Author: pkl204

Peter Meets with Crawley Surgical Consultant Mr Tim Campbell-Smith

After nearly 10 years of Tory austerity no organisation has been as impacted as our NHS. Swinging cuts to social care, the closure of children’s centres, the shortage of GPs has combined to result in an NHS on the brink of collapse.

On top of that, the impact of Brexit on the NHS’s ability to attract staff from other EU countries was causing grave concern as early as 2017, when the Nursing and Midwifery Council reported a 96% reduction in applications from other EU countries.

According to the government’s own figures, between 1 April 2019 – 30 June 2019 there were 90,992 advertised full-time equivalent vacancies in England, leaving the remaining workforce under extraordinary pressure, with doctors, nurses and allied professional groups facing a daily struggle to deliver the standard of care they were trained to.

In Crawley, registering with a GP in the town, let alone in your neighbourhood, is no longer a given.

Waiting times, even for urgent cancer referrals, are up and the statistics on cancelled operations show where the real cost is being felt. Last year, 78,981 operations were cancelled nationally. In our local trust there has been a near 30% rise in cancelled operations affecting 3,397 local people. The number of operations cancelled because of staffing issues and/or equipment failures has gone up by a third in the last two years.

It’s clear to all that our NHS is in a funding and staffing crisis.

Labour Parliamentary Candidate Peter Lamb said: “There can be little doubt that a combination of underfunding and failed recruitment strategies, has bought our NHS to its knees.

“Hearing first hand from local Consultant Surgeon, Tim Campbell-Smith was enlightening. The facts and figures tell a story but Tim sees every day the impact that this is all having on people right here in Crawley.

“Another five years under Tory control, with future U.S. trade deals clearly circling like wolves, will surely take the NHS we have all grown up with and depended on, tipped over the edge.”

Mr Tim Campbell-Smith said: “The NHS is on its knees in terms of funding, staffing and infrastructure. In my 25 years of service, I have never known it so run down, and the staff so demoralised. It needs serious sustained investment to get it back on its feet & only Labour can be trusted to deliver on this.”

Labour pledges a “housing revolution” with biggest council house building programme for decades

With council housing lists in Crawley now 30 years long, Labour pledges a “housing revolution” with the biggest council house building programme for decades.

Labour’s manifesto launched today (Thursday) will include new plans for the biggest council and social housing programme in decades to transform the lives of millions of people struggling to afford a decent home because of the housing crisis.

The new plans will be paid for with funding from Labour’s Social Transformation Fund. Half of Labour’s Social Transformation Fund – around £75bn over five years – will be allocated to housing.

The homes will be built to cutting edge design and green standards, with Labour citing the new, award winning Goldsmith Street council development in Labour-led Norwich as an example of what Labour’s modern council housing could look like.

Labour Parliamentary Candidate and Council Leader, Peter Lamb has welcomed the proposals: “As Leader at Crawley Council, addressing the desperate need for truly affordable housing in Crawley has been an absolute priority. That’s why I was so proud to show the Shadow Secretary of State for Housing around the brand new truly affordable housing we have delivered in Crawley when he visited last week.

“But even working as hard as we can, without changes in central government policy it will take another 30 years to house the 1,329 people we currently have on our waiting list. Those changes are now a core part of Labour policy.”

“A vote for Labour on 12 December is a vote for real change to real lives.”

John Healey, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, said:  “The next Labour Government will kick-start a housing revolution, with the biggest investment in new council and social homes this country has seen for decades.

“Labour’s transformational housing plans will mean thousands more genuinely affordable homes for people on ordinary incomes in every area of the country.

“Our modern council and social housing will be built to cutting-edge design and green standards providing a long-term investment in our country’s future.”

Crawley Council Leader and Labour Parliamentary Candidate, Peter Lamb welcomes Labour’s proposals on adult retraining and study

Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner has announced plans to ensure everyone has access to education and training throughout their life to end skills shortages and allow our economy to rise to the opportunities of the future.

