of a wider malaise coming from the top. It is a crisis of funding. It is a crisis of recruitment. It is a crisis in caring for the NHS and staff. It's a crisis in caring for its patients. A crisis of once creeping now sweeping privatisation. It is a Conservative crisis in its making, backed by the Lib-Dems in their coalition but one that we are now all suffering.
It is now a crisis of dangerous complacency towards our hospital and the NHS by our Tory MP and his party colleagues... and we should all be fighting against it.
We can never be complacent when it comes to the NHS.

Local MP reveals "dangerous complacency" over Southport Hospital and the NHS says Liz Savage

Liz Savage, Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Southport, explains why she believes local MP Damien Moore has revealed a staggering lack of understanding about one of the biggest issues in his...

police_back_(2).jpgThe Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside says she takes residents’ fears over crime in Southport “very seriously” after a meeting with local Labour representatives.

Councillor Emily Spurrell visited the town after a request to discuss recent events, such as the shooting on Eastbank Street, several acts of vandalism and a spate of shoplifting in the area.

Talking to Liz Savage, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Southport with Norwood Councillor’s Bill and Marianne Welsh and local election candidates Mhairi Doyle (Norwood) and Janis Blackburne (Kew), Cllr Spurrell gave an overview of the current situation in the town and the wider problems facing Merseyside Police.

The Deputy Police Commissioner highlighted that Merseyside Police has been forced to make savings of more than £103m since 2010, with the loss of over 1,500 police officers and staff. This has forced the Commissioner and Chief Constable to review every area of business and has led to Merseyside Police undergoing a major restructure which moves away from a local command unit approach. 

Cllr Spurrell said: “Sadly, we are now seeing the results of years of cutbacks to the police budget. Our police service is under significant strain. Merseyside Police has lost more than 1,000 police officers in the last seven years, with further cuts a possibility, yet calls for help continue to increase and the crimes our teams face are increasingly complex.

“I know the Commissioner and the Chief Constable are still absolutely committed to community policing and our local policing teams are responsible for maintaining that local touch. High profile incidents, such as the recent shooting on Eastbank St. are thankfully still incredibly rare in Southport and when crimes like this do occur I know everything possible is done by the police to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Liz___Emily_Spurrell.jpgConcerns from residents that there also appears to be a wave of lower-level crimes and anti-social behaviour sweeping the town recently were also raised by the Labour group.

Liz Savage explained:

“Residents are worried by recent events and want reassurance. Merseyside Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office are in an unenviable position given the scale of the cuts forced on policing by both the Lib-Dems and Conservatives while in government. We’ve lost 20,000 officers nationally and sadly it seems we are reaping the rewards of it now.”

{Photo- Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Cllr Emily Spurrell (2nd from right) with Cllr Liz Savage (centre front) Cllrs Bill and Marianne Welsh (centre rear and 1st left) and Labour's Norwood candidate, Mhairi Doyle (last on right) and Kew candidate Janis Blackburne(3rd from left) with local supermarket staff.}        

The Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office is aware of the issue, said Cllr Spurrell:

“We understand that there are local concerns and it’s something we take very seriously. There’s a lot of good work going on, such as the recent guns and knives amnesty. Locally, officers are trying to target anti-social behaviour such as the rise in scrambler bikes on the beaches and the recent ‘community concern’ survey by Merseyside Police shows how the force is listening to the concerns of residents and acting on them. ”

The group also took Cllr Spurrell to a local supermarket on Bispham Rd which has been
forced to employ a security guard after losing around £500 a week through shoplifting, an amount described as “significant to a small store” by staff. Shoplifting has become a major problem for many retail outlets across the country and last month there was outrage as some police forces admitted they did not have the resources to pursue lower-level crimes.

Merseyside Police Federation chairman, Peter Singleton, who was also contacted by Southport Labour, explained that:

“We can still concentrate resources on incidents such as the recent shooting in the town but across the force area, the difficulty now lies with not having the resources to properly deal with the lower level incidents. By not addressing those minor incidents, we are missing the opportunity of intervening at an early stage of potential criminality, as it’s these relatively low level anti-social behaviours and minor crimes that are the avenue that can take some youths into more serious criminal behaviour. We were getting very good at stopping that flow of criminality and that type of policing pays for itself tenfold. Sadly, we are not even seeing the full effects of the cuts yet.”

