Education is at the heart of how we build a better society. By giving young people the skills and personal development they need to get on in the world we not only improve their chances of success, but provide the country with the citizenry it needs to move forward economically and socially.
Unfortunately, for all their talk, the Government is letting children, parents and the country down when it comes to education. This is in no way the fault of the teachers, who do an amazing job delivering for their children no matter what obstacles seem to be put in their way.
It's the fault of a Tory administration which has chosen to take money which should have been spent improving local schools and instead wasted it on a series of ideologically-driven experiments. Given that Crawley was the first town in the country to have a Free School fail, we've seen the consequences of failure more closely than most.
That school funding has got so bad that headteachers are forced to beg parents for donations of essential items like toilet roll and textbooks is a national disgrace. While the risk of a four day week caught parents' attention, the reality is that schools are already having to significantly increase class sizes and decrease the range of subjects they teach, limiting the range of opportunities available to schoolkids.
Local Tories have tried to blame the National Funding Formula, arguing that new changes will result in more money for local schools, but even the revised formula won't match the increasing costs Crawley's schools are facing as a result of rising inflation.
If we want a decent education system fit for the Twenty-First Century we need fundamental change to the way schools are funded and governed. Labour would put investment back into schools, ensuring kids get the quality education we need for a modern workforce. We would restore school accountability to thr local community and make them more inclusive, allowing towns like Crawley to resolve the issues with social mobility which have held too many local children back for far, far too long.
Cllr Peter Lamb
Leader Crawley Borough Council
Education is at the heart of how we build a better society. By giving young people the skills and personal development they need to get on in the world we...
This Friday, Karen Buck, Labour MP for Westminster North, will be introducing legislation to Parliament designed to protect renters from homes unfit for human habitation, giving renters the legal right to ensure their home is ‘fit for human habitation’ and the ability to act where landlords fail to do so.
In the South East alone, almost 10% of privately rented housing, around 70,000 properties, are deemed unfit for human habitation. Yet, housing pressures are so great that tenants are often left without any choice other than to accept housing with infestations or which due to problems with unmet electrical, gas or fire regulations are fundamentally unsafe. Seven months on from Grenfell, it’s time the law changed to give people the power they need to ensure their housing is made safe.
Councils and housing associations were already made to get their own house in order under the last Labour Government’s Decent Homes programme, which provided funding to bring housing up to a reasonable standard. In Crawley, we went further, introducing and funding our own ‘Crawley Standard’ to ensure local council housing was brought up to a reasonable level.
This is the third time the Labour Party has tried to change the law to give tenants the right to housing ‘fit for human habitation’, the first two attempts having been blocked by Conservative MPs, many of whom happened to be landlords themselves.
Since 2010, Conservative Ministers have made it easier for bad landlords by scrapping Labour’s plan for a register of landlords, watering down Labour’s legislation which gives councils the freedom to ‘license’ private landlords and drive up standards in their area, and rejecting Labour’s proposals to introduce longer tenancies and controls on rents.
However, the proposal was included in Labour’s well-received manifesto at the last General Election and, following a Labour campaign, the Government now say they will support the legislation.
It’s sad that it has taken tragedy to bring focus to the need to improve housing conditions in this country, but I’m glad the Government has finally listened and that even in opposition Labour is still managing to deliver.
Cllr Peter Lamb
Leader, Crawley Borough Council
This Friday, Karen Buck, Labour MP for Westminster North, will be introducing legislation to Parliament designed to protect renters from homes unfit for human habitation, giving renters the legal right...
So, Christmas is upon us. Such is the increasingly frantic pace of politics these days that it really doesn’t feel like a full year has passed since the decorations were last up around town. The presence of the ice rink in Queens Square has certainly added something to the Christmassy feel of the town centre this year, alongside the lights, giant Christmas Tree and wide range of seasonal activities the council has helped to put on.
December, with the exception of Full Council, is usually pretty quiet at the council and councillors typically find their time filled up with attending local community events and enjoying the odd glass of mulled wine.
Behind all the glitter and the excess, it is community which sits at the heart of Christmas, whether that’s our friends and family, the groups we belong to or the neighbourhoods we live in. So, it is little surprise people tend to think more about charity and the importance of giving at this time of year.
Local Charities Day took place last week, celebrating the work voluntary organisations selflessly undertake in communities up and down the UK. In Crawley, we have so many amazing local charities which play an important role in improving the life of our community, from the fundraising efforts of the League of Friends of Crawley Hospital and the youth work of Crawley Community Youth Service to the couples counselling provided by Relate and the charity capacity building work of Crawley Community and Voluntary Service, on whose board I served for a year.
While it is great that so many see this time of year as an opportunity to play a more active role in local charitable activities, particularly those for the homeless, the reality is that such support is needed year round and not only during the season of good will. For those who are willing and able to do their part, there will still be plenty of opportunities to play a role in our community come the New Year.
In the meantime, could I wish you all and your families a very Merry Christmas.
Cllr Peter Lamb
Leader, Crawley Borough Council
So, Christmas is upon us. Such is the increasingly frantic pace of politics these days that it really doesn’t feel like a full year has passed since the decorations were...