Gazette column - 25/4/19

Thursday next week, 2nd May, is democracy day when you have an opportunity to elect local councillors.

So please have your say and go to your polling station or return your postal vote now.

Because local government is at the heart of our neighbourhoods.  From emptying bins and cleaning streets to schools and housing and much in between including social services, libraries, beaches and the Bents Park summer concerts it is Labour councillors championing your communities.

They’ve performed heroics over the last nine years of a Tory Government choosing to impose a failed Conservative austerity ideology short-changing every household in the North East.

The damage inflicted right across the Jarrow constituency is shameful when Tory cuts hurt grafters and the well-off, destroying the social and physical fabric ofareas.

I’ve huge respect for our local councillors battling hard to maintain and even improve local services when Theresa May’s Tory mob in London deliberately bled local authorities dry.

Since 2010 South Tyneside Council’s fought a £168-million Government axe imposing enormous strain, the loss of almost 40% in real spending power over the last nine years making it one of the three worst hit local authorities.

In neighbouring Gateshead the picture is as bleak with enforced reduced spending of £157m over the same terrible period.

Labour’s in the frontline fighting for you, resisting painful cuts to schools, housing, transport, refuse collections, bins, parks, social services, care of the elderly and vulnerable, pavements, roads, street lighting, libraries and more.

You name it and the Tories in Westminster have hammered the vital service, with Labour in this area defending and nurturing what you value.

Labour demonstrates by deed and word it helps small businesses grow and is working hard to attract bigger companies and the jobs they bring.

So I urge you to vote in next week’s vital local elections, either by sending in a postal vote or going to yourpolling booth next Thursday 2nd May.

It’s an honour to be elected as a Labour MP to represent my community, helping people sort out individual problems and working hard for a Labour Government.

I was thrilled to be a councillor before the good people of the Jarrow constituency voted for me to represent them in Parliament and I’m proud to serve each and every one of you, regardless of individual politics.

And it’s intensely satisfying to work with the dedicated local councillors across South Tyneside and Gateshead in the wards of Bede, Boldon Colliery, Cleadon & East Boldon, Fellgate & Hedworth, Hebburn North & South, Monkton, Pelaw & Heworth, Primrose, and Wardley & Leam Lane.

We can justifiably be proud of our councillors who go the extra mile to protect and promote our people and communities so if you need help, drop them a line or give them a call. All their contact details are listed publicly on the South Tyneside and Gateshead Council websites.

When the General Election arrives, and I hope it’ll be sooner rather than later, we’ll have the opportunity to vote for a Labour Government too.

But first let’s vote for Labour councillors and Labour councils on 2nd May.


Meet your MP


Stephen Hepburn has served the Jarrow Constituency as MP since 1997.

He was last elected to serve in June 2017 and won the seat with a conclusive 17,263 majority.

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