Weoley has a straight choice – protecting local services or the bedroom tax and savage cuts

Steve BootonUntil we get rid of the Tory Government in 2015, we have to stand together to fight unfair cuts and protect the vulnerable and young as best we can.

This Government has proved itself to be a Party of freeloading millionaires giving tax breaks to the rich while the least well off in our society are made to pay for the crisis created by their friends in the banking world.

People in Birmingham have been especially victimised. The average cutback in Birmingham is £149 per person, more than double compared to the national average of £74 in the rest of the country.

People in Weoley have suffered because of cuts in jobs, benefits and cruel legislation such as the Bedroom Tax that has made the lives of ordinary people, particularly the elderly and disabled, a misery.

It is typical of local Tory Councillors in Weoley to blame Birmingham City Council for the financial dilemma produced by their very own silver-spoon Cameron, who hasn’t got the first idea of what ordinary people’s lives are really like.

What we need to meet the economic crisis is not redundancies and cuts, it is jobs, training, affordable houses, strong local communities and businesses and proper apprenticeships for our young people.

For the last three years, I have been campaigning on behalf of the people of Weoley. I meet people every Saturday morning outside the Co-op on the Square. I have knocked doors and talked to those who work full time yet are forced to use foodbanks; to those struggling to pay rip-off fuel bills; to young people despairing about their future, and to young parents wondering what the future holds for their children.

With the help of our Labour MP, Richard Burden, I have worked to resolve hundreds of cases of unfairness and injustice. I’m proud to be a long-standing member of the Labour Party because Labour is the only Party that will fight for ordinary people’s rights to a living wage, future prospects, a secure and affordable home, and a decent quality of life for everybody.

When the present Tory Councillor was Chair of the Planning Committee, permission was granted for the building of the new Asda store that is now ripping the heart out of Weoley’s small businesses and community life. If I sat on the Planning Committee it would be to bring more houses and jobs to Weoley, not profit to greedy multinational companies!

The election on Thursday offers the people of Weoley a straight choice between a Labour candidate doing everything in his power to protect local services and a Tory candidate who is on record as supporting the Bedroom Tax and savage cuts to Birmingham’s budget.

 

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New Year, new pledge

4.79 million people in the UK are paid below the living wageEvery day, Steve and the team hear or read about the concerns of ordinary hard-working people in Weoley. From the bedroom tax, gas and electricity prices and wheelie bins to jobs, pensions and housing, Steve and the Weoley team are out in the community listening and responding to the difficulties caused by the Tory austerity agenda.

As campaigning got under way for the local elections in May this year, the Tories announce yet more welfare cuts, and the middle class face a ‘crisis of confidence’ over living standards, Ed Miliband has promised to freeze energy prices, address the prospects of young people in Britain and make work pay. Not only are ordinary people feeling let down by the Tories, but the foundations of British life have all been ‘undermined’, the Labour leader said.

Steve, Ghiyas and Robbie on the stall

Steve, Ghiyas and Robbie on the stall

Steve Booton, commenting on the outlook for Weoley, said: “We regularly go out to meet the people of Weoley. We visit their homes and we hold our stall on Saturday outside the Co-op on the Square.

“Last week, most of the residents we met in Lockwood Road and on the stall were concerned about the high cost of living, the unfair central government attacks on our city’s budget and the rip-off energy prices.

“We had lots of signatures added to our petition in support of Ed Miliband’s policy of freezing energy prices for two years.”

Come and see Steve and the Weoley Labour team

Steve and the team will be talking to voters throughout the ward over the coming months and they’re outside the Co-op on the Square most Saturdays between 12 and 1. Or you can contact us as follows:

  • call Steve on 07830 945754
  • come and sign our petition to freeze energy bills at our street stall on Saturday at 12 noon outside the Co-op on Weoley Castle Square
  • go to our Contact page to send an online message

Cold comfort for 30,000 victims of the cost of keeping warm

Today’s official statistics reveal that excess winter deaths rose by almost a third in 2012/13 compared with the previous winter, while the UK’s biggest energy giants enjoyed a huge surge in profits.

The charity Age UK describes the 31,100 winter deaths as ‘shameful’ and ‘preventable’ and wants the Coalition Government to take action on energy bills so that the most vulnerable can keep themselves warm in winter.

Energy firms profits

The UK’s biggest fuel suppliers made nearly £1.3 billion during 2012/13. That figure is nearly double their 2011 profits of £681 million

Source: energy regulator Ofgem

Steve Booton, Weoley Labour candidate, has been speaking to the residents of Weoley and week in, week out they have been telling him that they are bearing the brunt of the Tory-led Coalition cuts.

Steve said, “During our street canvass last Saturday, we spoke to a disabled women who cares for her mother. She has had her disability benefit stopped while she waits for yet another Atos assessment and may face a further reduction in benefit if she has to pay the Bedroom Tax.

“On top of this, the average energy bill rose by £168 in 2012. The public are already struggling and the Big Six energy companies are bleeding them dry.

“The Tory claim that ‘We’re all in this together’ has proven cold comfort for the tens of thousands of people who were last year’s victims of the rising cost of keeping warm.”

If you have any issues you would like us to help you with or you want to meet Steve and the Weoley Labour team, you can contact us as follows:

  • call Steve on 07830 945754
  • come and sign our petition to freeze energy bills at our street stall on Saturday at 12 noon outside the Co-op on Weoley Castle Square
  • go to our Contact page to send an online message

Prices are rising, temperature’s getting low

Weoley candidate Steve Booton joined MP Richard Burden on Northfield High Street to talk to local residents about their energy bills and to find out whether they support Ed Miliband’s call to freeze gas and electricity prices until 2017.

Steve said: “There was overwhelming support for the campaign with many people very keen to sign our petition calling on David Cameron to freeze energy bills and tell us their stories about how the high price of gas and electricity is affecting their lives. One woman swore she’d never vote Lib Dem again and said she’d never expected them to betray working people and make them pay for a crisis they didn’t create. Another told us how her and her husband just go to bed early so they can turn off their heating and lighting.”

Steve Booton campaigns for a freeze on energy prices

Calling for a freeze on energy prices: Steve Booton [2nd left] and
Northfield MP Richard Burden [right] are joined by Amy Watson and
Cllrs Andy Cartwright, Brett O’Reilly and John Clancy

Should Ed Miliband freeze gas and electricity bills?

Since David Cameron took office, the cost of gas and electricity has risen by £300 for the average household. The latest round of price hikes is forcing some families to make a stark choice between heating or eating, because they face a cost of living crisis, and having an adverse effect on small businesses.

You can sign the petition at the Weoley Labour Party stall every Saturday outside the Co-op on Weoley Castle Square from 12 noon. If you have any issues you want to raise with us or just want to chat, please come and see us.

You can also sign the Labour Party’s online petition at http://action.labour.org.uk/page/s/david-cameron-freezethatbill.