We’ll go to the polls on Thursday 2nd May to elect a councillor to Staffordshire County Council for the Stone Urban and Stone Rural wards.
Here are the candidates’ appeals for your vote for the Stone Urban ward.
Polling stations are open between 7am and 10pm.
Andrew Illsley (UKIP)
I have lived in Stone for the past 25 years having spent most of my working life in the private sector and more recently assisting companies as a self employed business consultant.
I joined UKIP because it is the only party that puts Britain first and has consistently argued for us to govern ourselves and not to be ruled by the unelected bureaucrats based in Brussels.
I now want to work hard for the electorate of Stone Urban, bring back power to the people; for decisions made locally, not nationally; for common- sense policies that make peoples lives easier and government that does what the people need, and no more.
The political landscape is changing as more and more people realise UKIP is speaking for them and not at them.
UKIP is causing shock waves with the political establishment. Recently we have beaten the government in three Westminster by-elections, and 40% of people say they will now consider voting UKIP across the country. Our arguments are clearly driving the mainstream political debate in today’s climate and appeal to the electorate many of which have not voted at all for the past 20/25 years due to apathy with the tired old parties who all now take the centre ground.
On issues like the wasteful foreign aid budget – uncontrolled immigration, protecting the green belt –opposing wind farms plus the vanity project HS2 and paying for the excesses of EU Bureaucrats UKIP lead while the other main parties controlled by unelected party machines just follow, UKIP are free to promote common sense policies.
Today, local communities are under attack with Government taking money away from local councils, but continuing to give more away to the EU (now £53 m per day) and foreign aid.
At a local level UKIP Councillors will strive to change a culture of waste and inefficiency. For example by limiting the number of high paid council employees, cutting excesses in councillors’ allowances and expenses, abolishing non essential politically correct positions & red tape. More government only ever means more cost to the hard pressed taxpayer, and more seats on the bureaucratic gravy train, UKIP believe in putting local people first.
UKIP is known for its opposition to the European Union; but as the newest and fastest growing of the UK’s four major political parties we stand for a lot more than that. We believe that government at local, national and European level has become too remote from the people; they have forgotten that they work for us. Bureaucrats and professional politicians have taken over and the people’s voice – the voice of common sense – is too often ignored and over-ridden.
So, by voting UKIP on May 2nd you can vote for real change, for real people that put their communities first, not party politics, and together we will make a difference.
Philip Jones (Conservative)
Over the past 4 years the Conservative controlled County Council has not increased your Council Tax. We have frozen it for 4 years but in the previous 4 years under Labour the tax was increased by 19%. The Independents have never controlled the County Council but they did control Stone Town Council for 4 years and in their last year they increased their Council Tax by 56% In these hard time you can trust us to be very, very careful with YOUR money
The Conservative Council made job creation its number 1 priority and this has borne fruit in the new Jaguar engine factory, in South Staffs but in easy reach of Stone, (over 3500 new jobs) and the new high tech estate at Redhills just our side of Stafford which will bring over 2500 new jobs. A total investment by the County Council of over £33 million. So today whilst the number on Job Seekers Allowance nationally has fallen by 4.9% in Staffordshire it has fallen by 9.2%. Job security and jobs for our children is the most important thing to the Council.
Here in Stone, where I have had the privilege to have been your County Councillor for the past 4 years, I have brought grants of £40,000 into the town to support good causes such as abandoned animal rescue (yes, I am a dog-lover); multiple sclerosis relief; new curtains for Alleynes theatre and a new stage at Walton Middle school and museum bus visits to all our First schools; the Stone Historic Seal appeal; the Scouts and the Guides and many others.
I hope that you will support me and lend me your hand so that together we can continue to make Stone, where I have lived with Morag for 45 years and where our three children all went to school, a great place to live, work and bring up children.
Rob Kenney (Independent)
Staffordshire County Council is a huge organisation with yearly spending of nearly 1¼ billion pounds. Of this £268 million is raised directly from your Council Tax and much of the remainder from general taxation in the form of government grants.
If elected I will support, advise and point people in the right direction for help needed on the many responsibilities of Staffordshire County Council and make it my duty to scrutinise spending in Stone to ensure that you receive full value for your taxes.
Highway maintenance, safer road junctions, reliable routes, pothole repairs and gritting.
Making sure our local schools have the help, services and funding they need to educate our children to a high standard.
Children’s services; Adult social care; the elderly ;Planning of new roads and school developments; Public footpaths and bridal ways; Waste and recycling; Capital financing by investing in our high street, its regeneration and local businesses; Arts, libraries and museums; Country parks and open spaces.