For Liz Savage it’s time more resources were put back into local policing:

“Those who voted for these cuts or support them such as Southport’s previous MP, John Pugh, and his successor Damien Moore, have put a tremendous strain on our police force and its officers and it is starting to show. We need to back our police officers and emergency services, not cut them or keep their pay capped. We also need the 10,000 extra officers that Labour has promised in its manifesto back on our streets, that would be a great start.”

eastbank_st.jpg                                               Image - Colin Lane/Visiter

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner acknowledges concerns during meeting with Southport Labour

The Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside says she takes residents’ fears over crime in Southport “very seriously” after a meeting with local Labour representatives. Councillor Emily Spurrell visited...

IMG_8215.jpgNew figures released for Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust are "a real cause for concern" says Labour's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Southport, Liz Savage. 

Latest statistics covering the period from Christmas Day to New Year's Eve reveal that local bed occupancy rates ran as high as 100% and also significantly outstripped the national average.

During the same period over a hundred patients were forced to wait outside in ambulances for treatment at A&E for over 30 minutes, with nearly half of them waiting for over an hour.

The figures reveal just how stretched local services currently are claims Labour's Liz Savage: 

"These figures are shocking and a real cause for concern. No-one can justify 133 people waiting outside A&E for over half an hour before they are treated and even more worryingly, 60 of them had to wait over an hour which also means ambulances are tied up for that time. Given the probable changes to our A&E service under the Tory STP plans this will only mean further restrictions to an already overstretched service." 

While nationally for NHS England average bed occupancy was up nearly 1 percent on the week before Christmas to 91.7% for Christmas Week, locally it shot up to just over 95% peaking at fully occupied on December 28th.

The figures are well over the recommended safe rate of 85% bed occupancy above which hospital infections and bed crisis problems become more common. liz_profile_pic_(Sam).jpg

Liz Savage is worried not only by the problems that the high bed rates can cause but also by what they might represent:

"My concern is that local demands may not be being met properly because of a lack of funding. The Winter Crisis isn't a local phenomenon but it is something we can feel more keenly here due to our large number of older residents. We need further investment in the NHS and not the estimated £26 billion in cuts to health services that the BMA says are involved in the Tory STP plans." 

Labour’s analysis of NHS England’s Weekly Winter Statistics also revealed that between 25th and 31st December 16,893 patients were left waiting longer than 30 minutes in ambulances outside A&E departments.

Jonathan_Ashworth_MP.jpgJonathan Ashworth MP, Labour's Shadow Health Secretary, responding to the data said:

"These figures reveal the shocking scale of the crisis in our NHS this winter. Over 75,000 patients have been left languishing in the back of ambulances this winter, something the Government should be deeply ashamed of.

“Labour and clinicians have warned Ministers for months to prepare for this winter, but concerns were casually dismissed out of hand. Theresa May’s boast that the NHS is the best prepared it’s ever been has now been entirely discredited.

“The truth is we are now approaching the 8th year of desperate underfunding and cuts to our health and social care services by the Tories. We've seen thousands of beds cut from the NHS and the numbers of days lost to delayed discharge are up by 50% since 2010.

“The NHS is being pushed to the brink under Theresa May and it is patients suffering as a consequence.”


Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust figures “shocking” says Liz Savage

New figures released for Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust are "a real cause for concern" says Labour's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Southport, Liz Savage. Latest statistics covering the period from...



Southport Labour have announced that their candidate for the Dukes By-Election is Frank Hanley, a former senior local government officer and community relations expert.

