Stephen Brown, Wyre Forest Labour, commenting on Garnier’s weekly column:
"Seriously Mark, you’re blaming the demise of the carpet industry on the EU and cheap Belgian carpets? Cheap shot especially when carpet imports have remained more or less, recession aside, within an inflationary margin of similar value since 2004 only peaking back to 2004 levels since 2014. And what about child labour in carpet factories in Asia exporting here? What has the Govt done to combat that and challenge child exploitation to stop it for moral reasons, let alone what it’s doing to jobs here?
Cheap carpets maybe but not just from the EU. That free trade you champion, it’s caused cheap imports from all manner of countries outside of the EU (Asia, Turkey, China, India, Middle East) that have also hit us. The carpet industry has been in decline since the 70’s and accelerated under Tories in the 80’s as they decimated traditional manufacturing. Tastes have also changed towards hard flooring for instance, and since 2010 the current Govt of which you are part, have caused people’s wages to stagnate and wider economy to falter exacerbated by Brexit. People can’t buy what they can’t afford can they? But do carry on indulging in whataboutery and finger pointing to distract from the real issues as you conversely argue for such ‘trade’ on coffee.
And the coffee, yes, we should be doing what we can to support coffee growing economies through fair trade and other such initiatives. However, if it wasn’t processed here for instance, and it does provide UK jobs, what do you think would happen to those UK jobs in that sector? You seem to be preaching for free trade at the expense of UK jobs? I note you’ve been touring South America,(which actually does have processing plants - try Brazil) funny plugging coincidence that eh?
I think those in Wyre Forest who voted for you would sooner you champion jobs and trade for Wyre Forest, after all, it’s they who pay your wages as an MP.
And if you think ‘free trade’ really exists and our exit from the EU is suddenly going to mean other countries are going to open their doors to us, and risk damage to their own economy (eg USA) only to serve a Tory Brexit illusion, think on.
What we need is a proper industrial, financial, infrastructure, and jobs first strategy. And all we get is Tory chaos and egos vying for top Tory jobs. And from you.......misinformation about carpet industry, and ramblings about the coffee trade. Keep up the good work."
Despite Wyre Forest Tory MP Mark Garnier's bluster in the press about how new management will sort out Worcs NHS difficulties, it seems the Care Quality Commission (CQC) see things differently.
The CQC has kept Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust in special measures with a damning indictment of all our local hospitals.
Stephen Brown Labour Press Officer said "The only praise is for hard pressed frontline staff pushed to the limit to cope, yet cope they do, and continue to do their best under a failing regime underpinned by a serious lack of resources".
New management has clearly failed to change things or make significant improvements. That is because there is insufficient funding and nothing short of proper resourcing will change that.
Stephen Brown went on to say "This is part of a wider picture of Tory NHS neglect and makes Kidderminster vulnerable if the Tory Naylor Report is actioned and they sell off premises to prop up revenue streams to keep services afloat. Tory quick fix schemes designed to hand over NHS estates to their privateer mates is not good enough. This would have destroyed Garnier's hopes of re-election if the public knew the true scale of the crisis in our local NHS. A crisis he and his party have overseen. That's why we need another election and soon. The Tories have no answers to any of the big issues facing our country".
The Trust is presented as having a reactive and not pro-active approach and it demonstrates a fundamental underlying dysfunction that simply changing management won't address. It needs more money and a proper strategy to deliver NHS services across the piece that only Labour can provide.
Resourcing issues do play a major part and it is noted that waiting times, radiography, referral times (cancer) and mental health provision all have major failings. These are all things Wyre Forest Labour and its activists have been concerned about and raised at various times. Members by the coach load went to demonstrate in London in March about it. Who's listening because Garnier and his Health Secretary Hunt are most certainly not?
It is most concerning for the whole county and disappointing for Wyre Forest residents that Kidderminster is rated inadequate too. It puts Kidderminster under severe scrutiny that may impact its long term survival if the Trust focuses all its efforts on one site (Worcester) to gain the improvements needed by raising funds on asset sales to pay for wider clinical improvements.
Worcestershire NHS is facing further funding problems too. Tory STP cuts of £123 million must be found for a Worcs NHS already £37million in the red. What's happening is simply unsustainable.
Labour will carry on the fight to save our NHS and hold Garnier and the Tories to account. The clock is already ticking down on their time in Government just days after the election, and the sooner they're out the better - for the many - as the few have had it all their own way for far too long.
