LABOUR GROUP MANIFESTO 2017
Creating a Transport System fit for the 21st Century
• Continued support for road improvements where there is an economic case and local support
• Using the powers and inﬂuence we have to provide integrated and sustainable transport for Norfolk, including through ticketing
• Bringing pressure to government and rail franchisees to provide reliable, accessible and aﬀordable rail services
For too long, the people of Norfolk have been let down by poor road and public transport links. Unless you can aﬀord to run a car, it can be diﬃcult and expensive to get to shops, medical appointments, work, school and college or even to visit friends and family members.
It is time to start joining up the transport infrastructure we have and developing the best possible services – especially bus services. In Norwich bus journeys are increasing after sustained investment.
What’s good for Norwich is good for Norfolk. Targeted investment and partnerships with bus companies, community transport groups and other councils has talked about for years but never delivered. Working with employers to synchronise bus arrival times with business start and ﬁnish times and coordinating with rail services and the airport are sensible ways to make it easier to use public transport. More passengers make services more ﬁnancially viable.
Ticketing in Norfolk is notoriously complicated, confusing and inconvenient. Labour will invest to introduce smart ticketing to reduce costs and make it easier to buy through tickets whatever the mode of transport.
There is a strong case for more investment. More people going to work resulting from increased educational achievement; reducing loneliness that leads to extra calls on the NHS and ensuring people can get help when they need it. The common sense and convenience of a good, integrated transport system will ultimately help cover the costs. Public transport in Norfolk will never be able to fully pay its way without subsidy which is why Labour will commit to earmark money annually to make improvements. Labour will also vigorously lobby the Government and Investment Agencies to ensure that Norfolk gets a fair deal for public transport services.
The promised new rolling stock under the Abellio contract has yet to materialise and there has been no announcement yet about the money needed to upgrade the rail infrastructure which the new trains will need. The old infrastructure is unreliable so that when upgrade work eventually starts, services will be disrupted. At best, this means passengers will simply be sitting in newer and more comfortable trains which are stll being delayed and disrupted and/or still enduring the same rail replacement bus services. “Norwich in 90” still seems like a pipe dream.
Providing Support for those who need it
• We will lead by example by creating Carer Friendly Norfolk
• Working with communites and voluntary organisations
• Valuing our care workers’ working conditions and pay
• Listening to and working with people who use social care services
One of Labour’s ﬂagship policies for the County Council elections is the creation of a Carer Friendly Norfolk. Unpaid carers in Norfolk would ﬁll Carrow Road football ground 4 times over.
Carers are aged from four to over ninety. Carers can be children who look after parents or siblings and juggle their school work, often with little time or support for themselves; carers can be working people who look after dependents or older relatives; carers can be friends or neighbours who step in to make a diﬀerence. Many provide care for more than 50 hours a week. They provide care because they care about those they look after. Their care is what makes all the diﬀerence to vulnerable people in need.
The care which is given is priceless. It is estimated that the care which unpaid carers in Norfolk provide would cost £500m a year so that, even in the good times, the help given is unaﬀordable if it had to be paid for. The burdens on carers are stressful and onerous. We want to encourage and help schools, employers and carers themselves to increase visibility, recognition and support for these unsung heroes.
Employers – Labour is asking employers to join us in a developing a Carers Charter for employees who have caring responsibilities. This would include things like time oﬀ in emergencies, reorganising work- loads so that carers are better able to combine working and their caring responsibilities. This means that the needs of the person they are caring for can be more easily met and some of the strain will be taken oﬀ the carer. By signing up to this initiative, ﬁrms will become better employers and it will assist them to recruit from a wider range of potential employees as they’ll be able to advertise for new recruits using a ‘Carer Friendly’ logo. Carers are likely to be a less stressed and be more productive employees. Having a carer who is less stressed means that the person being cared for will also beneﬁt.
Schools – Some schools and colleges know which young people are carers, many don’t. Young carers can lose out because they have no social life and are tired or distracted by their caring duties. They deserve special support. We will work with schools and young carers to give them the support they need and help them to also have some fun.
