Blog Archive: 2010 – 2012

This page is an archive of the Blog I kept after the 2010 General Election, up to April 2013.

Please click here to see my current blog.

 

Memo To Aspiring Sheffield Hallam Candidates

20th April 2013

 

Sheffield Hallam CLP is currently seeking to select its candidate for the next General Election. This will be one of the most exciting seats in 2015. The current MP is Nick Clegg – who symbolizes every broken promise and crocodile tear of this heartless coalition.

Labour’s vote went from 5,110 in 2005 to 8,228 in 2010 – not bad given the swing against Labour across the country and “Cleggmania” (remember that?)

I still occasionally get emails from residents in Sheffield Hallam who say that they voted for Nick Clegg but now wish that they had voted Labour.

As Labour’s candidate in 2010, I would like to offer some insight as I focus on other challenges. I hope this brief note helps to ensure we pick the best candidate with the best chance of electing the MP we deserve.

1.         Embody One Nation Politics

Perhaps no other community has as much cause to feel let down by its local MP than the people of Sheffield Hallam. From the NHS to student fees, Nick Clegg almost seems to take pleasure in saying one thing and doing another. So Labour needs a candidate whose integrity is clear for all to see and who inspires trust and confidence by working proactively.

Our candidate will also need to be able to reach out and build a positive movement from diverse and varied groups. By some measurements, Hallam is among the wealthiest constituencies in the country – richer than places like Windsor. At the same time, Hallam contains a large student and public sector population. This means that the block of people who are traditionally and historically Labour is smaller, but the block of people who could be persuaded to vote Labour is larger. Our candidate’s approach will need to seize this opportunity.

2.         Broad Church Approach

Because of Hallam’s unique composition, our candidate will need to be able to balance an even wider range of issues than normal. Reviewing the groups I met and the pledges I was asked to make, I’m struck by the breadth of issues that passionately aroused a large number of people: Darfur, animal welfare, fair trade, international justice. These aren’t the issues that appear on every doorstep across England. Our candidate will have to engage people in these issues through new ways through a combination of social media and traditional hard doorstep work in order to bring together different campaigns that share common values.

 

3.         Focus on Both Fronts

There is a seductive appeal in solely focusing on Nick Clegg. It is completely true that he has put his interests above those of his constituency and his country. It is also true that the brazen nature of his duplicity arouses justified and intense anger.

Given the coalition seems held together with little more than silly string, it is quite possible that by 2015, Nick Clegg will be pretending he’s not a Tory again. He might also have been chucked out by the few LibDems that are left, or swan off to Europe.

So we must pick the right focus – and that isn’t just Nick Clegg. In a seat where Labour isn’t currently first or second, our candidate will also need to be able to see the bigger picture: that there are effectively two Tory candidates and our job is to make sure neither of them wins.

The declaration in Sheffield Hallam will be one of the most anticipated moments of the next election, with significant political consequences – whoever wins. With the right approach, values and focus the rewards for Labour’s candidate could be huge. Good luck to all

Sheffield Labour Council: Seeking Sheffield Businesses To Kickstart Electric Vehicle Revolution

12th May 2013

I’m really pleased that we are leading a project across South Yorkshire to increase the uptake of electric vehicles in the region. The Labour administration of Sheffield City Council is investing to provide SMEs with a 50% grant for a one-year lease of an electric vehicle plus a 50% grant towards the cost of the purchase and installation of a dedicated electric vehicle charging point at the SME’s premises.

At the end of the year the SME either continues with the lease, hands the vehicle back or goes on to purchase an electric vehicle. SMEs that use a vehicle for urban journeys that don’t do more than circa 70 miles per day are the ones most likely to benefit. Using an electric vehicle reduces the SME’s carbon and air pollution tailpipe emission and will also cut their diesel/petrol bill to zero, cut vehicle excise duty to zero, cut company car tax to zero and will only cost around 2p per mile to operate (depending upon electricity tariff that’s around £1.50 to £2 for full charge).

The project is also funding some public access rapid charging stations across South Yorkshire, to provide extra reassurance to a driver find that help is available in case they ever find their battery running low whilst out and about.

