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Southport Labour has accepted a challenge issued by the local Liberal Democrat Party's new candidate to a debate in the town.
Southport Labour Accept Lib-Dem Debate Challenge But Say It Must Mark New Era Of Respect In Local Politics
Southport Labour has accepted a challenge issued by the local Liberal Democrat Party's new candidate to a debate in the town. The Lib-Dem's parliamentary candidate John Wright made an "Any...
Now that the boards have been taken down and those newly-elected councillors have begun to find out exactly what they've let themselves in for, it's a week after the local election results and time to take stock of what they mean on the broader political landscape in the town?
Now that the boards have been taken down and those newly-elected councillors have begun to find out exactly what they've let themselves in for, it's a week after the local election...
Direction is a funny old thing. Your perspective will determine what's left, what's right and also indeed, what's right and what's wrong. If your internal compass is off you can find yourselves in all sorts of trouble.
So what direction do you think Southport is heading in?
For 20 years or so it's been on a Lib-Dem path, it had all the councillors and the MP, even leadership of Sefton Council at the same time at a point. Where did that get us?
Look around you and you can see it wasn't very far. The story of their failure is writ large upon this town.
Now, we still have mainly Lib-Dem councillors but with a Tory MP and yet we are treading the same old tired path, going round in circles.
There is nothing to split their parties locally, so there is no new direction.
Both prefer to ignore real concerns. Why for instance do they not address issues such as the record rate of foodbank use here? Weeks ago we revealed it had risen in Southport yet again and how with a month or so still to go it had already surpassed last year's amount.
Now, the final foodbank figures have been revealed... and it's even worse than we thought. Just under 60,000 meals have been given out to local families and single residents who are struggling - a record amount and up 13% from the previous year. It's an astonishing number from the biggest but not the only foodbank scheme in the area.
Sadly, most figures around foodbanks are astonishing these days thanks to austerity.
But it doesn't stop there.
Neither party supported Labour when we highlighted indicators that our local hospital was in real crisis; they prefer to gloss over crime being on the up in the region and, while quick to complain if local services are struggling, they rarely discuss why that's the case?
Why exactly do they want to constantly criticise the local authority instead of addressing these and other significant problems?
Quite simply, because they helped cause them. Local Lib-Dems and Tories want to try and point the finger anywhere but at themselves and it's clear to see why.
Between them, locally they will soon have cut nearly a quarter of a billion pounds from our local authority. It is another astonishing number.
Our borough will have lost 51% of its pre-cuts budget by 2020, money that could have seen greater investment in this town and its services. Instead, libraries have closed; children's services have to be re-organised; roads and amenities have suffered. Everything the council does for us has now become a real struggle as a result. Imagine the boost £233m could give to Southport and Sefton.
During their Coalition, the Lib-Dems and Tories also cut £2.3 billion from police funding and so we lost 21,000 police officers, more than that again in PCSOs and support staff. One in four Merseyside officers were lost. The Tories have cut hundreds of millions more money in real terms since.
Crime, which was falling, has now risen significantly in areas like gun and knife incidents. Vandalism and shoplifting go effectively ignored as the remaining officers are so overstretched. Early intervention work with youths on a crime pathway has all but halted.
Do you think Southport is a safer place for all those cuts? Our previous MP voted for them. Our current one just voted for more.
In a few weeks Southport is to feature in a Panorama about a crime blitz caused by police cuts. Southport, featuring in a Panorama on crime?! Who would even have dreamt such a thing before these brutal cuts?
The police service is not the only one feeling the intense pressure brought about by the disastrous policies of the Lib-Dems and Tories. The 2012 Health and Social Care Act that both parties brought in has caused real problems for the NHS, as has the insufficient funding that's followed it.
When we recently raised concerns about the hospital, local Tory MP Damien Moore claimed all was well there and accused us of "scaremongering". How wrong and foolish he soon looked. The A&E 4hr Treatment Target figures released just days later showed how our hospital was a staggering 15% below the recommended safe level.
