Boris Johnson — For the few, not the many

 

Boris Johnson: famously squandered £37m on failed Garden Bridge for London

Here is our analysis of what Boris Johnson had to say at the fringe of the 2018 Tory Conference. Bear with us, because this is going to be quite long. We have put some links in red to particular points in his speech. Do come back here after the sound bite. We’ve listened to it all for you, thank us and move on.
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Anger over train overcrowding as fares set to increase 3.4% through 2018

Rail fares are rising again in 2018, at an average rate of 3.4%. This is the largest price hike in years, and it came into effect on January 2. Though some rail companies are staggering the price rise, commuters are already starting to feel the impact as ticket prices go up. However, commuters are speaking out about the unsatisfactory standards private rail companies demonstrate.

Labour members campaigning at Scarborough station against the 2018 rise in rail fares

Labour members campaigning at Scarborough station against the 2018 rise in rail fares


Overcrowded trains, delays and high ticket prices are making travel a misery for many people. The constituencies of Scarborough and Whitby are badly affected by these problems with the trains, because of our distance from major towns and cities and our limited road network. Many residents rely on the railways for work or for personal travel, despite the high costs and poor service, while others have been priced out of using the trains entirely.

Many trains leaving Scarborough fail to provide enough carriages, or overbook seats, leading to crowding of carriages. It is common for passengers to pay to reserve seats, but be unable to use them because the train is so full. Despite having paid a high price for a ticket, there is no guarantee you will have a comfortable journey – or get to your destination on time. Delays are very common, while many trains and the stations they serve are in need of renovation. Though private companies often make a significant profit from our railways, they are offering an increasingly subpar service to their customers.

“The service has not improved over the years, and in fact has got worse,” notes Labour Councillor Eric Broadbent. “I travelled from Scarborough to Leeds last Saturday and at Scarborough Station passengers waiting to board were all herded on to the front three carriages as the doors would not unlock on the rear three carriages. You can imagine the crush that happened all the way to Leeds, and the arguments that ensued.”

The Labour Party’s national policy is to nationalise the railways again, bringing control of the rail network back into public ownership and allowing us to put the profits of the rail service back into its infrastructure. After costs, any surplus profits would be put back into the treasury to be spent on our public services. The Scarborough and Whitby CLP wholeheartedly backs this policy, and believes our town could benefit greatly from a renationalised rail network that better serves local residents, ends the overcrowding, and makes train travel affordable again.

It is now cheaper to drive than to take the train, and the hikes to rail prices will make that price gap wider. This is bad news for our local environment, with more cars on the road than ever before – contributing to higher pollution levels. Driving hasn’t become any cheaper in recent years, with petrol prices rising and the costs of car ownership higher than ever before. However, rail fares have risen so steeply that driving may actually be the more economical choice. For those who cannot drive or do not have access to a car, the cost of a train ticket is becoming increasingly prohibitive.

It also restricts those looking for jobs, or who work away from the local area. Scarborough was recently identified as the ‘low pay capital’ of the UK, with a large number of local jobs paying well under the national living wage. For those who want higher paying work or are seeking work in specialist fields, there is often a need to travel to nearby cities like York, Hull and Leeds. Some may even commute further afield, for example travelling to London or Glasgow. However, the cost of travelling to and from these places each day can often amount to several hundred pounds per week, which limits the amount a person can earn.

What do you think? Join in the discussion here https://www.kialo.com/nationalising-the-railways-will-be-good-for-scarborough-and-whitby-12305

The next meeting of the Scarborough Branch Labour party will be a formal meeting with the shortlisted prospective parliamentary candidates

For members of Scarborough Branch Labour party.

Hello Comrades

The next meeting of the Scarborough Branch Labour party will be a formal meeting with the shortlisted prospective parliamentary candidates who are

Hugo Fearnley
Mark Gordon
Steve Howley
Simon Lightwood
Anne Murphy

Where: The Bowls Centre Peasholm Road Scarborough
When: Tuesday 3rd April 2018 at 7pm
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/448759375546136/

You will be entitled to attend this meeting if you have been a member for 6 months prior to 21st February 2018 and are not in arrears with your membership. You will need to show your membership card on the evening and will be checked in. Please arrive from 6.30pm as latecomers will not be allowed entry once the meeting has begun.

