The Government’s austerity agenda, supported by our Council leaders, is having a devastating effect on local Council services. They have made a choice: handing out tax cuts to top earners while cutting benefits to the disabled and the working poor and slashing local government grants.
I grew up in a council house, went to a comprehensive school run by the local authority, borrowed books from the public library to help with my homework and read about amazing adventures and wondrous worlds. I was the first in my family to go to university, on a full student grant from my local council.
Without these things I would not be who I am today, and I will fight to give others the same opportunities in life that I have had.
If elected, I will fight hard to find alternatives to the cuts being made to vital services like our libraries and children’s centres. I will work to restore openness in decision making instead of the phoney consultations and “engagement” sessions the Council is so fond of. No more decisions made behind the scenes.
Keep the libraries open
The Council wants volunteers to run library services. Many volunteers do wonderful work, but they cannot maintain the same standards as professional librarians. Services inevitably decline and fail, as has been seen in the dramatically falling lending rates at Walcot. I will ensure that the Council fulfils its statutory duty to provide a “comprehensive and efficient” service.
Save Lydiard Park, don’t sell it
The Green Party in Swindon believes that the Lydiard Park Heritage Trust should be given preferred bidder status for the lease on Lydiard. They are the only bidder created specifically to secure the future of Lydiard House & Park for the people of Swindon.
Disclaimer: I am on the steering group for the Lydiard Park Heritage Trust, a non-political group.
Protect Council housing, fight for better conditions for tenants
There should be more co-operation in politics, so I was happy to join with the Labour Party, the People’s Assembly and local housing campaigners to form the Swindon Housing Action Campaign (SHAC) . We are already making a difference for tenants in Swindon.
Parish Councils and tax rises: let the people choose
Council leaders plan to wash their hands of difficult choices, impose more costly bureaucracy and increase taxes by the back door. New Parish Councils will be forced to cut services or raise new Parish taxes.
I want a referendum to give every voter an honest choice of whether their own area becomes a Parish, or whether they agree to raise Council Tax to save services.
Children’s Centres – reverse the closures
Our Children’s Centres were marked for closure despite offering the best value for their work with children and families. The closures will rob Swindon’s most vulnerable of a vital lifeline – the effects of which, for them, will last a lifetime.