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Following a committee vote on June 10th, Leighton-Linslade Town Council has recently announced its intention to make a number of key changes to our town market. Most notably these include the relocation of all existing market stalls to the north side of the High Street, and the shrinking of various stalls to fit the new allocation.

 

Consumer shopping habits are changing rapidly. In an age when almost any product is available for cheap and convenient delivery from an online vendor, both the traditional charter market and small town-centre shops are becoming an endangered species. So we must, and do, recognise that these must continue to adapt to the marketplace as it changes around them, in order to stay in business.

 

However, the Town Council’s approach to revitalising our market seems to work at cross purposes. We believe the council when they say they wish to see our historic market perform better; that goal is shared by all concerned. But the council proposes to uproot small businesspeople from market stalls that they and their families have held, in some cases, for decades. They will force traders in the same field, such as greengrocers, to directly compete with each other cheek by jowl. And they will require grocers, butchers and fishmongers to store and sell their wares in constant sunlight in the hottest hours of the day.

 

All of this incurs needless extra business expense, on top of recent increases in small business rates. It puts our market's future at risk, and with it the readily available and affordable local produce upon which many local people rely. And, in reducing the size of the market and thus the customer footfall it attracts, it threatens a key revenue stream that many of our High Street shops depend on to survive.

 

We believe that these proposals amount to an ill-advised attempt at gentrification, harming our local community and a fundamental part of our town's heritage. We strongly urge Leighton-Linslade Town Council to reconsider the matter.

Our Market's Future: LL Labour Urges Town Council To Rethink Planning Proposals

Following a committee vote on June 10th, Leighton-Linslade Town Council has recently announced its intention to make a number of key changes to our town market. Most notably these include...

Labour’s shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, said that concerns had been repeatedly raised over the NHS’s outdated computer systems. Both the NCSC and the National Crime Agency had given repeated warnings about their vulnerability.

Reports two years ago in The Guardian revealed that the government had decided not to extend its £5.5m deal with Microsoft to provide support for Windows XP, leaving computers that still ran on the obsolete operating system at risk from hackers.

Jeremy Corbyn said "I am very angry that in 2014 there was a one-year renewal of the protection system on the NHS systems which was not renewed after that and not renewed the year after that, and so the systems are now not upgraded and not protected. As a result, we’ve got this dreadful situation that NHS workers are facing today.

We obviously support our NHS workers but I tell you this, a Labour government would not leave our NHS’s very vital information systems unprotected. We would protect them."

Government claims that patient care has been unaffected have been dismissed by doctors, nurses, pharmacists and patients. Meanwhile Jeremy Hunt hasn’t appeared to defend himself or acknowledge the criticism, leaving that to Home Secretary Amber Rudd.

Jeremy Hunt ignored warnings about out-of-date NHS IT systems

Labour’s shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, said that concerns had been repeatedly raised over the NHS’s outdated computer systems. Both the NCSC and the National Crime Agency had given repeated...

Labour candidate Daniel Scott will debate the other three candidates for South West Bedfordshire in an open meeting at the Dunstable Conference Centre on Dunstable High Street. You can find the venue here. Join him from 7:30 to 9:30 pm on Monday 22nd May to support Labour in our area.

Election hustings, May 22nd at Dunstable Conference Centre

Labour candidate Daniel Scott will debate the other three candidates for South West Bedfordshire in an open meeting at the Dunstable Conference Centre on Dunstable High Street. You can find...

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This is Dan's chance to challenge Andrew Selous' record and put his case for a better, Labour government. Please do go along and support him if you can.

Election hustings, May 23rd at Cedars School LB

This is Dan's chance to challenge Andrew Selous' record and put his case for a better, Labour government. Please do go along and support him if you can.

With Parliament now dissolved the general election campaign is in full swing. Dunstable and Houghton Regis Branch are looking to get our message out to voters in Dunstable this weekend and next.

Firstly, they have a campaign stall at Dunstable's market in Ashton Square this Saturday (13th) between 9 and 3. The Facebook event page for that is here.

Secondly, they are running an action day in Dunstable's Manshead ward on the 20th. The aim is to deliver as many leaflets as possible, and to make people aware of the local cuts we will experience under a potential new Conservative government. Volunteers will be out delivering leaflets between 1 and 4. If you can spare some time to help out, let them know at their Facebook page here.

Join us on the campaign trail in Dunstable

With Parliament now dissolved the general election campaign is in full swing. Dunstable and Houghton Regis Branch are looking to get our message out to voters in Dunstable this weekend...

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Daniel Scott has been selected as Labour’s candidate for the South West Bedfordshire constituency to stand in this June’s general election.

Daniel, pictured above with election agent Mike Bishop and party activist Ian Purvis, lives locally in Leighton Buzzard with his wife and two young children.

He is self-employed and runs a small business in Milton Keynes. He has served as a school governor and is currently treasurer of the local triathlon club.

Speaking after the selection, Daniel said:

Leighton Buzzard is my home and I am proud to be standing again as Labour’s candidate in this general election.

