Read statements from your local Labour council candidates, talking about their favourite policies from the Labour South East manifesto…

Karimah Kelly

Candidate for Swanley

“For Labour, the well-being of everyone, and for the communities in which they live, is a central and guiding principle. That must be true here in Swanley, across the rest of Kent, and indeed the whole of Britain.

Labour wants a fairer country where no-one is held back, and a place where everyone should be able to get on in life, to be decently paid and to have security at work and at home. Local communities must come first in this endeavour- community values matter: they are the bedrock and foundation for reaching out to, and achieving, a brighter and yet balanced future.
The local elections this May are all about who is to be your local County Councillor. Swanley Division deserves the best and I as your Labour candidate hope to get the chance to prove I am worthy of getting your vote and that Labour in Kent will be able to deliver on their six pledges crafted to create a Kent to be proud of.”

    KCC should focus on making day-to-day services effective and sustainable for the future.
    By investing now, focusing on prevention, we will save taxpayers’ money.
    A social care and public health service fit for purpose. A caring council that values residents, communities, our NHS.
    Supporting Kent’s economy and investing in our infrastructure.
    An education system that empowers and supports the next generation.
    Taking real action on climate change and enforcing against those who damage our environment.

“I will lobby to reverse household waste centre charges on Kent residents, which have led to increased fly-tipping. I will work with residents, District/Boroughs and Kent Police to allocate resources to enforce and prosecute fly-tippers when offences are in both rural and urban areas. I’ll continue to lobby for the introduction of small business waste disposal schemes.” Karimah

Helen Fiorini

Candidate for Sevenoaks West

Financial Resourcing, Budget, Investments. Labour will call for the reinstatement of the Revenue Support Grant to ensure Local Councils are fully funded. We are clear that Government should fund nationally incurred costs.

“It was not that long ago when the Revenue Support Grant from central Government was seen as a way of ensuring Local Councils were properly funded. However, the last few years of a Tory Government have seen such huge cuts in this major grant that many Councils have been increasingly unable to provide good quality, and when necessary, targeted public services. This long period of austerity has left key services so depleted that coping with the Covid pandemic has been on a knife edge often relying on volunteers instead of paid professionals. Labour believes that properly investing in public services again is an absolute necessity for the future wellbeing of our population and will also, in turn, contribute greatly to our economic recovery.” Helen

Jackie Griffiths

Candidate for Sevenoaks Town

Planning and the Environment. We will ensure KCC buildings are carbon neutral by 2030.
Public Health. Ensure public health spend is directed towards initiatives that have real impacts in consultation with those that need the services, particularly in the field of preventative services. A Labour led KCC will continue to fight for parity between mental and physical health, particularly to ensure adequate funding for preventative services.

“Many young people are passionate about Climate Change and I see it as one of the key issues of our time. I would uphold Labour’s pledges to ensure that KCC buildings are carbon neutral by 2030. This would entail involving the community and especially the young, in contributing towards initiatives that would enable our efforts and strategies to produce this. A priority would be to encourage active travel such as walking and cycling as this would also benefit the health of residents.

With regard to Public Health I would like to see any reshaping of Kent Health Services based on the needs of communities with an emphasis on funding for preventative services and a focus on encouraging parity between mental and physical health. This would involve more locally based groups and forums helping to bring wellbeing to the centre of our community.”

Neil Proudfoot

Candidate for Sevenoaks Rural South

Planning and the Environment. Labour created the Green Belt. We will support rural communities in maintaining their Character while working with  Districts and Boroughs to ensure development harmonises with local communities

“If you don’t live in and around the Westerham area you may well not have heard of this disturbing proposal which has been knocking around for several years now. It involves returning a quarry back to the farm land it once was, by levelling it up with rubble and worse. Every day, except Sundays for the next 5/6 years this ‘infill’ would be trucked in from all around, thus hugely increasing road traffic in an already congested part of Kent. Throughout, it has been claimed this project is a ‘green ecologically sound venture’, all about returning a quarry to gently rolling farm land. It is even claimed it’ll save the M25 from slipping into a water-filled pit situated close by the northern edge of the farm. Oh! …. And of course, there is the prospect that there will be a great deal of money to be made in the process.

There is, and has been from the beginning, when this proposal first became public knowledge, huge opposition to this both in Westerham and across the local area. If permission is granted, the noise and pollution will cause much misery to many local residents. There is no perceived local need for somewhere to dump such a large quantity of rubble and waste. Open and shut case you’d think?.

However, for the local Tories it is not that easy at all! especially if local landowners and developers are stalwart Tory supporters. It is the last thing the Tories will want to have highlighted as their Kent County Council Election candidate seeks to become elected for this area.

So surprise! surprise! The local Tory machine has had this particular can kicked down the road- the planning application for the restoration of Covers Farm is now to be decided after the Kent County Council elections on 6th May. All the more reason to vote Labour – the party that opposes the Government’s latest Planning reforms and that locally, will fight to ensure that development is in harmony with the needs of local communities.” Neil

David Griffiths

Candidate for Sevenoaks North and Darent Valley

Council Democracy and Accountability. We will hold an internal inquiry into the Council’s response to the pandemic, learning lessons and ensuring our services are fit for purpose.

Openness and accountability for mistakes made during the Covid 19 Pandemic has become pitifully shallow both Nationally and Locally. At a local level are there times where we should ignore Government Policy on moral grounds when we instinctively know not to do so could lead to people losing their lives ? We are now aware that Government policy on care homes in March 2020 was totally wrong, with catastrophic consequences.
I believe local health professionals at the time knew that transmission of the virus was inevitable and subsequently felt powerless to act when elderly people with Covid 19 were placed in care homes. However, some did act which prevented the inevitable loss of lives of both the care home residents and staff
Robust terms of reference and accountability must be at the centre of Local Government if not at the centre of National Government. As local residents, we also have a moral accountability to voice our opinions robustly when we instinctively know somethings are just not right.”