WFCLP PRESS OFFICER
Being part of Wyre Forest Labour is a great way to get involved in politics and meet likeminded people who share your values.
Wyre Forest Constituency Labour Party is comprised of four branches across Kidderminster, Stourport-on-Severn, and Bewdley which hold monthly meetings, organise local campaigns, select and support candidates for local, regional and national elections. All branches are involved in campaigning on issues both local and national. We also have regular social events where members get together on a more informal basis.
There has been a very encouraging growth in membership over the past 18 months. We currently have over 1,500 members, affiliates and registered supporters.
We have fought several campaigns to improve services – and often to oppose cuts proposed by Tory-led Worcestershire County Council and Wyre Forest District Council.
Our political activity takes many forms;
Our members attend local council meetings, from parish level upwards. We try to be part of any and every meeting or consultation involving issues such as the NHS, Social Care, Schools, Children's Centres, Housing and Transport. We run street stalls to raise awareness of many local and national issues.
Our members lobby local politicians and write to local newspapers on a wide variety of subjects.
We send a delegation to the Labour Party conference every year to ensure our voice is heard. In addition we have been an active part of several Labour Party policy initiatives in line with the "bottom up" approach of the current leadership.
The Labour party is for every member and we welcome input, comments, thoughts and direction from everyone.
The Tory Government is imposing real terms funding cuts by freezing per-pupil funding while inflation and costs increase. The most deprived areas will be hit hardest.
The Education Policy Institute research found that under the proposed new formula even those schools which the government has said would benefit, would be worse off. This was because of inflation, reductions in local authority funding, and the £3billion worth of education savings that schools must make by 2019-20.
Using Government statistics, it is clear that even after the new Formula has been introduced, all schools in the Wyre Forest area will be worse off in real terms by 2020. The average real terms budget cut will be 9.5% in primary schools and 8.7% in secondaries.
For example, in Kidderminster, Birchen Coppice Primary will lose £250,000 or the equivalent of 7 teachers, whilst Baxter College will be £331,000 worse off equivalent to 8 teachers; and schools in Stourport and Bewdley will not fare any better with Bewdley School set to lose £303,000 meaning 8 teachers, with Stourport High School losing a whopping £741,000 which is 17 teachers.
Schools are already struggling with their finances. Budgets have been cut to the bone, class sizes have increased, subjects have been dropped from the curriculum and materials and resources are scarce. All this comes at a time of soaring pupil numbers and a developing crisis in teacher recruitment and retention. Not to mention the loss of arts subjects like dance, drama and music in many schools.
The current Government was elected on a manifesto that promised to protect school funding. It seems we are about to witness another broken Tory manifesto pledge.
Stephen Brown said "Schools in Wyre Forest are set to be hit hard by yet more Government cuts. Cuts that ironically Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier campaigned for in 2015/2016 under the guise of a fairer funding formula after getting local schools and parents to support him. Our MP is a fraud, he claims to stand up for Wyre Forest but the growing evidence is quite the opposite, he clearly has no idea what he's doing and I think those local schools and parents now have a right to be very angry. He's even boasting about this nonsense on his website. He continually supports policies detrimental to our communities. We'd like Mark Garnier to explain how education cuts totalling some £4.3million in Wyre Forest and thanks to his campaign, are going to improve our children's life chances? It is a fact that 28% of our residents already have no qualifications. We should be championing education to improve our children's prospects not destroying them. Worcestershire is already 123rd out of 151 councils in the school funding tables and this will make things worse. This is how a Tory Government rewards its own MP's and constituencies, by robbing kids of their education for daring to speak up. Meanwhile, the Government has got money to throw at pet ideological projects like divisive new Grammar and Free schools to the tune of £320million, now we know where that money is coming from. They should be supporting what we already have. It's a disgrace".
You can see the exact funding cuts to each school where you live here:
How will your local school be affected by funding cuts?
Education funding crisis as every secondary school faces losing six teachers due to Tory cuts
All state schools in England 'to face funding gap by 2020'
Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-39292344
Theresa May told her school cuts are forcing teachers to buy 'pens, pencils and paper' out of their own pockets
Wyre Forest Labour reacted angrily yesterday as Ministers rejected Labour's demand in Parliament for a full business rates review.
Wyre Forest Labour believes local businesses are already under enough strain because of rising inflation, the rising cost of raw materials post Brexit, and High Street shops facing mounting pressure from online competition which is free from the overheads of our more traditional retailers.
