Month: March 2021

My campaign for a second term representing Seaton and Colyton on Devon County Council

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Four years ago you elected me to be the County Councillor for the Seaton and Colyton area. On May 6th, I’m asking you to support me for a second term. I’ve worked hard to improve things, supported many local causes and helped with people’s problems. I’ve helped push the County to complete the cycle route in the Wetlands, towards a policy of allowing 20 mph zones in town and village centres (if local people want them – councils are aiming for them in Seaton, Colyton, Colyford, Beer and Offwell), and to aim to become carbon-neutral by 2030.

I helped the Colyton community save its fire station, which means that our whole area has kept the two engines we need to keep safe. I’ve been working with the Wilmington and Offwell communities to tame speeding on the A35, and with Colyford people over the A3052. I’ve helped get some of the worst rural roads fixed, although underfunding and inefficiency mean that far too many problems remain.

Above all, however, you elected me to save Seaton Community Hospital. The cause is half won – we lost the beds, but our campaign stopped NHS managers from closing the hospital altogether. Now it’s got a new lease of life as a vaccination centre – but we need to get its long term future agreed.

Please vote for me on May 6th, so that I can finish the job.

Re-elect MARTIN SHAW, your INDEPENDENT East Devon Alliance County Councillor.

Outside Seaton Hospital, with my fellow East Devon Alliance INDEPENDENT councillors, Dan Ledger (left) and Jack Rowland

Health Scrutiny finally refers Teignmouth community hospital closure to Secretary of State, but some hardline Tories still opposed

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After voting down my proposal to refer Devon CCG’s proposals at the January Scrutiny meeting – in favour of seeking purely informal advice from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel which advises the Health Secretary on these issues – the Committee yesterday voted to refer, by 11 votes to 2.

The Panel had told them that informal advice would not be appropriate at this stage, and following overwhelmingly community pressure including the local MP, the Committee was left with little choice but to use its formal powers. Two hardline Tories, including Exmouth’s Richard Scott, nevertheless prevented the decision being unanimous.

In my contribution, I argued that these pre-pandemic proposals need to be reviewed in the light of the much greater health needs which we are now aware of.

In echoes of the Seaton and Honiton bed closures in 2017 – which Health Scrutiny refused to refer – campaigners emphasised that the community would be left without local intermediate care given the lack of even nursing homes in Teignmouth.

Join Thursday’s mass slow handclap in protest over insulting NHS 1% pay rise

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SOLIDARITY with NHS nurses, doctors and other staff who have risked their lives for us allonly to be fobbed off with a below-inflation rise. Story here (photo Daily Mirror).

Austerity is back, and the budget cut to the NHS is a warning to Devon

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Rishi Sunak’s budget envisages reductions in spending for public services, including the NHS, over the next few years, as well a return later in the year to the lower level of Universal Credit. By not raising tax thresholds, he increasing the real levels of income tax for most people, and by not addressing social care funding he is forcing councils to raise Council Tax by 5 per cent.

It’s clear that this is an austerity budget for public services and the living standards of all except the rich – he failed to introduce any new taxes on wealth, and by extending the stamp duty holiday is pushing house prices ever higher, putting house purchase further out of reach for young people.

Obviously Mr Sunak – who was behind the disastrous early lifting of pandemic restrictions last summer and the failure to lock down in September, which has cost tens of thousands of lives – has learned nothing from the last year. He is not interested in ensuring that the NHS is able to cope with the next pandemic. As far as Devon is concerned, this probably means that NHS managers will be looking for cuts again soon, and there could be new threats to our community hospitals round the corner.