We are delighted to announce that Gill Smith has been selected as our candidate for the Sheppey East by-election set for May 3rd. Gill lives locally in the ward and has family links to the Island that go back over 100 years. She has many years of experience helping people and developing community projects, including 10 years as a foster carer. She has worked with young people and adults, tackling issues such as unemployment, mental health, addiction and homelessness. Gill has been an advisor for the Citizens Advice Bureau and most recently worked with children suffering problems with anti-social behavior and education. Gill is warm and approachable but assertive. She will speak up for Sheppey East.
She is a passionate member of the Labour Party, who believes that we must ensure that people can thrive in a democratic society that values us all and that encourages both enterprise and social justice. She believes this part of Sheppey badly needs stronger representation on Swale Borough Council.
Sittingbourne and Sheppey Labour Party would like to wish all our Members and Supporters a Very Merry Christmas.
Tony Winckless was a hardworking and popular Councillor in Milton Regis between 2011 and 2015. He only lost his seat in 2015 because the vote was on General Election day and Labour finished third in the constituency. Since then, Tony has continued to take up issues for people in Milton Regis, with many still beieving he is their Councillor. With support from other Labour Councillors he has had road maintenance work done, tackled parking problems, had makeover of village centre done, had yellow junction markings put in and protected a bus stop area from dangerous parking. Tony is very keen to get back to work, putting Milton Regis first.
Two Labour County Councillors who represent the Swale area have expressed their anger, frustration and concern at the news that Lilac Sky Academy Trust is no longer responsible for nine schools in Kent and Sussex, including Richmond Street and Thistle Hill on the Isle of Sheppey. Roger Truelove ( Swale Central) is on the County Council’s Education Cabinet Committee and Angela Harrison represents the Sheerness constituency.
Roger Truelove says,
” I can scarcely contain my anger. Why oh why are we entrusting our publicly owned schools to these unknown and generally unaccountable organisations? It certainly isn’t because their teaching or their management is any better than local authority provision as this debacle shows. Our children’s schools should be open to local scrutiny and local democratic decision making.”
” Both of us find it exceptionally frustrating that when something like this occurs, we know nothing about it. We have consulted senior education officers at the County Council but they have no say. They are simply told by a remote bureaucrat called the Regional Schools Commission, who has responsibility for the South East and South London and is answerable to no-one apart from the Government Minister. He has indicated concerns about the Governance of the Trust, which of course could mean any thing,possibly financial management.”
” It is disturbing that the Local Education Authority is kept at arms length in this academy system but my immediate concern is for the children concerned. We are told that other Academy Trusts have been allocated by Mr Herrington (the RSC) but wouldn’t it be nice if these schools, paid for by the public, were returned to the County Council and to a level of democratic accountability.”
At the meeting of the Kent County Council on Thursday 14 July, the Cabinet member for Economic Growth, Mark Dance, confirmed that Brexit posed a threat to KCC’s aim of securing £100 million for the Kent economy by 2020 from European Growth funds.
Mr Dance was answering a question from Labour’s Roger Truelove about the danger of Kent not reaching its target.
Mr Dance said the situation was full of uncertainty. It was not certain that current contracts would be fulfilled. It was possible that funding might be maintained during the period of Brexit negotiations, probably over the next two years, or beyond that if the negotiations took even longer. Much would depend on the UK’s approach during the negotiation period.
The European Regional funds help businesses in Kent, both large and small, the rural economy, creative industries and the skills economy. They help to increase trade between Kent and NW Europe.
For Labour, Roger Truelove says,
” We heard quite a lot during the referendum campaign about how the UK’s contribution might be recycled back into our economy. There was the promise to pay it all into the NHS. Farmers who voted Brexit apparently think they are going to receive the same subsidies from our Government. I only hope there will be some funding left to support the local economy and I hope Kent will try to expand its export trade to other parts of the World.”