Praising the scheme, Cllr Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for the Environment said: “Cars are a major source of Sheffield’s carbon footprint, so I’m delighted that Sheffield Labour is taking real action now and helping to support local businesses in this way. This project is a triple win for Sheffield:  We lower carbon emissions, save local businesses money and create high-skill, green collar jobs through the installation of charging points across the city and South Yorkshire. I hope every company interested in this exciting opportunity gets in touch with us to take it forward. 

Any company wishing to join in the scheme can contact: Mark.Daly@sheffield.gov.uk

The Sheffield Response To The Taxpayers’ Alliance

18th May 2013

The Taxpayers’ Alliance has recently released its annual figures for the top salaries within Local Authorities. These cover the 2010-11 and 2011-12 financial years.

Here are the headlines that the Daily Mail gleefully picked up on:

* There were at least 2,525 council employees who received total remuneration in excess of £100,000 in 2011-12, a fall of 11 per cent on the previous year’s 2,839.

* Despite this, 102 councils increased the number of staff who received remuneration in excess of £100,000 in 2011-12.

* In 2011-12, there were 636 council employees who received remuneration over £150,000.

[Source: http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/thrl2013.pdf ]

So what’s the story in Sheffield?

Sheffield is England’s fourth largest city. Our Council has a turnover in the region of £1.4 billion per year and employs around 8,000 people. 

· The employees with the highest remuneration in local authorities across the UK in 2011-12, excluding those made redundant or who retired – the top 9 English councils are all run by Conservatives. Sheffield is not one of the top 20.

· There are 39 councils with 15 or more employees on £100k+. Sheffield is not one of them.

· There are 102 councils in England, Scotland and Wales where there was an increase in employees on £100k+. Sheffield is not one of them.

· Tory GLA under Boris increased from 18 to 24, Conservative Councils of Wandsworth increased from 31 to 33, Tory Westminster increased from 24 to 27, Tory Croydon increased 20 to 23, Tory Hillingdon 17 to 19. Tory Counties are no better: Conservative Cheshire West 25 to 27 and Conservative East Sussex from 12 to 18, Tory Lincs 15 to 19, Tory Northants 9 to 13, Tory Shrops 13 to 17, Tory Worcs 12 to 16, whilst Tory Essex stays on 36. Meanwhile, Sheffield City Council had 14 employees on £100k+ in 2010/11 and 8 employees in 2011/12 – a reduction of 6.

Toughest Action Ever On Litter

21st May 2013

I’m pleased to announce that the number of fines issued for dropping litter in the last year was the highest ever.

The Labour Administration took the decision to prioritise enforcement action in order to send a clear message that littering would not be tolerated.

The figures released show that this decision is having a big impact – with more fines issued last year than ever before.

We are also reviewing the level of the fines that we issue and will bring forward plans in the near future to raise them.

 

The vast majority of people act responsibly and know not to drop litter. But a small number of people persist in littering parts of our green city and that is simply not acceptable. That’s why Labour took action to make fining litter-bugs a priority.

As well as issuing more fines, I also think that are fines need to be even higher, so we will be talking with the people of Sheffield about this in the near future and consulting to get their views.

We are cracking down on this problem hard. The message is clear: If you drop litter, you will be fined.

Year

 

Litter

 

08/09

 

211

 

09/10

 

132

 

10/11

 

103

 

11/12

 

77

 

12/13

 

376

 Fines are issued in accordance with Section 88 Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Speech To Full Council: Council Tax Benefit

24th January 2013

The speech below was delivered to a meeting of the Sheffield Full Council, in response to the Coalition’s plan to force Local Authorities to charge working-age people who currently receive Council Tax Benefit.
*** CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY ***


Thank you, Lord Mayor. All we are getting from the Liberal Democrats today are crocodile tears – pretending to oppose the Government’s direction, when in reality they are the co-pilots.

They have completely forgotten what Sheffield people are going through thanks to their government:

• The coalition has failed completely on jobs and growth, with youth unemployment at its highest ever and five people chasing every job.
• The coalition allowed energy bills to rise by £300 per year.
• The coalition raised VAT, even though it promised not to.
• The Coalition introduced the Bedroom tax, which could double homeless applications
• The coalition is imposing real terms cuts to tax credits, jobseekers allowance and child benefit.
• And the coaltion is spending millions of pounds on tax breaks for people who already have millions of pounds.
• And now, the coalition has slashed Council’s money and is forcing them to reduce Council Tax Benefit.

