Press Release on our Candidate, Clive Johnson

Clive Johnson

Sittingbourne and Sheppey Labour Party are pleased to announce that Clive Johnson has been selected as their Parliamentary candidate for the forthcoming General Election.

Clive has campaigned with the local party in elections since 2015 and has followed local issues for some time. He lives in Rainham and is Shadow Cabinet member for Children’s Services on Medway Council. He currently works for Medway CAB but has had a long and successful career in teaching, having been Head of English for 7 years at Fulston Manor School as well as teaching in Further Education. He holds a Doctorate in English with a specialism in the works of Charles Dickens.

He says,

“From my time working and campaigning in Sittingbourne and Sheppey I can’t help feeling that as far as this Government is concerned it is a left behind forgotten community. My priorities are the NHS, Education, Housing and Environment.

My family owe a great deal to the NHS because of my daughter’s type 1 diabetes. I am alarmed at the situation in Swale where we have the worst ratio of GPs to patients in the country and I will be supporting moves by University of Kent and Christ Church University to get more doctors trained locally.

We are also suffering here from a serious shortage of school places. It is these sort of social infrastructure problems that mean we must question the unrealistic housing numbers being forced on us by the current Government. What we need is a concentration on providing affordable homes for local people and social housing for rent.”

Clive is a member of Greenpeace and strongly supports Swale Borough Council’s drive to tackle climate change and diversity locally. He says

“There are too many air quality hotspots in Swale. We need to make our public buildings and homes more environmentally sustainable and we desperately need to improve our public transport”

Clive Johnson is in favour of proportional representation and of votes for 16-year olds.

Sittingbourne and Sheppey Labour Announces Clive Johnson will be our 2019 Election Candidate

Clive Johnson

We are delighted to announce that Clive Johnson is Labour’s prospective candidate for the Sittingbourne and Sheppey Constituency in the upcoming General Election.  Clive lives in Rainham and is a councillor on Medway Council but he has been a frequent visitor to the constituency, helping in Action days and campaigning alongside our canvassing teams. Living so close and visiting us gives Clive a unique view of our problems and issues.

Labour joins Unite Community in Universal Credit Day of Action

Labour Members and Councillors with Unite Community in Sittingbourne

Labour was out with our Unite Community colleages today to support their Universal Credit Day of Action. We were out this morning collecting signatures for the petition to stop Universal Credit. We were also out in Sheerness.

Labour and Unite Community in Sheerness.

Protect free TV licences for over 75s

You can’t trust the Tories!

In this year, the 75th Anniversary of the D Day Landings, the Tory Government has shown exactly what it thinks of our 75 years and older residents, by taking away their free TV licences.

 When the Tories gave responsibility to the BBC for the free TV licences, and didn’t give them the funding to go with it, they knew exactly what would happen.  But they were still mealy-mouthed enough to say in their manifesto that they would commit to keeping it for the duration of the parliament.

In our constituency there are 6,830 households with an over-75.  By saying those on pension-credit will still get it, 5,220 households will lose their free TV licence.  

Labour has committed to reinstating free TV licences for ALL over-75s in our manifesto. We hope those 5,220 households will remember who is on their side come the next General Election. 

If you’re with us – please sign the national petition to protect the free TV licences for over 75s.

Council Leader Roger Truelove’s first speech as leader of the Co-operative Alliance

In announcing the Coalition administration I would like to indicate the background thinking and the sense of direction behind the posts.

The elections in May offered a graphic illustration of the fact that Councils are not self perpetuating hierarchic medium sized businesses but a forum of democratically elected Councillors all doing their best for their communities.

The Coalition direction of travel will be determined by what we heard on the doorstep. 

One thing we encountered was a frustration that many Councillors were limited in what they could do because of a top down decision making structure.

Consequently, the Cabinet is initiating a constitutional review that we intend will lead to a committee based system of decision making.

You will see from your agendae that Cllr Baldock will lead on this but he is most anxious that PDRC plays a real and significant part in this process.

An enhanced and credible role for PDRC is one of three immediate signs of a change in style. A second concerns the role of Scrutiny, which is a vital part of a Cabinet led system for as long as it lasts.

It was an egregious failing of the previous administration that the Chair of Scrutiny was denied to any of the opposition parties and we are righting this wrong immediately so that a Conservative can Chair Scrutiny.

Thirdly, there will be a change at Full Council meetings. The elongated grandstanding circus around the Leader’s statement is going to stop. It reached an ultimate depth when an answer given to a reasonable question was “if Labour ever get in control Swale will be turned into Venezuela”. In future there will be a verbal statement from the Leader, a response from the Leader of the Opposition and then, hopefully, we can move on to serious and constructive motions from around the Council.

Another concern amongst voters was reflected in repeated references to the poor ratio of GPs to patients in Swale. This spoke to a  wider concern about inequalities and deprivation, equally underlined by levels of child poverty.

A number of portfolio holders will be working to reverse this trend

  • Cllrs Ben Martin and Whelan will lead on a drive to reduce homelessness and to provide more social and affordable housing
  •  Cllrs Harrison and Perkin will give Swale council a higher profile in public health
  •  Cllrs Palmer and Saunders will be strengthening our local communities, making them safer and more inclusive
  •  And Cllrs  Bonney and Sarah Stevens will be working for a local economy that makes employment for local people better paid, more stable and more rewarding  

 Planning and the Environment naturally were key election issues.

  • Cllrs Baldock and Gould will conduct a radical review of our Local Plan- housing allocations of course but also design, landscape protection, meeting real local need not developer aspiration and providing infrastructure
  •  AND Cllrs Valentine and Eddie Thomas will be improving our environmental services, such as street cleaning,  but also seeking to reflect so many local people’s real concerns about our global environment  

Finally, whatever we do, Cllr Carnell and I will be making sure that it is within a sound fiscal framework. In this context there are two risks to accommodate. First is the continuing uncertainty about Government support to local government. The second is the investment viability around the Sittingbourne Town Centre which, more than ever, I hope is sound but about which I remain exceedingly cautious.

Can I say personally, I am glad of the change, of course I am. But the past is the past. It’s another country as is unfathomable path of Westminster politics. Let’s concentrate on going forward with robust debate but not vindictiveness. Let’s build on what is sound and innovate to improve the lives of our people in Swale.