Mark Todd lives in Epsom and is the Chair of the local Labour Party. He contested the new ward of Horton at the 4th May Epsom and Ewell Borough Council elections. He is an active cyclist and member of the local tree board.
Unfortunately, Britain seems to be stuck in a whole series of crises at the moment: a cost of living crisis, an economic crisis, an NHS crisis, a care crisis, a public sector wage crisis, a housing crisis, and a climate crisis.
We’re in a Tory perma-crisis and no wonder it’s so tough!
It’s not surprising that public services start to fail after a decade of Tory under investment. If you starve state schools and the NHS of money for 5 years, the results are not good; but they are not disastrous. If you starve them for over ten years, well the chickens really come home to roost.
Labour handed over to the Tories the best public health service in the World in 2010. Now we have over seven million unfortunate souls on waiting lists and people who have paid into the system all their lives are left in terrible pain waiting for essential procedures.
In education our schools are crumbling, and teachers struggle to provide pupils with a good education as they are spread too thin. Care services can be appalling with older people left neglected at their time of greatest need.
A Labour Government would get more money into these services, and they would implement common sense reforms to improve them too.
Sewage in our Streams: The Conservatives’ privatisation of many public services has been a disaster; but none has been so disastrous as water. They created a system whereby foreign vulture capitalists moved in and minimised the investment they put into the companies and maximised the money they took out.
I complained direct to the Head of Thames Water about the terrible pollution of the Hogsmill and other local streams last year into which Thames Water regularly overflow sewage. Myself and other local Labour leaders met with senior managers from Thames Water in October. It was clear on touring the facilities and looking at their investment plans that Epsom and Ewell’s sewage system struggles as most of the infrastructure is from the 1960s and cannot cope with current volumes. They equally have no clear costed plan of how to fix it.
A massive problem is that in many parts of the borough, the rainwater drainage and sewage systems are mixed. So, in times of heavy rainfall, this mixed waste tends to end up in the Hogsmill and Green Lanes Stream. Separating out the systems, as they should be, would be the best way to stop this. Then rainwater could go into local streams maintaining the flow and wildlife, and sewage could go to the sewage station.
But, it’s costly to make the system right and despite all the extra money Thames Water get from the increase in local population, it’s not something they currently want to do.
It is only through much tougher regulation from a Labour Government that Thames Water will be forced to invest to fix the system.
A Burning Planet: The Conservatives policies on climate change are too little, too late. We need a green revolution in Britain not tinkering around the edges.
That’s why Labour are offering a bold plan to:
a) Make Britain a clean energy superpower by 2030
b) Set up GB Energy, a publicly owned energy company to generate huge amounts
of renewable electricity
c) Insulate 19 million homes over a decade bringing down people’s energy bills and meaning that we use less energy too
Don’t mention the B word: And, of course, there is the B word. Labour believes that the current Hard Brexit is not working. Trade is struggling and living standards are declining. Labour will re-open negotiations to get the country a better deal. The Labour leadership believe it is possible to make significant improvements.
I attended a conference in London at which the Vice President of the European Parliament, Pedro Silva Perreira, talked. He said that only a Labour Government can really improve Britain’s trade relations with Europe. The Conservatives, he continued, have been so antagonistic to the EU and Boris Johnson had told so many lies about them that there was no good will in the negotiations. With a Labour Government that would be so different.
Bringing us all together: While the Labour Party is more cautious now, we still offer some bold policies that can turn around the nation. We hope that under Keir Starmer we can bring together enough of the nation to make a real difference.
I’m sure a Labour Government would make a massive difference to Epsom and Ewell; and it would be the start of a much-needed transition to a fairer, greener, happier society.