Speaking up for Swindon
I AM DELIGHTED to have been re-selected by the members of South Swindon CLP to be their candidate for the next general election. The gains made by Labour in Swindon were indicative of the popularity of our policies across the country, since this is a seat where people are really feeling the squeeze of suppressed wages, rising prices and cuts to public services.
As a campaigner, I am dedicated to fighting for the future of our NHS, and to reversing the creeping privatisation that is costing the taxpayer so dearly. I want to see the Great Western Hospital PFI bought out and brought back into proper public ownership. I am supporting the National Education Union in our collective fight for school funding, which is particularly important in Swindon where half of our secondary schools are rated less than good by Ofsted. We urgently need to address land banking and the failure to build council homes.
At a local level, cuts to local government have devastated services here: we have no children's centres left, and the local Tory response has been to create new parish councils across the town so more money can be raised from the ground up, rather than addressing the lack of funding from central government. The borough is struggling to meet the higher than average need for adult and children's mental health services and the hospital is working well beyond capacity and requires improvement, according to the Care Quality Commission, in most areas including safety and staffing. Unemployment is low in Swindon, but so are wages, and job insecurity including zero-hours contracts is a problem that local union branches are tackling daily.
Swindonians voted to leave the European Union as a response to feeling that this town, with so much promise, has been punished by Tory austerity. However, the impact of a bad or no-deal Brexit would be huge in Swindon since we have over 10,000 jobs dependent on single market access, and the prospect of WTO tariffs and leaving the customs union is unsettling some of our large employers.
As the PPC for South Swindon I need to tackle all of these issues head-on. People are looking for an MP who puts the town first since our community is hugely proud: of our engineering history, of our contribution to technology and innovation, of our beautiful open spaces and our football team of course! People here want to know that their MP is going to speak up for the town's interests whether in government or opposition.
I was thrilled last June to stand for Labour in South Swindon on the platform of our transformative and positive policy agenda, embodied in a hugely popular manifesto. I am so pleased that Labour, led by Jeremy Corbyn, is proposing democratic socialism for the 21st Century as an alternative to the lack of vision and human compassion on the Tory benches.