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I am a Councillor on Sheffield City Council for Arbourthorne ward in Sheffield and a Labour Party activist.

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Speech to Full Council: Reflection on The Election

I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the  national results.

It’s clear now that the votes that cast on 7th May will have profound implications on our country and our city for a generation. Fewer than 10% of Sheffield’s votes were for the Tories.

It’s naturally tempting to crow about the Liberal Democrat’s defeats or the Green’s and UKIP’s failures, but I really don’t want to do that.

Because, for many of us, the prospect of the next five years of true-blue Tory government is a truly nightmare scenario, which fills us with nothing less than dread.

And this new threat requires a different response. We must not spend the next five years throwing rocks at each other and shouting and blaming each other.

We will have to work together across Sheffield’s different sectors, its different communities and its different interests to protect the city that we love – whoever, however and wherever.

Building a city of social justice, equality and fairness is difficult at the best of times.

But unless we bring Sheffield together, it will be nearly impossible with this Tory government, with very real consequences for all our constituents:

  • Our local NHS will probably not survive as we know it – unless we work together.
  • Our education system will become more marketised and fragmented – unless we work together
  • Our Council will continue to lose money as it’s taken from us and given to the South – unless we work together
  • Britain will be marginalised and weakened in Europe – unless we work together.
  • We will see our basic rights at work and our basic rights as humans watered down and sold off – unless we work together.
  • People with disabilities will be vilified and isolated by a cruel welfare system – unless we work together.
  • Our young and the poor will continue to pay for the mistakes of the old and the rich – unless we work together.
  • Our environment and our beautiful local National Park will be fracked, pillaged and polluted – unless we work together.
  • And the people of Sheffield, who work so hard, will not see their living standards improve – unless we work together.

I’d like to finish by saying it’s clear our city now faces many, new, potent threats.

But it’s also clear that there is a renewed resolve amongst local people to work together, to stand up for Sheffield and to protect the city we represent.

This resolve has helped us overcome threats in the past and I am sure it will do so again over the next five years and I will do everything I can – whoever, however and wherever – to protect our city from these threats.


The Morning After 

I was asked to draft an article for a website about how it feels the morning after your party lost an election. The website is collecting people’s thoughts on the election in series of letters. 

Dear Abigail and Lucy,

At the moment, it’s easier to imagine writing a letter to you both than it is to write a normal blog post or article about the election result. You might never read this article, but it’s a helpful way to untangle my thoughts. 

Mummy and Daddy have been very busy this month. You know this because we’ve delivered leaflets together and you’ve stood next to us as we knock on hundreds of doors.

You know that our friends Oliver Coppard, Louise Haigh and Paul Blomfield are on the Labour team and that Mummy and Daddy are both City Councillors and try to help people in Sheffield. 

You also know that we voted yesterday, because we did it as a family on the way up to school, with everyone else from our village. 

The sun was shining. We were full of hope. 

But when you both woke up this morning, Mummy and Daddy were already awake because we had just got back from where they count the votes.

You both ran in and asked if “your friend Oliver” had won and we said he hadn’t.

Then you asked if Labour had won, and we told you they hadn’t. 

You made little faces at each other and skipped down the stairs, talking about school and breakfast.

Mummy and Daddy won’t show it to you much, but we are very sad about what happened. Lots of our friends are sad too. It is very painful for us – like you have been let down by the country, by Labour and by us. 

You deserve better. 
* You deserve to live in a country where people are rewarded for their work, not used and discarded through zero-hours contracts that exploit people.
* You deserve to know that if Mummy or Daddy or a friend are ill, they will get the best care in the world, not just be used to help companies make money.
* You deserve a home when you’re older, where you don’t get punished for having too many bedrooms or have bad landlords who hike up your rents with no warning.
* You deserve to live on a planet with a stable climate that isn’t burning up because we used too much fuel in pursuit of short-term, one-off profit.
* You deserve to live in a country that is generous, diverse, inclusive and fair, not one that is unequal, angry, sneering and resentful. 
Labour didn’t win yesterday, so we can’t do the things we wanted to. Like lots of other people, we are worried now about what this means for our family, our city and our country. 
So we will knock on more doors and deliver more leaflets soon. We will keep trying to bring people together to make things better. 
And if we do that, then, one day, Labour will win. And we will build the sort of country all our children really deserve.

