Boston Labour Party
Latest in News
Boston Labour councillors believe that the reputation of Boston Borough Council has been seriously damaged following the cancellation of the Christmas Market. We know that Boston Borough Council were quick to do a “myth busting” operation on this event to cover their back. We believe this has spectacularly back fired on them. There were over 10,000 Facebook “hits” over the last few days condemning the cancellation. We believe that this town needs some real leadership from our council.
We also feel that last weekend’s fiasco could have been avoided and we will be urging that the scrutiny committees at Boston Borough Council look at event planning in the future. There is no way we can continue to fund event planning teams if they are not there to support and guide events in our town.
People are now getting fed up with the negative publicity that Boston keeps getting in the press. We believe it is high time that we develop an events action plan to promote Bike nights; Central Park events and other community festivals/events. That is why we believe we have to set up a task and finish group to address the issue and ensure we have systems that enable events to happen, avoiding further damage to the town’s reputation, and assist with planning of prestige events – and never again should we have to cancel a Christmas Market.
Posted on December 11, 2013 8:44 am by Paul Gleeson
Boston Labour councillors read a report recently from the Leader of York Council, who counts himself as one of many working people living in York who are being priced out of the city. The cost of property in York is so high that he cannot afford to buy a home in the city. The average rent is £650 a month and he receives £1,650 a month after tax. “My rent is £675 and I cannot afford to buy a property in York,” he says. “I am leader of the council, so if I cannot afford to buy a property then there are many people my age earning less than me who are being priced out of their city. They are being priced out even to rent, let alone buy property.” He thinks that the government is focusing too much on the people receiving welfare rather than on welfare spend: “There are not enough homes and taxpayers are funding housing benefit,” he says. “If you want to address welfare spend then introduce rent capping.”
We are fully aware that within the UK at the present time, there is a real squeeze on rent levels. We also think the problems of Boston are probably worse than York because we have the highest rent levels within the towns and cities of the East Midlands with some of the lowest wages in the country. We believe it is time that we deal with the level of rent prices and that within our new licensing scheme we should stop some of the overcrowding and force our landlords to charge a reasonable rent for their properties, rather than thinking they can exploit whoever they like. We will be urging the next Labour government to legislate against excessive rent levels and being in a rent cap.
Posted on December 9, 2013 7:42 am by Paul Gleeson
Rest in Peace Comrade President Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)
Umkhonto we Sizwe
“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”
Posted on December 5, 2013 11:18 pm by Paul Gleeson
Labour launches “cost of living bombshell” poster
Chris Leslie MP, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said:
“David Cameron’s cost-of-living bombshell has left working people on average £1600 a year worse off since the last election.
“After three damaging years of flatlining, prices are still rising faster than wages, which is why for millions of people there is still no recovery at all.
“But David Cameron and George Osborne are so out of touch they have chosen to give people earning over £150,000 a huge tax cut.”
Chris Leslie added:
“What we need from the Autumn Statement is a long-term plan to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and earn our way to higher living standards for all, not just a few at the top.
Posted on December 5, 2013 8:12 am by Paul Gleeson
Boston Labour Councillors believe that local government must be cautious and restrict fracking to protect communities and our planet. The process of drilling or injecting fluid into the ground to extract shale gas or oil, known as fracking, has divided not only governments but communities. These concerns are shared across Europe, where recently courts in France upheld a complete ban. In the UK, environmental groups have campaigned to get landowners, who feel ill at ease about the potential havoc fracking can cause, to oppose it.
But the British government has brushed aside concerns, instead offering lucrative tax breaks to energy companies as they eye the serious economic and political returns that shale gas has to offer. The promises of being the “greenest government ever” seem something of a distant memory with shale gas offering a quick-fire way to drive down costs, get voters onside and find a viable alternative to asking citizens to pull on another jumper.
While political parties continue to make up their minds on shale gas exploration, local government must contend with doing their utmost to resolve local antagonism, and protect communities and their environment.
Recently we attended a local meeting. Unfortunately we were left with more questions than answers. We will be strongly urging that before we see fracking in our area, we would like to see a major public meeting organised by Boston Borough Council to make sure that all of our concerns are answered.
Posted on December 4, 2013 8:14 am by Paul Gleeson
Boston Labour Councillors were interested to read that English authorities could be forced to return £26 million to government if they don’t start spending. Millions of pounds of unspent emergency housing funding could be returned to the government, after councils used just a fraction of their combined £155 million pot in the first half of the year.
Figures show 161 of the 212 English councils that responded to an Inside Housing freedom of information request spent less than half their discretionary housing payment funds in the first half of the financial year. Of these, 33 councils spent less than a quarter of their DHP allocation, while six spent less than 15 per cent.
The government made £155 million in DHPs available to UK councils in April to mitigate the impact of welfare reforms. Authorities are not allowed to roll unspent money over at the end of the year, meaning £26 million of a total £87.5 million in unspent cash will be handed back by the survey respondents if their current spending is maintained.
The chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: ‘People are crying out for help and although resources may be scarce, support must be given to people where it’s available.’
Of the total £155 million DHP pot, £65 million is designated to help people hit by the benefit cap and £30 million for those hit by the bedroom tax, although councils were left with discretion over how to use their allocation. Many have warned the DHP funding is insufficient.