The candidates will each have 5 minutes to address members. Then they will be asked questions by the Chair which will last ten minutes. Please send me any ideas for questions that you would like the Chair to ask the candidates to scarborough@labour4scarboroughandwhitby.net

There should be an opportunity for candidates to chat informally with members at the end of the session.

This will be a great opportunity for you to hear the candidates speak and respond to questions prior to the final vote on Saturday 7th April at The Street Scarborough.

I look forward to seeing you there.

In solidarity
Jackie Turner
Branch secretary

Labour Party calls for Real Living Wage among Scarborough and Whitby employers

Residents in Scarborough and Whitby could soon find out which local employers
pay the Real Living Wage. Local companies which already pay the Real Living Wage are being invited to add their names to a growing database of companies who have committed to pay the Living Wage. Pressure is being placed on Scarborough Borough Council to pay its own employees the living wage, although the council has opted to ‘wait for more information’ before it makes its final decision on the matter.

Residents in Scarborough and Whitby can find out which local employers pay the Real Living Wage by looking here https://www.livingwage.org.uk/living-wage-map

The council says it is waiting for a decision from the unions on whether to accept the pay rise, before it comes to a final decision. “I do think if this council is going to take any decision that will have a financial impact going forward, then we should wait until we have all that information on the table,” notes Sandra Turner, Cabinet Member for Communities.

A recent study by the Social Market Foundation named Scarborough the country’s low pay capital. Scarborough & Whitby Constituency Labour Party wants to see Scarborough Council setting an example by taking a lead. Paying people better could also help maintain the area’s reputation as one of the UK’s top tourist destinations.

Nationally, The Labour Party has pledged to raise the minimum wage to a genuine
Living Wage, as determined by the Living Wage Foundation. This would affect all workers over the age of 18. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has suggested he would like the policy extended in future, to ensure that 16-18 year olds in work also get a fair living wage.

The database of Real Living Wage employers is something that could help defeat Scarborough’s negative publicity, while giving members of the workforce more money to spend with local traders and suppliers. Labour will also create a nationwide network of regional trade champions with a National Investment Bank, with regional development banks dedicated to supporting inclusive growth in our communities.

Online, a petition to demand that Scarborough Borough Council pay the Real Living Wage has attracted 135 signatures so far. Residents have also been signing the petition at action days outside the Town Hall, including protests held on the 8th January ahead of the council’s recent decision on whether to introduce the Living Wage to the Borough.

“The Council is part of the low wage problem when it could and should be helping to solve it,” said Labour councillor Steve Siddons. “Labour recommended a Living Wage Policy of paying Council staff the ‘real’ Living Wage and are encouraging other employers in the Borough to do the same.”

Are you paid more or less than the £8.75/hr Real Living Wage? Vote here https://www.facebook.com/LabourCoast/posts/2137968859553338 or here https://twitter.com/LabourCoast/status/976918730650333185 in the next few days.

Discuss this topic in Kialo (a website that promotes constructive discussion).

Results from nomination meetings

Thanks to all members who came to the nomination meetings yesterday evening. It was great to have so many strong candidates to choose from. A huge thank you to all the candidates who put themselves forward for nomination.
Here are the results of the four nomination meetings which took place on 13th March 2018 at The Bowls Centre Scarborough.

East Branch
Nominations made:
Mark Gordon
Simon Lightwood
Steve Howley
Hugo Fearnley
Ann Marie Murphy
Branch nominations: Mark Gordon, Ann Marie Murphy

North Branch
Nominations made:
Steve Howley
Eric Broadbent
Mark Gordon
Simon Lightwood
Hugo Fearnley
Ann Marie Murphy
Branch nominations: Simon Lightwood, Ann Marie Murphy

South Branch
Nominations made:
Steve Howley
Mark Gordon
Branch nomination: Mark Gordon

West Branch
Nominations made:
Mark Gordon
Simon Lightwood
Hugo Fearnley
Ann Marie Murphy
Sumera
Branch nominations: Mark Gordon, Sumera

Edited/inserted 21st March:
The results of the Whitby nomination voting were as follows
Hugo Fearnley 19
Simon Lightwood 2
Steve Howley 3
Spoilt paper 1

Only one round of voting was needed because Hugo got more than 50% on the first round. The meeting then decided not to make a second nomination.