"This Tory government has overseen the biggest cuts to our public services in a generation. The NHS and social care is in crisis, our schools are struggling under the weight of the budget cuts and cuts to police budgets are putting our safety at risk.

People here in South West Bedfordshire need a local representative that will put them first. I will work tirelessly between now and June to let local people know that this general election will be a choice between a Labour Party that will stand up for the people of South West Beds or a Conservative Party that only looks after the privileged few."

Mike Bishop

Election Agent SW Bedfordshire Constituency Labour Party

18 Jupiter Drive

Leighton Buzzard

Labour announce Daniel Scott as candidate for South West Bedfordshire

Daniel Scott has been selected as Labour’s candidate for the South West Bedfordshire constituency to stand in this June’s general election. Daniel, pictured above with election agent Mike Bishop and...

Phil CrooksUsdaw, the shopworkers' union, is holding its Annual Delegate Meeting in Blackpool this weekend. Our trade union liaison committee chair Phil Crooks was there, and spoke in support of his branch's motion to lobby government for better support for victims of domestic abuse. Here below is the full text of his speech:

'President, Conference, good morning. Phil Crooks, C076, Home Counties Tesco Retail One. First time delegate and speaker.

 

“This ADM calls upon the Executive Council to lobby the government of the day to legislate for the provision of greater workplace support for people who have suffered or who are suffering any form of domestic abuse, particularly through the introduction of proper support schemes in all workplaces.”

 

According to Home Office figures, domestic abuse accounts for sixteen per cent of all reported violent crime, but is the least likely to be reported to police.

 

It has more repeat victims than any other crime. On average, a victim will have been assaulted thirty-five times before they seek help.

 

It is the single most commonly given reason for becoming homeless.

 

It leads, on average, to the murder of two women a week, and to the murder of thirty men a year.

 

Studies estimate that it doubles the risk of clinical depression among those whom it afflicts.

 

And, over the course of an average lifetime, it will afflict one in four women and one in six men.

 

The victims of domestic abuse come from all walks of life. All ages, all races, all genders, all classes, all sexualities. They are our parents, our siblings, our children, our friends, our colleagues. Most of the people in this room will feel the impact of domestic abuse on their lives -- either on themselves, or on someone close to them.

 

It is a scourge on our society, against which we have a duty to fight.

 

We fight it by educating people to recognise the hallmarks of abusive relationships.

 

We fight it by fitting the punishment of abuse to the wreckage left behind by the crime.

 

And we fight it by empowering those going through it to seek help.

 

It is this last point - of empowerment - that this proposition seeks to address.

 

In the earliest stages, as a relationship turns abusive, the abuser will often seek to isolate their victim. Removing access to support structures that might interfere.

 

The abuser might forbid their victim from going out, or from contact with friends and family. They might try to control what their victim wears, what their victim eats. They might deny their victim space -- constantly texting and calling them, checking on where they are, what they are doing, who they are with.

 

They might seek to sow doubt in their victim’s mind, manipulating them into second-guessing their memory, their perception, even their very sanity -- a technique known as “gaslighting.”

 

They might make decisions for their victim without any discussion or input or consent.

 

All to remove the victim’s control over their own life.

 

It is at this early stage that we, at work - and our employers - have the best opportunity to intervene.

 

Any organisation in this country that employs people owes them a legal duty of care - to protect their health and safety in the workplace to the best of their ability. I believe - I suspect not alone - that our employers also owe us a moral duty of care. Of concern for our welfare outside the workplace.

 

If only as a practical matter. An employee who fears for their safety at home is much less likely to be able to do the job they are paid to do. It is in our employers’ interest to work to provide their employees with help and support in their wider lives. Concern for workers’ welfare is part of a progressive tradition that includes the Co-operative Movement, John Cadbury’s establishment of Bournville, or the London Brick Company’s village of Stewartby back home in Bedfordshire.

 

My own employer, Tesco, certainly seems to hold this view. They offer an array of benefits to their staff aimed at helping them live healthier and happier lives. Benefits like discounted gym memberships and subsidised cycle-to-work schemes, aimed at improving our well-being both at work and outside it.

 

If one company in one sector can do this, then what could all of them do - together - across the workforce - against the horror of domestic abuse?

 

Support schemes need not be grand or paternalistic or even expensive. They could begin with something as simple as training staff to recognise the signs of abuse.

 

Or establishing systems by which an employee who is worried about a colleague can ask their managers to keep a closer eye on them, discreetly, in case they ever need help.

 

Or providing extra flexibility in work schedules to accommodate those who need a reason to be away from home and among people that they can trust.

 

Or, in the worst case, holding their job open for them, be it in their current workplace or on another site. Giving them the knowledge that, should they need to seek shelter from their abuser, they won’t have to worry about making ends meet.

 

That’s just four ideas, from one person, examining the issue from one perspective. There is no reason at all why the support schemes this proposition calls for cannot or should not help the people who most need them, while also remaining mindful of the needs of individual businesses. The balance is there to be found; all that’s needed is the will to do so.

