Labour Leader Steve Siddons Vows to Continue to Campaign Against the Loo Blues

“A Council that can spend £millions supporting private vanity developments but can’t spend a penny when it is needed is not putting its residents first”
Scarborough Borough Labour Group Leader, Steve Siddons, has vowed to fight on to keep all essential public conveniences open More

Labour’s plans for North Yorkshire

The elections to North Yorkshire County Council are coming up on Thursday 4th May. The Labour Party is fighting on a strong manifesto entitled “Rebuilding Community Trust” focussing on education, health and social care and economic regeneration.
A newly elected Labour Group would subscribe to the principles set out by the Cooperative Councils Network:

  • Principle 1: the Council as a strong community leader
  • Principle 2: providing services at the appropriate level, personalised and community-based
  • Principle 3: citizens and communities empowered to design and deliver services and to play an active role in their local community
  • Principle 4: public services enabling residents to engage in civil society through employment opportunities
  • Principle 5: a settlement between public services, our communities and the citizen (this is what we provide, this is what you do for yourself) underpinned by our desire for justice, fairness and responsibility
  • Principle 6: taking responsibility for services – regardless of where they are accessed or which agency delivers them
  • Principle 7: simple, joined-up and easy access to services – location and transaction; “one place to do it all”, “one form, one time to do it all” – providing visible value for money

Read more about what this means, and the rest of our manifesto here: Labour Manifesto for NYCC 2017

Labour Concern about Whitby Piers’ Repair

‘10 years too late & now local taxpayers are being asked to pay Robert Goodwill’s bill’

Scarborough Borough Labour Group is concerned not only that the Whitby Piers have been left almost 10 years since repairs were recommended but also that Borough and County taxpayers look likely to pick up a £3m+ Government shortfall for the £8m+ bill.

Whitby Labour councillor Gerald Dennett sought assurance at the March Council meeting that local taxpayers would not be left with a major bill to make up a grant shortfall, he also asked about contributions from repair “beneficiaries” who the government planned would make up the £3m difference.
Scarborough Cabinet member with harbour responsibilities, Cllr Mike Cockerill, indicated that BT had declined to contribute, and that gas, water and electricity providers had not replied to his request.
Rather than assure Cllr Dennett and local taxpayers, Cllr Cockerill confirmed that local County Council taxpayers in addition to Borough taxpayers were being asked to make up the shortfall.

Labour Group Leader Steve Siddons reminded councillors at the annual Council Budget meeting that Coastal Protection was a government duty.
“The Whitby Piers should have been repaired 10 years ago.
If they had been repaired then, Gordon Brown’s government would have paid 100% of the bill.

Instead today we are left with more than a £3m shortfall. This is Robert Goodwill’s bill not local Council Taxpayers’. The government has shamelessly abdicated their duty and the Scarborough Cabinet have meekly accepted it.

It has been the government’s job since 1949 to ensure Whitby, Scarborough and Filey don’t fall into the sea. Local councils have never had the resources for Coastal Protection and could end up bankrupt if they have to find them now.”

The Labour Group plans a follow up once the Borough Council has had a reply from local MP Robert Goodwill who was hoping to meet Under Secretary of State Therese Coffey the Minister responsible.

NHS Day of Action in Scarborough and Whitby

Labour Party members were out on the streets of Scarborough and Whitby on March 4th, supporting Unite the union’s NHS Day of Action.

Plenty of enthusiasm from the public. People really do appreciate the NHS and what our doctors and nurses do for us. Many people signed a petition in Whitby, which is still a town uncertain as to the future of its hospital. Local people of all ages were delighted to show their support, as were our visitors, including Ric Sanders, violinist in the legendary band, Fairport Convention. He and his band had had a very successful and extremely well-received gig in the Pavilion on Friday night.