Staffordshire Local Community fund: Each county councillor has £10,000 to spend on community projects in their area through the Staffordshire Local Community Fund. I would help local groups, organisations and projects with much needed funding.
It is essential that Stone receives its share of the spending and that it is spent wisely. Not on fiascos such as Christ Church Way where Morrisons should have shared the costs. The traffic did not run smoothly until the timing of traffic lights at the bottom of Christ Church Way was altered. It is something that should have been done first and could have saved money and the moving of the crossings.
I am not a supporter of the HS2 rail link. It has no benefit to our Town or County. It will run, if built, close to Walton and I will do everything possible to ensure that people have their say and strong representations are made on their behalf. Especially in respect of compensation, should the project go ahead.
I have lived in Stone all my life. Firstly in the Walton ward then St Michaels and finally in the Stonefield ward. I attended Pire Hill First School, Walton Priory Middle and Alleynes High School. My children attended Christ Church First School, Christ Church Middle and Alleynes High Schools. Me and my wife, Bev, now run a successful wholesale bakery, employing local people and sourcing local ingredients. I am a great believer in the local economy. Our business often supports local charities, groups, organisations and fund raising events .It has sponsored many events throughout the years including music festivals, street parties and the St Michael’s bell appeal.
I first became a Stone Town councillor in 2007 and was Stone Town Mayor in 2010/11. I have a hands-on approach and I am strong supporter of festivals, markets and community groups. As a founder members of the Stone’s Independent Voice group we were instrumental in staging the first music festival, the bike race (Circuits de Stone), the book festival, street parties, community litter picks and other events. I am now involved in ‘Totally Locally Stone’, a volunteer group that helps High street and local businesses. Its aims are to regenerate the local economy. Last October I became chairman of ‘Stone in Bloom’ and can be often seen digging, mowing, cleaning, painting and planting in and around Stone.
As an instrumental member of ‘Keep Westbridge Park Green’ I have been campaigning to remove the term “mixed use development” on Westbridge Park from the Plan for Stafford Borough and have successfully halted the building of a super market.
I am prepared to dedicate my time to looking after all of Stone’s interests. Please help me to do so by giving me your support at the County Council elections.
Chris Malvern (Labour)
I live in Walton with my wife and 2 children, and I lived and worked in Staffordshire for 24 years. I serve as a Parent Governor at my girls’ school and outside of my local government interests I regularly attend quizzes and the cinema and I am also a keen gardener and allotment keeper.
I have held, and currently hold, a variety of roles in the local Labour Party and have supported a number of charities through participation as a committee member and other activities. I am a strategic planner in the NHS and I have committed himself to public service for 25 years.
I am committed to delivering public services that offer value for money, that support the most vulnerable and encourage the aspirations of our whole community. I understand the need to work in partnership with the private and independent sector and generate income and growth as a key strategy in delivering, maintaining and improving services. I have a range of skills as a senior leader and manager and would welcome the opportunity to apply in the interests of the people of Stone and Staffordshire.
The Labour Party in Staffordshire have put together a full manifesto for this election which I believe provides a positive and aspirational outlook for the next four years if we take back control of the County Council on May 2nd. In addition to this, however, my particular passion is in protecting and supporting our NHS.
The NHS belongs to the people – it is there to improve our health and well-being, to support us to keep mentally and physically well, to get better when we are ill and, when we cannot fully recover, to stay as well as we can to the end of our lives. It works at the limits of science – bringing the highest levels of human knowledge and skill to save lives and improve health. It touches our lives at times of basic human need, when care and compassion are what matter most.
These opening lines of the NHS Constitution remind me every day of the importance of the NHS and the unwavering purpose of NHS staff who work hard to provide high quality services. Labour is the party of the NHS, founding it and investing in it to counter years of disinvestment and erosion by the Tories.
When things go so tragically wrong as they undoubtedly have at Stafford Hospital it is right that we take time to uncover the problems, hold people to account for their actions and put in place the changes needed to improve services. This change can only happen with support and I stand proudly with the 50,000 people who turned out to support Stafford Hospital.
The people of Stone deserve access to the highest quality of healthcare irrespective of their ability to pay. My commitment is to an NHS that truly belongs to the people.
Dave Smithwick (Independent)
The other candidates all talk about national issues. Staffordshire County Council has a massive £1 billion budget responsibility and this election is to vote a person who can work with other council officers and groups to deliver a better, more prosperous community.
Priority – just one!
Concentrate on our town and the survival and successful development of the high street and surrounding businesses. A healthy and prosperous town gives us a proud, confident community.
Philip Jones and Rob Kenney are already elected councillors. Let a new voice be heard for our township.
We should work together to help all the community aspire to a better and more secure future.
Thanks so very much… please vote.