Labour to Contest all Southport Wards in Local Elections

group_candidates.jpgLabour 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. 

The party has had a resurgence of support in Southport in recent years, nearly quadrupling its vote in general elections since 2015.   
Last year it displaced the Liberal Democrats as the main opposition to the Conservatives in the town, coming second for the first time since 1966 and with it’s best ever vote here.     
(From left, Labour’s ward candidates are: 

Janet Harrison -Meols. Sahar Dehghani-Berenji – Dukes. Janis Blackburne – Kew. Danny Burns -Birkdale. Mhairi Doyle MBE – Norwood. Frank Hanley – Ainsdale. Steve Jowett -Cambridge.)
The local elections on May 3rd are its first big test since and Labour hopes to make local political history again by gaining its first elected Sefton councillors in the town.
Liz Savage, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Southport, welcomed the news saying that the candidates are committed to the local community and to fighting for funding for Southport and the local authority:
“Local services have been severely affected by the brutal cuts brought in by the Liberal Democrats and Tories. The libraries closed, the children’s services being reorganised, the local amenities that have suffered; potholed roads, all that and more is all down to those cuts.”   
“Then there’s the problems at our hospital and the huge losses in police officers, PCSO’s and support staff and the rise in crime in the region too. Ask yourself a simple question, does Southport feel a better or safer town in the last eight years as a result of all those cuts?”   
“The Lib-Dems and Tories try and blame Sefton for Southport’s problems but it’s misdirection and little more than a back-alley scam. Sefton did not make those cuts, it just suffers under the burden of them.” 
To add insult to injury, the bill for those drastically reduced services and police is increasingly being pushed to you, the council tax payer, as central government offloads its responsibilities. So you are paying more for far less.”   

“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?” 
liz_savage.jpgLabour claims that their opponents, despite making the cuts, are also the first to complain about the consequences of them in an attempt to make political capital. Liz Savage explains:   
“Crime; anti-social behaviour; tough decisions over services; decline; they like to make noises about such problems but stay resolutely silent about their role in them. Locally they also prefer to constantly squabble with Sefton instead of working with it for the good of our town. They offer no vision for Southport, only division for Southport.”   
“We want to see councillors who want to build bridges with our neighbours, not burn them and who know that we have to work with Sefton and the Liverpool City Region as the engine to get Southport moving again, not stall it with constant pointless bickering about problems that they themselves have caused.”   
 “They hope that by creating a “them and us” attitude locally that people will fall for their tricks and fail to see who has really blighted our town.”  
The Labour politician also pointed to a string of recent successes, which she says proves Labour can get things done locally that the other parties with their less constructive approach simply cannot:   
“Our recent assistance to the Kew Park campaigners helped secure a £30,000 guarantee from Sefton Council to save the park, despite bitter opposition by the local Liberal-Democrats. We’ve also helped manage to ensure the return of 30-minute parking to help local businesses along with Southport BID, something the other parties were simply unable to achieve.”    
“Our candidates and members have been busy with community action projects such as cleaning beaches, weeds from thoroughfares and helping residents clear their clutter in Norwood. We can do more and will do more if we get councillors elected.”   
“Our two current councillors actually crossed over from the Liberal Democrats in large part because they were so tired of the negativity and lack of a constructive approach that the Lib-Dems increasingly displayed.” 
“Our candidates will fight for their community and for more funding for our town and local authority.”

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

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.”  


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

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 Labour praised for parking charge success

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.”

Hundreds of Labour supporters protest in Southport against Tories’ “scandalous and dangerous” NHS Winter Crisis

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.”