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Like many people, Kingston & Surbiton Labour Party took Theresa May as a woman of her word and believed her when she said, seven or eight times, that there would be no general election until 2020. May’s announcement of a snap general election took everyone by surprise, including most of her own Party, which does not have a manifesto yet, nor candidates for every seat either.

Be assured, there will be a Labour candidate in Kingston & Surbiton. The process for selection is in train and an announcement will be made early in May.

There is a small group asking whether there should be a tactical vote in Kingston to ensure the Tory does not get in. What it amounts to is asking the Labour Party to encourage its supporters to vote for the Liberal Democrats.

Kingston & Surbiton Labour Party gives an emphatic “NO” to the idea of tactical voting here.

The Liberal Democrats are fielding a candidate who previously promised that a vote for him would be a vote against the Tories. He then joined with his party in forming a coalition with the Tories and became a cabinet minister in the coalition voting through items like:

  • an economic austerity policy that makes the poor poorer and increases the national debt:
  • the bedroom tax – reducing benefits for anyone with an extra bedroom
  • the Health & Social Care Act leading to huge privatisation in the NHS

The list could go on. And on.

And this man wants us to vote for him to keep the Tories out. Really! What an insult to the Kingston & Surbiton electorate.

But there are other reasons not to vote tactically.

There are very few seats where the Liberal Democrats came second in 2015 with less than 10 per cent of the votes cast between their candidate and the successfully elected MP. Assuming the Liberal Democrats hold the 9 seats where they had a majority in 2015 (and the one in 2016), the number of seats they might just win, if, and it’s a big if, everything goes in their favour is very small. If lucky they are might just have half the number of Scottish Nationalists MPs. This is hardly a Parliamentary force. It’s more of a delay in the cake queue in the House of Commons tea rooms.

But what will they do with this handful of MPs?

If the outcome of the 2017 General Election is close-run, then can we really trust the Liberal Democrats? They are very likely to join the Tories in a new coalition. They did it before.

Liberal Democrats have made it clear they do not want to join Labour in demanding a different direction in government and society. In fact, it is difficult to discern any policies in their leaflets: they seem to be emulating Tory policies, with only the sharpest, most vicious corners filed off.

If you want to see:

  • a more rationale economic policy that focuses on growth and spreads the benefits of a burgeoning economy to all not just the few
  • investment in infra-structure to create jobs and a strong economy:
  • negotiations with the EU that put the economy and jobs first
  • a society where foodbanks disappear because everyone receives a living wage:
  • bank holidays on a par with similar economies so families and friends can enjoy time together
  • a growth in the number of council houses and affordable homes:
  • a properly funded NHS and education system catering for everyone:
  • a community where zero-hours contract are a thing of the past and everyone has a wage they can live on

then the only option is to vote Labour.

You really will not see these changes by voting for the Liberal Democrats and you certainly won’t get them by voting Tory.

If you share Labour’s aspiration for a better, fairer more decent society you must put your vote where your vision for your family, your children and your grandchildren lies.

Laurie South, Kingston and Surbiton CLP Chair

Labour Candidate in Kingston and Surbiton

Like many people, Kingston & Surbiton Labour Party took Theresa May as a woman of her word and believed her when she said, seven or eight times, that there would...

Local parent and Kingston and Surbiton CLP Secretary, Emma Francis, sets out the issues of the Conservative Government's National Funding Formula, and how local residents can support the Labour' motion to Council on 19 April 2017.

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Local parents, teachers and school Governors are up in arms about the funding cuts that are about to hit local schools.  

The National Audit Office has warned that schools face a funding reduction of 8% in real terms by 2019-2020, caused by a variety of factors including higher contributions to national insurance and teachers’ pensions and - critically - funding per pupil not rising in line with inflation. The Government claims that more money than ever is going into education – but funding per pupil is still decreasing. 

Local schools face the added challenges of outer London weighting not reflecting the local cost of living (making recruitment difficult and therefore expensive); historical lower funding than the rest of London; and the  introduction of the Government’s so-called ‘Fair Funding Formula’ will result in cuts for many schools. Kingston is estimated to lose £7,368,452 in real terms.  That is equivalent to 197 fewer teachers. See www.schoolcuts.org.uk for how individual schools will be affected. 

