'Seeking Power to Provide First Class Services'
The government has cut council budgets severely. Nevertheless, by making different choices from the Tories, Labour can make ten promises to you.
Our 10 promises
1 Labour will bring failing Care Services in-house
Too many care homes are now at risk of failing. £5 billion has been cut, nationally, from care services in the past 6 years and the results are obvious. This risks the wellbeing of residents as well as the jobs of hard pressed care workers. We will take over responsibility for failing care services and make them fit for the people of Hertfordshire. We will help set up co-operative systems so that all homes can buy in quality services and supplies. We will have Care Homes and Home Care that are run efficiently by staff working on a proper living wage, with consequent high morale, and that have the ability to speedily take in patients who no longer need to stay in hospital.
Labour will also review the way Care in the Home is administered. Care in the Home must be properly organised and funded so that it functions for the benefit of those who can be looked after in their own homes. The Tories and Lib Dems have shown they don’t want this. Labour will make the right choices on this service and improve it.
2 Labour will work to save your NHS services that are failing under the Tories
We will seek, in consultation with key commissioning groups, to bring in more frontline clinicians and make sure the care of patients is the first call on funding.
Nationally £9 billion has been cut from the NHS in the past 6 years – the current crisis was inevitable and avoidable. Working with the Care Services we will develop a system that will free up more beds and give the NHS the chance to treat more patients. Labour is the only party that will stay true to the ethos of the NHS. The Tories will continue to squeeze the life from it, the Lib Dems will shed crocodile tears whilst fully supporting Tory cuts, and the UKIP leader just wants it fully privatised.
3 Labour will return to full night lighting
If Labour is elected to run Hertfordshire County Council on May 4th, we will switch the street lights back on. It was Labour’s idea to update the street lighting system to make it more efficient, save energy and save money. With this new system we will be able to effectively manage each community’s individual needs. Street lights save lives – that’s why they were put there.
4 Labour will make Highways Maintenance a First Class service
Our roads and pavements are a disgrace. The maintenance was outsourced by the Tories and they reduced it from Gold Standard to Bronze - and it shows. Potholes, failed street lights and unnecessary flooding are the result. This failed contract ends in 2019 and Labour will re-establish an in-house department that provides a real public service for the benefit of the public. Labour will also properly maintain and expand the cycle network across the County, so that cycling is seen as a benefit not as a danger.
5 Labour will restore bus services and pay our fair share for Hertfordshire’s TfL buses
For too many years the Tories have set about destroying the ethos of Public Transport. Almost all services are greatly diminished and we no longer pay for TfL buses; how long will TfL ‘subsidise’ Hertfordshire residents? Make no mistake, another Tory administration after May will see contracted bus services scrapped. Labour will renegotiate the bus franchises for the benefit of the people. Labour will also seek to use the County’s development company to run services. We need smart, efficient and reliable public transport services. People need choices so that they can rely on these services. We will work with the Mayor of London and TfL to continue providing quality public bus services into Hertfordshire for the benefit of the residents. Labour also believes there is an urgent need to negotiate with TfL and Central Government, the means by which Hertfordshire can have transport access across the County. The current plan to implement an extension of Crossrail 2 from the Kings Cross area to East Hertfordshire (around the Cheshunt area) should include a possible route across the County westwards finishing in Buckinghamshire - thereby giving full public transport access North, South, East and West around the County.
Labour will provide access to a TfL Freedom Pass for residents In London, senior citizens, the disabled and some student groups have benefitted from the Mayor of London’s Freedom Pass. We think the people of Hertfordshire should have access to a similar scheme. When elected, Labour will seek to introduce a TfL Freedom Pass for Hertfordshire residents, in addition to the existing bus pass.
6 Labour will ensure First Class schools for all our children
All children will have access to a First Class education system. Financial or post-code inequalities will be eliminated from nursery, primary, secondary and further education. School place availability will be properly planned, and we will reduce the need for children to travel across the county to get their education. We will oppose any government attempts to remove local accountability for parents and elected representatives. We will oppose forced academisation and any plans to re-introduce selection for our children through the creation of new grammar schools. With all our might we will champion developing the imagination, skills and talents of every child, and will wholeheartedly support vocational as well as academic education.
Every child in Hertfordshire should be entitled to and receive the very best education we can provide. We can do this at their local school in their local community. There should be no more excuses.
7 Labour will improve Children’s Services
Children’s Services have borne the brunt of severe cuts in funding. This has been a perplexing and deeply worrying consequence of the Tories’ ideological austerity plan. If Labour is elected, these cuts will stop. We will ensure that the wishes and aspirations of parents of children with special educational needs or disabilities are fully taken into account. We will stop the Tory Council’s shameful practice of pursuing legal action against families; instead we will establish a high quality mediation process for disputes. We will ensure that the families of children with special educational need have access to help and support throughout their child’s
education. We will work with Youth Connexions to make sure that all young people receive timely and expert Careers Advice and information about all the youth services available in our community. Labour will also restore funding to Hertfordshire Home Start and will maintain, rebuild and support the Sure Start Centres.
8 Labour will re-open all Household Waste Recycling sites 7 days a week
Incidents of fly tipping have increased by 17.9% since the closure of the waste recycling sites. It costs more to clean up fly tipping than to provide adequate waste disposal. The Tory council was warned this would be the consequence of their actions, but arrogantly refused to listen. The waste and recycling sites provide a much needed and much used public service for residents; Labour will re-negotiate the outsourced contract and re-open the sites, or bring this public service back in-house. Profits will be re-invested in our public services.
9 Labour will review and repair our flood defences
The Tories on Hertfordshire County Council have been left floundering by their own government on many issues - none more so than flood defence. Hertfordshire County Council has been given the title of Local Lead Flood Authority, but without funding or the power to act quickly. In the last three years they have conducted two Flood Defence Reviews, and then done absolutely nothing. Labour would establish, as a matter of urgency, a £6 million Flood Defence Reserve Fund and start protecting our residents immediately.
10 Labour will take the lead in providing Social Housing for rent
This Tory government has failed to make good on its promises on housing. They throw figures around like confetti – 200 thousand, 300 thousand, one million new homes per year by 2020. They haven’t built affordable housing (real affordable housing) because they don’t believe in affordable housing. Labour absolutely believe in providing real affordable housing for local people. Labour in power will work through its own development company and with other councils and developers to build, and make land available for, social rented homes as a matter of priority.