Sally Keeble with #NorthantsLobby in London
Sally Keeble with #NorthantsLobby in London

First step in sorting out the money – now the Tories must improve our services

The Tory government has recognised the scale of Northamptonshire’s disaster and allowed the County Council to spend £60 million from the sale of Angel Square.

It’s something Labour leaders called for in our lobby of Parliament (pictured above)  and in our recent letter. We also called for Tory central government to pay for the reorganisation of our local government – the abolition of the Council that has become such an embarrassment to them.

Most importantly, the Tories must reverse the catastrophic decline in our services, and rebuild the workforce and public confidence. The failure of children’s services is one of the most serious, but not the only of our services to be hit.

In the longer term, we need the fair funding for local services by a Labour government.  You can read fuller coverage on this story here.

CALL TO ACTION FOR COUNTY’S DOMESTIC ABUSE REFUGES

Sally Keeble is backing a call by domestic abuse organisations for urgent action by the county’s MPs to save refuges for survivors of abuse.

The move comes after warnings that refuges will be cut after the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government turned down an application for funding for the groups. The application was submitted by seven local housing authorities in Northamptonshire, led by Northampton.

Sally Keeble said: “Northamptonshire has been a trailblazer in tackling domestic abuse.  The Sunflower centre provided a model for services elsewhere in the country, and services have been developed here for men who are affected by domestic abuse

“Whatever the reasons for the MHCLG decision the MPs need to take action quickly to make sure the Northants refuges can survive.”

This latest threat to comes four years after Sally Keeble worked with the refuges to stop moves by the local authorities to end funding for the refuges. Local coverage of the crisis is here.

 

Sign the petition to get our roads gritted this winter

Sally out with a petition in Acre Lane that
Sally out with a petition in Acre Lane that's been dropped off the gritting list

There’s real anger building up over the decision by Northants County Council to drop over 30 busy roads off the list for gritting this winter.

Some of the roads are bus routes, some serve schools, some are very steep and some are all three – and busy as well.

The full list of roads in Northampton North being dropped off the gritting list is:

Abington Ave, Acre Lane, Aintree Rd, Balmoral Rd, Birchfield Rd, Birchfield Rd East, Birds Hill Rd, Charnwood Ave, Churchill Ave, Collingwood Rd, Cranford Rd, Crestwood Rd,  Goodwood Ave, Greenhills Rd, Hastings Rd, The Headlands, Holmecross Rd, Keswick Drive, Link Rd, Nursery Lane, Obelisk Rise, Oulton Rd, Queenswood Ave, Reynard Way, Spinney Hill Rd, St Davids  Rd, Stimpson Ave, Whitehills Cres, Whitehills Way, Yardley Rd, Yelvertoft Rd.

It’s a matter of safety to have these roads gritted. So sign the petition to make clear to Northamptonshire County Council that this is a cut too far.

Labour leaders call for Government action to plug £133 million council budget hole

Labour leaders in Northamptonshire’s have put an action package to Communities Secretary James Brokenshire MP to deal with the budget crisis at County Hall.

“We believe that the inability of the Conservative administration to manage the finances or services poses acute risks to the most vulnerable people in Northamptonshire,” they warn in a joint letter to the Government.

They criticise the continuing disarray in the Council’s Conservative administration, and ask for the Government to:

  • Pay the cost of reorganisation
  • Allow flexibility in use of capital receipts to pay off the debts
  • Put the remainder of the debt into a residuary body to manage over time

They say that some of the cuts proposed by Northamptonshire’s Tory administration are undeliverable And they say that senior figures in the administration should lead by example: chief executive services are one of the areas of overspend.

Sally Keeble and Rt Hon John Healey MP at Cafe Emm in Northampton
Sally Keeble and Rt Hon John Healey MP at Cafe Emm in Northampton

Launch of campaign on Universal Credit

This week Universal Credit rolls out in Northampton. It’s the Government’s flagship benefits programme that has caused soaring rent arrears and household debt during its trial phases.

So to help people in Northampton North avoid difficulties, Rt Hon John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, came to launch Sally’s campaign. It includes special leaflets, street stalls, advice sessions and a page in this website with lots of information, advice and links to resource. There’s also a short information sheet to download and use at meetings.

At the launch people from advice organisations and community groups talked of their experiences of Universal Credit and agreed to monitor the impact. And John Healey said that this was a unique campaign to make sure people don’t lose out.

Below: Sally and John at the launch of the campaign at Café Emm in Weston Favell shopping centre.

Jeremy Corbyn issues a statement on the Hope Centre

Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn MP, responding to the plans to evict the Hope Centre from its premises in Northampton, said:

“This is appalling and senseless news. I was enormously touched by those who work at the Hope Centre. I’ll always remember meeting an artist who’d lost the use of his painting arm but was encouraged by Hope Centre staff to learn to draw with his other one. He then painted remarkable portraits of the staff and fellow residents.

“It is literally a centre that provides hope to the homeless and dispossessed.”

Jeremy Corbyn MP at the Hope Centre in Northampton
Jeremy Corbyn MP at the Hope Centre in Northampton

SIGN THE PETITION TO SAVE THE HOPE CENTRE

Please sign and share the petition to save the Hope Centre for homeless people in Northampton.

Here’s the link to the petition.

It’s a fantastic place that provides services for homeless people in the town. It was forced out of its former premises in Ash Street. After a strong community campaign, I got a funding agreement for the new Oasis House in the town centre.  It was to provide a secure home for Hope.

But now Hope is being evicted. Midland Heart, the housing association which owns the building, has told the Hope Centre it has a year to get out. This, the housing association says, is in the interests of improving services for homeless people. The Tory-controlled Northampton Borough Council is collaborating with the Council over this.

It’s a complete disgrace and a betrayal of the promises given. It lets down homeless people and makes a mockery of the Prime Minister’s so-called commitment to tackle homelessness.

The picture below shows Jeremy Corbyn MP during his visit to the Hope Centre last year.

HERE’S SOME OF MY WORK FOR LOCAL PEOPLE

NORTHANTS PEOPLE DEMAND ACTION FROM OUR MPS!

Lots of people have said how angry – or fearful – they are about the cuts and changes to our local services in Northamptonshire. The bankruptcy of our council, the scale of the cuts, have hit lots of people hard.

I organised for people from across the county to go to London to demand that our MPs take action to get a better deal for Northampton. We demanded that our Tory MPs should make sure the Tory government supports local people. So far our MPs have stood by while the Tory Government has slashed our services and is now forcing us to pay £30 million to scrap our councils. A double whammy for local tax payers.

You can read more about the Northants lobby of Parliament here

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