Sixty-eight A&E consultants, including one from our own hospital, then wrote to Theresa May to detail how "patients were dying in corridors" and systematic failure in the NHS. If you were one of the hundreds of local residents who were forced to wait, often for hours, in the back of an ambulance before being admitted to A&E recently, you will have seen it first hand.
The hospital has just had another disappointing report from the Care Quality Commission, there are major problems there caused by various factors but it basically now comes down to one thing - the Tories, who are underfunding and mishandling our NHS. The local MP though still blindly tramples on, unable or unwilling to see the damage being caused.
The austerity measures that the Lib-Dems and Tories brought in have resulted in stagnant wages and local families being hit hard. Perhaps that's why Southport foodbank numbers are so disturbingly high?
Unemployment might be down but it is at the cost of a huge growth in zero-hours contract, low paid work. A five-fold increase since 2010. So, many working families still need benefits or have to turn to foodbanks. Sure, a few of those already comfortably off may be doing even better under this government, many more are not.
Average wages are lower in real terms than a decade ago - and even that figure is being massively skewed by the increasingly wealthy few. One in eight British workers are now classed as in poverty. Perhaps that's why nurses have to use foodbanks too? A wage increase that doesn't match inflation is still a wage cut in real terms. It's an appalling situation. One where many people are working harder than ever before for less and less reward, while a few see their wealth rocket.
The town's former MP, John Pugh, voted for those austerity policies and its current MP, Damien Moore, supports them. Little wonder then that both loudly cry "Wolf!" and have named it 'Sefton'. Look over there, they cry, anywhere but at their voting records and policies.
Since John Pugh returned to local politics as a councillor, the pair and their parties now form something of a double-act on the matter. Let's call them, the "Fellow Travellers".
Little encumbered by having to put their political differences aside, they prefer instead to attack the local council at every opportunity. It is now a clear and well-trodden path among local Tory and Lib-Dems parties. They devastate Sefton's funding and then try to round on it as it does its best to continue moving forward.
These fellow travellers offer little vision for Southport, only division for Southport.
So instead of trying to utilise the local authority and the Liverpool City Region as the engine to get Southport moving again, all they want to do is burn bridges, not build them.
So they point at the Strand purchase and demand to know why the money was spent there not in Southport, as though Bootle does not have its own problems that need solving and as if Southport gets nothing. In this dark fantasy world of "them" and "us" where Sefton constantly deprives Southport; no light can be found.
So they have to pull a blind over the £21m spent on the Atkinson; the £25m on the Floral Hall redevelopment; the £8.5m on Splashworld; the £7m on Southport Business Park; the same again on Marine Way Bridge; the £5.6m on King Gardens and the various other capital investments that altogether come to just under £94m invested in Southport.
Not a mention of the millions Labour has put into the town since it took control of the council in 2012, all the while battling the cuts the "Fellow Travellers" inflicted. No, instead, just their incessant cry "Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!!"
Even now when its budget is down to the marrow, the council still pumps money into the town, constantly looking for ways to boost business and tourism. Money like the huge sums to the convention centre, the Atkinson, last year's Open golf, etc. etc. Instead of a wolf, "Sefton" is more like some poor faithful hound being constantly maltreated and kicked by those it is duty-bound to serve. It could do more, if it had more.
Then there are the bogus claims that Southport has lost "its voice" due to the Area Committee being superseded by a new Southport constituency forum.
The very idea of this change is actually to give residents themselves a greater voice! To make it easier and less intimidating for them to interact with the council and their representatives.
It's to hear the voice of the people and not the hectoring, berating and braying bawling of a number of local councillors who have forgotten that they are there to listen to and work for their residents. It is not to leave them feeling "bullied, humiliated and intimidated" as occurred to two young mums at the penultimate Area Committee meeting - a sorry incident that resulted in changes to the Sefton's Code of Conduct for members and mandatory retraining for all councillors.
The Area Committee was not "Southport's voice", it had become a toy megaphone for a number of councillors who had forgotten they are the representatives of local residents, not their masters. What resulted was harsh, discordant and rarely intelligible.
When even the Area Committee's official young observers take them to task for belittling residents, as happened at the final meeting, things needed to change. Local Lib-Dems protest but care little for true local democracy, they simply want their toy back.