These nominations will now go forward to the selection panel who will consider the nominated candidates alongside the others e.g. Affiliated organisation’s nominations. The selection panel will make a longlist, interview those people then create a shortlist. The shortlisted candidates will then be free to canvass for member’s votes. The vote will take place on April 7th at 2pm at The Street in Scarborough.

Resolution tabled for Scarborough Borough Council meeting on Monday November 6th

Scarborough Borough is the low pay capital of Great Britain, a fact we should all be ashamed of.

Despite inward investment and the promise of potash and offshore industries we have the lowest median employee salary in the UK at £19,925 (the Great Britain figure is £28,442).

We call on Scarborough Borough Council to improve this damning state of affairs by taking the lead locally and :-

1) Paying at least the Living Wage Foundation rate to all employees

2) Working collaboratively with all existing suppliers and contractors to the council to encourage them also to pay at least the Living Wage Foundation rate

3) Working to ensure that SBC procurement and commissioning expenditure is, where possible, made in the Borough with businesses paying at least the Living Wage Foundation rate.

Sign the petition .

Cuts to Addiction Services Since 2010 [INFOGRAPHIC]

In this blog post by Paul Harold, he unveils his latest infographic titled “cuts to addiction services in England and Wales since 2012”. Since 2010, successive Tory Governments have aimed to save public money by cutting addiction services. Since addiction is often stigmatised, perhaps these politicians feel justified in cutting these unarguably essential services.

These cuts really started to take hold following the enactment of the Health and Social Care Act 2012. This Act meant addiction services is now solely commissioned by local authorities and not the NHS.

Before 2012, long term Government investment in addiction services saw year-on-year decreases in drug-related deaths. These improvements have now been utterly wiped out.

Why is this the case? Read the rest of the addiction services cuts blog here.

Pay the real living wage

Dear Comrades,

Thanks to your financial contributions that have been coming in we will be able to launch a campaign next month regarding securing higher wages for the people of Scarborough, Whitby and the surrounding areas. Currently we are the low wage capital of Britain (our mean employee salary stands currently at £19,925, compared to £28,442 for Britain as a whole), and this is something we must and will change. Currently the Tories plan to change this through the magic of trickle down economics (a strategy that has been proven to be at best completely ineffective), rather than an industrial and educational strategy that will create the high paid and high skilled jobs for our constituency that we so desperately need.

For this campaign we will be campaigning with leaflets and on social media.

As well as distributing these leaflets and knocking on doors, the dates for your diaries are Saturday 4th November (12 noon outside the Brunswick Shopping Centre) where we will be holding a stall in order to collect signatures for a petition to put pressure on Scarborough Borough Council to pay all their staff the real living wage as well as making it a preferred criteria in the Council’s procurement process, so that they set an example of what we want all workers in Scarborough, Whitby and the surrounding areas to be paid. This will be followed on Monday 6th November with a demo outside the council offices, starting again at 12 noon. After this we will be handing out leaflets for distribution, so if you can help with that please get in touch.

We realise that not everyone is able to or would want to have a direct involvement with campaigning, but financial support is always needed. This will help us expand our campaigns and reach everyone in our constituency.

As little as a pound per month will make a big difference if all our local members contribute, so please give what you can! The best way to do this is to create a standing order to the following details:

Name: Scarborough & Whitby Labour Party
Sort code: 30-97-43
Account Number: 00426707

It is also possible to pay via the Labour website, just click on the link below and follow the instructions:

https://donate.labour.org.uk/scarborough_and_whitby/1

Alternatively you can send a cheque (made payable to Scarborough & Whitby Labour Party) to my home address (call me and ask).

Also, you can join the Labour Party 200 Club; for just £1 per number per month, you can be in with the chance of winning a cash prize (currently £30). The easiest way to pay is by standing order to the following details:

Name: Scarborough & Whitby Constituency Labour Party 200 Club
Sort code: 40-40-22
Account Number: 61343289

Don’t forget you can help us raise funds for free when you shop online by using easyfundraising. Simply join easyfundraising and then you can collect free donations for us every time you buy something online, and it won’t cost you a penny extra. Just visit the following web address on how to do this:

https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/swlp/

Scarborough & Whitby is now in the top 50 seats regarding how close we are to the Conservatives, and as we need to win about 60 seats at the next election for an overall majority, it’s vital we win in our constituency if we are going to have a Corbyn led government after the next election (whenever that maybe). This means we must continue to build on the momentum that we currently have.

