The County Tories intend to make a Cabinet decision this week (8th February) on the future of The Grange in Kidderminster. Their recommendation is to close it.

The Grange serves older people as a rehabilitation facility and is residential, including for dementia sufferers. For many, it is an essential and important lifeline in the delivery of care services.

Not content with going after closing down Ludlow Road, which is a respite service for children with disabilities, the heartless Tories have now turned their guns on to our older people’s services.

Is nothing safe from their ruthless pursuit of crippling and closing our vital services?

The people of Wyre Forest, we hope, would support us in calling for an end to the austerity the Tories love so much. Enough is enough. Certainly, when it comes to Ludlow Road, the people have spoken with over 8,000 of you voicing opposition to the closure of Ludlow Road.

What’s more incredible about the Tory closure of The Grange, however, is the blatantly misleading information the Tories are putting out about it.

Tory PR StuntIf you look at the leaflet they are currently distributing to Wyre Forest households, it gives the distinct impression they care about saving The Grange. What’s more, it tries to put distance between what’s happening to The Grange and the Tory involvement in that process by deflecting the attention of voters on to the local CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) making out they are responsible for it. Oddly, this is the exact opposite of the story they are trying to peddle about Ludlow Road, which is NHS owned and Council funded. On that issue they say, and despite Labour’s calls, that there can’t be any joined up thinking between the County Council, NHS or the CCG. It’s bizarre, unless that is you understand why they are doing this and what’s going on here.

For instance, one might wonder just how much Labour’s campaign to “Save Ludlow Road” and our work with parents and the public has stung them? A lot it would seem to generate this kind of response by pretending to care about your views and involve you in saving something THEY intend to close.

Let’s be clear here, the County Council own The Grange. The Tories run the council. So, they own this issue and are the ones recommending its closure. They cannot hide from that fact. The Tory campaign to save The Grange, such as it is, is a feeble attempt to court voter favour by hoodwinking you, and looks like being something of a pathetic effort anyway, a damp squib if you like because its primary purpose is to mislead you and hope you don’t notice. They are taking Wyre Forest voters for mugs.

The misleading leaflet has come from the highest echelons of the local Tory Party. Just look at the names on the leaflet. It has the Councillor whose patch it is on, Tracey Onslow, she who has been a Cabinet member and flitted about like a Tory intern working for both Mark Garnier MP and now John Campion Police & Crime Commissioner. Her involvement is inseparable from this decision. The other names on this leaflet include Marcus Hart’s (Local Tory Leader and County Council Cabinet member who will be helping make this decision) father, John Hart; plus Nathan Desmond, another senior local Tory; and even your Tory MP, Mark Garnier. They all have their grubby paws all over this. It would be great if the Tories were in open rebellion with each other like their national Party is as a reason for this bizarre leaflet, but no, this is a much more sinister effort to mislead you and steal your vote. Don’t fall for it.

Stephen Brown, Wyre Forest Labour Media Officer said “this Tory leaflet is a flagrant misrepresentation of the Tory position on The Grange being a deliberate and wilful attempt to sell a mistruth to the people in our community. What’s more, they are doing it to try and suppress older people’s inevitable worries over the further loss of local services that distinctly serve them. People need to realise just how far the Tories will sink to hide their actual policy intentions on health and care issues. That they are doing this ahead of local elections is totally shameful. By believing this leaflet, people may vote Tory thinking that by doing so, services like The Grange will be safe, and that Tories actually care about such services. Unfortunately, the good people of Wyre Forest will quickly discover the truth, and probably when it’s too late. It is a merciless exploitation of the electorate’s good will. This leaflet shows you can’t trust the Tories on anything. Only Labour is committed to ending austerity and investing in our health and care system to ensure we have the type of health and care services for the many not the few.”

** NEWSFLASH: Update 08/02/2018**

Stephen Brown reports the latest on this issue: “So, of the 2 Tory options on The Grange – close it or change of use – Tory Cabinet opted to keep it open and change its use to show how caring they are and how they too can run a successful “Save The Grange” campaign against and for their own recommendations. Duplicitous politics at its best.

We in Labour strongly believe this was a Tory PR stunt and they’ll be back to attack The Grange in the future as they place Dementia Care on the open market making it ripe for outsourcing or privatisation. After all, they’ve done such a great job on Children’s Services, they sold the old people’s homes off years ago as well as decimated Council Home Care Services. Don’t trust them. Wyre Forest should be very cautious about this apparent ‘good news’. Labour is watching the council and our local Tory Councillors very closely.”

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