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Announcing his intention to run for mayor, Labour's Tim Douglas is scathing of the Borough Council's decisions to take the easy options when it comes to development.

Identifying the new bus station as a case in point, Douglas pointed out that the face-lift offers little substantive change to the past. There is no extra capacity, not one extra bus to serve the community, and no link with the railway station.

Douglas also levelled his sights at the Riverside North development. He explained, 'There is just no evidence that Bedford needs a large cinema than the one that is already struggling'. He also questioned the need for another economy hotel given that others are operating at 60% capacity. Additionally, he predicts that 'new riverside restaurants will be attractive, of course, apart from the great lumps of concrete they'll be sitting next to'.

The Clapham resident has worked in many large organisations and tackled many HR problems. He believes that by aiming at difficult goals and getting the right team together, he can achieve better outcomes for Bedford.

Tim Douglas is not convinced that enough is being done to leverage the town's advantage. He sees the mayor's role as pivotal in achieving greater economic activity in the area.

 

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Based on an article which appeared in the April 2015 Castle Quarter.

Council lacks drive to do the right thing

Announcing his intention to run for mayor, Labour's Tim Douglas is scathing of the Borough Council's decisions to take the easy options when it comes to development. Identifying the new...

Labour Borough Councillor Louise King won the unanimous support of councillors of all parties for a motion presented at Bedford Borough Council on Wednesday (25th March) asking the Home Office for answers regarding the ongoing detention of women in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre (IRC).

The IRC at Yarl’s Wood has been subject to a multitude of allegations of mismanagement and neglect of detainees since it opened. Yet in November last year Serco were controversially awarded a second successive contract, worth £70m, to run the immigration centre near Clapham.  They recently announced there would be a net reduction in staff of 45 posts.

Cllr King and other members of the Bedford Borough Council Yarl’s Wood Sub-Committee visited the immigration removal centre in February as part of their ongoing investigation into standards of healthcare and mental health assessment for women detained there.

Councillor King charged,  “The review into IRC’s announced by Theresa May doesn’t even begin to address the fundamental issues. We are detaining women, many of whom have had traumatic pasts, for indefinite periods of time in prison-like conditions. Serco have made multiple mistakes and yet were awarded a second lucrative contract. How can that be allowed to happen?”

King's motion to full Council mandated the Chief Executive to write to the Home Secretary to ask her to fully consider the recommendations of the Borough Council with regard to the use of immigration removal centres.

In her motion, Cllr King proposed that the Chief Executive also write to the National Audit Office requesting that an investigation be undertaken into the Home Office decision to award this IRC contract to Serco. She insisted that they explain how the decision was taken to award a further contract to Serco to manage Yarl’s Wood in the light of recurrent reports of abuse at the IRC throughout its previous contract.

King also has asked for details on the criteria were for awarding the contract and consideration given to the welfare of the people detained at Yarl’s Wood when awarding the contract.

The Borough Council has demanded that alternative solutions be sought to end the practice of detaining people prior to deportation. They argue that no person should be held in any such institution indefinitely, and never for longer than 28 days, as recommended by the All Party Parliamentary Group in their report published 3rd March 2015.

Furthermore, the Borough Council contends that no person with mental illness, who is pregnant, or who has been a victim of torture should be detained and that existing regulations against the detention of such individuals in anything but the most exceptional circumstances must be more rigidly enforced.

Ultimately, the Borough Council believes that every detainee should be treated with respect and have prompt access to healthcare which preserves their dignity and right to privacy.

 

Labour Councillor demands answers about Yarl’s Wood contract

Labour Borough Councillor Louise King won the unanimous support of councillors of all parties for a motion presented at Bedford Borough Council on Wednesday (25th March) asking the Home Office...

Labour has announced six pledges which the party commits to achieve using the full extent of its political clout on Bedford Borough Council following the local elections on 7th May.

In spite of being burdened with unprecedented funding cuts from the national government, a team of twelve Labour councillors have been working indefatigably on Bedford Borough Council to ensure that front-line public services are protected.

Proud of their achievements in office, the Bedford Labour group now looks ambitiously to the future. Labour is determined to continue to provide for the needy and vulnerable in our communities, to develop the town, and to protect essential services.

The people of Bedford Borough have an exciting opportunity on 7th May to shape their future, not only nationally but at the local level. In order to achieve the full extent of these ambitions, Labour asks the residents of Bedford Borough to vote Labour to increase the party's representation on the council and to elect Tim Douglas as mayor.

Bedford Borough Labour's Six Pledges

Labour at Borough Hall will

  1. Promote quality education and wide-ranging training and employment opportunities for all young people.
  2. Strive for a decent standard of living for all working age people.
  3. Help older residents to live in their homes for longer, safely and securely.
  4. Ensure that health & social care services work closely together to help reduce health inequalities.
  5. Get Bedford moving by reducing traffic congestion.
  6. Develop and promote Bedford Borough’s excellent location as a great place to start, expand and sustain a business.

Click here to learn more about how Labour will achieve these pledges.

Bedford Labour announces local action plan for Borough Hall

Labour has announced six pledges which the party commits to achieve using the full extent of its political clout on Bedford Borough Council following the local elections on 7th May....

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