If you wish to contact me for more information regarding financial matters or the 200 club, please feel free at: treasurer@labour4scarboroughandwhitby.net or on 07885 756605. Please let me know if you have set up a standing order for the 200 club.

In Solidarity,

Alex Shaw
S&W CLP Treasurer
Tel: 07885756605

Bursting another neo-liberal myth

Following on from the first political discussion meeting held in September in Whitby on AUSTERITY MYTHS some members raised the issue that additional government spending, which is the distinguishing policy feature of our 2017 manifesto could lead to inflation.

Neo- liberals political strategy seeks to establish as fact that there is no economic alternative to AUSTERITY by creating a popular common sense ( Gramsci ) about economics that once established precludes consideration of economic and political choice. This strategy of the RIGHT is dangerous because it undermines democracy by denying that there is a place in politics for fundamental differences between political parties – hence we end up with all parties presenting themselves as in the centre and as moderate. Popular reaction is naturally -‘they are all the same’. However this changed in 2017 with Labour presenting a LEFT manifesto, and the rest is history.

Just like the myth that there is no MONEY TREE this inflation myth has no substance.

But first what is inflation ? – simply it is a general increase in prices through out the economy and can be measured in a number of ways – but that is another story.

The neo-liberal explanation is that increases in demand and the amount of money in the economy lead to inflation, and strangely their charge is that it is government spending that is responsible for this!! – therefore government spending must be cut !!

The following are some of the reasons why this charge is groundless and hopefully will give Labour Party members the confidence to support the 2017 manifesto with conviction.

1 Since the banking crash of 2007/8 governments have through the Bank of England printed electronically £435bn and injected this into the U.K. economy. Similar action has taken place in the U.S. and the Eurozone. In all these cases inflation has been stable or fallen over the last 10 years.

2 The vast majority of money in any economy is created by private sector high street banks as they create loans – in the U.K. 95%, and in the U.S. the percentage is even higher, and so if the neo-liberal theory is partially correct they are aiming at the wrong target – the solution is government REGULATION of the amount of lending by the private banks.

3 If an economy has spare productive capacity i.e. factories are producing less than they are capable of producing, and there is under employment as in the U.K. at present, inflation is most unlikely.

4 If firms have spare capacity they are most likely to increase output than increase price as this will reduce unit costs.

5 Monopoly firms will increase price as they don’t have competition, as will oligopolistic firms (where there are a few giant firms supplying similar products) The solution here is hardly to cut government spending – but for government to REGULATE the price power of these firms.

6 How did this myth arise. During the 1970’s there was high inflation and the Trade Unions got it in the neck from the M.S.M. but an evidence approach would identify a range of other changes behind this famous episode of inflation

In the early 1970,s there were extremely large increases in oil prices which fed into all economies as O.P.E.C wielded new monopoly power, the U.S. brought to an end the post war fixed exchange rate system, and DEREGULATION of the U.K. banking system began which lead to the start of increases in private debt and an increase in the money supply and demand. All these factors were inflationary, but even in the 1970,s it was government spending that was blamed and Trade Unions seeking to defend their members living standards. Neo – Liberalism used this situation as its launch pad and it has not looked back.

7 All government spending returns to the private sector. Social security payments are spent in the private retail sector, government infrastructure spending on council housing or on environmental projects goes to private construction firms. This all creates jobs ! When Neo-Liberals argue against government spending they are arguing against a prosperous private sector. They don’t appear to understand the connections between the different sectors of an economy.

In conclusion, it is pretty clear that NEO-LIBERAL politics is about reducing the size of the state to Victorian levels and damaging both the general population and the private sector.

PhilTidy (Political Education officer, Whitby and district branch)

Call for real living wage for council employees

The Scarborough Labour Group wants the ‘real’ living wage to be re-introduced for council employees and claims the leader of the Borough Council is not taking the low living wage seriously, listen to leader of the group Steve Siddons talking to Yorkshire Coast Radio https://www.yorkshirecoastradio.com/news/local-news/2376655/council-leader-not-taking-scarborough-living-wage-seriously/