The time has come to stop their viciousness and their vacuousness. To ask the Lib-Dems and Tories some basic questions:
*Let's ask them why foodbank usage is now at a record amount in the town and do they think their austerity policies have contributed to it?
*Let's ask why they like to claim they care about crime but then voted to cut all those police officers and staff? Why our town feels far less safe for many?
*Why they have ensured that Southport isn't getting the funding it could have had? Why they constantly cry "wolf" but are the ones who have torn the financial flesh from our town and borough's bones?
*Why they try to blame "Sefton Labour" for every Southport ill under the sun when Labour has only had control of Sefton since 2012 and has had to struggle under the burden of their cuts from day 1?
Let's ask them to stop running Southport and Sefton down and instead look at ways of building it up. To stop trying to falsely pin the blame for Lord Street's empty shops on a council that does not set business rates, does not set the rents and does not control the global trend to online shopping... and instead help look for solutions to boost the local economy.
Real solutions, not yet more unreal spin.
So they can stop empty talk of projects like tidal lagoons in Southport, which they know would require funding in the billions when, due to the cuts they've made, we struggle to raise capital in the millions. Nevermind that other sites are far more practical for it. Labour supports tidal lagoons, we do not support castles in the sky.
Let's have real change, not yet more phoney "friendship".
Let's ask them why they want to follow the same old circular path? The road to nowhere.
If you want Southport to find that new direction, come with us.
We'll show you a way out by investing in our town and borough, investing in our services, investing in our residents. There is no bigger issue that faces Southport. Virtually everything else flows from it.
It will revive our community and help boost our tourism and economy.
We also want councillors in Southport who will treat residents with respect and work for them, not achieve little but their own tenure.
Councillors who will strive to protect what we have and push for better. Not sit back while their party destroys our services and amenities and then try to blame others. Who will work cooperatively with colleagues elsewhere to get the best for our town.
Despite having only two local councillors who recently crossed over from the Lib-Dems tired of their active opposition to progress, we've already had notable successes.
After strong representations from ourselves and Southport BID, Sefton Council listened and we achieved the return of the 30-minute parking charge. The other parties simply attacked, we persuaded.
We also managed to secure £30,000 from Sefton to help the Kew Park Campaigners save their playground, despite the hostility of local Lib-Dems. We are already getting deals done for the good of our town and we are already talking to local businesses about how we can best help to move us forward.
Labour is now a real presence in Southport and is doing much good. We've thrown ourselves into a variety of community action projects from hiring skips to help residents clear, to cleaning beaches and also planting 500 young trees. Our councillors work hard on local issues for residents. We can do more if elected and we will do more if elected.
We also want residents to have the opportunity to contribute in an economy based on solid jobs with decent salaries. Have decent housing and a town we can feel safe in. Instead of giving huge tax breaks to those already wealthy and corporations, we believe in wealth creation for all, not just a few.
We should all be able to enjoy a great NHS and social care system; to watch our kids get a good education.
Make no mistake though, the cuts have to stop and the investment has to start or Southport will continue to suffer.
You can help us achieve that. Let's send a message that enough is enough.
Vote Labour on May 3rd in the local elections and take Southport forward.
Direction is a funny old thing. Your perspective will determine what's left, what's right and also indeed, what's right and what's wrong. If your internal compass is off you can...
Labour has confirmed its candidate team in Southport for the local elections on May 3rd. The deadline for nominations passed yesterday afternoon and Labour will contest each of the seats up for election in the town's seven wards.
"It's a bigger and more unfair picture than even that though as there have been tax breaks for the wealthy while those austerity cuts have occurred and while local families struggle in increasing numbers. So the rest of us pay more for less as the rich and corporations pay less though having more. Does that seem fair?"
Labour has confirmed its candidate team in Southport for the local elections on May 3rd. The deadline for nominations passed yesterday afternoon and Labour will contest each of the seats up...
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 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".
Labour'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."
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...
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 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.
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.
Speaking 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’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...
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...
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 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."
"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.
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...
"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"
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...
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...