Our message for the 2021 Council Elections
WE CARE about hardship and the many people who, even in Hart, one of the most prosperous areas of the country, have been forced to use food banks. It should not fall on charities, without reliable income and resources, to provide for the basic need for food. County and District Councils have to step up, take responsibility for basic needs of their residents, and pressure central government to provide more funding.
WE CARE about fixing the health impacts of this pandemic. Across England this January, 304 thousand people had waited for at least a year for treatment, compared with less than two thousand before the pandemic. Many people are affected with cancers, heart disease, painful chronic conditions, and now ‘long Covid’. Our council should be lobbying Westminster to properly fund the cutting of waiting lists, fund decent pay rises for our hard-working NHS staff, who have put their lives at risk, and build the NHS back better.
WE CARE about the mental health of so many who were already suffering before the pandemic, and have been put under more stress. Many have lost their income, lost their social contact, and been thrown into depression. Additionally, many workers in Social Care are close to burnout. Our council must put time, effort and resources into turning this situation around.
WE CARE about the provision of good and affordable housing for ourselves and our children. The Conservative government has sadly just cancelled the Green Homes Grant scheme. Our council must lobby Westminster and take its own action to cut emissions and reduce bills for all housing. Hampshire has started with the “Solar Together Hampshire” scheme, but this is only useful for those who can afford it, and much more needs to be done.
WE CARE about climate change. Our council, along with every public and private body, can and must strive to make a difference. Labour supports the ‘Hart Green Grid’ initiative to work with local providers and voluntary groups to build a network of paths and cycleways. New housing should be designed as ‘15-minute neighbourhoods’ where schools, shops, surgeries, sports and most facilities can be reached by all residents within 15 minutes without using a car, i.e. on foot, bicycle, or public transport.
WE CARE about education. The pressure of new housing must be planned for and dealt with. The immensely popular and successful Sure Start scheme for children was slashed by the Conservative government, closing successful centres like The Harlington in Fleet, Church Crookham Junior School, Woodlark Children’s Centre in Yateley, and Little Saplings in Hartley Wintney. Our council needs to ensure that all schooling needs are designed in to new developments and our communities. Families must be supported from the birth of their children until they leave education.
WE CARE about our quality of life, our open spaces, the nature and biodiversity on our doorstep. Our council must nurture and cherish them, both directly and by prioritising them when new developments are in the planning stage.
WE CARE about the vitality of our town and village centres. Our council must look to examples across the country of how these can be maintained, taking the solutions that work and presenting options to us, the residents.