But even this pain isn’t being spread fairly: David Cameron’s Oxfordshire constituency is losing £40 per person, whilst the Sheffield supposed-constituency of Nick Clegg is losing £200 per person.

This government’s actions are no less than warfare on the poorest people in our city.

Bit by bit, step by step, the government is destroying the safety net people rely on when they fall on hard times.

So across the country, who will have to pay this Council Tax benefit?

• If you are a young person, who leaves home, full of hope – the Coalition will make you pay.
• If you are a disabled person, determined to live an independent life – the Coalition will make you pay.
• If you receive council tax benefit because you’re pregnant and getting ready to start a family – the Coalition will make you pay.
• If you are a single parent, trying your best to bring up your children – the Coalition will make you pay.
• And if you are a refugee, running scared life and fleeing some of the worst conditions on the planet – the Coalition will make you pay

The Coalition will make everyone who isn’t one of their natural supporters pay. This is targeted and deliberate. This is the most cynical, devious and vicious government that Britain has ever had. Does any one of you feel proud of what your Government is doing to these people?

I honestly do not know how a single Liberal Democrat can look at themselves in the mirror anymore, given what they are doing to the most vulnerable people in our society.

They should be fully ashamed of themselves and what their support is allowing to happen.

Labour Delivers A Living Wage For Sheffield

6th November 2012

 I am delighted to be supporting Labour’s plan for action for a living wage at Sheffield City Council. 

The proposal means that from April next year all staff employed by Sheffield City Council will be paid a wage of at least £7.20 per hour this financial year, which will see an increase for 275 staff across on the lowest two grades at the council.

The decision comes following talks over a period of time with public sector union, Unison.

A Living Wage has been introduced in other areas across the country where several leading public and private sector organisations have signed up to the campaign. Paying a living wage boosts the incomes of the lowest paid, who have been hardest hit in the current economic climate of no growth and heavy price increases.

Council staff have seen their pay frozen for the past two years in order to protect as many jobs and services as possible, given the massive cuts imposed by the Government. If increments were frozen again the council would save £5 million per year, however, implementing a living wage would target raising the incomes of the council’s lowest paid staff. A living wage costing around £70,000 would be met through the £1 million saving that Labour are making through cuts to senior management.

The proposal to implement a Living Wage will be presented to next week’s Full Council meeting, which coincides with Living Wage Week (4th-10th November).

Labour Leader of Sheffield City Council, Councillor Julie Dore, said:

“A Sheffield Living Wage would help to reduce poverty in this city and I believe it is important that the council leads by example in this area, which is why I am committed to making sure that next year all council staff will receive a living wage.

“We will work with employers across the city in other parts of the public sector as well as the private and voluntary sectors to make sure that this has a big impact across the city.

“It is the poorest who are being hit hardest by the Government’s failure to grow the economy, this is an achievable, pragmatic way of supporting people on low incomes across the city and I am pleased that we are able to take it forward.”

Dean Harper, Organiser, Sheffield Unison, said:

“Unison have campaigned for a Living Wage and we are delighted that Labour are delivering this in Sheffield. Only yesterday we learned that one in five workers in the UK earn less than the living wage and we believe it’s vital that this is tacked.

 

Clegg Pulls Rug From Under Sheffield

1st September 2011

I managed to get another letter in the Star today – see below.

The Star reported on Monday that Nick Clegg wants Sheffield’s economy to focus on technology and manufacturing. One of his first acts in government was to cancel investment in Forgemasters which would have done just that – he really does have some cheek!

Grand rhetoric is fine, but his government is doing precisely the opposite and making it much harder for Sheffield’s economy to get an advantage. We have two fantastic universities that could put Sheffield at the cutting edge of global innovation, but tripling fees, cutting teaching budgets and slashing research investment makes that more difficult.

We also have an NHS “Trust of the Year”, which undertakes groundbreaking medical and technological research and could turbo-charge our economy. But his totally ham-fisted reorganisation of the NHS and shrinking health budgets are making it tougher for Sheffield to seize opportunities in the health economy.

On every front Nick Clegg’s government is making it harder for Sheffield to make the most of our unique selling points. If he really believes that Sheffield’s economic future lies in high-tech manufacturing, he should change course and get behind Sheffield, rather than pulling the rug from under us.