Hope – Don’t Let Your Voice Be Taken Away

This election is the most important in a generation.

Don’t let your voice be taken away.

Ed Miliband – The 8 Mile Version


Impact of “Welfare Reform” on Sheffield – Infographic





welfare reform

Produced by the Policy Team at Sheffield City Council

New traffic measures approved by Sheffield Cabinet

A pedestrian crossing has been given the go-ahead at the site of an accident that led to the death of a 14 year old schoolgirl earlier this year.

A petition containing 12,571 signatures was handed in to Sheffield City Council requesting a controlled pedestrian crossing and speed restrictions on Normanton Hill.

This followed the incident on 9 May near the Richmond Park entrance when 14 year old Jasmyn Chan was fatally injured and another 12 year old girl was seriously injured.

A report approved by the Council’s Cabinet explaining the measures that have been taken since the accident and setting out plans for the installation of a pedestrian crossing on Normanton Hill has been approved.

Councillor Jack Scott, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Recycling and Streetscene said: “This was a truly tragic incident and we take it extremely seriously, as we do all road safety issues. The local ward councillors and I have worked closely with community activists to make sure we take positive action on this stretch of road to make it safer.

”We have already been working with our partners to reduce the speed of vehicles using Normanton Hill. The police have been undertaking regular speed enforcement checks and improvements have been made to the warning signs on the road. The Streets Ahead Improvement work in that area will include new, brighter street lights to ensure the park entrance and bus stop are properly lit. The pavement also needs widening. Tenants and private home owners have also been asked to cut back the vegetation hanging over the footpath.

“Our road safety teams are working with the Birley Community College and Outwood Academy to educate children and reinforce road safety messages to their students, but I don’t think this is enough. We need a permanent controlled crossing point to improve pedestrian safety for everyone needing to cross that road and so I’m pleased that the report to Cabinet is going to make this happen.”

Streets Ahead work has already commenced on this road with the renewal of street lighting. Surfacing of the road, as far as the park entrance, was carried out in August and the Council has funded the addition of a higher skid resistant material at the crossing point as part of these works.

South Yorkshire Police agreed to undertake speed enforcement in the short term and camera enforcement signs were installed. Mobile speed enforcement has taken place at regular intervals since July and to date 471 speeding offences have been identified.

In the short term the Council will be installing two VAS’s (Vehicle Activated Signs) to flash a warning to motorists to indicate the park entrance or school crossing patrol at the appropriate times of the day. The signs are being manufactured by a specialist company and will be installed this week.

Sandra Bradley, who is coordinating the work of the local community said: “It’s good to see that the Council are taking this issue most seriously. I’m so pleased with the way the community has come together after this terrible tragedy to help find solutions to the problems, but it is dreadful that so many drivers are still driving at such reckless and dangerous speeds in what is a 30 mile speed limit.

“The controlled crossing proposed in the Cabinet paper is what’s needed here. It’s also positive that the Council has agreed to name this crossing after Jasmyn as a way of keeping other children safe.  ‘Jazzy’s Crossing’ will not only be a lasting tribute to a very courageous teenager, but more importantly help to prevent any further tragedies on this very dangerous stretch of road.”

The Road Safety Education, Training and Publicity team has contacted both Birley Community College and Outwood Academy and is in the process of booking road safety education sessions with these schools. Both schools have already confirmed sessions with all Year 7 and 8 pupils and sessions with the other year groups will be confirmed shortly. These sessions will be delivered throughout this academic year.


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