Welcome to my final blog of 2017. Yesterday (Saturday) I had the great pleasure of attending the hustings to vote for Gloucester Labour Party’s parliamentary candidate for the next general election. There were four excellent candidates in the race Fran Boait, Doina Cornell, Tracy Milliard and Deborah Smith. All the candidates performed very well and offered a high level of skills and commitment. It was a difficult decision but in the end, we selected Fran Boait. She is an excellent candidate with great campaigning experience nationally and locally. Fran will take the fight to the Tories and I’m sure can win Gloucester back for Labour at the next election whenever it comes - we will be ready. I and the Labour Group look forward to working with Fran over the coming months.
The year ended with the decision by the City Council to approve the planning application by the George Whitfield Centre for provision of a night shelter for rough sleepers. Following prolonged pressure from Labour Councillors and the public this decision is to be very much welcomed. Hopefully especially over the Christmas period this will offer vital respite to some of the most vulnerable people in our community.
The New Year will bring many challenges for our country. Brexit will continue to dominate the political landscape. Whether you voted for or against I sincerely hope that we can have an open and honest debate without descending into the bile and hatred that has reared its ugly head too often. In Gloucester we will continue to oppose austerity and cuts to public services and continue to hold the Tories to account. We wish to see significant progress on Kings Quarter and will be pressing to ensure that social regeneration is part of the physical regeneration of the City so that all our citizens can benefit.
Finally, on behalf of myself and the team of Labour City Councillors we wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.