Labour Landslide In Stoke-on-Trent

Stoke-on-Trent is waking to to a very different political landscape this morning, the morning after the night Labour swept through the new slimmed down chamber taking 34 of the 44 available seats.

As well as the increased majority in the Labour camp we are in a city that is now only represented by 4 of the 10 different parties that stood.

The chamber as elected last night looks like:

Labour 34
Independent 7
Conservative 2
Unaffiliated 1

Gone are the BNP, in a city that was quoted by party chairman Nick Griffin as being the ‘Jewel In The BNPs Crown’ in 2010, we have seen their presence reduced from nine councillors before the May 2010 elections where they were reduced to 5, down to no councillors in last nights count. Michael Coleman the BNP Leader in Stoke-on-Trent had said in an interview with Pits n Pots earlier in the night that he wasn’t confident.

Community Voice, are also gone, taking with them the characters of Peter Kent-Baguley Mick Salih & Mike Barnes all of whom added some colour and interest to the full council meetings. Former BNP councillor Ellie Walker who moved to Community Voice after leaving the BNP in 2010 also lost her seat in Abbey Hulton & Townsend

The Liberal Democrats who fielded only 8.73% of the total vote are also gone taking the ever cheerful Kieran Clarke out of the chamber.

Other casualties are Conservative Group Leader Ross Irving, Hazel Lyth & John Daniels. Mark Wright who was voted in only last year also lost his seat.

Brian Ward the leader of the Independent Group also lost his seat in Blurton West & Newstead

We will be bringing you reaction and interviews from across the winners and losers during the day today.

You can read the archive of our Election Live Blog Here

500 Words From Roger Ibbs

There can be no doubt that the present government inherited an absolute mess made by Labour.

We all know that large reductions are needed.

What cannot be accepted is the way in which the Conservative & Lib Dem Government has supported their own areas and attacked Stoke-on-Trent by massive and disproportionate reductions.

An 8% reduction for Stoke and yet only 1.8% for Staffordshire cannot, by anyone’s view, be fair and that surely is what we should expect from a Government that is supposed to govern for the whole country and not just their friends in Tory or Lib Dem areas.

There can also be no doubt that our Labour led council has cut essential services and not looked deeply enough to cut out waste and inefficiency, which is so obvious to you all.

This year cuts of £ 35 Million have had to be made but next year another £ 20 Million has to be saved.

WHERE WILL THOSE CUTS FALL NEXT YEAR.

Children’s Centres (already cut by 30% ) will be prime targets to be cut altogether. Remember that this action was proposed by Labour this year.

Community Centres could be next.

More Bus routes to be closed ? Who knows but it is essential that you have experienced people there to make those decisions.

I believe these issues are vital to the City’s improvement.

QUALITY JOBS we are known as a low paid area with the associated poor quality jobs that go with it. High fliers have to leave the City in order to find suitable employment. The council need to try harder to attract the right sort of jobs.

ENTERPRISE ZONES it cannot be right that the new zones announced by the Government do not yet include our City. Every effort must be made to convince them that we need the assistance to business by reduced rates and tax breaks that will encourage business’s to come here.

EDUCATION STANDARDS although things have been improving, the improvement is too slow. If we do manage to bring new and better jobs here then we need a highly skilled and qualified workforce.

THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR it is obvious that the council will depend more and more on the voluntary sector to deliver many of our services. There can be no doubt that this sector delivers better £ for £ than the council can. It is time to give them more support NOT LESS

These elections will be the last for 4 years and so the decision you make will be vital for our City.

500 Words From Shaun Bennett

I have the honour and the privilege of being able to stand as the
Independent candidate for my own home ward of Hollybush and Longton West.

I have lived in Hollybush for the past 20 years. My friends and family
live in and around the ward, and for the past six years I have also worked
in the ward. So I have such a lot of personal interest invested in this
ward. I understand the problems that local people face because they affect
me too. Some other candidates have tried to get people to believe that
they live in the Hollybush area when they do not. But both the Labour and
Tory candidates live as far away as Weston Coyney. We need someone living
‘above the shop’, in the local community, listening to local people and
who is just around the corner when people need them.

Whilst the Labour candidate has relied upon nationally drawn up leaflets
printed outside the city and not talking about the local community at all,
I have being focussing on local issues and local people. For example,
buses are a big issue in the ward and I have pledged to work to restore
the number 40 Copelands bus to the Hollybush estate which local pensioners
have relied upon for the past 12 years. Parking is another big
issue-residents bays in Hollybush were planned incorrectly by the Labour
controlled City council and encourage double parking so that emergency
vehicles and buses cannot get full access to the estate. Housing and
anti-social behaviour are other big priorities for the ward and I will
always work to ensure that the system is on the side of the ordinary
decent citizen rather than the ‘neighbours from hell’ or the hooligan on
the street corner.