Labour is pledging to put vocational education on a par with university degrees and deliver a radical expansion of lifelong learning to make sure no one is shut out of education. The plans will enable adults to return to study for free and ensure everyone has the time and support they need to study and retrain.

Peter Lamb, Crawley’s Council Leader and Parliamentary Candidate for Labour said; “The Centre for Cities has warned that Crawley’s jobs market is the most risk of automation in the UK. Under Labour, Crawley Borough Council has created the town’s first ever jobs and skills plan to help residents to access the training they need for the jobs of the future, but we can’t do it alone. Labour’s commitment to enabling adult access to retraining and study are a vital contribution to helping us to tackle one of the biggest issues facing our town.”

Angela Rayner, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said: “For many, adult education is too expensive, too time-consuming or too difficult to get into.

“People have been held back for too long. We will make free education a right to ensure we have the skills we need to allow our economy to rise to the opportunities of the future. We’ll make sure no one is shut out of education by giving people the support, time and funding they need to train so that we have the skills we need to meet the changing nature of work and tackle the climate emergency.”

Labour Council delivers for Town Centre Business

Town centres across the country are struggling with store closures and empty shops but Crawley Town centre is booming despite this, thanks to Crawley Council leader Peter Lamb’s delivery of the Councils ‘Town Centre Regeneration Programme’. The latest milestone has been achieved when Town Centre businesses voted to form a ‘Business Improvement District’.

Since taking control of the Council in 2014 Cllr Peter Lamb has overseen a continuous programme of delivery including investment in the public realm (e.g. Queens Square reworked and Queensway nearing completion) and encouraging private sector developers to bring forward schemes (e.g. Broadway residential development, Arora Station redevelopment, Crawley College STEM centre and more).

The £60 million Crawley Growth Programme – a partnership between CBC, West Sussex County Council, the Coast to Capital LEP, Manor Royal Business District and Metrobus – is also delivering for Crawley Town Centre with a programme of highway and sustainable transport improvements underway. In fact, Cllr Peter Lamb was the first council leader in West Sussex to sign a growth deal with WSCC.

And now Town Centre Businesses have voted to form a Business Improvement District designed to raise a further £2.5 million of levy funding to be used for the benefit of Town Centre businesses and to create a formal body to represent the diverse interests of Town Centre business. The Town Centre BID has an ambitious programme of work in front of it when it starts in April next year including:

  • A year long calendar of Town Centre events
  • A Food and Farmers market
  • Promoting Business in the Town Centre and Historic High Street
  • Showcasing Town centre businesses
  • Dedicated Town Centre focussed Social Media and website
  • Business networking facilities
  • And more!

The Town Centre BID will be the second BID in Crawley after the highly successful Manor Royal Business District presenting opportunities for joint working and promotion of a ‘Crawley Business Offer’.

Peter Lamb, Crawley Council Leader and Labour’s Candidate in Crawley, said: “The Council has supported the creation of the new Town Centre BID as it will further improve the Business environment in Crawley and help to maintain and grow a successful Crawley economy. Under my leadership we have a track record of delivering for Crawley businesses across the Town helping to maintain a strong retail offer for both residents and visitors alike and to provide good, well paid jobs for Crawley people.

This is our latest step towards making Crawley ‘the place for Business’ in the South East providing good jobs and opportunities for Crawley residents young and old. We plan to continue to roll out further initiatives in the future so ‘watch this space’!”

Peter Lamb condemns impact on Crawley people of Tory underfunding for our NHS

New data obtained by Labour under the Freedom of Information Act has revealed a huge increase in the number of cancelled operations caused by staffing issues and equipment failures – in other words for non-clinical reasons.

Last year, 78,981 operations were cancelled nationally. These operations, some classed as urgent, were cancelled at the last minute often after the patient had already arrived at hospital. The number of operations cancelled because of staffing issues and equipment failures have each increased by a third in the last two years.