Communities – Network of carer friendly communities working with existing local organisations e.g. Parish Councils, voluntary organisations and informal groups.
Discount Cards – Labour is asking businesses including shops and leisure organisations to join us in launching a Discount Card system for carers.
Making Norfolk a great place to grow up
Raising educational standards
• Tackling the achievement gap
• Opposing selective education
• Supporting school improvement
Protecting our children
• Keeping all Children’s Centres open
• Helping families early, not waiting for crisis
• Guaranteeing mental health support for all schools
• Protecting services and improving life for children with disabilities
Norfolk is a great place to live but it’s clear that not all our children are able to equally enjoy the opportunities which Norfolk offers. When the electorate rejected the Norfolk Tories in 2013 it was only just becoming apparent how badly let down Norfolk’s children had been. Successive Ofsted reports had condemned the standards in educational achievement and how Norfolk looked after our most vulnerable children. Between 2013 and 2016, the Labour-led alliance acted quickly to kick-start the improvements needed. Since May 2016 when the Tories returned to power, standards have again dropped.
Labour has pledged to do whatever it takes to give all young people in Norfolk a good start in life.
This will include:-
• Using money held in reserves to finance necessary changes to ensure that children are not left at risk and are supported closer to home
• Establish a structure that secures a stable senior management team who have clear targets and political accountability
• Scrupulous review of performance and effectiveness by employing more frontline staff so that social work teams have the time they need to support families and keep children safe
• Ensuring that there are clear political responsibilities and that the safety of Norfolk’s children is owned by every County Councillor, not just the Children’s Services Committee
Since the Tories came back to power, there have been frequent and ill-explained changes in top management. It is destabilising and damages hard pressed staff’s morale.
Unacceptably large salaries are being paid to short-term senior staff who will not be around long enough to see us out of this crisis whilst frontline staff are being told to curtail spending money, under the Tories there is no political leadership or long -term strategy.
Labour will be vigorous in ensuring that all our children are safe and have a successful future. Norfolk’s children will be at the heart of all that we do.
Protecting Norfolk’s unique environment
• Strengthening and protecting our Adult Education Centres
• Ensuring that community assets are used for community good
• Promoting fairer pricing for museums so local families can afford to visit them
• Countering environmental threats e.g. flooding
• Fighting unsuitable developments e.g. opposing fracking in Norfolk
• Keeping all Fire Stations open with no reduction in Firefighters
• Maintaining and enhancing community use of our first-class comprehensive county-wide Library Service
• Street lighting – switching streetlights back on at night in urban areas where there is local demand
We love Norfolk because of the quality of its environment, the communities we live in and the diverse range of facilities that the county offers. The Fire Service protects us; Libraries are at the heart of our communities; our Museums and Adult Learning Services keeps fresh our heritage and adaptability. Whilst embracing the future, Norfolk faces threats – some natural e.g. seasonal flooding, others man-made e.g. as the result of global warming. We will oppose fracking and resist funding cuts which prevent mitigation and protection of our county, our coastline and our people.
Norfolk cannot manage all this alone so Labour will protect what we can – no reduction in our Fire Service, Libraries, Museums and Adult Education. We will fight for the resources to protect our county and against schemes which will undermine the quality of Norfolk as “The Best Place to Live”.
Securing good jobs with fair pay
• A Labour Council will pay a genuine living wage and require our contractors to do the same
• Promoting apprenticeships throughout Norfolk
• Attracting investment and creating new jobs
It is important to generate new high skills, high tech, high value jobs in Norfolk. We have huge potential to create wealth and fulfil our potential as an economic powerhouse post Brexit. The Tory Government response to that potential has been inadequate and Labour in Norfolk will continue to beat the drum for our county.
There are many residents for whom these types of jobs are unattainable. Lower skilled and less well-paid jobs are no less important to employers or people who rely on the income from them. Labour will build on our track record of supporting and promoting apprenticeships and vocational training. We will ensure that there are jobs available for those who complete apprenticeships and a range of other employment for those who don’t.