With even The Federation Of Small Businesses crying foul as it says 500,000 businesses could see up to a 300% rates rise: Why has the Government chosen now to hike business rates for 60% of businesses and claim any criticism from its own MP's is just "distortion and half truths"?
Stephen Brown of Wyre Forest Labour said "Whilst the Government is increasingly reacting in a hostile fashion to any criticism or expose of its failings in a Trumpesque manner, unfortunately today it went one step further by sticking two fingers up to hard pressed businesses. By rejecting a Labour demand for a proper review of business rates in the Local Government Finance Bill it demonstrated contempt for small businesses in our local towns".
Stephen Brown went on to say "we should be supporting our local businesses and not making things harder for them. Labour wants to see a fairer system for business rates so small business can compete with the big multi-nationals and put them in a strong position post-Brexit to be able to compete on the world stage. The Tories talk about business being strangled by EU red tape but it seems they instead want to strangle them with more financial burdens. With the local Tory council killing our High Streets with parking charges too, it seems no Tory will be content until we have no businesses left on the High Streets of Wyre Forest. It's all totally wrong and our local businesses which support our local economy deserves better".
Wyre Forest Labour is calling upon all of Worcestershire's MP's to seek an urgent meeting with the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to launch a proper Inquiry into what is going on inside Worcestershire NHS Trusts.
It is simply not enough that one MP, Worcester's Robin Walker, is seeking to meet the Health Secretary to discuss the recent deaths at Worcestershire Royal Hospital when all of the other Tory MP's remain silent on this crisis. They are putting votes before lives and have consistently underplayed the difficulties.
This is a crisis of the Tories making given our Tory MP's have supported every measure the Government has introduced since 2010, without question, including the catastrophic top down pro-privatisation reorganisation that's exacerbating this desperate situation.
The chronic Tory underfunding of the NHS, Worcestershire's NHS debt (£26 million and counting for Acute NHS with a questionable surplus in the Health Trust), the Acute Trust's farcical remodelling review; plus the inability of the Health Secretary and our MP's to hold our NHS Trusts to account is now killing people and runs the potential for a Stafford Hospital type scenario on our own doorstep.
What are they doing to solve this crisis? Are they calling for more NHS funding? More doctors and nurses? A top down clear out of clearly incompetent management? Just what is their plan? They need to do all of this and more to restore people's confidence in our local NHS.
Over the last year or so we've seen wards closed in our local hospitals, centralisation of important children's, maternity, and A&E services, loss of mental health services, whistleblowers hounded out (Ken Hall), unreported x-rays putting patients at risk, serious bullying claims, and the latest deaths allied to an inability to cope with demand and temporary shutting of local Kidderminster and Redditch services to bring staff cover into Worcester. All whilst NHS management may attempt to persuade us that everything is under control but a quick read of the latest CQC report reveals otherwise, yet nothing changes. Why?
What they are presenting to us by doing all of this is unfortunately the REAL picture once they have implemented their current (centralising) remodelling of Acute services. A remodelling using a consultation exercise that is meaningless to most of us in our communities because it is a cost saving plan that is only likely to lead to more problems. The recent demise of 'Save The Alex' demonstrates the level of frustration of our community activists in trying to save our NHS for local people in the face of intransigent NHS management and its political masters. Kidderminster suffered similar frustration many years ago but it seems the lessons have not been learned either by the NHS or elected politicians.
NHS managers are clearly prepared to go to any lengths, including unlawful employment practices, to cover up the extent of this crisis, and the following information is probably only the tip of the iceberg. Sources inside the Acute Trust who wish to remain anonymous for fear of management reprisal, told Wyre Forest Labour:
"ED nurses have been instructed that they are not allowed to have proper breaks, and those working in triage or minors have been told that they are to eat their dinner and have their drinks "on the go" whilst they are in their rooms working. They are not to go and have their breaks in the staff room. They do 12 hour shifts".
Given the 3 deaths in Worcester, expecting nurses to work without breaks will lead to more mistakes, maybe even deaths, and personal and professional consequences for nurses too (they'll get the blame for errors before the true culprits - managers and the Govt). Only recently in Ayr, and not the first case either, a nurse crashed her car because she was so tired after working a shift where she had no breaks. Is this what our Trust bosses want by working their staff to death?