Figures for Surrey and Sussex NHS Trust show that there has been close to a 30% increase in these cancelled operations over the past three years affecting a total of 3397 local people.

Commenting on the findings, Labour Parliamentary Candidate Peter Lamb said: “The simple truth is that under the Tories, patients always wait longer for vital care, but when you see really local figures like these you realise it is a price being paid by way too many decent people right here in Crawley.

“This is about the lack of proper funding for our NHS. With over 100,000 staff vacancies nationally and increasing cuts to the Capital Budgets the staff that remain come under enormous pressure. It’s only thanks to our amazing NHS staff that these figures aren’t worse. They are clearly doing their best every day, but without adequate funding their hands are tied.

“That’s why this general election is about the future of the NHS and ensuring quality care for all.  Only Labour will fully fund our NHS and safeguard it from a Trump deal sell off that could cost the NHS millions every week.”

Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, said: “That so many more people in pain and distress are forced to endure cancelled operations, including increasingly on the day they were supposed to have treatment, is a shameful indictment of a decade of Tory cutbacks running our NHS into the ground.”

Peter Lamb welcomes Labour’s Broadband announcement which would benefit 45,875 homes and businesses in Crawley

In a major announcement Labour has set out plans to deliver free full fibre broadband for all by bringing parts of BT into public ownership and creating a new British Broadband public service. In Crawley, 45,875 households and businesses (98.8 per cent of all premises) will get a stronger, more reliable internet connection.

The announcement is central to Labour’s plans to transform our country and economy and bring communities together in an inclusive and connected society.

Leader of Crawley Council and Labour Parliamentary Candidate, Peter Lamb said; “This is an important announcement and a welcome one for businesses and people in Crawley. By creating this new public service a Labour Government will deliver the fastest broadband free to everyone. That will transform the future of
our economy and society.

“The internet is no longer a luxury, it is a central part of our lives, an essential utility. It brings opportunities for work, creativity, entertainment and friendship and those unable to afford or access broadband find themselves excluded from an important part of 21 st century life.

“That’s why it makes complete sense to make superfast broadband a public service, because it will help create the more inclusive and connected society we all want to see.”

Rebecca Long-Bailey, Labour’s Shadow BEIS Secretary has said: “As Shadow Business Secretary, I know all too well the importance of strong digital infrastructure for businesses and industry across the UK.”

“Imagine if all those currently shut out of the labour market, such as those with childcare or caring responsibilities, those unfairly disadvantaged due to disability or older people, could participate fully through free, fast internet access from wherever they are.”

“If we are to be at forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and a global economic player, we must speed up the adoption of technologies across our economy.”

“But this can only be done if the best possible digital infrastructure is in place.”

Labour will give 30 hours free childcare a week to 3,537 two to four year-olds in Crawley

The radical expansion of free childcare to all exceeds all other political party’s offers, and will save
families thousands of pounds a year. It will be accompanied by opening a Sure Start centre in every
community to unlock the potential of all our children.

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner has outlined Labour’s £1 billion investment to reverse the
Conservatives’ austerity cuts by opening 1,000 new Sure Start centres across England replacing the 1,000
closed since 2010.

Labour’s plans to radically expand free childcare to 30 hours a week for all 2-4 year olds, saving families
thousands of pounds a year.
Analysis by the House of Commons Library, found that Labour’s expansion of free childcare would see:
· a family with one 2 year old (currently ineligible for childcare support) save over £5,000 a year
· families with 2-4 year olds (currently only eligible for 15 hours childcare support) save over £2,500 a year.

This comes as new analysis shows childcare costs have risen twice as fast as wages under the Tories.

Peter Lamb, Crawley Council Leader and Labour’s Candidate in Crawley, said: “This policy is about the real
change that the next Labour government is going to bring to people’s lives.

“Just imagine how much easier this will make life and work for the parents of young families in Crawley.

“You can’t trust the Tories and the Lib Dems with childcare – they cut more than a thousand Sure Start
centers across the country and told us it’s impossible for the state to make people’s lives better by helping
with childcare.