100 Days Of Action – Star Letter

28th August 2011

Labour has been in power in Sheffield for just over 100 days.

Below is the text of a letter I sent to the Star

100 Days of Action

Sheffield City Council has been a whirlwind of activity since the LibDems were booted out by the people of Sheffield just over 100 days ago.

In that time, Labour has restored funding for PCSOs, repaired some of the ConDem cuts to SureStart and stopped the LibDems decision to create an unfair two-tier system in adult social care.

We have also launched one of England’s largest apprenticeship schemes to make sure young people are given the opportunities they need. We are standing up for Sheffield and protecting frontline services as much as possible.

All of these improvements were opposed by the LibDems, who need to think carefully about why they lost, because just sniping from the sidelines and sticking up for the Tories doesn’t help anyone.

Of course, there’s a lot more work to do to make Sheffield as good as it can be, but Labour’s new approach is making Sheffield a better place to live, learn and work. This is just the start.

Councillor Jack Scott

Labour Councillor for Arbourthorne Ward

 

Sheffield Fayre

28th August 2011

Today I attended Sheffield Fayre, in my ward. As well as meeting many many people from Arbourthorne and Norfolk Park, it was a great opportunity to see the richness of Sheffield’s heritage.

Sheffield Fayre is northern England’s largest free festival. The various attractions include favourites like the Sheffield Horticultural Show and the largest multi-period Living History Camp and Battle Re-enactment in the North of England.

Over 600 re-enactors in authentic costume enthusiastically recreate life through various eras from Roman times to the Second World War, encompassing live battles, fascinating displays, music and activities, educating and entertaining the whole family.

The Horticultural Show brings out Sheffield’s green-fingered experts but also includes culinary, craft, art and photography classes, and an all-embracing competition for amateurs and serious enthusiasts, with classes for both adults and children.

It is organised almost entirely by volunteers and local residents and goes to show once again that we don’t need David Cameron handing down crumbs and dictats in order to understand the Big Society.

They are always looking for more volunteers, so I urge everyone who can to get involved with next year’s production and the Friends of Norfolk Heritage Park. You won’t regret it.

The battle for Sheffield

5th May 2011
It has been a year since I fought Nick Clegg in Sheffield Hallam. The last 12 months have seen an unprecedented focus on Sheffield’s politics.

Sheffield is a unique city. An early Labour authority, it built over 50,000 council homes on time and on budget and was the first authority to set standards for air and water quality. It is fourth largest city in England and the greenest city in Britain – over half of it is in the Peak District. It is also the most unequal city: Nick Clegg’s Sheffield Hallam is the richest constituency outside of London; David Blunkett’s Sheffield Brightside is one of the poorest. Our industrial heritage has bestowed a strong trade union movement and a deep tradition of social justice.

So the loss of Sheffield to the LibDems in 2008 was a body blow for Labour. But in 2010, Labour made gains and the LibDems lost their overall majority. Following the formation of the coalition, a LibDem defection to Labour leaves the council the most finely balanced in Britain at 41 LibDems, 40 Labour, 2 Greens and 1 Independent. There have been no Tories since 2007. Unsurprisingly, Sheffield has been described as the biggest prize that Labour might capture today. So what have been he defining issues of the campaign? There are three main themes: Clegg, Clueless and Cuts.

Clegg

A punchbag has its uses. Nick Clegg doesn’t. In Sheffield, Nick Clegg isn’t a punchbag – he’s a traitor. Remember the debates? when Clegg talked talked about “my home city of Sheffield” ad nauseum (despite living full-time in Peckham and being known as the Invisible Man, even before he became LibDem leader), he gave the impression of a connection and affection for Sheffield.

So the contempt for the man now is something to behold – in a decade of campaigning I have never seen anything like it. Several Sheffield parliamentary seats saw swings of around 10% to the LibDems in 2010, including in one which hyper-marginal, so there are a large number of people who have historically voted Labour, changed to the LibDems in 2010 because of Clegg and have now swung back firmly behind Labour because of Clegg.

When challenged on this recently, one Sheffield LibDem councillor said “The important thing is that the LibDems aren’t being ignored anymore”, which says a lot about their paranoia and why, I believe, they are unlikely to walk away.

