Labour East Regional Conference 2016: Resolutions
The Following resolutions were proposed at the Labour East Regional Conference 2016 and all passed unanimously.
Resolution 1 Fire and Rescue Cuts in the East of England- FBU
Since the Conservatives returned to Government in 2010, Fire and Rescue Services in the East of England have faced the largest and most dangerous cuts in their history. The region has seen more than 800 firefighter posts cut across all areas of the service whilst response times to emergencies are at an all-time high. In the same period, communities in the East of England have witnessed the closure of vital, emergency fire stations and the loss of numerous front line fire engines. This loss comes at a time when recent figures released by the Home office show that this year fire and emergency incidents have increased significantly across the East of England compared to the same period last year. Most worryingly we have seen a significant increase in fire related deaths, with 2 of the Brigades in our region being amongst the worst 10 in the country for highest home fire death rates. Alongside this Firefighters and Emergency Control Staff have had their pay, pensions, Health & Safety and working conditions attacked and eroded. The East of England is home to some of the highest risk areas in the UK, yet the fire services which hold the responsibility of tackling the risk have seen their funding drastically cut year after year. Firefighters in the East of England face an ever changing landscape and respond to an ever increasing range of emergencies, including the severe flooding that we have seen hit the region over recent years, affecting many homes and businesses. Fire and Rescue Services have seen cuts to their budgets leaving them at dangerous levels with diminishing resources. At a time when the government should be discussing investment into the fire service, it is only announcing further reductions in funding. Therefore we call upon conference to instruct all Labour Councillors and Labour MPs in our region to highlight and oppose the cuts to the fire service at every opportunity. We ask that they take positive steps in addressing the funding and resourcing of Fire and Rescue Services in the East of England to include campaigning for a statutory duty for flood response to be placed upon all UK Fire and Rescue Services.
Resolution 2 Orgreave- GMB and ASLEF
This conference notes with dismay and concern the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd’s, recent announcement that she will not hold a public inquiry into the actions of the South Yorkshire Police and the evenrts around the ‘Battle of Orgreave’, during the miners’ strike of 1984/85, particularly as Theresa May, the previous Home Secretary and now Prime Minister, had held out hope that she was in favour of such an inquiry being held. The subsequent failures and culture that existed in the South Yorkshire Police have now been exposed as a result of the successful campaign by the Hillsborough Justice Campaign. This conference fully supports, the cross-party group of MPs led by the chair of the home affairs select committee, Yvette Cooper MP and including the Conservative MP Edward Leigh, asking Rudd to support the committee holding its own inquiry into Orgreave. The operation of our police forces, whether in South Yorkshire or elsewhere in the country, need to be examined as the public deserve to know that the police can be trusted to uphold law and order without fear or favour and not be used as an arm of whoever happens to be in government at the time, otherwise public trust in the police will be undermined. The families of the miners and the communities of South Yorkshire, at Orgreave on that day, deserve justice, just as much as the families and victims of Hillsborough or Aberfan. The is conference therefore calls on the Labour Party, all its MPs and members to continue to campaign for a public inquiry into the ‘Battle of Orgreave’ so that after 32 years justice is finally served.
Resolution 3 Selective education- Rayleigh and Wickford CLP
Labour East Regional Conference calls upon the next Labour Government to transform the fragmented education service within the UK so that all children are given access to a first class comprehensive system of education staffed by well qualified and trained teachers. All schools should be free from selection, existing grammar schools should be assimilated into this comprehensive structure so that no 7 child is selected upon the basis of false and self-determining social stereotypes and that all children should be given the maximum support to achieve their goals in life.
Resolution 4 Post Office Network Consultation- CWU
Conference notes the publication of a UK government consultation on 8th November on the Future of the Post Office Network. The government sponsored transformation and privatisation of the Post Office through Branch closures and the franchising out of services is proving to be extremely damaging and is severely undermining its ability to serve the needs of customers. One notable consequence of the transformation programme has been poorer access to Post Offices for disabled customers. This year, the Post Office is seeking to privatise and close 63 Crown Post Office across the UK. This involves closing the Branch and finding a retailer to take a Post Office counter as an add-on to its business instead. Typically, this has seen a reduced Post Office service going into the back of a WHSmith. Independent research from Consumer Focus shows that this means worse disabled access, longer queuing times, worse customer service and fewer staff, often on minimum wage. With the cost cutting measures we are seeing this year, it is clear that the Post Office is in crisis. Conference therefore calls for an immediate halt to the closure and franchise programme and for the government to develop a new strategy with the introduction of a national Post Bank through the Post Office network. And conference instructs the Eastern Regional Labour Party Executive to make a submission to the government’s consultation on the Post Office, making these points in advance of the deadline on 21st December.