500 words is nowhere near enough to present a full plan for the ward and
the problems that we face. I shall therefore end by saying that as well as
the local issues I have spoken about above I believe that it is time for a
complete new broom in our town hall. We must work harder to encourage
business and investment into the city. We are ideally placed
geographically for business and of course we now need to be designated as
an enterprise zone to prevent investment from slipping away. I want a
reversal in the ever increasing city parking charges-including the
restoration of free evening and Sunday parking-to bring more shoppers into
the city. And I want to work towards actually being able to REDUCE the tax
burden on the overtaxed residents of the city.

Under Labour, we have paid some of the highest taxes for some of the worst
services in the country. But other authorities have shown that you CAN
reduce the tax burden whilst also getting better value and more efficient
local services. Its time for Stoke-on-Trent to change and reform the way
in which we do business. Its time for a common-sense revolution in the
town hall.

Shaun Bennett
Independent Candidate, Hollybush and Longton West

500 Words From Paul Breeze

EXPERIENCE. INTEGRITY. DEDICATION.

INDEPENDENT. ACCESSIBLE.

ONLY CANDIDATE WHO LIVES IN, KNOWS, CARES ABOUT, HAS STAKE IN, AND PROVEN COMMITMENT TO THE AREA.

Since 1995, 15 years voluntary co-founder, driving force and continuing chairman of Hanley One Residents Association.

2003-2007, fully independent “Ëœno party’ city councillor (proud Deputy Elected Mayor, 2003-2005, to Mayor Mike Wolfe).

Terms as local High School, Junior School governor, also Hope Children’s Centre & Hope Centre board member.

2008, leader, city-wide “ËœPeople’s Choice’ campaign to champion and protect Stoke-on-Trent residents’ democratic rights to choose our own city council leader.

Establishing other local residents associations.

Working with Police & Council to obtain Alcohol Restriction Zone, CCTV & ASBOs, Job Centre & Central Forest Park.

Significant input bringing Central Forest Park improvements skatepark, children’s playground, lake.

Northwood Alleygating & Resurfacing of rear alleyways.

Instigating allotments improvements.

Introduction of local recycling facilities.

Introduction of local large items refuse collections.

Traffic calming and bus lane enforcement.

Puffin crossings adjacent to Grove Junior School.

Organiser Northwood Park Centenary 1907-2007 & return to Northwood Park of the ancient Roman Goddess statue “ËœTemperantia’.

Introduction of local Sports Court facilities.

Working with & supporting Citizens Advice Bureau to provide much needed help & advice for residents across our deprived area.

Working with residents, council and various agencies to draw up a neighbourhood delivery plan.

I am 58 years of age; have lived in the Northwood/Birches Head/Hanley area for almost forty years, the last thirty of which in the same multi-racial, multi-cultural terraced street. I have been a dedicated single parent to three sons since they were 4 years, 2 years, and four months old, respectively. Each attended our local schools: Broom Nursery, Northwood Infants, Grove Juniors, Birches Head High, then Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College; all have graduated through university.

I continue to believe that love, reasonable discipline, personal responsibility, social behaviour, education and citizenship should all begin in the home and be reinforced and supported by schools, police, council and local communities.

My values and integrity have remained constant throughout all my adult life:
AGAINST all political and religious EXTREMISM.
AGAINST all criminal and anti-social behaviour.
FOR a culture of mutual respect, tolerance and harmony.
FOR individual, family, community and wider social responsibility.
FOR promoting opportunity and education for all.
HELPING everyone regardless of age, race, gender, sexuality, religion, ability, disability or background.

I have no party political affiliations, no “Ëœsingle issue’ agenda, and no personal axes to grind. I am in continuing contact with all relevant council departments, local community police officers, PCSOs, schools, residents associations and community groups, as well as helping, whenever possible, with many local residents’ personal problems.

If elected, I will work conscientiously, realistically and responsibly with fellow elected councillors, police, local residents, and all agencies to serve our local communities and to strive to make Northwood, Birches Head, Hanley, and our City of Stoke-on-Trent a better place for us all to live. It would be an honour to be elected as a representative to serve our area and city.

Election Boundary Disputes In Stoke-on-Trent

It seems after last years review of the Stoke-on-Trent ward boundaries by the Boundary Commission For England there are some problems with the new ward boundaries and discrepancies between the boundary and the addresses contained in them.

The Sentinel reported yesterday that there were problems with constituents in the Boothen and Oakhill ward are actually registered to vote in the Springfield ward. Around 100 people who live in the Boothen and Oakhill ward will be voting for candidates to represent the Springfield ward and subsequently be represented for 4 years by someone they had no opportunity to vote on.

It appears that this is not the only area that has problems with the electoral boundaries.