The time has come for a full inquiry into Worcestershire NHS Trusts.
Wyre Forest Labour Party
Labour remains concerned at some outstanding issues:
The original consultation document stated the Service's target response times for life risk incidents in Wyre Forest were at 61% and so lower than the target 75%. Further, that this 10 minute response time target which is what is being referred to, was on average 10 minutes 55 seconds in Wyre Forest, and goes on to say they accept there will longer times for some responses but don't say how long (an admittance in fact the service will deteriorate). The document also has a number of callouts from Stourport to cover Kidderminster quoted so there is a clear further need for additional resource as full timers rather than retained in my view if they are to offset slower response times, and especially those incidents needing back-up or for concurrent incidents.
Bewdley on the face of it would seem most at risk here, but the document had a cavalier attitude in general in describing all risk by more or less saying most of it is in Kidderminster in terms of incidents (well it would because it's bigger isn't it with more dense population) and so thereby seemingly dismissing the importance of servicing the towns and rural areas and the risk to life in these areas. No mention of how this will be addressed!
Will there be further consultation I wonder given the consultation report itself, and most importantly, specifically highlighted the point that any location decision should be followed by additional consultation as requested by residents?
What is not clear is what amendments, if any from any public concerns, have been made following the 'consultation'? Some risk factors in order to save money in a Government cuts, which is the real issue here, appear not to have been addressed? For example: Have/how they addressed the additional response time risk for outlying areas in any way? Have they increased the full-timers numbers to offset cover issues and/or additional concurrent incidents? Or to offset potential loss of retained firefighters who seem totally demotivated by this who have a strong sense of 'community' which they feel is no longer valued by decision and policy makers?
The response from the public was low at 192 replying with only just over half agreeing (52%) to the change and no doubt driven by the so called 'open' questionnaire and it all ignored the community of Stourport's response where over 2,350 people objected via petition. How has that been addressed in these plans because they look not too dissimilar to the original plan?
If none of this has been done, then Derek Prodger MBE is making false statements when he says "I believe (the Hub) will have a positive impact on the communities of Bewdley, Kidderminster and Stourport and result in a more resilient prevention, protection and emergency response function." The key being the response function because that is clearly at odds with the above, their own document, and what is happening in reality. Prevention will not improve simply because it's centralised and clearly the local service has already done a good job with fires down over 30% in recent years, that, and better household and home equipment safety in general borne of (European standards) legislation. When we leave the EU, the Government's desire to "cut red tape" and attacks on health and safety which have already been reported on, may reverse this trend. Indeed, the consultation report did say that just because incident trends are down, this cannot be assumed to be a continuous trend.
This is about money - our communities are not daft and they are rightly concerned and can see it too. I believe the public are more likely to believe the FBU when they say lives are at risk and response times will increase (from an existing not meeting target time anyway) due to cost cutting. And on the subject of cost - are West Mercia's 25 local policing community safety officer teams (not Police! So an odd version of 'hub' and joined up blue light working) still going in there because that seems to have been forgotten too?
I think HWFRS still has a lot of questions to answer and in the event this change results in increased risk, or worse still - a loss of life - then those in charge and responsible for it should be held to account. Labour will work to ensure that happens if such tragedy sadly comes to pass.
Wyre Forest Labour Party
General Contact Information
If you have a query or a problem then please get in touch with us.
Wyre Forest Labour Party
PO Box 7268
Press Contact Information
Stephen Brown - 07966 518726 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Wyre Forest CLP contains four Branches. Each Branch covers several Council Wards. Branches hold regular meetings, discussing local and national issues. Your local Labour Councillors provide regular reports to Branches, and Branch members select their local election candidates.
If you don't know which Branch you live in, contact email@example.com
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If you would like to come to your branch meeting, then get in touch with the contact above who will tell you when and where the next meeting is to be held.
Wyre Forest Labour Party
PO Box 7268
At a time when health services in our hospital are again under threat with the closure of Harvington Ward, what is the view of our MP Mark Garnier? His silence on this matter is deafening.
Tory Party politicians typically like to distance themselves from such decisions and separate out what are undeniably linked issues in order for them to avoid any blame.
However, if you look at his voting record in Parliament it explains his view. He's voted for every cut in public funding including those on the NHS, voted for the Health & Social Care Act that has opened up the NHS to more privatisation and outsourcing making the NHS unaccountable to us, and voted for so called 'welfare reform' that has targeted some of those most vulnerable in our society and causing them additional financial and mental health stress.
