Harman visit to Ipswich

Labour Deputy Leader Harriet Harman visits Ipswich today as part of Labour’s “blank sheet of paper” policy debate, to meet new members and to go canvassing for the local elections. This is surely the first of many shadow ministerial visits by senior Labour politicians as they see the Ipswich council elections as key to the strategy to win over southern constituencies as part of their fightback.

It will not be anywhere near as high profile as her last official visit to Ipswich, during the General Election, when Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, then the Tory hopeful, ambushed her to challenge Labour lies that the Tories would close Sure Start centres.

Ipswich Labour Party hope to retake Ipswich Borough council in May, and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Ed Balls is in charge of the campaign in the East of England. They will be running a campaign based on the Tory cuts at Suffolk County Council, deliberately trying to confuse the electorate since the Tory/Liberal Democrat coalition that runs Ipswich Borough have managed to cut the council tax by 1% without making huge service cuts.

Labour also hope that the public anger at the cuts will blind people to the economic disaster left behind by the last Labour government, which has meant drastic cuts are necessary. Finally, they hope the public will not notice that Labour’s own plans involved deeper cuts to local government than the current government, which would have resulted in worse cuts than we have now.

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14 Responses

  1. The last paragraph says it all, really.

  2. As she along with Ipswich Labour claimed we were going to close Sure Start centres on her last visit, are we going to get an apology this time?

    • ‘Riverside View’ I would not speak too soon – nothing seems safe from Tory Suffolk NSD/ cuts – They may keep Sure Start but have attacked the young with the Library cuts, plus the Explore Card at the same time the Govt cuts EMA.

      Sure Start has been a success, started by Labour and we hope that the County do keep them open, but many other Sure Start centres in the country are being closed.

      • “Labour also hope that the public anger at the cuts will blind people to the economic disaster left behind by the last Labour government, which has meant drastic cuts are necessary………..they hope the public will not notice that Labour’s own plans involved deeper cuts to local government than the current government, which would have resulted in worse cuts than we have now.”

      • Alasdair, some childrens centres are being closed, mostly by Labour councils. The money is there for Sure Start to stay open, but some councils (who have knowledge of the local area) feel it isn’t the best use of the Early Intervention Grant, that other areas should be prioritised. Localism in action. Yes some centres will close, but not the 13 out of 16 claimed by Ed Miliband for Bromley in PMQs today – a “FactCheck” by Channel 4 found this claim to be fiction – and none of Suffolk’s Sure Start centres are under any threat at all, so will Harriet Harman apologise to voters for scaring them needlessly – deliberately telling an untruth about the plans of a Tory Government?

      • “I have been spending a lot of time in primary schools in my constituency in the past 10 months and reception teachers have told me time and again that they can almost tell which Sure Start centres are doing good work and which are not really adding much value. However, that is the extent of their knowledge because the evidence is anecdotal. We really need some proper evidence so that Sure Start centres can be evaluated and best practice can be spread.”
        :- Ben Gummer MP

  3. What this all means, unfortunately, is that the Borough elections are going to be about the County cuts whether the rest of us like it or not, [sigh].

    • They will indeed Ric, watch them use county issues to attempt to win Borough seats.

      • Ric and Ken
        Thought you would be happy for the Borough election to be based on the County Council cuts- we have had a number of articles in the local press by Cllr Pollard and Cann from the Lib dems, attacking the cuts by the county.
        I would have thought you would rather the residents in your wards are talking about the County Council than talking about the coalition Governemnet, tuition fees and Cable/BSkyB
        I would also expect a big push for ‘Yes’ to AV from your party.

  4. presumably you’re happy with how the Boroughs run then Ross as you never attack it and didn’t put forward an alternative budget?

    • Andrew,
      What you fail to mention is that an alternative budget has to be checked by officers and that takes time and money -both in short supply at both councils – and then with almost no chance of being voted through- an ammendment has far more chance of being accepted.

      How much did your alternative county budget cost to be checked by officers – in both money and man hours?

      The borough is not being run well – there are shortages of staff in each depatment, many are double and treble hatted – quality of work and service will then suffer plus staff morale.

  5. [...] Ipswich Spy repeats the Tory mantra that ‘cuts are [...]

  6. all a section 151 officer does in checking z budget is make sure it balances. That one penny in = one penny out.
    The County Council amendment took a couple of hours to check as we wanted to ensure there were no unforeseen outcomes.
    Anyone who has told you it couldn’t be done has lied to you – they just couldn’t be bothered.
    So if you think manning is short what would you do about it?

  7. […] Ms Harman had the opportunity to meet several of these new councillors including Glen Chisholm and Colin Wright who both signed up to join the Labour Party during her previous visit in March 2011. […]

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