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County Tories hide bad news

County leader  Paul Carter has stopped the publication and discussion of  report that is critical of benefits changes as they are impacting on Kent residents.  But thanks to  Kent Online, the report is available to read online.

Although the report says they are tentative, it lists key findings:

Increasing debt and debt management is a concerning  issue – more welfare claimants getting into debt Housing benefits cuts are leading to an increase in rent arrears, as a result of the Spare room tax/subsidy Increasing delays in processing appeals for incapacity benefit Changes mean claimants increasingly need more help with forms or online Homelessness in Kent up by 25% over last year Families in B&Bs up by 22% Use of Kent’s

….. Continue reading County Tories hide bad news

Swanscombe decides

Steve with some of the Labour team in Milton St.

In a vigorous campaign, Steve Doran and the local Labour party have knocked on nearly every door in Swanscombe, underlining her commitment to being an active local councillor.  Steve says:

“Over the last four weeks, I  and the local Labour team have called on every house in Swanscombe.

“And this is clear.  Swanscombe people have a great sense of solidarity.

“Yes, there are problems: antisocial behaviour and low-level crime; flooding around Milton Street; parking on grass verges; poor street lighting.  But there’s a will to get things put right.

“Labour’s team is already working on these local  issues, which the Residents Association, and  the Tories on Dartford Council have

….. Continue reading Swanscombe decides

The Benefits System: EXPOSED

It’s clear some people have swallowed the line that welfare payments are being seriously abused. In fact, the proportion is 0.7%; but on the basis of the myth, the Tory/Libdem government is picking on those most in need. Here’s a short video from the TUC:

Their agenda is clear:

“We are sticking to the task. But that doesn’t just mean making difficult decisions on public spending. It also means something more profound. It means building a leaner, more efficient state. We need to do more with less. Not just now, but permanently.”

David Cameron, annual speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London’s Guildhall, 10/11/13

Meanwhile, the Public accounts committee this month gave a roasting to Iain Duncan Smith’s

….. Continue reading The Benefits System: EXPOSED

Grassroots Activists Forced the Government to Act

by Steve Doran

“You’ve got to cap the overall cost of credit.”  Of all the people I thought would say those words – and many people have been saying exactly that, for a long time – I was surprised to hear them from George Osborne. But perhaps I shouldn’t have been.

For a start, I should be used to surprises. If anyone should be expecting the unexpected, it’s me. A few years ago I was trapped in the payday loan cycle, resolutely private about it and entirely at a loss as to what to do. Back then, I never expected I would be telling my story in a national paper, or discussing regulation with Stella Creasy and Ed Miliband.

….. Continue reading Grassroots Activists Forced the Government to Act

Probation service threat

The government is planning a sell-off of 70% of the Probation Service to private companies such as Serco, Sodexo and G4S. The changes are being introduced at breakneck speed, without evidence and without even a trial period to see whether they will work.

Simon Thomson commented “The professionalism of the Probation Service has been one of the great success stories of the criminal justice system, reducing both crime and reoffending rates year on year. The question arises, what is the problem that this is the solution to?

Relentless cost-cutting by this government results in poorer services, worsening conditions for staff, while private operators will cream off profits from the justice system at public expense, reducing public accountability.

I’m very concerned

….. Continue reading Probation service threat

Barclays close Crossways centre

Earlier this week Barclays announced that it was closing its centre at Crossways Business Park with the loss of more than 300 jobs. The announcement comes just a month after Waitrose announced it was also leaving the town centre.

Simon Thomson said that the announcement was further evidence that the Conservatives had failed to protect jobs and investment in the town.

“This is the latest example of a major business closing their doors in Dartford, yet all the Tories can offer is complacency. Gareth Johnson reacted to this news by claiming there is “no problem” with unemployment in Dartford. His words will be cold comfort to the hundreds of people at Barclays and Waitrose who now face this Christmas with

….. Continue reading Barclays close Crossways centre

Swanscombe speaks!

The conversation with people in Swanscombe has been continuing all week, with Labour’s team talking with people all over the town.  Clear themes are emerging: Government cuts are impacting severely on Swanscombe; while residents feel ignored and neglected by their councillors in dealing with local issues.  The flooding in Milton Road was avoidable, had earlier concerns been heeded, we were told. The new bus route, while welcome, had been introduced without consultation, and had trouble in some of Swanscombe’s most congested streets.

Residents broadly welcomed the jobs prospect at Paramount Park; but were worried that they needed a strong voice to make sure the associated traffic problems wre properly dealt with and didn’t impact on local residents.  Above all, cost

….. Continue reading Swanscombe speaks!

Labour takes Energy campaign to Swanscombe

Saturday saw the Labour Party taking to the streets of Swanscombe – door knocking, and collecting signatures on a petition to the Prime Minister, to freeze energy prices now.

Leading the campaign were Simon Thomson, Labour’s new Prospective Parliamentary Candidate; and Steve Doran, our candidate in the Swanscombe by-election on December 5th.

Simon commented:  “Despite the terrible weather, people were keen to stop and talk.  The cost of living is a real issue for Swanscombe people; many people here really need the benefits that are being taken away from them, but nearly everyone here has had their standard of living attacked by the Tory-led coalition.”

Steve’s impression was equally positive. “So may people offered their best wishes, and promised to

….. Continue reading Labour takes Energy campaign to Swanscombe

A champion for Swanscombe

In the forthcoming by-election in Swanscombe following the death of Cllr Leslie Bobby, Labour’s candidate will be careworker Steve Doran.

Steve is an active campaigner.  She is fronting a campaign against payday lenders, with Movement For Change. She has been interviewed by the Mail on Sunday; the Independent; BBC, ITV, Ch 5 and Sky news channels.  Steve recently met with Ed Miliband to discuss proposed policy on payday lending.

She runs a videoblog channel on YouTube, and Tweets as @girlsteve. She explains her motivation in standing:

I have been involved in Politics my entire life – although I didn’t know it at the time. I’ve campaigned for a Living Wage in Dartford, I’ve been part of a national campaign to

….. Continue reading A champion for Swanscombe

Dartford Chooses Simon

• Simon Thomson selected to fight Dartford at next General Election • Thomson: “I’m here to put Dartford first”

Dartford Labour Party has this weekend selected Simon Thomson, a former BBC news journalist, to be its candidate – and the next Labour MP – for Dartford.

Mr Thomson, born and bred in North Kent, was selected at an open meeting of local Labour Party members on Saturday (5th Oct).

Speaking immediately after the meeting, Mr Thomson said, “I’m incredibly proud to have been selected to fight and win Dartford for Labour at the next election.

“Over the coming days, weeks and months, I’ll be setting out my stall as to what I will do for the constituency if

….. Continue reading Dartford Chooses Simon