Jim Deen, Labour, Worthing Pier

The fight to become the first Labour Councillor in Worthing for 40+ years

Welcome U-turn on tip charges, but now we need 7-day opening restored

Reacting to the announcement that West Sussex County Council had suspended charges for taking DIY waste to its waste and recycling centres, Jim Deen, Labour candidate in the Worthing Pier division for the up-coming County Council elections said:

Labour is delighted that the County Council has seen sense and agreed to withdraw the charges for DIY waste taken to the Council’s waste and recycling centres. The Tory Council leaders could have avoided this humiliating U-turn if they had listened to the Labour group when the charges were first proposed six months ago.

We told them the charges were likely to be illegal and that they would inevitably result in less recyclable materials being brought to the centres and being fly-tipped around the county.

And we were absolutely right. The amount of DIY waste being taken to centres dropped by around 60%, and there was a very noticeable increase in fly-tipping around Worthing and across the County. The most extreme example was the huge pile left in the prominent Teville Gate site. This was largely composed of DIY waste.

The tragic thing is, we gave the Tory administration the opportunity to back down on these ill-considered charges at a Council meeting in March. Despite the overwhelming evidence that the charges were a disaster, they voted to keep them. Every Worthing Tory County Councillor present – Michael Cloake, Paul High, Roger Oakley, Bryan Turner and Steve Waight – voted to keep the charges.

Labour is now calling on the County Council to also reverse the cuts in opening hours of the waste and recycling centres. This was another ill-considered decision which has created chaos around the tips on the days when they are open, with huge queues of cars trying to access the sites, long delays in unloading, and full containers having to be closed down causing even more delays. This must also be having an effect on the amount of fly-tipping.

Labour feels it’s the obligation of the County Council to maximise the amount of waste being recycled by eliminating the barriers to using the waste centres. This means restoring 7-day opening and getting rid of all charges.

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What a waste. Government agrees that charges increase fly-tipping

Press release issued today April 10 following the Government’s announcement of a crackdown on fly-tipping.

Commenting on the Government’s new strategy to combat fly-tipping announced today, April 10, Jim Deen, Worthing Labour said:

We welcome the Government’s announcement of new measures to combat the menace of fly-tipping, but these measures will only have some effect in the Worthing area if West Sussex County Council listens to the instructions of its own Government.

Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom has told Councils to end the ‘unfair’ practice of charging residents to use waste and recycling units. She says what Labour has been saying for the last few months, that charges are “a lead factor in the rise of fly-tipping”.

WSCC introduced charges for a range of waste materials, including DIY waste and plasterboard, at its centres just over six months ago. Recent figures showed this had resulted in a dramatic drop in the amount of these materials being taken to waste centres and a sharp increase in the reports of fly-tipping around the county.

Just this week Teville Gate was the latest target for fly-tippers with a large amount of DIY waste being left there (See attached pictures). Whilst it is obviously wrong for people to create their own waste centre – open 24/7, with no charges – fly-tipping is going to be an increasing problem unless the County Council scraps these charges.

At the same time as scrapping the charges, it should also return the waste centres to 7-day operation. Closing the centres on Thursday and Friday is causing increased pressure on the other days with long queues to get in. This factor is also likely to increase fly-tipping.

All Labour’s candidates in the forthcoming County Council elections are committed to getting the charges removed and restoring the waste and recycling centres to 7-day opening. We are fully committed to encouraging recycling of all waste materials.

Postscript, Tuesday 11 April.

This is getting rather spooky. My first blog on here called for the National Insurance hike for the self-employed announced in the budget to be scrapped. And within a week it was.

I posted this call to West Sussex County Council to scrap its charges for DIY waste. And within 24 hours they had been – well at least they have been suspended.

I feel I have to chose my next target carefully. Withdrawal of planning consent from major developments in Worthing offering no affordable housing and no financial contribution either. That looks favourite.

Lies, damned lies, and election statistics

When it comes to election time, we’re all used to some pretty dodgy statistics being bandied about to confuse the unwary voter. But using figures from an election four years ago, as the Greens are doing in their election literature, and suggesting this reflects current support for the various parties contesting the Worthing Pier division in this year’s County Council elections, is wilfully misleading.

In the absence of a current local opinion poll, which we obviously don’t have, results from last year’s local elections in same area have got to be a much more reliable indicator of the current standing of the parties.

The larger Worthing Pier division used in the County Council election is made up of most of the two Worthing Borough Council wards Central and Heene. In both wards Labour were just pipped at the post by the Tories – by 34 votes in Central and 70 votes in Heene. The Greens were a poor fourth across the two wards on just 13% of the vote.

This is the actual share of the vote for each party last year (2016) in the Worthing Pier area:

Conservative 32%

Labour 30%

UKIP 17%

Green 13%

Lib Dem 8%

So the suggestion made by the Greens in their election leaflet that they are in second place is just absurd.

And if we look at the trend in local elections in the Pier area over the last four years, it’s even clearer that the story is all about a Labour surge with support for all the other parties falling away. None, including the Greens, are now even close to being contenders to win in this area.

Share of the vote in the Worthing Pier area in the last four year’s local elections Richard graph

Our results from doorstep conversations with voters across the Pier Division this year are confirming just what the graph shows. Labour is neck and neck with the Tories … and the Greens, Lib Dems and UKIP are just not in the picture.

In this County Council election, Worthing Pier is definitely a two-horse race which Labour is well placed to win.

Budget National Insurance hike for self-employed needs to go

 

Not surprisingly, the Budget announcement of a hike in National Insurance contributions for those who are self-employed has caused something a furore – not least because it contradicts the Tories’ 2015 GE manifesto not to raise NI levels.

It’s an issue that is of particular concern in Worthing. The latest figures show that 11,100 men and women living in Worthing are self-employed, accounting for over 17% of those of working age – far greater than the national average of 10%. And looking at the separate data for men, almost a quarter in Worthing are self-employed.

Self-employment is hugely important to the town and those living in it and it is grossly unfair that the those choosing to take the risks associated with this option have been singled out for this hike in taxes without proper consultation or consideration of the impact.

The Chancellor argued that the increase in National Insurance was removing an unfairness in the different contribution made by those employed and the self-employed. But as the many self-employed people in Worthing know, there is no fairness or equality in the benefits they are eligible for. There’s no sick pay, holiday pay, or employer pension contributions, and as I know from the 10 years that I was self-employed, work can get cancelled at any time with no compensation.

The Tories have tried to argue that they are on the side of ordinary working families. But the truth is clear from their budget priorities. They believe it is acceptable to go ahead with £70 billion worth of tax giveaways to those at the top, while introducing a £2 billion tax hike for low and middle earners who are self-employed.

It is right that we should keep changes in employment patterns under review and be ready to consider whether taxation and benefits need to change as a consequence. But this needs to be a carefully considered process and not thrown into a budget to plug a hole in the Government’s finances. The Prime Minister should do the right thing and not just delay these tax changes, but remove the uncertainty and withdraw them now.

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