This is in the face of Government plans to spend £2 billion on buying sites for free schools and £320 million on new grammar schools. We think this money could be better spent on maintaining, expanding and improving our existing schools. 

So what are we doing about it? We need to make clear to Government that our education system is not up for grabs.  The Labour Group on Kingston Council has tabled a motion, calling on all councillors to come together to tell the Government that our schools need to be funded properly.  You can read the motion here. 

So what can you do about it? Please contact your local Councillors (click here to find out who they are) and ask them to support this motion.  It doesn't matter which political party they are from - we need their support!   Here's a draft e-mail/letter you could use: 

"Dear Councillor [insert Cllr's name] 

On 19th April 2017 the Labour Group is submitting a motion to the full Council Meeting on Government-driven school funding changes, which will result in a deterioration of the education resources available to school students in Kingston. 

If we are to encourage the Government to revise their policy, it is important that the motion is passed unanimously, with all political parties and councillors united behind this motion. 

Please ensure you do attend the Council meeting on 19th April and support the motion. 

Yours etc" 

If the motion is passed, it will send a very powerful message to Theresa May – that  a Conservative-run Council has joined the many Tory MPs who are already calling for the 'fair funding' proposals to be revised. So your help in assuring its adoption would be much appreciated! 

Emma Francis

Supporting the Labour Motion to protect Kingston Schools

Local parent and Kingston and Surbiton CLP Secretary, Emma Francis, sets out the issues of the Conservative Government's National Funding Formula, and how local residents can support the Labour' motion...

The Labour group have a motion proposed for the full Council Meeting on Wednesday 19th April 2017 that seeks to secure the future of local schools.

Speaking with One United Voice on the Need for More Funding for All Kingston’s Mainstream Schools 

This Council notes: 

·        The Government is planning to introduce a National Funding Formula (NFF) to calculate and distribute the amount of core revenue funding that every mainstream primary and secondary school will receive. This includes academies and free schools but not sixth forms. 
·        The Government will unilaterally decide on the national factors it will use to determine each school’s funding allocation which hands the Government almost complete control of the purse strings of our local education provision. 
·        These actions remove local democratic control and accountability from Kingston Council, with its long history of understanding and responding to the needs of each and every school. 
·        We are not expected to know what the NFF will be until this summer but we do know that the Government is planning a soft implementation for 2018/19 and a hard implementation for 2019/20. 
·        While the overall schools budget is protected in real terms until 2019/20, it does not provide for funding ‘per pupil’ to increase in line with inflation. The Audit Commission reported in December 2016 that mainstream schools would need to find £3 billion in cost savings to cover increased cost pressures such as pay rises, increased pension and national insurance contributions and inflation. 
·        The DfE published illustrative figures for 2018/19 based on 2016/17 pupil data to give an idea of how the NFF might work and based on this information a number of our local schools would benefit, but the majority of our primary schools will lose core funding. This is divisive and patently unfair. The Council has a responsibility to provide an excellent quality of education for every child and young person in our borough. 
·        Its recent decision to reduce the schools’ ‘per pupil’ funding by nearly £28 to support the High Needs Block is not lost money and will be redistributed for the children who need that support. The Council has also identified savings of £400k with planned growth of £720k for 2017/18. 

More Government money is needed to support our local mainstream schools. The Government plans spending £2 billion on buying sites for free schools and £320 million on new grammar schools, while our existing schools continue to struggle with unwanted staff redundancies, backlogs of poor repairs, reducing educational options for our children and young people and poor recruitment prospects. 

We therefore call on the Administration to: 

Continue working with our two MPs, Chairs of Governors, head teachers and parent representatives to speak with a united voice in ensuring that all parents of school age children and young people, and the general public, are well informed about the unprecedented dire situation of education funding and the attack on our local democracy; and to continue to lobby the Government in any way possible, despite the formal consultation period having closed, to ensure that more money is put into our local schools.
 

We are united in our determination that all our schools have a secure future in which they are able to continue to develop well rounded citizens to lead productive and satisfying lives.    

Labour Group Motion for Kingston Council 19 April 2017

The Labour group have a motion proposed for the full Council Meeting on Wednesday 19th April 2017 that seeks to secure the future of local schools.

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