Labour's surge of support in Southport since 2015 meant it came second for the first time in Dukes Ward in June's general election.
The former Head of Services at Bradford Council now lives in Ainsdale with his wife Anne and is very actively involved in the local community. He's also Southport Labour's observer to Sefton Council.
Frank says this experience helps him to understand the huge strain the local authority is operating under due to Government cuts to Sefton's budget and the need to work cooperatively with it for the good of Southport: 
"Sefton has lost some £200m in funding since 2010, that is a devastating amount and I'm amazed that it manages to do what it does working under that type of restraint. It deserves a lot more credit than it gets in these circumstances but others in Southport just want to constantly attack it rather than acknowledge the constraints it operates under and try to work with it for the good of our town."  
He believes this goes to the heart of a major problem in Southport's current political landscape: 
"There's simply too much hypocrisy at present. The Lib-Dems and Tories are pretty shameless. John Pugh while MP voted for those cuts, Ann Pearmain as a Tory activist supported them, then they carp and criticise and try and score cheap political points." 
"Our town has suffered as a result of those cuts. Our community has suffered too. We have endured cutbacks to vital services for children, for the elderly, for all of us. To what end? Drive around our town, on our roads, past our parks and playgrounds, that's what those cuts look like. Does it feel like Southport has benefitted from their choice?"
"Issues like the red tarmac for Lord St. really highlight the problem. At double the cost it was simply unjustifiable at a time when childrens' centres are also having to be decommissioned and reorganised but the Tories and Lib-Dems jump up and down about it, even though they are the reason the cost can't be met. It's also important to remember they didn't oppose it when it was passed back in April. That is hypocrisy."  
"They loudly claim Sefton does nothing for Southport, quietly ignoring the near £100m investment in the town via projects such as The Atkinson and Southport Market redevelopments; conveniently ignoring its successes in areas like tourism, which brought in over £500m to the local economy in 2016. It's hypocrisy."  
frank_dukes_canvass-crop.jpg"Southport needs change, it needs Labour's message of hope not hypocrisy. It needs funding for local government; funding for Southport. We need Labour councillors here who will work for the good of the town within the local authority, we need cooperation not condemnation. We need those looking to build, not bluster. We need progress."
Frank hopes to use his experience of previously working for the Community Relations Council to help push forward an agenda of collaborative working with the council, local employers and other interested parties for the good of Southport: 
"No council is perfect but Sefton is doing the best it can with the increasingly meagre resources it has. There are issues, for instance, I intend to lobby the council over the parking charges but first and foremost is the fight for better funding for our local authority and an end to austerity."
"I also want to ensure that Southport has first-rate services for older people and to liaise with local business to help ensure economic growth. We also need to ensure that we have good standards of rented accommodation and the same for guest accommodation to help improve our tourism and economy. We have to tackle anti-social behaviour in the ward and I also support an increase in police officers and reversing the cuts in their numbers."
"We find solutions by working together, I spent my career doing that but at present Southport and Dukes are being sold short by hard-faced men and women who are not interested in Southport's progress, only their own progress in Southport."

Dukes Ward Candidate Frank Hanley Offers Message of "Hope not Hypocrisy"

  Southport Labour have announced that their candidate for the Dukes By-Election is Frank Hanley, a former senior local government officer and community relations expert. Labour's surge of support in...

 Ovington_Drive_park_protest.jpgIn an open letter to Kew Ward residents we are delighted to be able to announce a major development regarding the Ovington Drive Park playground closure. 

Photo - Liz Savage and Kew Ward members, Janis and Jim Blackburne and Linda Heap, with protestors.


 "Dear Kew Ward Resident,

We have an important update for you concerning Ovington Drive Park. 