Blurton Cllr Roy Naylor who is standing down this year but is supporting the independent candidate Nina Hulse in Blurton West & Newstead said on his Blurton News Twitter Account yesterday:

Council blunder stops voters voting for their candidates http://tinyurl.com/647qc4v but has this also happened in Blurton ? Some addresses in Finstock Avenue have been placed into the New Blurton East Ward, but recently whilst delivering flyers for the Non-Aligned Candidate Nina Hulse, we noticed that these addresses appeared in the Electral Register for Blurton West & Newstead.

Pits n Pots are currently investigating possible discrepancies between the Hollybush & Longton West and Dresden & Florence wards. We have had reports of householders in Dresden & Florence receiving election leaflets for candidates in the Hollybush & Longton West ward.

Have you been affected by the ward boundary changes and are you sure that you are registered in the right ward?

500 Words From Amjid Wazir

My name is Amjid Wazir and I am the sitting Councillor for Hanley West & Shelton ward, I have lived here for nearly 40 years and I am proud to be your Labour Candidate in the new Hanley Park & Shelton Ward.

My aims for the community:

IMPROVE ANTI SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR. Many people are concerned about this issue and it is something I am pleased to say that Labour has tackled head on. During our time in power Nationally Labour put more police on the streets, supported police departments not cut them, engineered the Police Community Support Officer scheme and basically got tough with Anti-Social Behaviour when our neighbours were put at risk.

IMPROVE COMMUNITY FACILITIES. Hanley Park is a credit to our City not just our area. We all know that communities of all aspects of race use the children’s play area together and at the same time. Just take a look on a Sunday afternoon to see. The sports facilities are well used by the international and national student community many of whom reside in Shelton. Our Park is also home to many City wide celebration events and festivals which are often free for us to enjoy. It’s an asset I want to protect and enjoy.

PROTECT CHILDREN’S CENTRES. As a Labour Councillor, across the City we have had to make savings in some areas and protect others. We have had to make savings because we have had a 9% cut to our Council budget from the Government Coalition. We have endeavoured to protect the most vulnerable in the budget and that is why we have managed to save 15 children’s centres across the City from cuts and secure their future including the Thomas Boughey Children’s Centre.

COMMUNICATE REGUARLY. I am a people person. I love my street. I have two boys. I am happily married and my family live nearby. I will never be far away for people to ask questions of me and to get my support for their concerns. I hope to communicate with you even more after the election, furthermore there will only be one Councillor for this ward in the Council chamber so it is important we make the right choice on who that Councillor will be.

CONTINUE WORKING HARD FOR YOU. In all things I will work hard for you. As part of a Labour Team in power we can work with our Labour MP to deliver the goods. This means that the Community we are a part of can be proud to be part of something bigger and wider than just this smaller ward structure we are all part of. With Labour we can deliver.

I hope that from reading this you can see that we are part of a winning combination of a Labour Team. With 3 MPs, Labour Councillors, and a Group, we can go in the right direction for this City.

Please consider casting your vote for me Amjid Wazir, your Hanley West & Shelton Labour Ward Candidate.

500 Words From Charley Hasted

I’m only 24 years old but I have a wealth of experience representing and campaigning for people and issues I care passionately about. I’ve taken part and led campaigns as diverse as preventing the closure of my local library in London, fighting against the closure of a centre dedicated to improving the lives of disabled people by allowing them to live independently, helping to secure funding for a young carers group to give their members a break, securing pledges from a local council (Greenwich) to protect and support young people, protecting talking newspapers and dial-a-ride services for Deaf and disabled/elderly people and campaigning against discrimination in all its many and varied forms.

I may not be a born and bred Stokie but I chose to come here for University and then I chose to stay after I graduated. I love living in Stoke and I sincerely hope to be able to stay here for a long time. I’ve contributed to Stoke I used to be a youth worker for the Council; I’ve done fund-raising activities for local charities (including having my head shaved a year ago).

I want to help improve Stoke by encouraging job creation and educational aspiration. One is useless without the other. I’d like to encourage entrepreneurs in Stoke; we have smart people with good ideas out there who just need a bit of help maybe with finance or a skill they lack. Why not help link them up with investors or people who have that skill? I’d like to try and continue a scheme I took part in through AimHigher where students go into local schools and colleges and give advice on further and higher education. I want to make sure the Council is offering work experience placements, internships and apprenticeships to people of all ages that are valuable and relevant to them and encouraging others to do the same.

I want to ensure that you are getting the services you need and that we can continue to provide them for you. The fact is we have less money, I wish we didn’t but there’s nothing I can do about it. However there have got to be places we can save money without cutting services. A case in point, why are we spending huge amounts of money on solar panels for the show lights at the civic centre? Why not turn the lights off? Secondly I disagree with some facets of the big society but I am passionate about encouraging volunteering, as someone who has been a volunteer virtually since I can remember. So why don’t we do more to encourage people to help their communities not as a way of replacing public services but as a way of making them better?

When all is said and done we’re wasting time with bickering and point-scoring when we should be pulling together and make sure we’re building a strong, secure and sustainable future whatever parties we may or may not be members of.