Make Norfolk Labour Again
County Council elections will be held on 4 June 2009 Labour have been the main opposition Group at Norfolk County Council for the past four years. We have continued to challenge the Conservative administration on all issues but in particular the annual Budget. Labour have repeatedly offered up reduced council tax increases and improved council services for consideration but they have been thrown out without consideration.
Now we ask the people of Norfolk to trust us with their support so that we can implement affordable quality services. We want to make life better for all Norfolk residents.
We pledge not to increase Council Tax by more than 2% a year.
We have outlined our main commitments to future policy and believe that Norfolk can be stronger and offer much more opportunities for all to share, not just the few.
Norfolk County Labour Party
* since the last County election , under the Tories , Council Tax Band D has gone
up from £1004 to £1124 – an extra £120 or 11.88 %
Labour will provide better Children’s Services
Norfolk has received a lot of funding from the Labour Government for new or updating of local schools. Lack of direction by the County Council has resulted in many schools being classified by OFSTED as weak or poor. Pupil results are a postcode lottery because of failure to adapt the structures and the impact of social and economic deprivation in particular in Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Kings Lynn and Thetford The aspiration and achievement levels have not improved - in some areas they have actually become worse. We do not believe that the young people in Norfolk are less able than those in surrounding areas. Nor do we believe that teachers in Norfolk are less capable than others. So the issue that must be resolved is the support, training and structures that need to be set to ensure improvement. Our aspirations for Norfolk’s children are straightforward and ambitious: Labour will – - improve standards for all pupils in their local schools. provide excellent universal services for all children and their families be able to identify potential problems early, before things go wrong do something quickly to help children and their families get back on track when children are at risk
Encourage opportunities for all to learn and achieve their full potential. Provide more help and support for Foster Parents
Will make sure that all Government funding for Education goes to local schools. Provide more training and support to the 4,000 + School Governors Provide sufficient number of places for children with special educational needs within easy travelling distance from home.
Remove and replace all temporary classrooms Every school to have access to good playing fields and high quality sports equipment
Subsidies access to holiday play schemes and sports Offer every looked after-child a job with the County Council when they leave care Provide at least one additional Youth worker to each of the five areas.
Labour will provide better Adult Social Care Services
This is the second highest budget and in common with many other counties the weakest of all the services provided by the County. Norfolk has one of the highest percentages numbers of older people per population so that it is understandable that local services are stretched. In recent years, the Conservatives have consistently refused to substantially increase the budget to meet increased need.. They claim not to have cut front-line service but the impact has been felt elsewhere a short term policy which might be acceptable. The main impact has been to place more responsibility on the voluntary care service providers. Labour will – Provide additional support to enable more people to live in their own homes for longer- including shopping services, telemedicare, falls service and unplanned need. Increase the number of individual assessment and service packages tailored to the individual Work alongside the Voluntary Sector and establish a Social Enterprise Unit to provide more personalised care Increase working with local NHS to provide better co-ordinated care and support Extend dial a ride facilities to enable greater mobility
Provide more options for those people going to a residential home with more houses provided directly by the County . Build more ‘Very’ Sheltered Housing schemes. Increase amount run by County council such as Harriet Court in Norwich, Laburnum Grove in Thetford , The Lawns in Great Yarmouth , Lisbon Court in Kings Lynn and Benjamin Court in Cromer .
