Like Mitt Romney, Cameron thinks 47% of people are lazy non-contributors: but what does it mean for Scarborough and Whitby?

WARNING: This article contains figures

Austerity is fine if you are Margaret Thatcher’s granny, but when the whole country is plunged into a double dip recession, it’s time to change the medicine.

Scarborough Borough  Council is gearing up for change: a new welfare system which suggests that just about everybody of working age is a vast drain on society if they have the temerity to be out of work, or poor, or low paid, or in part-time work, or who have children, or who have a spare bedroom, or are disabled or . . .  well the list goes on. I’m not sure the Council will be able to cope with the changes that begin in earnest next April, but we have some talented officers who will do their best. I don’t envy them the task. More

Could you be a Labour candidate for Europe?

Elections will take place for the European Parliament in June 2014 and this will be a major test for Labour not only in these elections, but also in the run up to the general election in 2015. It is essential that we have the best list of candidates possible to place before the electorate. To ensure the candidates within the English Regions, Scotland and Wales have the maximum time to campaign ahead of the election, we aim to complete the selections where possible by the middle of 2013.There will then be a ballot of all members in each European region to rank the selected candidates in order of preference.
You are invited to consider putting yourself forward as a potential candidate for these important elections. More

March through Scarborough organised by Trades Council

While 1000s marched through major cities across the UK on 20 October, the Scarborough and DistrictTrades Council, accompanied by Labour Party and Green Party members, held its own march through Scarborough’s Town Centre on Saturday to protest against the Coalition Government’s savage cuts that will mostly affect  the poor and the vulnerable in our society. More

New Standards Regime – fit for purpose?

I write in a personal capacity as a member Scarborough Borough Council’s Standards Committee, and as someone with experience of Parliament during the MP’s expenses scandal, when a lot of lessons were learnt the hard way.

A few months ago, most members of Scarborough Borough  Council received a letter from Robert Goodwill MP – a close colleague of Andrew Mitchell MP (of ‘pleb’ fame) – lauding the new standards regime for councillors introduced by the government. The government abolished the national standards board, which was generally welcomed since the board was widely viewed as a case of overkill. But in its eagerness to undo a Labour ‘quango’ the government went in quite the opposite direction, leaving us with a standards regime for councillors that is both toothless and practically denuded of wider independent engagement.
The first significant test of the new system in Scarborough came with the hearing of a complaint stemming from an allegation that eight ‘twin-hatted’ County Councillors who were also Borough Councillors from 2009 had received two sets of allowances to pay for the same thing – I.T. services More

Two and a half years of Con/Dem devastation

Within just about the last year, two excellent things will have happened on our doorstep, figuratively speaking. The first, last winter was the completion of the refurbishment of Friarage Primary School, which was one of the last to get an upgrade thanks to the Labour government’s commitment to improve primary schools. When the Coalition government came to office they chopped the primary schools capital programme    

Labour investment comes to fruition

The second piece of good news is the near completion of The Street, just outside Castle Ward’s boundary, a £6.5 million building which will house multifarious youth and social activities. £4 million of the cost of that came from the last Labour government’s My Place programme, which nationally pumped £240 million into new facilities for young people. You guessed it: under the Coalition government, the My Place programme no longer exists, nor anything like it.

I am sure that all local politicians will join with me in welcoming these investments in an area of Scarborough where the score for deprivation is in the top 10% in the UK. Local people need an uplift in a patch with above average unemployment, low wages, seasonal and part-time work and many other problems. That’s what government is for, so we used to believe. But I fear that with the cuts coming down the line in the next few months, these investments may struggle, like the little Dutch boy trying to plug the leaking dyke with his finger to hold back a deluge, the consequences of which this government has neither the time nor the compassion to consider. More

Ed Miliband revitalises ‘One Nation’ concept

Here at the Labour Party conference in Manchester it would be nice to think that the eyes of the nation were upon us – gazing we hope in admiration on a Party resolutely turning anxiety into hope and capturing everyone’s yearning to escape the drumbeat of austerity.  But, of course, not so many people pay attention to our annual political shindigs these days. So, we rely more and more on the Leader’s speech to directly address the nation’s concerns, to show not merely an affinity with voters’ fears and hopes but also – midway through an interminable Parliament – how Labour will emerge as the government-in-waiting.  Even those who are generally disinterested or disdainful of politics may register some recognition of the values Labour now presents – if the Leader can make that connection. More