Thursday 24 November 2016


I am submitting the following motion to Southend-on-Sea Borough Council :-


“The Council calls upon the Government to make fair transitional state pension arrangements for all women born on or after 6th April 1951, who have unfairly borne the burden of the increase to the State Pension Age (SPA) with lack of appropriate notification.

Hundreds of thousands of women had significant pension changes imposed on them by the Pensions Acts of 1995 and 2011 with little/no/personal notification of the changes. Some women had only two years notice of a six-year increase to their state pension age.

Many women born in the 1950's are living in hardship. Retirement plans have been shattered with devastating consequences. Many of these women are already out of the labour market, caring for elderly relatives, providing childcare for grandchildren, or suffer discrimination in the workplace so struggle to find employment.

Women born in this decade are suffering financially. These women have worked hard, raised families and paid their tax and national insurance with the expectation that they would be financially secure when reaching 60. It is not the pension age itself that is in dispute - it is widely accepted that women and men should retire at the same time.

The issue is that the rise in the women's state pension age has been too rapid and has happened without sufficient notice being given to the women affected, leaving women with no time to make alternative arrangements.

The Council calls upon the Government to reconsider transitional arrangements for women born on or after 6th April 1951, so that women do not live in hardship due to pension changes they were not told about until it was too late to make alternative arrangements.”

See the following links

Southend Labour Leader sceptical about Sustainability and Transformation Plan for south Essex


Southend Labour Leader sceptical about Sustainability and Transformation Plan for south Essex

Today NHS England published ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plan’ documents for Mid and South Essex. The government has ordered such plans be drawn up for every area of the NHS in England in order to address the financial crisis in the health service.

Ian Gilbert, Leader of the Labour Group on Southend Council says: “We are all aware that the NHS faces huge challenges. Unfortunately many years have been wasted by the government’s ludicrous health reforms and our local services are in crisis."

"We recognise that there are benefits from closer working and specialisation within hospitals in the region, and that such changes can improve patient care. However as this document makes clear there are also serious risks which need to be seriously examined."

Cllr Gilbert added: "The huge, glaring concern for us is if people with life-threatening emergencies in Southend end up having to be taken to Basildon for treatment, given the regular congestion on these roads. The time it takes to get a patient to hospital is most definitely a factor in their chances of recovery, and there are surely serious risks around this."

"We are also sceptical if the promised savings from preventative work can be delivered, given that the government has slashed the public health budget which funds much of this work."

"We will support changes to the local NHS that are based on clear evidence of improved care for patients, but we will vociferously oppose any changes that see local people paying the price for Conservative mismanagement of the health service.”

Cllr Nevin on PET-CT services in south Essex


Cllr Nevin on PET-CT services in south Essex

From December 2016, the interim arrangements for PET-CT service will be:

·         1 day per week of the mobile service at Basildon – an average of 13 patients per day / 52 patients per month. This number of days to be increased flexibly if this capacity is insufficient for the demand. There are currently 75 patients per month referred to the service from Basildon Hospital clinicians, which includes those patients seen at Basildon hospital who live closer to Southend.

·         2 days per week at the fixed service at Southend – an average of 18 patients per day / 128 patients per month. There are currently 105 referrals to the South Essex PET-CT service from hospitals other than Basildon.

Milton ward councillor, Cheryl Nevin, is Vice Chair of the  People Scrutiny Committee; she is also a member of the Essex and Southend Joint Health Overview Scrutiny Committee which is reviewing PET Scanner Services

 Cllr Cheryl Nevin said "I am delighted that NHS Commissioners have decided not to delay further the interim commissioning of PET Scanner services at Southend Hospital, whilst representations, made by Thurrock HOSC, are reviewed by Secretary of State for Health" .

She added: "It makes perfect sense to start treating patients for early diagnosis of cancers and cardiovascular conditions, in face of the recent unprecedented increase in demand."

Tuesday 22 November 2016


For some time now I have been considering whether to take a serious peak at what Momentum do. Yesterday I took the plunge and paid my £10 joining fee.

Over the years I have joined a number of Labour bodies on various wings of the party; I am currently a member of Compass and have been in Progress and the Fabians. I also have association with a number of special interest groups too. Joining is one way of expanding one's political horizons.

I have never enjoyed being pigeon-holed in my politics, not least because I find it hard to pinpoint myself on the left-right spectrum. I am definitely a socialist, but whether I am always in the centre-ground depends on what the issue is. I recall a debate, many moons passed, when I was asked whether I was 'New' or 'Old' Labour; my response then was that I was 'just Labour'. Besides, Labour is a broad church, and we all want the same thing - a Labour Government.

It is no secret that I supported Liz Kendall and Owen Smith in the last two Labour Leadership contests. I also stated on several occasions that I would respect the outcomes and support whoever was victorious; I am not about to renege on that promise. I do reserve the right to be a critical friend. I was a fan of Blair, but some of his policies incensed me . Even our heroes let us down eventually.

I still have my reservations about Corbyn, but he was victorious, is the Leader, and we have to get on with it. Many of my friends are his fans, many are in Momentum. Many of our candidates will be in Momentum, will be Corbynistas, and I will want to see them as victorious as candidates from other parts of the party. It is quite possible I will be campaigning alongside them, and the many activists who have also joined the Mo-mob.

It seems sensible to me to reach out. There is bound to be common ground. We all want Labour candidates elected, and our fight for equality and social justice unite us.

It is possible that Momentum will reject me. I know that some there consider me a Red Tory, which, if nothing else, ignores a substantial campaigning track record. If they can allow me in to see what they are about then there is the possibility that we can reach accord, that we can support each other over the issues where we agree. And where we disagree? Well, in politics disagreement and debate are part of the landscape. Who knows? I may be able to win them over, and I am sure that they will believe that they can convince me.

One thing is true though; if all in the Labour Party do not pull in broadly the same direction then it will be our opponents who prosper. Like it or not, Momentum contains a substantial body of Labour Party members and those of us who have been wary of this party-within-a -party have to work out how we can work with them.

St Luke's Voice Winter 2018/19 edition