Tag Archives: Len Jacklin

Oulton Broad By-Election Labour Candidate Len Jacklin Supports Lowestoft Third Crossing

 

Dear Editor

This is a rarity, I want to wholeheartedly agree with Peter Aldous MP, Cllr Colin Noble Leader Suffolk County Council and Cllr Mark Bee Leader Waveney District Council.

Getting David Cameron to come and support Peter Aldous and then to get him to promise our Third Crossing was an act of desperation. It was a cynical move to get Mr Aldous re-elected in 2015 and this year, but it worked and as a result we are well into the process of achieving our aspiration of a third crossing. I was a cynic I was a doubter but I am now confident that even people whose judgement I have questioned in the past are now serious.

The plans just announced by Suffolk County Council will not be welcomed by everyone, there will be moaners that say it shouldn’t be a lifting bridge, or that they don’t like the design, there will be people who will say it will never get built, there will be those who want it sooner.

In the current financial climate getting this amount of funding is a real achievement and the top up from Suffolk County Council, not usually willing to actually use it’s, (our) reserves is to be lauded. The design is better than I had reason to expect given the constricted area for access and is pleasing to the eye and the height will mean fewer openings than our existing bascule bridge. Yes, it will take a little longer than some people expected, I myself though am very impressed that an engineering project of this size and complexity which by comparative standards should usually take ten years will be completed in just over six.

The consultation process is soon to begin, should be supported by everyone who ever complained about the existing bascule bridge. Everyone will get the ability to take part, we need to encourage friends, neighbours and family to use this opportunity to show our support and reply to the consultation, yes “they” should know, but this consultation is a procedural requirement by central government, we need to make sure they know.

For years Suffolk County Council and the New Anglia LEP had refused to respond to public demand to build a third crossing, and ease Lowestoft’s traffic congestion. The Suffolk County Council Local Transport Plan 2011-2031 for Lowestoft talks about there being ‘a need in the longer term to secure funding’ and New Anglia LEP, described the project as an afterthought in a three-line paragraph as “A third Crossing over Lake Lothing in Lowestoft remains a long term aspiration”.   In 2013, in response to lobbying from newly elected Lowestoft (Labour) County Councillors this changed, and two years ago in response to more lobbying, a ridiculous proposal to put another bridge next to the current one was seriously proposed by Peter Aldous, Colin Noble, and Mark Bee was dropped in favour of the one proposed now. I am so glad that pressure by the citizens of Waveney have made them all see sense, I’m now convinced they have.

Yours sincerely

Len Jacklin

Labour Candidate for Oulton Broad

Waveney District Council By-Election

Oulton Suffolk County Councillor 2013-2017

 

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The Council Budget: Cllr Len Jacklin’s Letter to the Lowestoft Journal

A few weeks ago at the SCC annual budget debate, the Labour Group on Suffolk County Council put forward an amendment to the budget proposed by the Conservative administration.

The amendment recognised the damaging cuts to the Rate Support grant from the Conservative Government, which made setting a balanced budget extremely difficult and the need for responsible levels of reserves.

The Labour amendment proposed using £15.5m of the Council’s reserves to try and retain some of the services cut by the Tories who claim the cuts are not effecting front line services.

The Tories proposed to cut the budget for Adult Social Care by £6m, this at the time when nationally it was recognised that the service is in crisis. We feel that £5.5m should be used from reserves to try and help our services cope.

They then proposed in the same document to increase your Council Tax by the 3% allowed by government, while admitting that this increase would not even cover the cost of paying the living wage to care workers.

Labour proposed using £3.38m from the reserves to help the shortfall in Children’s and Young’ Peoples services to try and litigate some of the harmful effects that their cuts are having. We tried to persuade the administration to use £2.05m to pay for cuts to the Fire Service and to protect the Citizens Advice Bureau, as well as our hugely successful Trading Standards.

During the debate, Labour asked how the £20m financial shortfall to build our Third Crossing in Lowestoft would be met. The total cost comes to £100m, which represents the estimated £91m cost, plus a contingency of 10%: £70 promised but not yet paid by central government, £10 from the Capital Reserves from SCC – so we still need to find £20m.

The indignant replies were that the administration, the government and our MP had promised that the bridge would be built.

The question of where the money was to come from was not answered.

Needless to say, the Conservatives, along with UKIP Councillors, succeeded in defeating our amendment. This unholy alliance are all of the mind-set that money held by the Council on your behalf should be hoarded away year after year.

In my four years as Councillor for Oulton, we have seen the Councils reserves rise by £30. Each year the Tories supported by UKIP have told us that because of government cuts, the budget would be overspent and the reserves would be used.

But not a penny has been spent.

Last year alone, the Tories put £9m of your money back in to the bottomless pit of the reserves, bringing the total held by them to £191.2m.

Labour don’t believe them when they say they will be overspent this year – and if they are it will not be anything like the figures they predict.

They called us “madmen”, “dangerous”, “lunatics”. But they never questioned our figures.

They talked about their budget as “safe” and “prudent”, “wise” and “responsible”. But they never mentioned the dangers to our elderly who are suffering, or our most vulnerable children that are being failed, or our safety from fires that has been jeopardised… all of which are due to cuts that they have made.

In May, you can choose the uncaring miserly doctrine led Tories, propped by UKIP Councillors, or a caring and careful Labour-led administration.

It’s your money sitting in a vault, whilst many are struggling. It simply isn’t fair.

SetWidth160-2013-05-14 Leonard Jacklin informal WS