We intend to keep a close eye on this issue as we believe that Boston Borough Council can and should do more do more. We will be asking them to show us what they have already done and what they intend to do in the future to assist the vulnerable people who have been affected by these Tory government welfare reforms.
Posted on December 2, 2013 8:31 am by Paul Gleeson
Caroline Flint MP, Labour’s Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, will today launch Labour’s consultation process on the party’s plans for the biggest reform of Britain’s electricity and gas market since the privatisation of the 1980s.
The Energy Green Paper, published by Ed Miliband and Caroline Flint on Friday in Manchester, set out the steps a One Nation Labour government will take to reset the energy market during the 20 month price freeze to ensure energy is affordable and available for the long term by:
* Improving competition and transparency in both the wholesale and retail market
* Replacing Ofgem with a new regulator with real teeth to prevent overcharging
* Establishing a new Energy Security Board to plan and deliver the capacity Britain needs
* Setting a decarbonisation target for 2030 and giving the Green Investment Bank new powers to encourage investment in clean energy
Speaking at the IPPR thinktank today, Caroline Flint is expected to say:
“With Labour’s strong and comprehensive energy plan, we will put an end to people being overcharged and power Britain into the next century together. Over the last two months our plans to freeze energy bills for 20 months have shone a light on an energy market that no-longer works for Britain. But this is only one part of our plan. Our reforms during the 20 month price freeze will reset the market with real competition and proper regulation so that prices are affordable for the long-term.”
On David Cameron and Nick Clegg’s announcement on green levies, she is expected to say:
“If David Cameron and Nick Clegg think just doing what the energy companies ask of them is the answer to bills being too high they are wrong. Energy bills have gone up by £120 this winter alone, so even with a £50 cut in levies, people’s bills will still be higher this winter than last year. The real reason bills are rising year on year without justification is because the energy market is broken. Instead of bailing out the energy companies, David Cameron should stand up to them and stop them overcharging people.”
Posted on December 2, 2013 8:07 am by Paul Gleeson
A National Audit Office report has revealed that blunders by BIS ministers have blown a huge £600 million a year hole in support for Britain’s students and their families, at a time when the country is facing a cost of living crisis.
The NAO report, ‘Student Loan Repayments’, published today reveals that BIS ministers dramatically over-estimated the number of graduates who will be able to repay the new, higher student fees introduced by the Tory led government.
Ministers assumed that 35% of the new loans would never be repaid – but House of Commons Library analysis of the NAO’s report reveals today that the correct figure is over 40%.
Universities Minister David Willetts has himself suggested that the shortfall is the result of the cost of living crisis hitting families across Britain with earnings being “lower than was forecast”.
House of Commons Library analysis, commissioned by Liam Byrne, reveals that the miscalculation means that BIS will now have to find an extra £600 million a year from 2015/16, blowing a huge hole in the department’s budget. The blunder may total £3 billion over the course of the next Parliament.
Liam Byrne MP, Labour’s Minister for Higher Education, Skills and Science said:
Labour has warned ministers time and time again that tripling fees overnight would create huge new debts that lots of students, facing a cost-of-living crisis, couldn’t afford to pay back.
“In May, the Universities Minister was boasting of the government’s ‘text-book’ reforms. Now we learn that blundering out-of-touch ministers got their sums so badly wrong that there’s a £600 million hole in the department’s budget.
“We need to know fast how ministers got it so wrong, and how they’re going to fix it without putting the Britain’s scientists, students and colleges under threat.
“Worse of all, we may be at the point where so many students loans are being written off, that the government’s new student finance system is actually more expensive than the old arrangements, even though the government is asking students for three times as much money.”
Posted on November 28, 2013 8:34 am by Paul Gleeson
Boston Labour Councillors are disappointed that councillors from all groups other than Labour continue to argue about attendances. We have been arguing as a Labour group since May 2011 that Boston Borough Councillors should be more transparent about their attendances. We have argued that every councillor should produce an annual report. We have also suggested that if people feel their councillor is not serving them well, they should have the right of recall.
So we urge the people of Boston to support us by demanding that their councillor produce an annual report which is available on the council website for all to read. At the same time the council should publish the attendance at all meetings including outside bodies. Let’s have real transparency. To date the Labour councillors are the only councillors who publish annual reports – see our website www.bostonlabour.org.uk . Sadly the committee that deals with councillor’s development refuses to endorse these sensible ideas. So why won’t your councillors tell you what they are doing – have they been doing anything at all? – or have they got something to hide?
Posted on November 27, 2013 8:29 am by Paul Gleeson
While the government has failed to act, Labour would outlaw the exploitative use of zero-hours contracts – Ian Murray
Ian Murray MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment, commenting on new Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development research on zero-hours contracts, said:
“At a time when families are struggling with a cost of living crisis under this government we have seen the rise of insecurity at work as David Cameron has made it easier to fire, not easier to hire.
“This new research confirms estimates that there are as many as 1 million people employed on zero-hours contracts, while Ministers still insist on using a discredited statistics which are far lower than this. It also highlights concerns on bad practice and exploitation, with one in five workers on zero-hours contracts saying their pay is lower than comparable permanent staff and 40 per cent not receiving notice of work not being available.
“While the government has failed to act, Labour would outlaw the exploitative use of zero-hours contracts.”
Posted on November 26, 2013 8:46 am by Paul Gleeson