The loss of Harvington Ward, along with an increased model of patient self-help schemes, voluntary sector outsourcing, and community care, is a direct consequence of Worcestershire NHS having to cut £2.6 million from this budget all thanks to Tory austerity policies.
We will not see a positive transformation of the service based on clinical need or excellence, as the NHS would have us believe, and just because under pressure compliant clinicians say a community model has "proved effective elsewhere" doesn't make it true. Indeed, some local health workers disagree with the closure because they've told campaigners so.
Since the recession of 2008 the suicide rate has increased, it's cause and effect. In this time, community care models have not actually 'proved' to be as effective as our local clinicians claim. A recent Manchester University national report by Prof Louis Appleby cited increased suicide risk when patients are treated in the community versus a hospital. Further, that suicide rates should be falling but they are not because too much emphasis is being placed on an overstretched community care model. Equally, he referred to such patients likely having a background of financial difficulty, unemployment, or substance dependency. These are social and deprivation indicators that are all statistically evident in Wyre Forest and we have some of the highest self-harm rates for young people in the County with one third of such A&E referrals not being followed up on. Why? Because the services are already shutting, underfunded, and struggling to cope. What problems is this storing up for the future?
Loss of a local inpatient ward is against the wishes of our community and is not going to make things any easier for people with a mental health issue in need of local hospital intervention, with family support, to prevent the worst happening. Evidence demonstrates that if inpatient facilities are not close to a patients home, it can actually harm outcomes for patients. Redditch and Worcester are too far away for them.
Many residents in Wyre Forest live a daily financial struggle and face stressful lives that harm their mental health. Fancy and expensive Tory Party propaganda wraparounds in local newspapers, as witnessed this week, declaring all is well with the World are not going to change the reality for them.
Closing Harvington Ward will not improve mental health services, it will likely make matters worse. That is why Wyre Forest Labour Party believe it is a dangerous move and should be reversed. The reason Tory MP Mark Garnier isn't lobbying for the funding to keep it open is because he and his Party are the cause of what's going wrong in our NHS and because mental health illness is not considered important enough by too many elected politicians.
Wyre Forest Labour Party
In support of the "Campaign to Save Harvington Ward"
Wyre Forest Labour today expressed its dismay at the decision by Worcestershire NHS to close Harvington Ward at Kidderminster Hospital from 7th November and remove yet another service from our hospital.
Stephen Brown, Wyre Forest Labour Press Officer, said "despite the consultation process in which locals stated they wanted to retain this facility for the wellbeing of the mental health services for our community, it proves it was a sham consultation because a cut is a cut is a cut however you dress it up. Local people do not want to see an erosion of this important service they value, so that those in charge can simply centralise everything for their own cost cutting budgetary reasons. Make no mistake, this is as a direct result of Tory Government underfunding of the NHS and unless this is challenged locally and nationally things can only get worse".
Wyre Forest Labour believes we are witnessing an unprecedented attack on our National Health Service by a Government intent on running it down, starving it of cash, privatising it, and all because of their undemocratic top down reorganisation under the guise of the Health & Social Care Act which has made the NHS totally unaccountable. Mark Garnier, the Tory MP here, should be concerned about this and fighting our Hospital's corner but instead he hides away because he knows this is what he voted for with this Act and the austerity that goes alongside it.
Stephen Brown commented further by saying "On a day that Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn clashed with Prime Minister Theresa May over the NHS in PMQ's, it proves Labour is right to be raising this issue and is correct when Corbyn says the Tories are 'leaving the NHS on its knees'. Corbyn also pointed out the crisis in mental health care provision as part of his challenge to the Prime Minster - something which is acutely relevant here".
Wyre Forest Labour are proud of the fact that Labour, after World War 2, made the NHS, and made it for everyone, and believes only a Labour Government can save the NHS for everyone because the Tories can't be trusted with it.
Wyre Forest Labour is calling upon Worcestershire NHS to reverse this decision and not implement something they know is wrong, unwelcome, and which will erode services here even more and fracture people's trust and confidence in NHS consultation processes. Mental health conditions can be devastating for both those affected by them, and their families. The NHS need to start listening to what services we want and not what is best for their own organisational reasons. Labour is not confident that the NHS's plans in this regard are in the interests of our community as they are simply cost saving as a result of unacceptable Government cuts.