Scarborough Branch’s day of action presence in the town centre was no less successful. Their straw poll asking “Is the NHS safe with this government?” produced an overwhelming No vote.
Many shoppers took the time to chat with our members, expressing their own hopes that the Labour Party would manage to defend the NHS against cuts and creeping privatisation.

Labour forces postponement of Council decision

Following a demand from the Labour Group, the Conservative administration has removed the Budget papers from the meeting agenda at Full Council on Friday.
Labour Group Leader, Steve Siddons explained. ‘Members of the Council and the Public have only just been provided with the papers despite their importance. Debating this budget with less than the statutory 5 days provision of the detail of the budget is unacceptable. The Council could have found itself in the position of potentially being challenged about the legality of setting the Budget.
I am pleased to note that, after speaking to the Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Helen Mallory that she agreed with the Labour Group and has withdrawn the agenda item
This provides the public and Councillors with more time to scrutinise the detail and is in the interest of the Council conducting business in an open and transparent manner which is a fundamental principle for the Labour Group”

Labour Group “has no confidence in SBC Leader and Cabinet


Cllr Steve Siddons, Labour leader, Scarborough Borough Council

The Labour Group has no confidence that the Scarborough Cabinet is running the Borough in the best interest of local residents.

Labour Leader, Steve Siddons said, “Following the Whexit and Fexit votes at Whitby and Filey Town councils, and the Public petition, we’d welcome a real change of Leader and Cabinet, but not another ‘Buggin’s turn’ Leader from the Conservative Caucus continuing ‘business as usual’.”

Local residents have been let down with a series of failings and blunders by the Conservative-led Council over recent years. The list is endless but includes poor spending decisions, lack of vision for the development of the Borough and its people, Benchmark, the Futurist, Town Centre Cinema, Tourist Information Centres, Harbour Management, Whitby Piers, Whistleblower cover up and the scandal of the illegal Marine Drive fiasco but most of all, a complete lack of transparency and open governance.
Past votes of ‘No Confidence’ have been ineffective because of the loyalty of Conservative councillors to their own. Embattled Leaders have stayed in place and later have been replaced from the same Conservative inner circle.

The Opposition dilemma is that the Council majority is held by twenty five Conservative councillors plus the two independent councillors the Leader has put on the Cabinet payroll to ensure their loyalty, ie total 27. The opposition Groups’ councillor total, even if they vote together, is a maximum of 23.

Until enough members of the Conservative Group INDICATE THAT THEY are willing to vote against their Caucus and support a Leader that will take the Borough in a new better direction any move of ‘No Confidence’ is premature and an empty gesture.

What the people of the Borough need is for Tory party councillors to be led by their consciences and do what’s best for the Borough.

Select a new Leader and Cabinet for a fresh approach that puts accountability and transparency at the heart of the council.

Only then will the residents of this Borough get a Council they deserve.

“Council Leader Bastiman Has ‘Jumped the Gun’ on Futurist Demolition”

jump-the-gun
says the Labour Group on Scarborough Borough Council

The Labour Group has accused the Conservative Council Leader of taking the Council for granted and being premature with his statement saying “there’s an agreement that the Futurist will be demolished”.

The Labour Group has also reminded the Leader of his promise that before a ‘crunch’ January decision, councillors would have enough information and time to allow them and their constituents to fully consider the Futurist site redevelopment proposals.

There has been no Council decision to demolish the Futurist- there was a decision to budget ‘£4 million for the Futurist redevelopment’.
Councillor Bastiman can’t take January’s Council or its vote for granted. Like most people in the Borough, the Labour Group is not clear what is best or achievable. We need to see the full proposal for this redevelopment and what else it leads to, and fully scrutinise it before we decide to support or oppose it. As important as the demolition decision is, there are even bigger implications. Scarborough taxpayers need assurance that their investment is not just the start of another expensive project that brings little return to the Borough or its people.

Futurist Theatre, then and now
Futurist Theatre, then and now. But what does the future hold?