Clegg was an asset for the LibDems in 2010 locally and covered every leaflet. Now, completely absent from LibDem leaflets, he is a hate-figure, a laughing stock and a turn-coat.

Clueless

This election isn’t a referendum on Nick Clegg. Locally the LibDems have been completely useless in running Sheffield City Council. Their flagship policy, the much trumpeted “Community Assemblies”, which are supposed to be bastions of devolution, are slow and clumsy talking shops that entrench the loudest and most articulate and exclude everyone else. They have engaged less than 1% of local people and some measures of community engagement have actually gone backwards. The Lib Dem budget this year wasn’t a budget for two years or even 12 months. It was a budget to put off the real decisions and get them through the elections, which is an appalling way to treat the public money Sheffield City Council spends.

Our council leader is widely seen as arrogant, out of touch and only interested in his own advancement – although he is quite good at singing to promote his favourite hotels and restaurants. He has been steadfast in his support for Nick Clegg. Rumours abound that his reward will be a peerage later this year. All this contributes to the feeling of an administration that has wasted its years in power and lost touch with the electorate and doesn’t know what to do next.

Cuts

Like other big cities, Sheffield has been hit hard by the Tory-led government decimation of local government. Locally, our LibDems have stuck like glue to Nick Clegg, even when confronted with their own anti-Tory leaflets from last year, where they were saying that rapid Tory cuts would “destroy our public services and cripple our local economy”. Helpfully for Labour, they are still producing their bar charts saying “it’s Labour or LibDem here”.

For years before the general election, Forgemasters were in discussions with the Labour government over how a loan (not a grant – a loan), of £80m which would enable them to build and equip one the world’s largest moulds – the sort used in the production of nuclear power reactors. This would have enabled Forgemasters, a massive Sheffield employer and a great company, to compete internationally, creating hundreds of new clean, high-tech manufacturing jobs and apprenticeships and a supply chain running the length and breadth of Britain.

Then the Tory-led government, in a fit of spite, cancelled the loan at the last hour. Nick Clegg said the Regional Growth Fund would make up the difference, but of the £450m handed out, not a penny went to Sheffield.

People in Sheffield painfully recall the last Tory government’s attack on public services and the concurrent destruction of our private sector, which led to one of the largest increases in unemployment in Britain, with all its accompanying problems. Knocking on doors, it is striking how many people have a very anxious sense of déjà vu at a government that they didn’t vote for and that doesn’t care about them.

It is never wise to predict the outcome of elections on the day. We are hopeful of good results but not taking anything for granted. So we are working for every vote (as the roadtrip has blogged), to make the choice facing our great city even clearer: Clegg, his cuts and his cronies running a clueless council that is only interested in the super-rich areas or a Labour council that is on your side, at your service and standing up for Sheffield.

Jack Scott is Sheffield’s youngest councillor and fought Nick Clegg in 2010. You can follow him on twitterhere.

Latest Speech To Full Council: Local Government Cuts

1st August 2011

*** Check Against Actual Delivery ***

Thank you Lord Mayor.

Sheffield deserves better a better settlement than this.

Nobody should underestimate the impact this Local Government Settlement will have on Sheffield and its citizens. And nobody should doubt that these cuts will hit front-line services and cause massive job losses in both the public and private sectors, risking a double-dip recession.

These eye watering cuts will create a barren, economic wasteland and devastate the fabric of our communities. Sheffield deserves better.

Cuts in local government are being made deeper and faster than in anyWhitehall department or any other area of Government spending.

Is this because local government is the most wasteful? No.

Is this because local government affects peoples’ lives the least? No

It is because the Government are determined to balance the budget on the backs of the poorest, quietest and most vulnerable people in our society.

It is not a coincidence that the poorest areas have the greatest cuts. It is a deliberate, ideological choice and it is your choice to protect your favoured areas like Dorset, Buckinghamshire and Surrey.

The ConDems would have made cuts whatever the financial situation. It is in their blood.

The ConDems are doing what they enjoy most: shrinking the state and shifting the blame. Your ammendment and your acquiescence with this Tory-led Government speaks volumes. Sheffield deserves better.

The non-political Fawcett society has said the local government settlement will damage the prospects of women.

The impartial Association for Directors of Childrens’ Services says the cuts will have deeply worrying consequences for young people.

