Tag Archives: Suffolk County Council

It’s time to stand up for Suffolk schools

Shrugging your shoulders is not good enough; it’s time to stand up for Suffolk schools

Labour Councillors are calling for tougher action from the Suffolk County Council administration after it was announced that under changes to the Government’s school funding system, Suffolk faces a real-term cut in pupil spending from 2018. Labour are deeply concerned that this significant cut will lead to a drop in educational outcomes for the children of Suffolk.

Under the National Funding Formula (NFF) update, pupil spending in Suffolk schools will be hundreds of pounds below the national average and much lower than in 2010 when the Conservatives came to power. This cut means Suffolk will remain in the bottom 50 authorities for both primary and secondary funding.

According to analysis of Department of Education (DfE) data, pupil spending will fall to £4,347, down from £4,470 in 2010 and well below the funding received in both Essex and Norfolk. For primary school funding, Suffolk will receive £273 less per pupil than the national average; this figure increases to £415 less per pupil in secondary schools.

On nearly every single key performance metric, including Reading, Writing and Mathematics, Suffolk falls behind the national average in Key Stages 1 and 2. Fewer pupils achieve a C grade in GCSE Maths and English in Suffolk than they do nationwide. The difference in attainment between non-disadvantaged and disadvantaged pupils is narrowing but still stands at -5 when compared nationally.[1] Labour are deeply concerned that this issue will be compounded by the proposed cut.

Labour Spokesperson for Education, Skills and ICT Cllr Jack Abbott said; “I make no apology for demanding that our schools are funded properly, to ensure that all young people in Suffolk have an equal opportunity to access high quality education, to protect and support the hardworking staff in our schools.

He added; “It’s about time this Tory County Council made the education of Suffolk’s children a priority and fight for the funding our schools so desperately need.

In response to the cut in pupil funding Gordon Jones, Cabinet Member for Education, was reported to simply saying: “We will continue to work through this revised formula.”[2]

This is simply not good enough.

Cllr Abbott has laid down a challenge to the administration saying; “So, to Gordon Jones, Colin Noble and the rest of your Conservatives colleagues I say this; stop simply shrugging your shoulders and start standing up for Suffolk schools. You’ve awarded yourself an 11% pay rise so stop abdicating responsibility and start earning your keep. Get yourself down to London, bang on Justine Greening’s door and demand that our schools in Suffolk are properly funded.

“An injection of investment into our schools is urgently needed, with the impact of underfunding on pupil performance in Suffolk there for all to see”.

Under inflationary pressures, Suffolk schools have already seen costs rise with staff and courses being cut, and parents increasingly being asked to make up the shortfall for school equipment and school trips. This is a financial situation that has already been described as ‘desperate’ and ‘painfully tight’[3] by headteachers in Suffolk.

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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

 

Ipswich Shuttle Bus – Labour Councillors Stepping in to Save it

Suffolk County Council announced a month ago that it intended to cut the Free Ipswich Shuttle bus at the end of July. Transferring the funding received from County Council staff car park charges to a trial free Park and Ride fares for County Council staff travelling into Ipswich by car.

Continue reading Ipswich Shuttle Bus – Labour Councillors Stepping in to Save it

Labour’s call to introduce a ‘Permit Scheme’ to make roadworks more efficient and reduce congestion voted down at Full Council

Conservative Councillors vote down Labour’s ‘Permit Scheme’ Motion for faster and more cost effective roadworks at today’s session of Full Council.

The County Council Labour Group brought forward a motion on Thursday 16th March calling for the implementation of a new ‘Permit Scheme’ for highways maintenance – a programme that is already used by 85 Local Authorities across England and proven to increase the efficiency of roadworks, while reducing costs for the Council. More importantly, the use of ‘Permit Schemes’ is shown to reduce congestion caused by road works, improve journey time and reliability for all road users, and augment the information available to the public, including advanced warning and duration of works.

Under a Permit Scheme, anyone intending to carry out works on the road has to make an application to the relevant Local Authority for a permit. In addition, the Authority’s power to grant or refuse a permit, as well as applying conditions to the timings and/or work activity, is significantly increased. Through such capabilities, any Authority operating a permit scheme will be able to coordinate and control works on the road, with the aim to improve both the planning and preparation of works.

Labour Spokesperson for Transport, Sandra Gage, said “As a County Councillor, one of the most consistent concerns that residents have raised has been around roadworks. Whether they drive, bus, cycle or walk, all have come across the poorly organised, sometimes unoccupied, badly signed and often over-run roadworks. In towns and villages across Suffolk, journey times to work, college, school, doctor and hospital appointments are made unpredictable. This is deeply inconvenient for the public and costly for our local economy.”

Cllr Gage continued, “Permit schemes already in place elsewhere in this region – in Norfolk, Essex, Bedford, Hertfordshire, Luton and Southend – have been designed to ensure these councils can successfully undertake their ‘duty to manage’ and therefore minimise the disruption the public experiences. Currently in Suffolk, we have a longer duration of closure within which there will be some days of actual working on site. Sometimes, a stretch of road will be cordoned off for a whole week for maintenance that only takes half a day’s work to complete. By issuing permits only for the planned actual duration of works, these Councils across the East of England have been able to drive up efficiency and reduce inconvenience to the public. A Permit Scheme in Suffolk will also cost the Council nothing to run and stands to save the Council around £4.5million in highways maintenance costs after 3 years.”

Cllr Gage concluded “I am deeply disappointed that the Conservatives have decided to let political pettiness get in the way of their duty to Suffolk residents. Reduced congestion and fewer delays caused by roadworks is what I believe Suffolk residents are asking for. It seems that it’s just this Council’s Conservative Administration that is stopping Suffolk becoming the 86th Council to adopt a roadworks Permit scheme, and rid this County of poorly managed roadworks. If the Labour Group take control of the Council on May 4th, we will listen to residents and implement a highways permit scheme.”

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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

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.
Continue reading Cllr Martin County Council Annual Meeting Speech 2015

Ofsted criticise Council School Improvement Service again

Labour Councillors are once again demanding that the Conservative administration on Suffolk County Council do more to ensure children in Suffolk schools are not left behind after another damning report from Ofsted highlighted that a third of pupils in Suffolk do not attend a good school.
Continue reading Ofsted criticise Council School Improvement Service again

Labour calls for protection for care workers

Labour councillors on Suffolk County Council today called on the Conservative administration to change their procurement processes to ensure that any company who forces employees to waive their rights under the Working Time Regulations will not be given county council contracts.
Continue reading Labour calls for protection for care workers