I am proud of my record and reputation as a councillor, campaigner and vocal representative for my community.
Health and Care Services
Health and care services are one of my biggest priorities both as a campaigner and a representative. The Conservatives have thrown the NHS into crisis, which can be seen in overflowing A&E departments, hours on the phone for a GP appointment, and people waiting days for ambulances. I am the Deputy Chair of the Lancashire Health and Adult Services Scrutiny Committee where I work to ensure safe, excellent services for everyone in Lancashire, despite the damage being done by the Government. I was a key voice in ensuring the Royal Lancaster Infirmary was not merged into a regional ‘super-hospital’ and I have also made improvements to health and care services, for example ensuring the Care Act was properly implemented in a local service. I use this platform to challenge the Government’s privatisation of our NHS and the damaging cuts to services. I scrutinise what NHS organisations and local authorities are doing to provide the best services possible, even at times of huge cuts and increasing demand.
Climate Change and Environment
Having previously served as Lancashire Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Recycling and Renewables, I have been instrumental in developing strong environmental policy solutions to the climate and ecological emergencies at county level. We need a fair transition to a low-carbon life for everyone in Lancashire by 2030. This must be done fairly, looking at the real drivers of climate change, not scapegoating: it must be about changing our systems and infrastructure, not just focusing on individual behaviour.
I have made disability equality a big focus of my work. From making accessible streets and pavements a council priority, to scrutinising care for people with learning disabilities, I have made real change happen. I led a successful campaign with parents to stop cuts to after-school and holiday care for disabled kids.
I support disability campaigners in their work, for example on ticket office closures, and always ensure that the needs of people with disabilities are at the forefront of my mind.
Many local people struggle to get suitable and affordable housing, whether that’s getting one bedroom properties in Heysham or young people being able to stay in their home villages. I believe that the national planning system needs a radical overhaul to deliver the homes we need – affordable, low energy, and flood resistent. Current planning laws favour developers’ profits over meeting real housing need. The law also allows dodgy developers to ride roughshod over local communities. I have worked with residents in one area where a developer has ignored planning consent and left the site unsafe. Through working with residents and the City Council, this dodgy developer has had at least 7 planning enforcement notices served, although I am constantly frustrated at the limits on local councils’ powers for enforcement. I think that repeated and and deliberate flouting of planning regulations should mean that developers are unable to get further planning permission approved.
Highways, Transport and Active Travel
Good transport links are important for everyone and maintaining and improving them has been a big part of my work. As a councillor, I listen to my residents who tell me that transport and highways are a cause of real concern for them, in particular making sure we have decent, affordable and sustainable public transport.
In one win for my community, I made sure that development money set aside for bus services, which had been sitting doing nothing, was spent on a much-needed local bus service. I have also ensured that roads are resurfaced in my division. I am an active member of the Lancaster & District Bus Users Group and have ensured multiple improvements such as raised kerbs and improved timetables.
I believe we need more infrastructure to allow people to walk and cycle safely and confidently. This includes segregated cycle lanes and level footpaths.
Child Poverty and Hunger
I have worked with Councillor Jean Parr to get child hunger on the agenda at the County Council. I have promoted and supported the work of community organisations, including giving grants to local food banks. The current MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale denies that poverty exists in the area and shouts down his constituents and local charities when they tell him the truth. This isn’t good enough. I promise to listen to everyone, even when they’re giving uncomfortable truths.
Labour would ensure children have enough to eat as a minimum, while working towards an enriching life for all.
I have supported local businesses through repeated flooding, lobbying for resources to be directed to long-term solutions and for reinstatement of regular maintenance of drains. I believe planning laws need a radical overhaul to ensure new housing does not exacerbate flooding.
I have challenged Government policy on changes to domestic violence refuge funding, gaining cross-party support and ensuring widespread media coverage of the campaign.