 

Key Council funding from central government is disappearing over the next four years. Without pertinent questioning of every spending decision together with innovative thinking about future projects, the Borough and the council taxpayer will suffer. The old methods won’t work, we can’t afford any mistakes.
Scarborough, Whitby and Filey’s coast, their Town Centres and their Harbours are our key assets. Decision making on their future, at the last minute and after eleventh hour proposals, a common Scarborough Borough practice, is now unacceptable, as is bluster and coercion.
I suggested to the Council Leader at the last Council that the public’s confidence in this project depends on openness, timely information and proper scrutiny of this proposal. Despite his assurance then, his new statement suggests a return to old, closed and unacceptable decision making.
We warn, without timely and full open information and debate, the Labour Group will not be in a position to support a proposal. Last February the £4m budget for redevelopment was only supported by the Conservatives and their two supporting “independent” Cabinet members, the rest of the Council voted against. We understand several Conservative Group members share our concerns about the decision we have to take on January 9th.

Keeping in touch with potash developments

(c) Sirius Minerals

(c) Sirius Minerals

Yesterday I attended the first meeting of the York Potash Liaison Group Forum in my role as a Mayfield councillor. Establishment of the group was one of the conditions of planning permission. The group is made up of your local borough and county councillors, representatives of the various Parish Councils concerned, representatives of the Park Authority, and of course, representatives of Sirius Minerals. The meetings are public and you will be given the opportunity to speak if you wish. The next meeting will be in March. Keep coming back here or go to Your Whitby on Facebook, and I’ll let you know when the date is fixed.

More

EU referendum

In politics, as in life, you are sometimes the dog and sometimes the tree. My fear is that some of those who have voted to leave the EU in order to give the elite establishment a bloody nose may end up being the tree.

The UK’s electorate has been sold a pup. The Leave campaign has already gone back on two of the three main planks of its campaign: Nigel Farage has said that the statement that we will have £350 million to spend on the NHS each week “was a mistake”. Daniel Hannan now says that leaving the EU will not lead to dramatic cuts in immigration, and we are yet to hear which of the laws ‘imposed on us from Brussels’ are going to be torn up.
The economic case for Leave has consisted of deceptions and assertions based on no evidence whatsoever. The £350m per week figure is simply a lie as it ignores the rebate. Who thinks that Europe will continue to give us that £90m per week? There is no reason to believe that the UK can negotiate a better trade deal with the USA, especially since President Obama has said that we will have to go to the back of the queue. In any event, Canada’s deal is the same as that being negotiated with the EU. We are also being hoodwinked over a potential deal with Europe. There is no reason to believe that the EU will afford the UK all the benefits of access to the single market without asking us to bear some of the cost.
So, a post-EU Britain will have control over our seas, just like Norway does over its 200 mile zone. But, in fact, Norway still negotiates with the EU over quotas, and faces an import duty on its sales into Europe. Will this mean that the shellfish Whitby’s fishermen exports to Europe will also face a punitive and damaging tariff, making it more expensive and difficult to sell?
There is a grave danger of another recession, and I fear that jobs in Whitby will be vulnerable. Unfortunately, if you lose your job, Scarborough JobMatch and Scarborough EnterpriseMatch will probably no longer be able to help you, as they depend on European money to survive and have so far already benefitted to the tune of £1.5m
We are fortunate enough to live in an area of outstandingly beautiful countryside, managed by our farmers who benefit from £4bn a year of EU payments. Can we be sure that this will continue? Or will farmers feel the strain and have to give up on their environmental stewardship of our landscape?
The European Union is not a perfect institution by a long way. Jeremy Corbyn’s assessment that it scores maybe 7 1/2 out of ten seems quite reasonable to me. But is walking away from a problem the British way? Is abandoning the largest market in the world the way to protect our future? I very much doubt it and I certainly do not believe that men (and it is mostly men leading the Leave side) like Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Nigel Farage, with their absence of any coherent plan, are the best choice to lead us into this uncertain future.