 

The tragedy of domestic abuse is not just that it takes away the safety of home for the victim, but that it also robs them of a normal life outside it. Victims of domestic abuse spend their lives with one eye looking over their shoulder, waiting to see who is coming up behind them. Employers have the golden opportunity to help them watch their back, and so help them to live their lives again, the way all of us deserve to be able to.

 

Conference, today we have the chance to call upon government and business to live up to a moral duty. In doing so, not only could we improve our members’ lives, we could save our members’ lives.

 

I urge you to support.

 

Thank you, conference. I move.'

Phil Crooks: "Domestic abuse is a scourge on our society"

Usdaw, the shopworkers' union, is holding its Annual Delegate Meeting in Blackpool this weekend. Our trade union liaison committee chair Phil Crooks was there, and spoke in support of his...

As hard as we're going to work to challenge Andrew Selous here in South West Bedfordshire, if we want to form the next government then it isn't enough to win seats from the Tories -- we have to hold onto the seats we already have.

Gavin Shuker is the Labour Co-operative MP for Luton South, and he and our colleagues there face a difficult re-election battle. If we want to keep Luton South, it's vital that we speak to as many voters and supporters as possible. So Luton South's Labour and Cooperative parties are running door-knocking sessions across the constituency over the next week.

However much or little experience you might have on the doorstep, Gavin's going to need our help. So if you have a couple of hours over the next week please do go along and join them. They'll be out whatever the weather and full training will be provided to anyone who needs it. The dates, times, and meeting points are all below. Either click the right link to tell them you're coming, or just come along on the day.

 

When: Wednesday 26 April

Where: South ward - meeting at 3 Union Street.

Time: 12:00 PM and 6:00 PM. 

 

When: Thursday 27 April

Where: High Town ward - meeting at Peoples Park car park on Havelock Road.

Time: 12:00 PM and 6:00 PM.

 

When: Friday 28 April

Where: Farley ward - meeting on the corner of Meyrick Avenue & Russell Rise.

Time: 12:00 PM and 6:00 PM.

 

See you out there!

Calling All Volunteers! Gavin Shuker Needs Us

As hard as we're going to work to challenge Andrew Selous here in South West Bedfordshire, if we want to form the next government then it isn't enough to win...

The headline may be blunt but the truth is simple. The Lib Dems want to pretend that they can oust Andrew Selous - but they've never come close to defeating the Conservatives here.

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This chart shows the maximum percentage that Labour and the Lib Dems have ever achieved against the Conservative candidate in a general election. As you can see, Labour has come within a single percentage point of the Conservative total, back in 1997. Labour even got within 4% at the following election in 2001. Compare that with the Lib Dems, who have never polled higher than 40% of the total Conservative vote!

The lesson from this is simple: If you want this Tory government out, your only choice is to vote Labour.

Only Labour Can Beat The Tories Here

The headline may be blunt but the truth is simple. The Lib Dems want to pretend that they can oust Andrew Selous - but they've never come close to defeating...

By now everyone will know what's coming on June 8th. Despite repeatedly telling the nation that she had no intention of calling a snap general election, Prime Minister Theresa May has called a snap general election.

There's a lot of work to be done in the next 45 days. Here in South West Bedfordshire, we need to get the word out about how the Tory government has let this country down and how we aim to realise our vision for Britain as a society that works for the many, not just the few. This is our moment to stand up to Theresa May and Andrew Selous. They underestimate us at their peril.

Further afield, we will look to our colleagues in other local constituencies and see what we can do to help them over the line. We will make the Tories work for every vote in as many seats as we can, the better to blunt their momentum and halt their advance. We might even win enough seats from them to deny them an overall majority for their vision of a hard Brexit that promises to wreak havoc on our economy.

But nobody can do all this alone. It will take as many people as we can muster if we want to challenge Andrew Selous as strongly as possible. Whether you're a long-standing member or new to the party, whether you can give whole days of free time or just an hour here and there, whether you're a seasoned hand at all this or this is your first time around - We need you.

The first thing we need you to do is click here and make sure that you're registered to vote. You have until May 22nd to register in time for the general election and it takes five minutes to do. Please, do it now. If you don't think you can make it to the polls on the day you can register for a postal or proxy vote at the same time.

When you've done that, we would love to know that you're going to support us on June 8th. So please tell us! You can do that by clicking here to Say You're With Us.

While you're on a roll, we need as many volunteers as we can get. You could do a lot, you could do a little - everything you can do helps us. So go here to Volunteer.

And last, obviously, this is going to make money to make happen. The Tories can rely on a huge war chest from a few wealthy donors. But what we have is better: YOU. Ordinary people up and down the country, chipping in what they can to fight for a better future. We're working on a way you can donate to the local party right here on the website. Until that's finished, you can find Labour's national funding drive here. If you want to donate to South West Bedfordshire specifically, contact us here or on Facebook and we'll give you the details you'll need.

We won't be naïve. This will not be easy. But we'll fight on every step of the way - if you'll fight on with us.

And we're off!

By now everyone will know what's coming on June 8th. Despite repeatedly telling the nation that she had no intention of calling a snap general election, Prime Minister Theresa May...

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