Government exists to help us solve, together, the challenges that are too big to solve alone
It exists to provide a safety net when things go wrong in our lives, collective security and safety on our streets, dignity and support to vulnerable people in our communities, and the NHS that keeps us all healthy from the cradle to the grave.
Government is about fostering and improving our lives as part of a larger community. Labour councillor will work with you to bring all of us together as communities.
Rebuild our broken communities by establishing community centres & community networks
All over Sevenoaks and Swanley vulnerable people, especially children and the elderly, have been left behind with little or no provision of community centres and networks. As well as supporting new housing development only where it includes adequate provision of community resources, Labour will consult on the need for new community centres and networks all over our district.
Make use of community buildings owned by the council and left to fall into disrepair
Especially in Swanley, valuable public buildings that were once put to the service of our community sit idle and are allowed to fall into disrepair. Labour will launch immediate public consultations into how local people would like to see those buildings restored to use. One of those possible uses, of course, may be the establishment of new community centres.
Restore our NHS and oppose the Tories’ “Sustainability and Transformation Plan”
Our local NHS is systematically underfunded by the Tory government in Westminster. We have some of the longest A&E waiting times in the country, and the South East Coast ambulance trust, that serves Kent, Sussex, Surrey and North East Hampshire, remains in special measures.
The “Sustainability and Transformation Plan” for your local NHS “use(s) words like transformation and integration when (it) means cuts and rationing”. It is a plan to cut £486 million from NHS budgets in Kent, and is squarely about cutting costs, not improving healthcare.
Sevenoaks and Swanley Labour has consistently opposed these cuts to our local NHS. But Labour is grossly under-represented on the committees that are deciding the future of your NHS. Voting for Labour councillors on 2nd May sends a clear signal you will only support representatives, at every level of government, who will continue to fight for our NHS.
Join other UK councils in signing the ethical care charter to improve local social care
Labour will immediately call for Sevenoaks District Council to join other councils all over Britain in signing Unison’s ethical care charter. The charter is “a set of commitments that councils make which fix minimum standards that will protect the dignity and quality of life for those people and the workers who care for them”.
It prioritises the needs of the people in care, and the workers who care for them, over government targets and sets a minimum standard of safety, quality and dignity of care.
Social care is one of the most important responsibilities which the district council directly holds. It is a priority for your local Labour party to begin improving that care from day one.
A transport policy that helps local communities and prioritises wellbeing
Labour in Sevenoaks and Swanley supports the party’s call to renationalise our railways. Currently rail commuters in our district are paying twice for the Tory decision to privatise our railways. First through ticket prices that have gone up 40% or three times the rate of inflation since the Tories took power in 2010. But secondly through taxpayer subsidies to the “private” train companies, which currently stand at £5 billion per year, or around three times the cost of running British Rail at current prices.
We are paying more, and paying twice – through both our taxes and our tickets – for a deteriorating train service. Labour would end this scam, for free, by returning each of the rail networks to public ownership as the franchise expired, and running them as a public service.
Labour will also preserve our local bus routes, and coordinate them sensibly with local train timetables. Here again we have an issue that is allowed to fall through the cracks between the different levels of local and national government. It is our towns and villages that need buses, but multiple different local government agencies blame each other, and the national policy, when cuts are proposed. Labour will simplify that sorry mess. A Labour national government will properly fund local buses. Labour councils will make sure our towns and villages have the public transport they need.
Traffic congestion is increasing in our region and its effect on air quality is obvious. More than 70% of local journeys in north west Kent are by private car. Whilst air quality may be better than in London there are hot spots in the District and for nitrous oxide emissions there are no safe levels. Labour will incorporate the environmental impact of transport choices into any transport policy or decision we make.
Finally in transport policy, Labour will encourage healthier and greener lifestyles by supporting cycling and walking as means of getting around our communities. That means prioritising cycle paths and making sure they are safe. It means securing public footpaths against developers fencing them off and destroying them with heavy machinery, as we have seen recently at Broke Hill near Halstead. And it means encouraging schemes that help people get to work by bike, or on foot, for the last part of their journey.
Support a Labour national government’s plan to bring universal superfast broadband to our towns and villages
The Labour manifesto of 2017, For The Many Not The Few, included a commitment to roll out superfast broadband to all homes and businesses across the UK. Many of our most beautiful villages – Shoreham, Badgers Mount, Farningham – suffer from unreliable Internet connections. Labour in power commits to getting everyone online at high speed.