Jo McCarron, Labour councillors and local residents are stepping up the campaign opposing recently announced plans to close the New Cheltenham Road post office and relocate it to the bottom of Pool Road.
Bill Bowrey and Terry Walker (Labour Councillors for Kings Chase ward) held a public meeting at the New Cheltenham Community Centre on Saturday 26th April where residents committed to help get as many of their neighbours as possible to have their say before the Post Office’s consultation closes at the end of April. The team has already been out talking to residents about the plans and the consultation process and will be pounding the streets throughout the week.
The Labour team have arranged a meeting next week with Post Office Ltd Regional Senior Management, and will use the opportunity to press home the serious concerns residents raised have about the planned move.
Jo McCarron, Labour's Parliamentary candidate for Kingswood, said:
“The planned relocation would put the post office up a steep hill poorly served by public transport, on a busy road with no pedestrian crossing – it would make a valued local service, which is at the heart of the community, much harder for lots of residents to get to. I’m working closely with the local Labour councillors to make sure as many residents as possible take part in the consultation. We need to make sure the Post Office have no doubts over the level of concern across the community about the planned move.”
Jo McCarron, Labour councillors and local residents are stepping up the campaign opposing recently announced plans to close the New Cheltenham Road post office and relocate it to the bottom...
Jo McCarron is surveying hundreds of local businesses to find out about the barriers they face in paying people a wage that covers the cost of living. She also wants to hear from businesses who already pay the living wage of £7.65 per hour to hear about the benefits it brings to their business.
This comes after TUC figures identified Kingswood as the top black spot for low pay in the UK, with 48% of people being paid below the living wage.
Jo, Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Kingswood, said that although it was a surprise to learn that Kingswood was the worst hit in the whole of the UK, it was in line with her own findings on the doorstep that people across the constituency are feeling the squeeze on their wages and household budgets.
"Over the last few months we've spoken to thousands of people across the constituency about the issues that matter to them. Over 80% say they are seriously concerned about the rising cost of living. It isn’t just those who can’t find work who are struggling, but nor is it just those on low pay – virtually everyone is feeling the growing pressure as month after month prices continue to rise faster than wages. It’s crucial that we find ways to ease that pressure, and part of that has to be improving people’s pay and tackling low wages.
“It is great news for people in Kingswood that Labour has pledged to offer a National Insurance break for a year to those who pay the living wage - this is a fantastic incentive. I am also proud that our local Labour councillors took the initiative to ensure the Living Wage was secured to all those working for the council, and on Monday we got agreement that the Council will look at extending the living wage to businesses with Council contracts.
“The vast majority of people in Kingswood have a good work ethic. But it is profoundly unfair that people who are just trying to do the right thing by taking work when they can, end up in jobs that don't cover the costs of rising bills. This is just not good enough – people in Kingswood deserve a better deal for their hard work.”
Rachel Reeves, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, joined the Labour team in Kingswood yesterday out surveying local residents in Woodstock about their concerns. After the campaign session she said:
“It’s absolutely clear talking to local residents that what really matters is the daily pressure they are facing as costs continue to rise, squeezing wages month after month. Wherever I am in the country I meet people who work around the clock but struggle to cover the basics. Our focus as a Party is finding practical ways at every level to ease this pressure. I really welcome the work Jo is doing locally to tackle low pay and I’m proud of the clear steps a Labour Government will take in 2015 to strengthen the minimum wage.”
Jo McCarron is surveying hundreds of local businesses to find out about the barriers they face in paying people a wage that covers the cost of living. She also wants...
Jo McCarron expressed her disappointment that an application has been accepted to turn the empty post office on Heath Rise, Cadbury Heath into a store selling alcohol from 6am to 11pm.
Jo teamed up with local residents to make sure their concerns were heard by the South Gloucestershire Licensing Committee, responsible for making the decision. At the Committee meeting on Tuesday (8th), Jo handed in dozens of letters from residents she and the Labour team had spoken to about the plans. The letters explained concerns that there is already a problem in the local area with alcohol-related anti-social behaviour, and already a high density of premises selling alcohol locally. The fear raised by the residents is that increasing access to alcohol will only make the problem worse.
The Licensing Committee said they were sympathetic to arguments from the residents but in the absence of police representation about the existing anti-social behaviour issues raised by the residents, their hands were tied.
Local Labour Parish Councillor Martin Farmer, who has been working with Jo and the residents, has written to the Parish Council suggesting that it pursues an appeal and asks for the police to assess the drink-related problems in the area.
This application at the old post office follows attempts to allow the next-door kebab shop to open until 1am at weekends and midnight on weekdays. The Labour team worked with residents at the time to petition the Licensing Committee and successfully blocked those plans in February.
After the meeting today, Jo McCarron said:
“It’s frustrating that despite local residents’ concerns, the Committee was unable to fully take on board the reports of anti-social behaviour. It cannot be right that such a strength of local feeling is being seemingly ignored. I will continue to work with local residents to make sure their views are heard as this issue progresses.”
Jo McCarron expressed her disappointment that an application has been accepted to turn the empty post office on Heath Rise, Cadbury Heath into a store selling alcohol from 6am to...