Local Elections 2021: Candidate Profiles

We asked local Labour candidates in Worcestershire to tell us why they are running in this May’s local elections – here is what they said:

Mattie Osborne (Candidate in Bromsgrove East for County Council)

How long have you been a member of the Labour Party for?

3 Years

Why have you decided to run as a Councillor? 

Representation and to give those struggling a voice in council they can depend on.

What are the main issues facing your ward that you are hoping to address as a Councillor?

Road Infrastructure; Nature Preservation and Schools

How do you think the Tories and Council Leaders have responded to this pandemic so far? Both in terms of the public health response and supporting the community?

Poorly. They have for the longest time provided no original ideas in tackling the problem and instead have taken ideas from the other parties.

Are you committed to promoting the right of Council staff and officers to join Trade Unions, and will you as a Councillor encourage wider Union recognition across all sectors?

Yes

Ultimately, why should someone in your ward vote for you? 

As a resident myself, from a working class background I want to be able to give the residents in Bromsgrove East a positive voice – one representing those who have been left behind and ignored for too long by the county council.


Harrison Rone-Clarke (Candidate in Pershore for County Council)

How long have you been a member of the Labour Party for?

4.5 years

Why have you decided to run as a Councillor? 

To challenge to status-quo, deal with the climate emergency locally, preserve our County for our children.

What are the main issues facing your ward that you are hoping to address as a Councillor?

Over-development, including of merely luxury housing, not addressing the housing crisis.

How do you think the Tories and Council Leaders have responded to this pandemic so far? Both in terms of the public health response and supporting the community?

Poorly. The CEO of the county council’s decision to skip the queue and recieve his vaccine early, demonstrates a disgusting attitude towards both the vaccine program and the general public. Support has been rolled out too slowly and riddled with administrative difficulties.

Are you committed to promoting the right of Council staff and officers to join Trade Unions, and will you as a Councillor encourage wider Union recognition across all sectors?

Yes

Ultimately, why should someone in your ward vote for you? 

I will be your voice at County Hall, not County Hall’s voice in Pershore.


Mary Campbell (Candidate in Littletons Division for County Council)

How long have you been a member of the Labour Party for?

10 years

Why have you decided to run as a Councillor? 

We need a better mix of people

What are the main issues facing your ward that you are hoping to address as a Councillor?

Transport, mental health in rural communities, traffic, lack of amenities

How do you think the Tories and Council Leaders have responded to this pandemic so far? Both in terms of the public health response and supporting the community?

Lots of local volunteer support. Anything run locally has been ok ie vaccinations. Anything done by gov ie PPE track and trace has been rubbish.

Are you committed to promoting the right of Council staff and officers to join Trade Unions, and will you as a Councillor encourage wider Union recognition across all sectors?

Yes

Ultimately, why should someone in your ward vote for you? 

I live here and have taken an active part in helping where I can.


Matt Lamb (Candidate in Claines in the County Council Election)

How long have you been a member of the Labour Party for?

27 years

Why have you decided to run as a Councillor? 

I am running for county council in Claines because I believe that decisions are best made when they are made closest to the people that they effect. That is why I believe in local government and local democracy. If the people’s faith in democracy is to be maintained they need a strong and responsive link between themselves and those who make the decisions that affect their lives. I enjoy working with people to solve problems and settle disputes. I believe that my character and the experience I have built up gives me the ability to serve and represent the people of Claines effectively and fairly.

I am currently a city councillor in St Johns in Worcester and I feel that since I was elected in 2010 I have been an effective and hardworking councillor. I have worked successfully to represent the people of St John’s and champion their interests. I have been involved in helping resolve such issues as parking, speeding, anti-social behaviour, planning issues, HMOs, housing, cleanliness, unruly trees, disputes over gardens and numerous others. In the council chamber I have spoken on behalf of the residents of St Johns and Worcester on such diverse issues as fox hunting, the living wage, voter registration and involvement, street cleaning, child poverty, fire safety in rental properties, planning laws and fees for sheltered housing.

I would now like to stand for county council to use the skills that I have developed on a district level to address the issues and that are dealt with by Worcestershire County Council such as education, highways and social care.