You may be aware that the playground has had to be temporarily closed on safety grounds. This is after a young girl broke her arm in Formby on equipment of a similar design and age.
The equipment, which is now 30 years old, had corroded internally and gave way, forcing Sefton Council to close the playgrounds in Formby and Ovington Drive to avoid the possibility of further injury.
This has caused a lot of concern locally, especially as it appears there was some confusing information surrounding the decision being circulated and a meeting with council officers and ward councillors had to be abandoned after details were leaked.
As a result, Liz Savage, Labour's local parliamentary candidate in 2015 and '17 and colleagues from Kew Ward of Southport Labour Party have spoken to local residents and the Chair of Governors at Kew Woods Primary School and subsequently made representations to Sefton Council.
With over £200m lost to Sefton since 2010 in budget cuts agreed by Conservatives and Liberal-Democrats, money to replace the equipment is obviously very tight. Liz and her Southport Labour colleagues, however, have discovered that there is over £20,000 in local ward funds unspent, which could be put towards the cost of refitting the playground.
Ward funds are council funds but spent at the discretion of your local ward councillors, so it needs the agreement of Kew Ward's Liberal Democrat councillors, Booth, Weavers and Pullin to use them.
The proposal will also mean a full consultation is carried out with local residents and Kew Woods Primary School to explore what facilities they would like to see re-installed.
The most expensive option is thought to be refurbishment on a like-for-like basis which is significantly higher than the ward funds at an estimated £50,000 or more.
If that was the option local residents decided upon, Sefton Council's Leader, Ian Maher, has agreed to put in the extra money to save the playground if the Kew Ward funds are also contributed to the project, after discussions between Liz Savage and Sefton's Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Ian Moncur.
In an email to her announcing the council's decision, Councillor Moncur stated: 
"Community involvement is fundamental to this development and I know from what we discussed there are lots of ideas which can be explored further... but the most important thing I did want to confirm to you and residents is that there will definitely be a play facility retained on site if the Kew Ward Councillors will cooperate with us on this matter."
This is a major step forward to save the playground.
We would ask that you contact your local ward councillors, Mike Booth, Fred Weavers and David Pullin and urge them to co-operate with Sefton Council to save the playground by agreeing to spend the ward funds on the Ovington Drive playground renovation. 
Yours faithfully, 
Southport Labour Party."

Major Lifeline Offered to Ovington Drive Park Playground

 In an open letter to Kew Ward residents we are delighted to be able to announce a major development regarding the Ovington Drive Park playground closure.  Photo - Liz Savage...

  (Cllrs Bill Welsh, 5th from left, and Marianne Welsh, 5th from right, join our canvassing team) 

Labour has sensationally gained two Sefton councillors in Southport, before they have even selected their candidates for next May's local elections.

Local councillors Bill and Marianne Welsh, who recently left the Liberal Democrats to initially go independent, have now "crossed the floor" after weeks of discussion with the council's Labour group.
The husband and wife team say they are in fact returning to their natural political roots as previously they were Labour Party members but had quit in protest after Tony Blair's Iraq War decision.
The pair, who both represent Norwood Ward, joined Southport Lib Dems after moving here in 2009 but left last month because they felt it had drifted further to the right and they were also increasingly unhappy with the way the local party was being run.
Bill Welsh explained:
"We found the Lib Dem's 2017 manifesto uninspiring and disagreed with a number of its policies, particularly their regressive income tax stance. By contrast, we were extremely impressed with the Labour manifesto and admired Jeremy Corbyn's performance in what was a strong Labour campaign."
As a result, the pair decided they wanted to rejoin the Labour Party, with their application recently accepted by Southport Labour.
The additions mean the local party is now just a few members away from the 1,000 mark says Secretary, Steve Jowett:
"We've gone from strength to strength in the last few years, it's a remarkable achievement and a vibrant, energetic group determined to see Labour win here. I'm sure all of Bill and Marianne's experience will only add to that."  
The news is the latest evidence of a surge in support for Labour in the town which in June came second in a general election here for the first time since 1966. Their candidate, Liz Savage, also recorded its highest ever vote share. Since then Southport has been declared a key marginal by Jeremy Corbyn who held a huge rally on its beachfront earlier this month.  
Marianne Welsh says they are delighted to be returning to the Labour fold:
"We will do all we can to ensure more Labour councillors are elected in Southport and believe it's vital for the town that it returns a Labour MP at the next general election. Only a Labour Government will act to rebalance the economy away from the overheated South East in order to help Northern towns like Southport."
Labour leader of Sefton Council, Ian Maher, commented:
"Marianne and Bill are a welcome addition to the Labour group of councillors on Sefton Council and hopefully we will have even more Labour colleagues from Southport joining us after the forthcoming May election." 

Southport's Former Lib-Dem Councillors Join Labour Party

      (Cllrs Bill Welsh, 5th from left, and Marianne Welsh, 5th from right, join our canvassing team)  Labour has sensationally gained two Sefton councillors in Southport, before they have...

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