South Swindon Constituency

Dial a Ride Future Still Remains Uncertain

Labour Councillor and Dial a Ride campaigner, Derique Montaut, has called on the Conservative administrative to secure the long-term future of Dial a Ride, after the Conservative administration breached previous promises to secure funding from new income streams to mitigate the effects of Dial a Ride’s 50% funding cut.

Last year when the Council was seeking to cut Dial a Ride’s council funding by 50%, a petition with 4000 signatures was submitted calling on Swindon Council to secure Dial a Ride’s future.

At the time the Conservative Lead Member for Transport, Cllr Dale Heenan, said he wished to secure income from other sources rather than the Council budget, to secure Dial a Ride’s future service and mitigate the Council cuts. No such income has been made available to Dial a Ride.

Labour declares war on late payment to small businesses in Swindon

Swindon Council Civic Offices

Nearly half of small businesses in Swindon experienced late payment from bigger companies last year, costing them tens of thousands of pounds and forcing many out of business.

In Swindon there are 17,025 registered small businesses and 8002 small business are owed money in late payments worth just under £82m.

On Thursday 23rd March Jeremy Corbyn addressed the Federation of Small Business Conference where he said that a future Labour Government would address this scandal by requiring any company bidding for a public sector contract to pay its own suppliers within 30 days and would look at introducing for the private sector a system of binding arbitration with fines for persistent late payers.

The Leader of the Swindon Labour Group has stated his support for this policy, and has urged Swindon’s two MPs to acknowledge this exploitation of small businesses rather than making political attacks against Jeremy Corbyn.

Speaking to FSB conference delegates, Jeremy Corbyn said:

Postcode Checker Now Online To Help Residents Identify Their Parish Area

Swindon Council Civic Offices

Households in Swindon can now check what parish council area they will live in, thanks to a new postcode checker on the Council’s website.

Last month, the Council decided to create four new parish councils in Swindon, which will mean that 64,000 additional properties will be incorporated within a parished area for the first time.

Residents can find out which parished area they live in by using the postcode checker at: www.swindon.gov.uk/parishes

Swindon Council Faces Budget Blackhole following Government New Homes Bonus Announcement

Swindon Council Civic Offices

Swindon Council could face losing up to £7m of government funding in a matter of a few years, following the government’s announcement in their local government finance settlement that future New Homes Bonus money will be dependent on local authorities delivering enough new homes or that too many housing development applications aren’t dependent on being granted through planning appeal.

The Government has said they will revisit the case for withholding New Homes Bonus from 2018-19 from local authorities that are not making positive decisions on planning applications and delivering housing growth. To encourage more effective local planning they are also considering withholding payments for homes that are built following an appeal.

https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2016-12-15/debates/B374F8AC-A29F-4ABA-8083-44AEA90A299F/LocalGovernmentFinanceSettlement

Labour Group Leader Meet with Ofsted Directors

Swindon Council Civic Offices

The Labour Group’s Leader and Spokesperson for Education, Councillors Jim Grant and Carol Shelley, met with Bradley Simmons (Regional Director for Ofsted) and Simon Rowe (Senior HMI) on Wednesday this week to discuss the problems with Swindon’s education system and how it can rebuild.

The Labour Group agreed with Ofsted’s assessment that the Council was too defensive and failing to understand the problems faced in Swindon’s education system.

Ofsted also said that the Council’s 2014 Education Improvement Strategy had the right objectives in it, but needed to be delivered.

This follows Bradley Simmons, Regional Director for Ofsted, sending an open letter to Swindon Council criticising them for not recognising the problems in its local education provision.

The letter was sent on Friday 11th November to Swindon Council, the town’s two Conservative MPs and other local education stakeholders.

Labour Call For Speed Cameras To Be Brought Back As Option

Speed camera on Queens Drive

The Labour Group are calling on Swindon Council to include speed cameras as part of its range of options to tackle dangerous driving.

Swindon Council adopted a policy of switching off all Speed Cameras in 2008. They ended this as an option for tackling dangerous driving across Swindon. The Conservative administration claimed that there were other road traffic measures that could effectively address dangerous driving. At the time it was reported that Swindon was one of the top towns in the country for speeding.

In July this year Justin Tomlinson hosted a public meeting where North Swindon residents urged for more to be done to tackle dangerous driving along Thamesdown Drive- including motorists far exceeding the speed limit.  Similar calls have been made in communities neighbouring high speed roads like Cricklade Road, Drakes Way and Queens Drive.

The Swindon Labour Group Leader, Councillor Jim Grant, said:

Ofsted Confirm Swindon UTC Inspection

UTC Swindon Watertower

Following Labour Spokesperson for Education, Cllr Carol Shelley, writing to Ofsted calling on them to inspect the Swindon UTC, Ofsted has confirmed they will be inspecting Swindon UTC during this school year. Please find the Ofsted inspector’s letter to Cllr Carol Shelley attached.

Last week Councillor Carol Shelley wrote to Ofsted urging them to inspect Swindon UTC after it was found that only 25% of student places were filled at the college and their 2016 results “well below the national average”.

Following a Freedom of Information request, it was discovered the number of students enrolled in each year group as of October 28th were:

  • Year 10 – 78
  • Year 11 – 24
  • Year 12 – 28
  • Year 13 – 26

Each year group’s capacity is 150.

The University Technical College’s 2016 Key Stage 4 results have also been released and are deemed “well below the national average”, with only 36% of students achieving at least a C Grade in English and Maths. Click on the below link for further information:

Tories vote through Parish plan

Councillors Emma Bushell, Steve Allsopp and Abdul Amin campaigning against new parishes

In the face of almost universal opposition from residents, Tory Councillors used their majority to vote through plans to impose new parishes in Park North and Walcot and across Swindon by a margin of 29-26.

All Labour councillors voted against parishes and many Labour councillors made passionate arguments against parishing.

Local Cllrs Abdul Amin and Emma Bushell spoke about the strength of opposition to parishes from residents in Walcot and Park North and concerns about the impact parishing would have on the area.

Eastcott Councillor Encourages People to Take Part in Town Centre PSPO Consultation

Councillor Paul Dixon at Swindon Borough Council

Swindon Council is proposing to vary an order designed to curb anti-social behavior in the town centre. The current Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), which was introduced almost a year ago, focuses on issues such as keeping dogs on leads, begging, aggressive charity collecting and drinking in public. It also prohibits peddling or street trading, marking surfaces without the permission of the council, as well as skateboarding.

Following  feedback  from  members  of  the  public and  local businesses and  close  monitoring of  behaviour in  the  area,  Swindon  Borough  Council have proposed a number of amendments to the existing order.

PSPOs  were introduced  as  part of  the  Anti-social Behaviour, Crime  and  Policing  Act  2014 and  are primarily  aimed  at  changing  and  improving  behaviour. Anyone  caught  breaching the  order will be  advised  to  stop  their  activity  and,  if  they  fail  to  do  so,  a  fixed  penalty  notice may  be  issued. The fixed  penalty  is set  at  £100.

Labour Calls for Action following Ofsted “Failing Education System” Calls

Children in class

Labour is calling for action to resolve Swindon’s failing education system, following the Regional Director for Ofsted sending an open letter to Swindon Council criticising them for not recognising the problems in its local education provision.

The letter was sent on Friday 11th November to Swindon Council, the town’s two Conservative MPs and other local education stakeholders.

Bradley Simmons, Ofsted’s Regional Director, expresses his concerns in the letter about Swindon’s declining local education provision with less than 50% of Swindon secondary school students now being taught in “good” schools.

He also highlights:

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