500 Words From Brian Ward

Why should anyone vote for us as councillors and why should you read my 500 words?

Criticism and negative press constantly points out how the council gets everything wrong.
When I stood for council eight years ago I wanted to get elected because I thought exactly the same as many others, and that you would be hard pushed to do any worse. I believed the constant voting in of the same old Labour people, time and time again had made them complacent.

There seemed to be no vision for the city and no urgency in replacing the lost jobs and businesses.

There seemed to be no interest in banging on the governments door for funding to bring inward investment to our city, even though we had three Labour MPs.

I was elected twice in 2003 & 2007 and hope to be re-elected again in 2011 even though the Governance Commission and Boundary Commission have, in my opinion, tried their best to eliminate all but Mainstream parties by going against their own guidelines and dividing established communities and ignoring natural boundaries. We can only hope that it doesn’t decrease people’s choice in this election.

When I was newly elected, I was constantly frustrated at the time it took to get anything done.

This was something I was not used to in my past life when running my own businesses.
I learned how to use the council system to my best advantage, to achieve the best possible.
I have been able to get lots of benefits for my local area of Blurton with new jobs, new shops, new housing, Parking bays and numerous other things to improve the Blurton area.

I have highlighted problem issues and fought for what I believed to be right,

not only for my area, but our city. I have highlighted them on Pits n Pots and have been quoted in the Sentinel now fewer than 368 times in the last two and a half years alone.

I have persevered,

even when I felt that I was getting nowhere on certain issues, but, I never give up and always see things through to make sure I get the best deal available, like setting up the working group that reduced consultants, which has saved us a fortune.

I have been involved in several meetings in London and Birmingham banging the drum for Stoke, which I believe has been neglected in the past. There needs to be more done.

Regeneration will be the key to putting our city back on the map

although I have voiced my views several times where I think that Regeneration has been too slow.
The council needs to push the Government even harder to make sure Stoke-on-Trent gets Enterprise Zone status to improve our situation.

Although this year’s budget settlement has been severe and difficult to manage,

we were able to save Children’s centres, Respite care for disabled children along with many front line services that other councils have reduced. Also put a freeze on council tax.

Incoming councillors will be faced with the stark reality of finding next years £20million savings. This will need some skill and a lot of hard work and I hope I am there to help get the best deal available.

Don’t forget I am a resident and taxpayer and what affects you affects me.

Brian Ward
Leader of the City Independents
Blurton Ward Councillor

Stoke-on-Trent Passengers Board the Bus to Fight Against Subsidy Cuts

The public of Stoke-on-Trent came out in force yesterday [Thursday] to speak out against the City Council’s decision to cut bus subsidies in a bid to save £313,000 as a part of their crusade to impose cuts totalling £35million over the coming year.

The public gallery as well as one of the committee rooms were packed to the rafters in a public show of solidarity in sending a message to the council that the bus subsidy cut would leave some people stranded at home and unable to access town centres, leisure facilities and supermarkets.

The council’s decision to cut the bus subsidies was voted through as a part of a whole host of austerity measures at last month’s Budget Meeting in a bid to rationalise services in the city as a result of the 8% cut in government funding to the City of Stoke-on-Trent.

Between three bus operators, First, Wardles and D&G, a total of 44 services will be affected.

Community representatives delivered and presented petitions, asking for certain routes to be saved, to the meeting of the City Council from areas such as Chell, Packmoor, Brindley Ford and Penkhull.

The petitioners pleaded with the elected councillors present to save what they consider to be a vital lifeline and the economic benefit to traders their travel bring.
Inside the chamber Community Voice councillors attacked the Labour benches for encouraging the public to campaign against the subsidy cuts while proposing them and then voting them through.

Cllr Mick Salih [Community Voice] said that Labour had attempted to deceive the public over the cuts to bus routes. He said it was vital the all councillors told the truth out on the streets and that the only councillors that had a clear conscious over the subsidy cuts were his group and the other councillors who voted against the budget.

Coalition councillors told the meeting that council officers were working with the bus companies and alongside ward councillors and communities, resolutions had been found to most of the contentious bus services.

One member of the public shouted out his dissent from the public gallery and said that he was disgusted by the councils treatment of members of the public that had turned out to view the proceedings. We recorded an audio interview with him and he wished to be known as “ËœBus Driver’

Listen below.

We also recorded audio’s with Cllr Mick Salih [Community Voice], Cllr Brian Ward [CIG] who is also the cabinet member with responsibility and with the Council Leader Mohammed Pervez [Labour].

Cllr Pervez also gave his thought on the past year and what he thought that the council had achieved.

Watershed Moment For Labour

On Tuesday I watched Ed Miliband deliver his maiden speech as the new Labour Party leader at the party’s annual conference.

Elected with the wafer thin margin of 1.3% of the votes cast, pipping David his brother to the post, for most of the contest the clear favourite of the five candidates to seize the prize, Ed spoke confidently, relaxedly and coherently.

For the first time for more than a decade Labour rank and file heard a leader who said what he means and spoke about concerns close to their hearts. While reciting some of the major achievements of the thirteen years of the Blair/Brown duopoly, he made it clear that he recognised that there had been major policy mistakes.

Significantly, he apologised for the Iraq war. That one act along will commend his leadership to hundreds of thousands of people who deserted Labour as a result of the illconceived and illegal invasion of Iraq. That and his clear recognition that the Blair/Brown leadership lost its way, particularly in failing to recognise the socially corrosive effect of the widening wealth gap.

That Ed Miliband does not condone heaping the multi-billion pound cost of the debauched banking debacle on to ordinary working people who carry not the faintest slither of responsibility for the burden heaped on the national debt, will awaken a faith in the Labour party to represent the interests of ordinary people.

That together with his clear recognition of the importance of local government must give us all hope that we shall be seeing principled and persistent opposition to Tory-Lib Dem cuts, which are ideologically driven and totally divorced from economic reality.

This all goes to underline the problem facing the City Council’s coalition. I said at the time that the Labour Group, with 27 of the 60 seats in the Council chamber should have had the courage to form an administration on their own rather than carry on with the pre-May election support of the Tory, Lib-Dem and City Independents groups. It would have been virtually inconceivable for Labour to have lost a vote in Full Council.

As it is, they now face the October decimation of local government spending by the Tory/Lib Dem Coalition government with the enemy within their administration! It’s not too late. Labour should seize their chance, jettison the ToryDem cutters and City Independent ditherers and come out with a coherent, cogent case for protecting vital public services for the city.