Banbury Constituency Labour Party

Policies

Labour’s Manifesto

 Oxfordshire  County Council Elections

2 May 2013

Fairness in difficult times

One Nation Oxfordshire

The Conservative/Liberal-Democrat coalition government’s failed policy of savage cuts has fundamentally damaged our public services, caused our economy to flat line, and increased our national debt.

Despite this failure the Tories and Lib-Dems continue to force huge cuts, especially upon local government, making it extremely difficult to meet the needs of the most vulnerable members of our society. Labour has consistently argued that the way to reduce the debt is through investment in jobs, services and growth.

Whilst the challenges for local government have never been so great, there is a Labour alternative to savage cuts.

Unlike the Tories and Lib-Dems, Oxfordshire Labour would build on the example of the Labour councils across the countrywhich have radically redesigned the delivery of local government services.

A Labour County Council would be a Co-operative Council. We would involve our local communities in all areas of policy, allowing them to decide on the solutions which best fulfil their needs and which the community can have ownership over. As well as providing better services for local people this will ensure that money is not wasted on abortive projects, such as the Cogges Link Road in Witney and the Recycling Centre in Kidlington.

This approach comes from our belief in public services delivered for the good of the community, not for the profit of shareholders. By involving the community in decision making we will ensure that when public money is handed over to others to deliver services the work undertaken is fit for purpose, cost effective and sustainable.

Liz Brighouse    Oxfordshire Labour Leader

One Nation | Labour

Our priorities for Oxfordshire are: 

  1. A Living Wage for publicly funded workers
  2. Youth workers in all areas of Oxfordshire
  3. Comprehensive services for older people
  4. Accessible transport across Oxfordshire
  5. Local services for children and families

1. A Living Wage for publicly funded workers

Councils throughout the country, including many of our District Councils and Oxford City Council, have already agreed to pay a Living Wage to their low paid staff. The County Council now needs to do the same

Oxfordshire Labour would pay all County Council employees a Living Wage and would work with contractors and schools so that the same is true for everyone who is paid from the public purse.

2. Youth workers in all areas of Oxfordshire

In recent years the Tories have forced many youth centres to close and have greatly reduced the number of dedicated youth workers across the county.

Oxfordshire Labour would ensure that there are dedicated youth workers to cover the whole county, working from within the Early Intervention Hubs and funded through their budgets.

Oxfordshire Labour would set up Youth Partnerships working alongside local councils, schools, colleges, and youth groups. These would ensure that there are appropriate services available in each area to enable young people to engage in activities in their communities and become active citizens.

3. Comprehensive services for older people

Services for older people in Oxfordshire are fragmented and piecemeal. Amongst older people this causes insecurity, loneliness and often depression.

As the number of older people needing high levels of care continues to grow we need a rethink our services. We can only meet the needs of local people if we reconsider these services from the perspective of those who rely upon them.

Oxfordshire Labour would set up a commission to look at all the services that people need as they get older.

Oxfordshire Labour would engage with older people and the organisations who work with them to ensure that publicly run services are appropriate to the needs of those who use them.

4. Accessible transport services across Oxfordshire

People across our county rely on a huge variety of transport providers including Commercial and Subsidised mainstream services, Community Transport Schemes and Dial-a-Ride.

Oxfordshire Labour would work with local communities to ensure that all transport providers, are running responsive accessible services .

Oxfordshire Labour would provide a stimulus for new Community Transport Schemes in those areas where none exist.

There are few Community Transport Schemes in Oxford people with mobility impairments have to rely on the poorly run County Council Dial-a-Ride service. This scheme has ignored the needs of users and has failed to engage with potential local partners and funders, such as District, Town, and Parish Councils. 

Oxfordshire Labour would run the Dial-a-Ride as a social enterprise, involving its users and the District Councils.

5. Local services for children and families

There are 44 children’s centres throughout Oxfordshire, set up under the last Labour government. The Tory / Lib-Dem coalition government has cut the grant which funded these centres.

Oxfordshire Labour would ensure that our centres are kept open and available for all local children.  Changes in the way schools are funded and the shifting of power away from local communities to central government have fragmented our education system. This is already leading to problems with children getting into their local schools.

Simultaneously the new National Funding Formula now threatens some schools as it is not sensitive to local need.  Our schools need to be supported so that they can work together to harness their combined strengths to raise educational standards. This way we can encourage outstanding practice at all schools rather than unproductive competition between them.

Oxfordshire Labour would set up a comprehensive co-operative school improvement service which would be available for others to buy into.

Your Choice

The Tory / Lib-Dem coalition government’s policies have prevented economic growth and have severely damaged our local services. Their savage cuts have hit the poorest hardest and are now threatening the most basic of local government services. Locally the Tory County Council has been unresponsive to local communities and unimaginative in the way it meets the needs of local people during this time of centrally inflicted austerity.

Oxfordshire Labour would oppose any further central cuts to local government. At the same time we would radically re-invent the way that we operate the County Council and its services. We would operate a Co-operative Council, involving local communities directly in the management and provision of the services we all rely upon.

One Nation | Labour  Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire  Labour

Fairness in difficult times

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Labour is with you in tough times:

Our action plan for family budgets

  • Labour would stop the Government’s raid on pensioners and block its £40,000 tax cut to 14,000 millionaires
  • Labour would end rail rip-offs by capping fare increases on every route
  • Labour would force the energy firms to cut gas and electricity bills for 4 million over-75s and stop excessive fees charged by banks and low cost airlines
  • Labour would defend working families from the raid on their tax credits by reversing the Government’s pension tax break for those earning over £150,000

With you on jobs and the economy

  • Labour will make the tough choices on tax and spending to deliver fairness, even with less money around
  • Labour would tax bank bonuses to pay for a real jobs guarantee for all young people out of work for a year – which they would be required to take up
  • We would temporarily reverse the Government’s VAT rise to kick-start the economy – this would put £450 back in families’ pockets
  • We would re-write the rules of our economy to ensure responsibility at the top and bottom of society

With you on cutting crime, not police

  • Labour would protect frontline policing, because keeping police on the beat is the best way of keeping our communities safe
  • We will back neighbourhood policing and strong action against crime and anti-social behaviour
  • Many Labour councils are also working for safer streets and neighbourhoods by extending CCTV coverage – such as Newcastle upon Tyne and Islington
  • We believe in proactive community policing, with more powers and authority to deal with low-level antisocial behaviour there and then when it can be done and swifter recompense for victims

With you on our NHS

  • Putting patients first
  • Protecting 6,000 nursing jobs
  • Fighting to stop the billions being wasted on a reckless and damaging top-down reorganisation
  • Backing real reforms needed to improve the NHS, like integrating social care so we can deal with an ageing population

With you locally

  • Labour councils cost you less. On average council tax payers in Labour controlled areas pay less than those in Tory-led areas
  • Facing deep cuts to their funding, which go too far and too fast, Labour councils are taking tough choices to protect families and communities
  • Labour councils across the country are delivering fairness in tough times, taking action to protect the vital local services people rely on
  • Labour councils will tackle anti-social behaviour, including prioritising support for Police Community Support Officers and using all the powers they have to clamp down on troublemakers