Nottingham Labour knows that what changed in 2010 was the Government and their willingness to invest in homelessness work.
The Coalition and now the Tory government have cut funding to our city, and made benefit changes that have placed more people in a vulnerable situation. In Nottingham:
- We are planning with our partners for the Winter Shelter arrangements, as we do every year
- We have proposals to boost the Shelter provision to meet increased demand
- We support the Homeless Winter Survival Project and the Winter Shelter
Despite huge financial pressures, created by savage government cuts to the council’s budgets, we have maintained a considerable number of resources working with homeless people. We provide some of these ourselves and we commission many by funding we provide to the voluntary sector.
The Councils Housing Aid team works with all homeless people including those who are sleeping rough. We fund the Framework provided Street Outreach Team working with rough sleepers.
We provide funds for the No Second Night Out project and deliver this with Framework. This tries to ensure that no one who becomes street homeless for the first time spends more than one night without a bed. By agreement, Framework provide some additional funding for this project.
The Tory government ended the No Second Night Out funding for Nottingham but Nottingham Labour ensured the project could survive and continue to provide the vital services needed. Nottingham Labour knows that the reason for the increase is the impact of Government austerity, both in terms of benefit changes, and in terms of cuts to our funding.
There is also an element which is a result of cuts made to provision in our surrounding boroughs, which makes the city a place of compassion and refuge when a person’s own home town has nothing to offer.
Nottingham Labour is working in partnership with the voluntary sector and community organisations to tackle this issue, and we would encourage people to be part of the solution by donating to Framework or to the Homeless Winter Survival Project
Councillor Jane Urquhart, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Housing
Education in Nottingham
It’s right that we should focus on education as a stand alone issue, it’s so important to children, parents and carers and it’s so important to the future of the country both socially and economically. It’s also vitally important that people are aware of how changes being proposed and implemented by the Conservative Government at a national level affects schools locally.
In Nottingham we’ve historically had particular challenges with educational attainment. Back in 1998 when Nottingham City Council took on responsibility for schools there was a gap of over 17% between children achieving 5 good GCSEs here and the national average. By 2012 however this gap to the national average had narrowed to just 1.6%. Since that time the gap to the national average has opened up again in part down to Government curriculum changes and arguably in part because of fragmentation caused by the mass academisation of schools (all but one secondary school in Nottingham is now an academy).
What we know in Nottingham is that only when we have a relentless focus on standards, the highest expectations for our children and the very best quality of teaching along with adequate investment in schools do we see results.
There’s no doubt that as a City we must see further improvements in education outcomes for children and the proportion of children achieving good GCSE grades is still way below what anyone could consider acceptable. Until this improves there is a reputation issue for the City not just in terms of schools, but in terms of skills, productivity and growth. Too many children still do not achieve to their full potential in Nottingham and this under achievement can have long term consequences.
That’s why Nottingham Labour has put education right at the top of its priorities. In May 2015 we pledged that a Labour run Nottingham City Council would work to ensure that every child in Nottingham has access to a school rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.
That’s why Labour run Nottingham City Council set up and invested £1.6million in the Education Improvement Board.
That’s why Nottingham Labour is committed to championing children and parents, challenging schools when it’s needed and working closely with education partners to bring about improvement.
- Over 80% of state run schools in Nottingham City that have been inspected by Ofsted have a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ rating.
- 4100 more children are educated in a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ school this academic year than just a year ago.
- Nottingham City now has the highest percentage of top rated schools of any Local Authority area in the East Midlands.
- Provisional GCSE (Key Stage 4) and Primary SATS results indicate significant year on year improvement.
- 92% of children were offered their first or second choice primary school place for this September, up 2% on last year.
- Investment of over £40 million in Nottingham schools to create new school places and improved learning environments.
We in the Labour Party believe that every child deserves the very best education. In recent months Nottingham Labour has set out our opposition to the forced academisation of good community schools and our opposition to a reintroduction of a selective, segregated Grammar and Secondary Modern schools system. You can find articles relating to both topics below.
Nottingham Labour is opposed to the forced academisation of ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ community schools.
Nottingham Labour is opposed to the reintroduction of a two tier Grammar and Secondary Modern education system based on selection and segregation.
You can sign the Labour Party’s petition opposing more Grammar Schools here.
Cllr Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Education, Employment and Skills at Nottingham City Council.
Plans have been announced for a substantial upgrade of an independent living scheme in the north of the city – including 40 new flats and an improved community facility.
The project will convert Woodthorpe and Winchester Courts, which support over-55s in Sherwood, into an Energy Efficient Extra Care Housing scheme. The two complexes will undergo a raft of efficiency works, while a new development nearby will add a three-storey building with up to 40 one-bedroom flats.
These will have extensive communal facilities, including specialist bathrooms, scooter stores and care provider offices. Current Woodthorpe and Winchester residents use the Winwood Centre, in Chestnut Walk, and this will also benefit from a revamp as part of the project.
Independent living schemes are designed to help people to remain in their own home for longer, with support on hand whenever they need it. This, in turn, reduces dependence on residential care and local hospitals.
Nottingham City Council and Nottingham City Homes, which manages the two courts, are committed to insulating solid-wall properties by 2018. Woodthorpe and Winchester sites contain 180 flats, all with concrete walls and currently warmed by inefficient, electric storage heaters.
Tenants have previously identified having a warm home as one of their top priorities and this refurbishment will include extra insulation, new doors and windows, as well as re-roofing with the installation of solar panels.
It is hoped the work at Woodthorpe and Winchester will reduce carbon emissions by between 40 per cent and 80 per cent, and over 20 years will save residents more than £1m in fuel bills.
This is a very exciting project with a significant investment which will make a huge difference to the lives of many people in the north of the city.
Demand for flats at Woodthorpe and Winchester Courts is good and we expect that to rise again following this refurbishment and energy-efficiency works. It will further support residents and help them to live independently for longer.
By 2033 there is expected to be a 60 per cent increase in households headed by someone over the age of 65, and a 100 per cent rise in those headed by over-85s. It is therefore vital that we act now to provide people in Nottingham with a range of housing options to meet this growing demand.
Residents are rightly proud and protective of their properties on the site but had felt the replacement of the external social facility was overdue and I’m really pleased that Nottingham Labour has helped deliver this improvement.
Councillor Jane Urquhart is the portfolio holder for Planning and Housing at Nottingham City Council