AMM 210522 – the CLP monthly meeting
Notes from All Members Meeting on Saturday 21st May, 2022 by Zoom
A very informative, lively and inspiring meeting due to an excellent presentation and Q&A session with our guest speaker, Ruth Jones MP for Newport West, Shadow Environment Minister with responsibiity for flooding and fisheries, a member of the Down’s Syndrome Bill committee and of the DEFRA team, looking at animal welfare, air quality and pollution.
We were able to welcome 2 new CLP members and it is good to see attendance at All Members Meetings growing.
After initial introductions, Jon outlined the agenda and began by thanking councillors and Executive Committee members for their input and support of a Year 10 pupil from a local secondary school, who approached us regarding a work experience placement for the week leading up to the AMM. He was able to attend council meetings both in Folkestone and at County Hall and to spend some time visiting community projects in which Labour Members are working. He hopes to become a political journalist and, not wanting to pass up a great opportunity to get a young person’s perspective we asked him to write a piece for the latest edition of the Newsletter.
Round up of some of our councillor activity and news:
KCC councillor, Jackie Meade:
- issues with the running of the KCC SEND transport continue.
- KCC are cutting their budget for homeless people, despite the fact that ‘Porchlight’ the charity which has been delivering support to the homeless for KCC, has said, in no uncertain terms, how badly this would affect the people they are helping.
District councillor, Connor McConville:
- The Tories won the recent vote on governance of council proceedings, so the Cabinet system or consideration of any other form, felt to be undemocratic by many, will continue.
- Plans to demolish a third of the existing old Debenham’s building in order to build a brand new medical centre in the new Folca Centre are being considered.
- Otterpool development is now open to consultation until the end of the year. This is the time to get comments in. The District Council is planning to move its base to Otterpool.
Folkestone Town Councillor, Paul Bingham:
- Helped to develop a new sign giving information about the Town Council Members
- Attended the service at All Souls Church to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Cheriton Brownies, planted a rose bush in the churchyard and attended the celebration of the newly refreshed library and planting of a Jubilee celebration tree.
- Intends to protest about the plans to demolish part of the old Debenhams building.
News on Campaign 23:
Our focus: People and the Environment through the lens of Food, Homes, Health and Money, addressing inequality and gaps in provision. The Campaign Committee will be working on the framework and policies for the next elections in May ‘23 .
Action on Homelessness are providing 2 meals a week for homeless people at Sunflower House.
The project would welcome more volunteers.
Many of our councillors are involved in volunteering for various charities in the area and lead very busy lives. It would be interesting to hear about the volunteering done by other CLP members, if anyone would like to contribute a short outline of their work.
Labour Party National Conference 24th-29th September 2022, Liverpool Conference Centre. Information about Conference , selection of delegates, and plans for motions to Conference will be made available at our next All Members Meeting which will be held on 11th June. Please note change of date.
Ruth Jones MP
After apparently being unable to resist starting with the news that Rishi Sunak and his wife have appeared on the latest Sunday Times Rich List at number 222, Ruth began by saying how pleased she was to hear about the work being done in the community by members of our CLP. She also commented that she was interested to hear about the Debenhams/Folca project as there is a similar situation in her area.
The point that Ruth was very keen to drive home was that Labour has the plan and the ability to act on Green issues. She praised the work of Ed Milliband and contrasted his plans to ‘green’ the economy of this country with the lack of action from the Tories, who, in the last 12 years of being in government, have done nothing positive, but have achieved growth stagnation, weakened the economy, and driven through a harmful Brexit deal.
Moving on to the climate emergency, Ruth stated that the Tories did not vote to throw their support behind the idea of a climate emergency. the Environment Agency has had its funds cut, wildlife is in decline and there is a concern about animal welfare regulations will be weakened due to the new trade deals being negotiated. Much of the proposed legislation on animal cruelty, hunting and trophy hunting has been dropped. Ruth reported receiving mail on these issues as being a large proportion of her postbag.
She said that there is little that this government can boast about in terms of achievements which benefit the people of this country. Instead the country’s bonfire of broken promises continues to grow.
There was nothing in the Queen’s Speech on coastal communities and no Victims Bill. Labour would be tough on crime, unlike the Tories, who have overseen a rise in crime of 18% and convictions down by 18%. She made a wry comment about the plan to export refugees to Rwanda, saying that she had thought it must be April’s Fools’ Day when it was announced.
Ruth opened the meeting up for questions. Some of the topics covered were sustainable farming; Labour’s manifesto plans for improving housing stock; and harmful air quality and pollution levels which are continuing to increase as public transport is still being cut, resulting in more road traffic; green energy, and animal welfare standards.
On sustainable farming, Ruth said that Labour’s Shadow Minister for Food, Farming and Fisheries, Daniel Zeichner, would be the man to answer the question and that she would advise him to expect an email from us! She did report that:
- Labour is seeking amendments to the 2020 Agriculture Act on farming, land management and animal welfare
- Labour needs to be paying attention to bio-diversity , protecting nature and getting up to 60/70% of food production.
- Labour now working with farmers in rural areas is seen as a priority, encouraging local growing and buying.
On green energy, Ruth, gave an outline of Labour’s plans to bring down energy costs:
- green jobs, insulating homes, building wind, solar and tidal power.
- more research and development in these.
- fossil fuels must be left in the ground; no fracking, no mining
- heat pumps are the way forward for new builds
transport: she acknowledged that there are huge problems with transport and many issues to be addressed by Labour on this.
democracy in local planning: Ruth agreed that contempt for public consultation was often shown in the processes adopted by local councils. The new planning laws sound ”like a disaster and divisive policy”. We urgently need new housing stock, sympathetic to the environment, eg. soakaways and areas of planting.
animal welfare: Ruth agreed that there should be a requirement for vehicle drivers to report the killing of a cat whilst driving as there is for the death of a dog. Cat owners should have the same entitlement as dog owners. Live animal exports should be phased out alongside the provision of more local abattoirs.
the cost of green energy transformation: and a windfall tax: Some Tories are pushing the idea that a good way of cutting energy costs would be to get rid of the green levy which is put onto our energy bills to finance green initiatives. This is partly a drive to make going green less attractive. Abolishing fossil fuels and using sustainable energy would, in the long run saves us all money, and provide jobs for many people and result in all our energy being safely sourced in our own country. It is a win-win situation.
A windfall tax is a no-brainer We need it now, the Autumn will be too late as energy prices will soar. Labour will keep ‘banging on about it’.
Ruth said she was so pleased to hear about our year-round campaigning; our action rather than just talking; getting things done and being involved in the local community.
The Labour Manifesto will be clear about the need to do things with and for people and to work with and for the people.
Jon brought the meeting to a close with the thought that Ruth’s input had strengthened the view that “Labour Works”. He gave a vote of thanks to Ruth for a stimulating and thought -provoking meeting.
Ruth’s closing remark was that “You may not have a Labour MP, but you are preparing well for when we do!”
26th May 2022