Sunday, 11 May 2014

Meet The Candidates (Labour - Kingston)

As the last posting was getting a bit long and this arrived a bit later, I have put this on a separate page...

Party: Labour

Ward: Old Malden (RB Kingston)

Bill Bennett
After a career in telecommunications which included seven years working on the NASA space programme, Bill now devotes much of his time involved in psychology and gerontology, with a particular interest in physical and mental fitness in an ageing population. A New Malden resident for over twenty years, he cares passionately about the NHS and the encouragement of healthy lifestyles. Bill has campaigned against the Coalition's cuts to the School Sport Partnerships (SSPs) and strongly supports Ed Miliband’s proposal for a 10-year cross-party plan for sport in the UK, and also Labour’s eight-point Cycling Manifesto.

Ian Kellett
Born and raised in Worcester Park, Ian has long experience as a college administrator and a school governor. He has also for many years helped organise sports and social activities in the area. Ian is very concerned by the ever-widening performance gap between Kingston’s secondary schools. With increasing traffic flows, Ian sees the need for better support for our local shops against the incursions of superstores and much better parking management in Worcester Park supplemented by greater collaboration with Sutton Council.

George Pearson
George, who had a career in international banking and computer systems, has lived in Old Malden for more than 35 years. He feels that there needs to be much better consultation with local people over planning matters. He campaigned against the closure of Old Malden library. But he feels continued vigilance is required to avoid it joining the 400 libraries that have closed under this government. George is also saddened by the closures of Yew Tree House and Newent House local authority residential care homes – closed since the Liberal Democrats came to power locally.

Policies (Kingston)

(Labour’s full manifesto can be downloaded as a PDF from:

Traffic and Transport

  • Roads have been neglected by the Liberal Democrats. At the current rate of repair and reconstruction, carriageways would only be resurfaced once every 25 years and footways reconstructed once every 50 years. Labour will give a high priority to spending on road maintenance.
  • Some 36% of roads in Kingston currently have a 20 mph speed limit. This makes our roads safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. We will install more 20 mph zones and limits with residents’ support.
  • We will work with South West Trains, Network Rail and Transport for London to increase the frequency of services on the Chessington South line and to secure early implementation of the Crossrail 2 Regional Option, which will benefit Old Malden.
  • About 50% of cyclists’ deaths in London are caused by Heavy Goods Vehicles, even though HGVs are only 5% of the traffic. We will sign the London Cycling Campaign’s “Safer Lorries, Safer Cycling” pledge.

Housing and Planning

  • There are already over 6,000 households on the council’s housing waiting list. At the current rate under Liberal Democrat rule, it would take over 15 years to house them. Working with housing associations, a Labour council will build new affordable homes.
  • We will ensure that new developments include their quota of affordable homes under the council’s existing policies (50% in larger developments).
  • Our borough benefits enormously from its Metropolitan Open Land and Green belt. Labour seeks to preserve these areas. New developments will be on ‘brownfield’ sites.
  • We will promote and protect community ‘hubs’. These are the places where people traditionally meet – whether in their church or community hall, a pub or a club, the post office or a local shop – all places that are vital for thriving communities.
  • We will encourage communities to nominate valued facilities such as pubs as “assets of community value” under the Localism Act.

Rubbish and Recycling

  • We will protect weekly recycling collections as well as look for ways to make it easier for residents to recycle, and increase the borough’s recycling rate.
  • We will tackle the problem of recycling for flats, particularly those over shops. We will increase the frequency of waste collection in areas where need is greatest.
  • We will improve the provision of public bins for on-street recycling. These will make it easier for people to recycle rather than to put recyclable material into non-recyclable bins.
  • We will work with charities and recycling companies to do more to reuse or recycle old clothes, shoes, bedding, white goods, furniture, and any other recyclable items.
  • We will examine abolishing the charge for the bulky waste collection service for poor households and households headed by a disabled person.
  • Fly-tipping is a problem in some areas. Where possible, we will use fixed or mobile CCTV to identify offenders.

Children and Education

  • Under the Liberal Democrats, child protection services were run badly. OFSTED, the independent inspector, found them to be inadequate in two consecutive reports. Child protection services have consequently been taken out of Kingston’s direct control. Labour will ensure that these services make rapid progress towards acceptable performance, and that all lessons from the failures are learned.
  • Under the Liberal Democrat rule, education is under-performing. In 2010, the charity Save the Children described the gap in GCSE results between the borough’s poorest and better-off children as “scandalous”. In 2014, the gap has widened. Kingston is now the tenth worst authority in England and second worst in London. Labour will focus on standards in all Kingston’s schools so that every parent can be confident their child will receive an excellent education.
  • We will identify new sites for new schools, and ensure that there are enough school places for all local children.

The Local Economy

  • Youth unemployment in the borough is over double the overall rate. We will support all young people in finding suitable education, training or apprenticeships – in particular by ensuring appropriate apprenticeship places are offered by Kingston Council, targeting those young people who do not have Level 3 qualifications.
  • We will work with Jobcentre Plus, employers and others to ensure that people can get the training they need to find a job – particularly training in IT skills as these are now essential for many jobs in Kingston.
  • A Labour council will work with Kingston University’s ‘incubator’, to help create more Small and Medium Enterprises.
  • We will make it easier for small firms employing local people to win council contracts.
  • We aim to retain neighbourhood shopping parades and individual shops. These can be vital for older people and others without easy access to transport.

Promoted by Chris Priest on behalf of Kingston Borough Labour Party, all at 160 London Road, Kingston, upon Thames, KT2 6QW.