Category Archives: Speeches

Peter Gardiner’s Speech on the Fire Service and Trading Standards during Budget debate

Mr Chairman,

I would like to speak on the Labour Amendment’s plans to reverse cuts made to the Fire Service.

Pushed through by the administration as a result of the IRMP and in the face of serious and genuine concerns of both Fire Service personnel and equally the general public, it will be no surprise that we would wish to reverse these cuts – in terms of the number of appliances and indeed the fire crews, both full time and on-call.

This would mean re-instating the full time crews and, in addition, to fund new full time day crews in Sudbury and Felixstowe.

This would help in the ‘prevent work’ inspections that are so important in preventing emergencies from occurring, and would also support the on-call teams in those areas – improving coverage and safety.

The administration also proposes cuts in the funding of Trading Standards, as well as Suffolk’s Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

Both of these areas deal in particular with the more vulnerable in our society. Trading Standards, for example, has a vital role in trying to keep people aware of scams and cybercrime.

So cutting their support is a backwards step, bearing in mind the very good reputation the Suffolk Trading Standards team has locally and nationally.

Regarding cuts to the Citizens Advice Bureau, I can think of no action more regressive and backwards looking than cutting a service that provides advice to the public, advice that helps prevent financial difficulty, family breakdown and other serious issues, all of which have a very real impact on our communities – and many that have repercussions on the Council in terms of more expensive statutory costs.

SetWidth160-2013-05-14 Peter Gardiner informal WS


Sandra Gage’s Speech on Highways and Transport during Budget debate

For the last six years there has been year on year cuts to County services in Suffolk, justified as ‘efficiency savings’, ‘transforming services’, ‘refocusing’, or simply saying the council will be doing ‘more for less’.

Year on year we stand here and say this is wrong, it will not work, or simply that your budget cuts will increase the gap between those who can afford to pay themselves for what the council no longer provides, and those who cannot.

Highways and public transport budget cuts are not as life threatening as those imposed on, say social care, but they are life changing.

They will alter people’s futures permanently, by having to make less advantageous choices on education, living standards, work, where to live, and ultimately longevity of life. Using this administrations words, these cuts have indeed ‘managed down demand’ of the future of those who have to rely on public transport to achieve the best possible outcomes for themselves.

The dismantling of public transport and decreasing investment in our infrastructure will, in the end, cost us all far more than this council has cut in these areas in its annual budgets since 2011.

So, we propose a reversal of the cuts to the services that support the most basic needs of Suffolk residents, to provide a life line by the;

  • Reinstatement of printed bus timetables countywide
  • Continued investment of Real Time bus screens in remote urban areas where there remains poor mobile phone coverage that denies bus users access to smart phone bus apps.
  • An enhancement to the countywide district council budget to cut highway verge and hedges – so that road safety is no longer put at risk by this council, and the disabled are able to use unobstructed footways
  • Reinstatement of the 2015/16 baseline funding to Community transport providers, ensuring the scheduled buses services can continue without cuts.
  • And,for our three main towns, a programme of capital investment, raised bus stops to aid the less mobile and new bus shelters to encourage greater bus patronage, and a modest but much needed capital programme of cycle and pedestrian schemes to aid healthier lifestyles and keep our towns moving.

The Labour Group’s Amendment proposes to make Ipswich Park and Ride genuinely viable under its new contract.

Any responsible highway authority knows that Park and Ride is part of a package of measures to manage traffic congestion at peak times in towns and cities. You can’t simply ‘change the grant offer’ as the Transport Cabinet Member will surely call it, though it is of course a funding cut, and expect service to survive.  The proposed withdrawal of subsidy and the omission of any funding to improve the Park and Ride sends Ipswich residents a clear message from this council.

This Council really doesn’t care if Ipswich streets are clogged up commuting traffic each weekday, so long as there is more money in reserves.

So much for this Tory led council being signed up to an ‘Ipswich Vision’.

The Labour amendment proposes a Revenue Enhancement to maintain Park & Ride services during a transition period, a two year capital investment to implement the highway improvements identified by the bus operators as necessary to make the new contract viable, and a modest fund to market and a modest marketing fund.

This is what a responsible highway authority should do to protect its county town from unsustainable traffic growth.

And finally, on the subject of the Ipswich Cattlemarket bus station toilets, despite my repeated questioning, the administration has remained silent on whether there has ever been was any financial provision for the toilets.  But then, as we know, none of them travel into Ipswich by bus, so haven’t any idea of how important this is.

Not so much for Ipswich residents, but for the many rural Suffolk residents (residents from their own divisions) who bus into town, and arrive after up to maybe an hour’s journey at the Cattlemarket station.

This Tory council has stubbornly refused for three years, even refusing the repeated demands of the Women’s Institute, to see sense.

Labour will find the money in its budget to install the toilets, to accept Ipswich Borough Council generous offer to maintain and in doing so respond, as a responsible council should do, to significant and justified public demand.

The sustainability of the county relies upon a road network that is at an acceptable standard. That’s why we have included a reinstatement in the cuts to Capital investment in our road network.

The Highways Infrastructure Asset Management Plan has consigned our non-strategic local roads to a future of neglect, to becoming a patchwork of temporary asphalt dollops, and occasional localised permanent repair.

We all know of roads like this all over the county.

Labour’s proposal will enable a programme of responsible structural maintenance on local roads countywide.

Chair, I fully support the budget amendment.


Sonia Barker’s Speech on Education during Budget debate

Remember ‘No School an Island’? How about no community an island or no pupil an island as an aim? How can this be achieved?

There needs to be far more of a Strategic Overview of services for young people in Suffolk.