Every week, we see how this coalition is bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase “women and children first”.

The government have used devious smoke and mirrors to try and mask the extent of the cuts: By mixing in our own council tax and some recycled NHS money to create a new “spending power” definition, they hope to obscure the fact that Sheffield City Council will receive £48m less next year in core revenue grants alone.

The government’s tricks didn’t fool us and they won’t fool the people of Sheffield whose support, services, jobs and prospects have been sacrificed on this rash, extremist and dangerous altar of ideology. Sheffielddeserves better.

There is no support to help with redundancies, no money to stimulate our economy and no money to help us redesign services, which the LGA said were all vital.

Does anyone believe that these cuts will boost Sheffield’s economy? [Lib Dem silence]

Does anyone believe that these cuts will create jobs for the future? [Lib Dem silence]

Does anyone believe that these cuts will improve services? [Lib Dem silence]

Why don’t you tell Nick Clegg that when he comes later? [Lib Dem silence].

Is anyone of you proud of what your government is doing? [Lib Dem silence] No. Me neither. Sheffield deserves better.

These cuts will cripple our economy. PWC have shown that 10 public sector job losses result in 8 private sector job losses. For every £1 that a local government worker earns, they spend 70p in the local economy. When these wages are taken out of the Sheffield economy, we will see local businesses close, a spiralling welfare bill and public services under more strain. Sheffield deserves better.

I want to finish by saying that what Sheffield desperately needs is a Council that has a plan for jobs and growth.

But this administration has given up, rolled over and is playing dead for its Tory masters: No answers, no plan, no vision and no empathy for the peoples’ lives that your party and your chums are going to ruin.

Sheffield deserves better. And that is why the people will never forget what you have chosen to do to them and they will never forgive you for it either.

Letter To The Star

1st April 2011

I have sent this letter to our local paper today:

VAT hike will hit families and the British economy

The Conservative-led Government raises VAT rises this week. Nick Clegg has broken so many promises it’s hardly worth recalling that he categorically promised not to raise VAT and attacked the Tories for planning it.
The stark reality is that an average family will lose an extra £7.50 a week (£390 a year).
As always with a Tory tax rise, the poorest are being hit the hardest while the richest are let off.
This tax rise will damage our economy. Facing such big rises, people will spend less and inflation will soar. Cuts to the public sector will harm the economy even more. The Coalition should rethink this disastrous VAT rise.

Councillor Jack Scott, Arbourthorne Ward

 

New Year, New Challenges

1st March 2011

blogged regularly during the general election and really enjoyed it. One of the very few positives of Labour not being in government means that there is a bit more space to think and plan.

I’ve still not worked out exactly how this blog is going to work – other than that I’ve signed up for dailypost and am determined to make a good start. I hope that it becomes a unique and interesting mix of Arbourthorne / Sheffield, Labour, young parenthood, the voluntary sector, social enterprise and public policy.

I don’t have a great track record on starting diaries – I’ve got at least three that finish somewhere in early February. I’ve no doubt that I’ll get it wrong from time to time, but given the prospects for 2011 – I hope it proves an interesting New Year’s resolution for everyone.

Latest Speech To Full Council: The Wrong Cuts, At The Wrong Time, In The Wrong Way

14th August 2010

*** CHECK AGANIST ACTUAL DELIVERY ***

Thank you Lord Mayor.

The previous debate has shown clearly that Forgemasters has been betrayed by the Masters of Forgery. Now we know: Brutus wasn’t the only man to wear sandals and betray his city.

Let nobody be in any doubt. This is a budget from hell. It is pure fiscal sadism. It is too much, too soon and it’s too dangerous… Premature cuts like these will kill off growth and cripple communities.

And how do I know this? Not just from distinguished economists, not just from our manifesto but from yours.

I’ve dug this out [Nick Clegg’s election leaflet]. It says, quote “respected economists have warned that Tory plans for immediate cuts in public spending will make it even more difficult to find work.” So said Nick Clegg 3 months ago. The Lib Dems may have sold their soul for 30 ministerial jobs, rather than 30 pieces of silver, but the betrayal is just as blatant.

The lies get worse… Who said this? [I read out from Lib Dem leaflet] “Conservative plans will mean cuts to services now and a longer recession”… Printed and Promoted on behalf of… Paul Scriven.

