The Tories are cutting funding for our children’s education for the first time since the 1 990’s. At the same time, they are throwing huge amounts of money at exclusive grammar schools.
The government wants to reintroduce selective education which would segregate our children, provide a privileged education for the few, and a second class one for the rest. Teacher shortages in England are at crisis point, with pupil numbers at secondary schools expected to increase by 500,000 to over three million by 2025. While the Conservatives have failed to present a coherent plan to combat this crisis, the Labour Party’s focus would be on quality and fairness, where all pupils are entitled to a high standard of education whatever their background.
Labour would ensure that our children are being taught by motivated and talented teachers, without the constant interference which has resulted in them leaving their respected profession in droves.
We didn’t need the Council’s stark housing-need figures, to tell us what we already knew; that we need more housing, affordable, t o rent and t o buy. Our young people have no choice but to move away to be able to find somewhere they can live, to work locally, or commute, and to raise a family. Shelter reports (2/3/17), that 80% of residents cannot afford to buy a home.
Our older residents need an increase in progressively supportive, assisted-living, affordable accommodation to rent. Hard choices must be considered to provide sustainable mixed developments of smaller homes, one and two bedroom flats, 2 and 3 bedroom houses.
A local charity reports that of those they rehoused, 40% have slept rough, and a third have mental health issues. They have seen increased numbers of older people who are becoming homeless at age 50 or above. All these people need homes. Labour has the determination to make sure we get the housing we need.
NHS and Social Care
After consultations with local authorities, NHS England have come up with new plans, STP’s, which over the next five years will radically alter the way in which health care is provided.
The South West London STP borders the Surrey Heartlands STP which includes Walton and Hersham. The SW Plan suggests the closure of one hospital, and changes to services which could have a negative impact on our local area.
The Tories have wiped a massive £4.7 billion from the social care budget since 2010, reducing the number of home care users by 19.4%. Last year Meals on Wheels charges went up in Elmbridge while the Lib Dems/Residents coalition awarded themselves a whopping 12.4% in expenses.
Labour have pushed for a reversal in proposed Corporation Tax cuts to release funds for social care. Only Labour can be trusted with effective, responsive, social care for all.
Roads and Transport
An extensive and frequent bus service provides a vital link to both local and distant shopping centres and train stations in Elmbridge; it also reduces the number of diesel-guzzling cars. Labour wants a reversal of recent local timetable changes which have created long waits at bus stops. The 564 route, the only one which linked Walton and Hersham to our Leisure Centre in Walton, should be fully reinstated.
Why did Surrey County Council spend £866,000 on an unwanted Cycle Lane when there is a multi-million-pound black hole in their road repair budget?
The pavement Cycle Lane is dangerous for cyclists at several points and fails to adequately protect pedestrians. Terrace Road was narrowed to incorporate the widened pavements but is now more dangerous for all road users, including the cyclists who it was designed to protect!
Labour would urgently review road safety and traffic flow issues in Walton and Hersham.