Firstly, Home to School Transport. By reversing the proposed cuts to Home to School Transport of £0.55m and by giving Revenue Enhancement to Discretionary Post 16 Transport of £0.20m the amendment will compensate for the £0.2m cut in 16/17, to ensure that charges for discretionary travel does not limit the opportunities for low income families – especially for young people, so they are not prevented from furthering their studies due to rural isolation.

The Social Mobility of Suffolk young people cannot improve if they cannot get to the most appropriate courses for their future direction due to a lack of transport.

Let’s support young people to move literally in the right direction.

Secondly, there must be a far greater coordinated push on Teacher Recruitment and Retention via a Revenue Enhancement of £0.20m – to enhance the resources and support budget to attract far more excellent teachers to Suffolk.

This is a national issue and any long term response or solution must come from central government. However, a local injection of funds for an immediate relief is necessary.

Having spoken to the Department for Education recently, they confirmed this approach and were sympathetic to the amendment’s aim for teacher recruitment.

Used creatively, the extra funding could attract specialist teachers to Suffolk whose expertise and excellent practice could then be shared amongst a number of schools, thereby raising attainment.

Thirdly, reversing the cut made to Early Years Help and Specialist Services CYP Inclusive services fund for Autism and ADHD in 15/16. To provide an enhanced diagnostic service for families of children and young people with ADHD and Autism to enable them to access the services they need.

I really should not have to say yet again that a cut  of £0.25m be reversed for services to support some of the most vulnerable children and their families in Suffolk.  Bearing in mind that many families will face the loss of the specialist support offered by Autism Suffolk as a result of cuts to their service at the end of March 2017.

The Labour Amendment aims to ensure that no school, community, pupil or family is an island marooned by cuts to services and lack of affordable transport.

If you believe in a county where equality of opportunity is paramount, where excellent teachers are encouraged and retained and the most vulnerable pupils are supported, then vote for the Labour Amendment.

SetWidth160-2013-05-14 Sonia Barker informal WS

Watch Labour Leader, Sandy Martin, deliver his speech on the Amendment to Full Council

“Suffolk County Council exists for a purpose. It is to make the lives of the residents of Suffolk better than they would have been if the County Council did not exist. It is to do the things that need to be done which would not be done better by someone else. It is to help the people who could not easily help themselves. It is to enable the changes for the better which we all want to see, but which will not just come about of their own accord.”

Labour leader, Sandy Martin, deliver’s his speech on the Budget Amendment to Full Council…/webc…/268019/start_time/3729000


Cllr Martin County Council Annual Meeting Speech 2015

In the Spring of 2013, we went into the County Council elections with 5 key messages for the voters:

1) On Education – We need to invest in the future, & Labour councillors will fight to build up the School Improvement Programme & other measures to boost young people in education.
2) On Travel – Concessionary Fares help people play an active role in society, & Labour councillors will back the reintroduction of concessionary travel for people in education or training or doing voluntary work.
3) On Unemployment – Labour councillors will promote County investment in construction and other projects which will create economic growth and properly paid jobs in Suffolk.
4) On Privatisation & Divestment – Labour councillors will speak up about the risks of loss of accountability, failure of private companies to deliver safe and adequate services, and the loss of well-trained and well-motivated staff.
5) And on Care – warning about the effect of massive cuts to this Council’s expenditure on the most vulnerable people in our County.
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Cllr Sandy Martin Budget amendment speech

This budget is about the money that this Council has to spend and the ways in which it decides to spend it or not spend it. But the important issue is not the money itself but the effect that it has on people’s lives. We are not bringing this amendment because we have a pathological hatred of financial reserves, but because we have a deep-seated hatred of ill health, and poor education, and unsafe situations for children, and freezing homes for elderly people, and the despair that goes with a life where everything seems to be getting worse. And we resent seeing the Council sit on the financial means to deal with those issues, but do less and less each year.
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Living Wage motion speech – Cllr Sandy Martin

Mr Chairman,

I understand that Suffolk County Council’s administration intends to introduce the Living Wage as a minimum for all its direct employees, and our party welcomes and supports that. The vast majority of council workers on less than the Living Wage in 2010 are now outsourced, which makes the decision a bit irrelevant, but nonetheless, for the handful of directly-employed staff who will see their pay rise as a result, this is an important step forward. And it shows that the Conservative administration recognises the validity of the concept of the Living Wage. I would like this motion to be seen firstly as an affirmation of that policy decision from the whole Council.
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We won’t play shabby back-room politics

sandy martinThe following is Suffolk County Council Labour Group leader Sandy Martin’s speech to the Annual Meeting of the Council, delivered on the 30th May 2014.

Mr Chairman, congratulations on your election.

On 2 May last year, 79 thousand Suffolk residents voted Conservative, 54 thousand voted Labour, 40 thousand UKIP and 22 thousand Lib Dem. That may not look like an overwhelming endorsement for one political party, but it was enough to elect more Councillors for the Conservative Party than for all of the other parties put together.
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Budget amendment speech – Cllr Sandy Martin

sandy martinMr Chairman, fellow Councillors, I would like to start by making it clear that this is an amendment to the administration’s budget, and not an alternative budget. Setting a budget for a local authority is a very difficult task, and involves many hours of expert work from experienced local authority officers. Most administration parties find it difficult to put their own stamp on a workable budget. For an opposition party to presume to be able to draw up a workable budget without the resources and level of cooperation that are afforded to the administration would be the height of folly. I well remember the Conservative amendment to the Labour-led administration’s budget, drawn up by your then finance spokesman Colin Barrow – it was less than one side of A4, and the figures on it didn’t even add up – but that was no bar to Cllr Barrow going on to lead Westminster City Council.

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