It is very simple: the public debt out-turn is now £15bn less than when you said that. Everything you have said about the public debt was known when you wrote those leaflets. Nobody in Sheffield will believe a word you say ever again.

All I can say is thank God we’ve got Paul Blomfield in Parliament, standing up for Sheffield, and not that hack-and-slash Tory (Scriven).

This dogmatic travesty is the first Liberal budget for nearly 70 years.

No wonder they are so few and far between.

No wonder the Lib Dems are down to 13% in the polls.

No wonder you lost two parish by-elections in strong Lib Dem wards in Sheffield this month.

No wonder 40% of Lib Dem voters will never vote for you again.

No wonder a South Yorkshire Councillor has said being a Lib Dem makes her “ashamed”.

You have brought this on yourselves by rolling over. What a sorry state you are in: In three short months, Nick Clegg has gone from king-maker to tea-maker.

Who among you is actually proud of this budget? Anybody?* It is shameful. But don’t take my word for it:

Your own Tory-dominated Treasury Select Committee has said the cuts, quote, “may come too early and cut too deeply, and as such cause the economic recovery to falter, leading to a “double-dip’ recession”.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation has said, quote, “This budget paints a bleak picture for people in poverty. Raising VAT to 20% will hit people in poverty hard… [Departmental cuts] will hit the poorest the hardest.

The Royal College of Nurses has said, quote, “cuts to social care budgets will jeopardise the health of vulnerable people”.

Citizens Advice, quote, “Households on the lowest incomes, including many in low paid work, will be worse off, despite today’s announcements”

Gingerbread, the charity for Single-Parents, quote: “These cuts will really hit families with young children hard”

Catch-22, the national charity which provides help for vulnerable young people, quote: ‘the Government seems to have ignored some of the most vulnerable young people… The poorest, those leaving care and those from chaotic backgrounds – will now face having their help cut off just when they need it the most.

There are hundreds more examples of impartial organisations condeming you ConDems.

So are you still proud? You should all be ashamed.

These are the wrong cuts, done at the wrong time, in the wrong way.

These right-wing, viscous and duplicitous local Lib Dems can fool themselves but they can’t fool Sheffield.

They have nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and nobody to blame.

They are out of ideas, out of excuses, and out on their ear at the next election.  

* NB: At this point, no Sheffield Lib Dems indicated that they were proud of their party or its budget… At least I don’t think so – there was quite a lot of shouting by this stage!

The Future … Of This Website

9th  Augsut 2010

It’s been too long since I wrote a blog post. We spent the last week in Norfolk and one of the things nagging at the back of my mind was that I really should get round to writing here more often. I am going to keep this website online and make it far more active.As many of you will know, I was priviliged to be elected to Sheffield City Council to represent Arbourthorneward in May. It has been an absolute whirlwind and I am really enjoying this challenging and unique role. There has been plenty going on:

  • Sheffield Council going to no overall controll, but the Lib Dems hanging on.
  • The Con-Dem government slashing the loan for Forgemasters and ripping the heart out of Sheffield.  
  • My maiden speech (I’ll probably put it up here – modesty was never a strong point!) and several Full Council meetings, where the Lib Dems nod along to Tory propoganda.
  • £6bn of cuts to deal with – £6.5m alone for Sheffield City Council, plus £3m for South Yorkshire Police.
  • The so-called “Emergency Budget” – just another excuse for Tories to do what they have always done.
  • The Health White Paper – which seems determined to de-nationalise and privatise the NHS
  • The very sad news of my colleague’s death on Monday. Jan Wilson was elected to the Councl in 1992, elected leader of the Labour Group in 1998 and was Leader of the Council for much of the time after. She was a true inspiration. I will write a proper post about Jan in the coming days.

I will do proper posts on most of the above items as well as getting better at writing regularly at what is going on at the moment. There is certainly no shortage of things to talk about.There is a lot of work to do.

Remembering John Smith

12th May 2010

John smith died 16 years ago today.
After his first heart attack, he was fond of telling people:
I’ve taken the advice of my doctor. So the following things are out: rich food, alcohol, over-work, over-excitement and sex.
I’ve therefore applied to join the Liberals with immediate effect!

How times change!

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