“Yet I’ve met families across Crawley who struggle to afford the childcare they need to return to work. For
too many families that results in the use of foodbanks and rising numbers of children growing up in poverty
in our town, even though at least one parent is working full time.
“This is another example of Labour delivering real change that makes a difference to real people’s lives.”

Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, John Healey visits Crawley’s Newest Council Homes

Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, John Healey visited Crawley this week and Peter Lamb, Council Leader and Labour Parliamentary Candidate was very happy to show the shadow minister around the new truly affordable housing the council has delivered for Crawley people under his leadership.

The development is part of the council’s own affordable housing scheme and is on an ex council depot in the Old Horsham Road. It comprises 22 flats in four blocks and 22 houses in five terraces.

The Council Leader and Labour Parliamentary Candidate, Peter Lamb said: “These have been extremely tough times financially for the council, facing the biggest budget cuts in living memory. But I have been determined that we deliver for local people the truly affordable housing that we so desperately need.

“So I was particularly proud to show Mr Healey what we have achieved.

“This housing is so new that, as we knocked on the doors, we found many of the residents had not yet even registered to vote. So I am keen to encourage anyone in Crawley to make sure they are registered to vote, particularly if they have recently moved. All it takes is a phone call to Electoral Services at the Town Hall on 01293 438346 or it can be done on-line at https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

“Under a Labour Government councils like Crawley would be able to deliver so much more of the truly affordable housing which is so desperately needed across the country. As Council Leader I have always said that fixing the housing crisis is a priority because surely we can all agree that every resident should be able to afford a place of their own.”

Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, John Healey said: “Today there are over a million people struck on council house waiting lists. As a country we are building 30,000 fewer social homes a year than in 2010.

“Labour Council Leaders like Peter are showing people that things do not have to be that way. Even in Opposition in Westminster, council leaders like Peter are making a real difference in housing for their constituents.  In Government, Labour will build one million new, genuinely affordable homes over 10 years.”

Emily Thornberry comes to Crawley to campaign with Labour Candidate and Council Leader Peter Lamb

Shadow Foreign Secretary, the Rt Hon Emily Thornberry MP visited Crawley on Friday to support Peter Lamb, Crawley Labour’s candidate for Parliament.

The visit began with a trip to Tilgate Park and its Nature Centre, where Council Leader Lamb showed her investments Crawley Borough Council had made in its facilities under his leadership, in the process raising money to pay for local services and offset cuts to the council’s budget made by the Conservative Government.

In the afternoon, Emily and Peter were then joined by other Crawley Labour members to talk with residents at Gossops Green Primary and on the doorstep about what is at stake at this election and Labour’s positive programme for Crawley and the country.

Speaking after the visit, Cllr Lamb said: “I’d like to thank Emily Thornberry for taking the time to come campaign for me.”

“During the last nine years of Conservative Government, Crawley has seen its NHS go into financial special measures, local headteachers have been forced to march on Downing Street to demand the funding our schools need, and police cuts have resulted in a wave of drugs and violence spreading into our neighbourhoods and town centre.

“There is no evidence another five will make anything better. In 2017, Labour came within 2,500 votes of beating the Conservatives in Crawley, with no other party retaining their deposit. On 12 th December it will really be a two-horse race between Labour and the Conservatives, for change or more of the same.”

Crawley Live Column, Winter 2019

Thanks to the time involved in printing and distributing ‘Crawley Live’, all the content has to be written some time before each edition is released. So, writing now I have no idea what, if anything, has been agreed with regard to the two issues which will have the biggest impact on our town for at least the next few years: Brexit and a possible General Election.

Until then my focus is, as it has been since I became Council Leader, finding a way to keep local services running despite a decade of money being taken from Crawley by central government, and with millions more set to go in the near future. We’ve managed it so far by ensuring we raise the most out of the town’s assets, but with each passing year the options are fewer and if money keeps being taken sooner or later we’ll lose our services too.