What are the main issues facing your ward that you are hoping to address as a Councillor?

Claines is an area that I know well from my 20 years of living in the city and it typifies much of what makes living in Worcester a pleasure. It is important to protect the green spaces of Claines from overdevelopment- whilst there is the need for additional housing in Worcester we must ensure it does not come at the expense of our natural environment and the housing that is built must include affordable rental properties and those for first time buyers.

It is also vital that congestion, parking and pollution are tackled effectively. One of the main routes north out of the city goes through the ward and so it is vital to ensure that the highways are maintained whilst ensuring air quality is protected. High quality and reliable public transport is particularly important in Claines to enable local people to be able to access the heart of the city. As a keen walker and cyclist more should be done to encourage pedestrians (including the protection and maintenance of pavements and public footpaths which cross the heart of the local community) and cycling.

How do you think the Tories and Council Leaders have responded to this pandemic so far? Both in terms of the public health response and supporting the community?

I feel that the Tories acted too slowly and too cautiously in tacking Covid. The relative success of the vaccination process should not make us forget that the UK has one of the worse records of infection and fatality in the world and action should have be taken sooner.

Are you committed to promoting the right of Council staff and officers to join Trade Unions, and will you as a Councillor encourage wider Union recognition across all sectors?

Absolutely.

Ultimately, why should someone in your ward vote for you? 

I believe I would be an excellent councillor for Claines. I have experience as a councillor in Worcester for more than 10 years and in that time I have been a hard working and responsive representative who has been able to help people with their problems and deal with the issues that concern people at a local level. I look forward to serving the people of Claines.


Pat Agar (Candidate in Nunnery for County Election)

How long have you been a member of the Labour Party for?

23 years

Why have you decided to run as a Councillor? 

Because I want to serve the community I represent, supporting local people, especially as we come out of the pandemic. A lot of people have lost loved ones, lost jobs and worry about how they are going to survive. Labour councillors need to be there for them through the bad times, as well as the good, making sure that residents get what they need to lead better lives and to improve their health and life chances.

What are the main issues facing your ward that you are hoping to address as a Councillor?

Nunnery has the some of the worst health problems in Worcester and this has been highlighted by the COVID19 pandemic. I want to help the people of Nunnery to change that. Every child and young adult should be able to have healthy food, so their health will be better, now and later in life. Working families often struggle to put food on the table and pay their bills, due to low wages and zero hours contracts. We need a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. I want to see the real minimum wage become a reality for everyone, so every Worcester resident can afford to keep a decent roof over their heads and pay their way.

We need to support people to get the skills they need to get good jobs. This is especially important for young people who have not been able to get work and for anyone who has lost their job during the pandemic. Anyone on benefits faces a stressful time: your councillors are asking our local MPs to persuade the government to keep the uplift in Universal Credit.

Continue to repair the roads and footpaths: it will take time, but I’m working on it. Contact me to find out if you are due for highway repair.

A better, affordable bus service is a must, so people can get to work, see their friends and relatives, attend medical appointments and have fun.

Loneliness has made life miserable for so many people during lock down, especially, so it is important to support activities and volunteering in our local community centres, who do such an amazing job on a shoestring. Thank you to all the staff and volunteers of Worcester Community Trust.

Lastly, but not least, thank you also to the Newtown Green Group, who have improved the green with litter picks, pond cleaning, wild flowers and much more.

How do you think the Tories and Council Leaders have responded to this pandemic so far? Both in terms of the public health response and supporting the community?

As for the Tories: not as well as they could. The vaccination programme is going well, but the economic cost of not closing our borders sooner or testing people entering the country early on, allowing large events, such as race meetings (e.g. the Cheltenham Gold Cup) to go ahead, knowing that they would lead to the spread of the virus, was appalling. Apparently, you can even go grouse shooting, but political protest is still not allowed! What does that say about our democracy?

The cost in human lives has been awful. The UK has had the highest death rate per head of population in the world. Far too many people have lost loved ones and far too many people with serious illnesses, such as cancer have had to wait too long for treatment while the NHS struggled to deal with the pandemic. Our local Public Health service has been outstanding. They have worked hard to keep us informed and to keep us safe. E.g. Their response to the recent appearance of the South African variant of COVID19 was rapid: testing in the area where it was found was speedy and, hopefully, will help prevent the spread of this new threat.

