“Labour will challenge poverty and low pay – and promote renewable energy.”
Climate change presents the risk that flooding will become more frequent, and more destructive. I believe that Scarborough Borough Council should do all in its power to develop an infrastructure designed around utilising renewable energy, and invest in the construction of housing based on zero-carbon principles. I supported the ‘Choices for Energy’ initiative, and attempts to reduce energy bills and tackle fuel poverty.
The policy of austerity that has been pursued by Conservative governments since 2010 has undermined the very foundations of our society. Crime is on the increase: I support the demands for more police officers on the beat. Poverty is also rising, as illustrated by the use of food banks, often as a consequence of the Conservative government’s cruel treatment of people claiming welfare benefits, many of whom have a disability, or are in work but with low pay. According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (newsletter 29 March 2019), “three in four children locked in poverty have a parent in work”. This should not be happening in one of the world’s most affluent nations. The cuts in funding from central government must end, and should be replaced with a programme of investment that funds local government properly to ensure that it can provide decent services to our citizens, and tackle issues such as anti-social behaviour and homelessness.
Scarborough has had a reputation for being a low-pay area. SBC should do what it can to counter this, and encourage better pay and skills development. In council, I raised concerns about promised opportunities for employment of local people at York Potash mine in Whitby after plans for a ‘workers village’ were submitted. I also voiced concerns at Planning Committee about the visual impact of the proposed construction.
I am acutely aware of the lack of public transport around the borough, and have raised this issue in council and would continue to do so if elected to represent the people of Scalby Ward.
With my experience in tourism I am concerned at the lack of provision of public toilets in the borough, and at the nature of Tourist Information provision. I am a fan of sports, and a supporter of investing in art and culture. I opposed SBC spending £135,000 on the Tour de Yorkshire when support for the cycle race was first proposed in 2014, not only on the grounds of the cost of the event, in the context of services provided by SBC being cut and staff being made redundant, but also on the grounds that the race in Scarborough was men-only. I am pleased that, in subsequent years, female cyclists have been included in further races during the Tour. However, I do wonder whether private sponsorship could be found for this event, so that SBC can invest that money in local services, and give a welcome to tourists all year round.
I was born and grew up in Leeds, and went to Hull University to study Psychology, returning to study there part-time to gain my MSc Occupational Psychology (the study of organisations). I was a Volunteer Advice Worker at Hull Citizens Advice Bureau during my time as an Undergraduate student in Hull. I have been vegetarian for the past 39 years.
I have worked as an “in-house” consultant in the Civil Service, conducting evaluations of services and developing the organisation. During that time I became Branch Secretary of the Institution of Professionals, Managers and Specialists union in the Employment Service, negotiating at national level. I spent several years working in Parliament, as Senior Researcher to an MP, mainly on issues around Climate Change.
I was a Councillor on Leeds City Council, 1999-2003, representing an inner-city ward. During that time I chaired a Community Involvement Team, comprising six City Councillors along with community representatives. I campaigned with local residents on issues such as health care provision in the Ward. I later became Lead Member for Culture and Tourism, supporting the arts and sport in Leeds. I was a member of Yorkshire Tourist Board, and the Grand Theatre board. I also served on the Regional Cultural Consortium as a Local Authority representative.
I became a Councillor on Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) after winning a by-election in 2013, in what had been the Conservative-held Streonshahl ward in Whitby. During that time (2013-15) I campaigned for funding for the repair of Whitby piers, raising the issue in SBC full council, and writing to the then Prime Minister David Cameron requesting that he extend his “money is no obstacle” pledge concerning combating flooding on the Somerset Levels, to locations at risk of flooding in Whitby.