Labour Group Spokespeople
In addition to Council Leader David Baines and Cabinet Members (find out more here), Labour have spokespeople on issues which are of importance for the Council and the borough:
Fighting Poverty: Councillor Andy Bowden
Women and Equalities: Councillor Michelle Sweeney
Climate Change: Councillor Mancyia Uddin
Mental Health and Suicide Prevention: Councillor Paul Lynch
Homelessness: Councillor Paul Pritchard
Industrial Relations and Employment Rights: Councillor John Wiseman
"We must do what we can to mitigate the impact of poverty on our community, to encourage growth and the creation of jobs, and help children and families when they are in need of support." Cllr Andy Bowden, Fighting Poverty
It is estimated that around 14 million people in the UK live in poverty, including over 4 million children and 2 million pensioners. This in one of the richest countries in the world, and these numbers are unacceptable.
Poverty can be caused by many things, such as low wages and pensions not keeping pace with cost of living, unemployment, and disability benefit cuts – all ultimately driven and made worse by the Tory party’s ideologically-driven austerity measures and economic policies.
At a local level here in St Helens we are and must continue to do all we can to mitigate the impact of poverty on our community by encouraging growth and the creation of jobs, by supporting the building of affordable homes, tackling domestic violence and drug use, making sure we as a council are paying our staff properly, and supporting our schools to make sure they are providing the best possible education and helping children to achieve and aspire.
"As a disabled woman I recognise the barriers those from minority groups can face in access to services and employment, and Labour are committed to helping people overcome those barriers and fulfil their potential." Cllr Michelle Sweeney, Women and Equalities
As a disabled woman I recognise the barriers those from minority groups can face in access to services, employment, and the potential for higher levels of discrimination.
I will champion and advocate for better access and inclusion for all residents, and I will work to develop an inclusive and accessible Council which takes these issues seriously and in every way possible seeks to help people overcome the barriers they face.
I am also proud to say that our St Helens Labour Group of Councillors is leading by example, being committed to developing a gender-balanced and diverse group to reflect and represent the communities we serve.
"When it comes to our environment and the plant, we have to do what is right, not what is easy, and we need to play our part here at a local level in St Helens." Cllr Mancyia Uddin, Climate Change
Climate change is one of humanity’s greatest challenges. When it comes to our planet, we have to do what is right, not what is easy.
I have not taken up this role because I have all the answers, rather, I think caring for the earth is important and I want the borough to care too.
We need to consider the environmental impact of everything we do if we are to meet regional and national targets for carbon reduction, and we have to shift our thinking about recycling from focusing on how often the landfill bin is collected to how we can increase recycling and help residents to do it.
Instead of waiting for others to make a change and us following suit, let’s lead the way.
"Mental health is a hugely important issue and our Labour Council is committed to taking it seriously, and working with partner agencies to prevent suicide." Cllr Paul Lynch, Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
For too long, society as a whole hasn’t taken mental health seriously, yet everyone knows someone who suffers.
In St Helens we’ve seen the impact of chronic underinvestment in this area and this has to change, but there is great work happening locally both in the Council (which recently signed the Time To Change pledge) and in the local community.
I’m honoured to take up the responsibility of speaking out on this issue and ensuing that Council policy does all it can to help improve our understanding of mental health issues, promote programmes which prevent suicide, and support those in need.
"Homelessness is a major issue, visible in the number of rough sleepers on the streets but also hidden in the number of sofa surfers and families in insecure accommodation." Cllr Paul Pritchard, Homelessness
Homelessness is major issue, both within the borough and nationally. It is visible with the rise in rough sleepers on the streets, but it is also hidden in the number of sofa surfers and families living precariously in insecure accommodation.
The current Government’s strategy of withdrawing funding from support services that assist people in circumstances such as this creating a situation in our towns and cities that is growing daily.
The Council has a clear role to play in tackling this situation, although funding is severely limited, there is opportunity to consider the impact of our decisions on homelessness, and this is something we will continue to do.
Your Labour council will also continue to work with the voluntary sector to build on the results already achieved by groups such as Teardrops, to provide support for homeless people.
We will provide the link between these groups allowing an activists network to develop that will create structures to help develop solutions for those already homeless, but also prevent homelessness in the first place by delivering advice and guidance.
The dignity and security that a permanent home provides is something we take for granted, however it is also something we need to work hard at providing across the Borough.
"Labour know the value of good industrial relations and equitable and fair rights at work for all employees. The role of trade unions is ever more vital in these times of Tory austerity." Cllr John Wiseman, Industrial Relations and Worker's Rights
The role of trade unions is ever more vital in these times of Tory-imposed austerity. Under Labour leadership, this Council knows the value of good industrial relations and as an employer we want to enhance the current working relationships with all recognised trade unions.
Staff are any organisation’s most valuable asset, so terms and conditions, working environment, employee policies and procedures must be equality proof, fair and robust.
Labour are committed to ensuring the wellbeing of those who look after our communities and deliver our frontline services, and to promoting these values wherever we can.