Are you committed to promoting the right of Council staff and officers to join Trade Unions, and will you as a Councillor encourage wider Union recognition across all sectors?

Yes. It is vital to support our trade unions and their efforts on behalf of working people in the UK.

Ultimately, why should someone in your ward vote for you? 

I will work hard on behalf of the people of Nunnery to see that they get the services they need from the council to lead better, healthier lives; to see that they get the skills and help they need to find well-paid work; combat loneliness and isolation and ensure that we, their Labour councillors, not only listen but also act on what residents tell us and if we can’t do something, to be honest about why.


Sharon Taylor (Candidate in Malvern Link for County Election)

How long have you been a member of the Labour Party for?

3 Years

Why have you decided to run as a Councillor? 

I was unhappy County Council have not declared a climate emergency and feel strongly this should be a priority . I am already a town councillor and chair of the environmental group . I want to have a say in supporting local services post pandemic that have been under funded for many years of Tory underinvestment.

What are the main issues facing your ward that you are hoping to address as a Councillor?

I started a Facebook page for Friends of Victoria park recently after local people raised a number of concerns including not being involved in plans for redeveloping the park litter and vandalism . Post pandemic investment in Malvern Link and a new transport hub with designated cycle paths and buses from Link station I am also involved in a number of rewilding and tree planting schemes locally.

How do you think the Tories and Council Leaders have responded to this pandemic so far? Both in terms of the public health response and supporting the community?

I think that the slow response to the pandemic by the government is to shut down borders cost thousands of lives. The underfunded NHS struggled to cope and was unprepared Reinvestment for the future in our environment our health new greener industry, jobs and education needs to be a priority

Are you committed to promoting the right of Council staff and officers to join Trade Unions, and will you as a Councillor encourage wider Union recognition across all sectors?

Yes since the decline in Trade Unions we have seen eroding of employees rights and the prospect of increasing zero hours contracts .

Ultimately, why should someone in your ward vote for you? 

Because I have lived and worked locally for 23 years, I have been involved in the community through my work as as social worker with children and families and a volunteer with Age U.K. and since May 19 as a town councillor. I have tried to make a difference. I put a motion to town council to declare. a Climate emergency which was passed unanimously. I can be judged on my achievements not by words.


Lynn Denham (Candidate in Cathedral for City Council and Rainbow Hill Division for County)

How long have you been a member of the Labour Party for?

30 Years

Why have you decided to run as a Councillor? 

To continue the fight against inequality and bring about practical action for a better, fairer Worcester

What are the main issues facing your ward that you are hoping to address as a Councillor?

I pledge to support safer walking and cycling, invest in our children and young people, make Worcester a better city to grow old in, support fair employment for all and helping local businesses to grow and take action on climate change and biodiversity use every opportunity to help people and businesses reduce their carbon footprint.

How do you think the Tories and Council Leaders have responded to this pandemic so far? Both in terms of the public health response and supporting the community?

I think the Tories have generally been too slow to protect people from Covid-19. As a former NHS professional, I have been frustrated by the apparent lack of understanding of infection control measures and the expertise of the public sector. Instead of outsourcing Track and Trace to their cronies, we would have got much better value for money by investing in existing Public Health and Environmental Health services. Even now, in 2021, the government has refused to increase the funding for public health.

Support for the community within Worcester City has been good. We are fortunate to have a strong charity sector and dedicated local government officers who have been responsive and adaptable to the needs of the city. The pandemic has exposed the fragility of our community support systems after 10 years of austerity. In order to build back fairer, we will need to invest in our key workers and support services.

Are you committed to promoting the right of Council staff and officers to join Trade Unions, and will you as a Councillor encourage wider Union recognition across all sectors?

Yes! I have encouraged many people to join a trade union in order to have a collective voice at work and prevent the imposition of unfair or unsafe working practices. Covid-19 has created new risks in many workplaces and bosses have a duty to protect their workers.

Ultimately, why should someone in your ward vote for you? 

I am an accessible, diligent Councillor who puts people at the heart of all I do.


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