Improve support and training to voluntary Carers Continue to provide free swimming for over 60’s at local facilities
Labour will create a better Environment
Reality of global warming and higher cost of resources means that in our homes, at work or the services we use there is now a real need to demonstrate that the environment is high on our collective agendas. Positive action and planning in using the right product or service can have huge impact on both the locality and financial savings . We need to support locally-produced foods, products and services - that’s not just good for the environment it is also good for Norfolk economy too. Labour will strive to achieve Norfolk becoming the most Green County in England Labour will – Research the most environmentally-friendly alternatives for dealing with waste that can not be recycled or re-used Work with the District Councils, Chambers of Commerce and private sector to significantly improve the amount of recycled commercial waste. Recycling and re-use has to be given a high priority. We will radically change the amounts and type of waste that domestic users can take to the recycling centres – to ensure a maximum of materials are recycled. In addition we would establish reuse centres for DIY materials etc Run a environment and carbon test on every proposed Norfolk County Council decision so that the most sustainable decision can be made even if this is not the cheapest financially in the shorter term. Provide a free check to every house in the County to see if cavity wall or roof insulation could install and help people access grants and free entitlements. Carry out a fit-for-purpose check on all County Council property including a sustainability test. All new build County Council property will have to meet sustainable building criteria. Ensure that all new County buildings are designed and built to high environmental standards , using sustainable materials and underground heat sourced as well as use of grey water to minimise water usage.
Plan for every school to switch to the most environmentally-friendly and cost effective way to heat and provide power for the school
Reconsider the criteria for subsidies to local buses so that quality of service is assurured and that bus and rail connectivity is improved.
- Promote the free bus travel card for the elderly introduced by the Labour Government and ensure that it can be used on Norfolk’s Park and Ride services. Introduce a Youth Travel Card. This ‘smart’ card would provide half fare on buses and trains within Norfolk for all 14 to 19 year olds and be linked to other local discount schemes such as sports centres and cinemas. Continue to lobby for improvements to the A47 and A11 and improved rail services. - Extend cycle routes in particular routes to schools Have 20mph speed limits outside each school
Continue to support the building of the Northern Distributor Route to relieve the pressure of traffic on Norwich and its northern suburbs. This will enable us to provide fast and reliable public transport in and around Norwich and improve the environment for walkers and cyclists .
Oppose the growing of GM crops within the County-owned farms and encourage tenants to farm organically.
Maintain a modern and properly equipped Fire Protection service and Emergency Flood Warning system with specific officer training to deal with flood emergencies
Labour will provide better Library and cultural services
Libraries are one of the most used County services and play an important part of local communities and individual development. Culture can have, a great commercial and educational impact on both individuals and the wider community . Norfolk has some great local museums, which are well loved and valued by all that use them. Tourism is the largest industry with the County which means they play a big role in terms of employment and local business. Labour will – Provide free access to all County Council run museums Establish a Trust to manage a new Art Gallery in Norwich to display the many fine arts that currently are in storage and not accessible to the public. Extend opening times of all libraries and where space allows to integrate more local services under one roof Abolish the reservation charges for ordering library books Work more closely with Norfolk tourism organisations to attract more visitors to the county.
Labour will invest in the community
Investment is crucial to bring about development and new job opportunities. We also need to be mindful of the social impacts. Local communities be they Parish Councils or Community Associations need to be involved in local decision-making. Labour would ensure that in any community in any County led development or provision of services, that there was community ownership. Labour will – Provide ‘locality funding ‘ so that councillors can develop and action very local schemes which have been agreed with local residents With Government and European assistance create regeneration schemes to attract new jobs in particularly in areas of high levels of deprivation such as Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Kings Lynn and Thetford Give special attention to Crime prevention. Working with the Police and District councils, ensure that crime and anti social behaviour is not tolerated. Simple solutions can often be the most constructive – for example , in some areas alleygate’s have reduced house and shed burglaries by 60%. No crime is acceptable. We are fortunate in having a low level of crime in Norfolk but Labour will be working to make Norfolk the safest county in England . Strive for a planned and balanced approach to new development with a mixed approach to establish communities not building plots Ensure that all the 2nd homes council tax is used to provide affordable housing and that suitable County owned land is made available for affordable housing projects. Work with District councils to ensure a co-ordinated approach and quotas of affordable housing are met. Lobby for firms to re-locate to Norfolk in particularly those that offer good training, and apprenticeship schemes. Support the retention of local post offices , and support community enterprise ‘coops’ Create new opportunities for young people to get into farming and agriculture Create a one telephone number to report all none emergencies such as graffiti, failed lamp lights, stray dogs , anti social behaviour etc Extend opportunities for residents to invest in Credit Unions throughout Norfolk