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There is no specific law in the UK that makes cyberbullying illegal, does this need to be addressed?

Liam Preston

Anyone who works in schools, with youth groups or around young people will know that the levels of bullying in the UK are shockingly high. A recent survey found that 34% of young people (12-20 years old) have done something purposely to upset somebody. Now, this won’t always constitute as bullying but the old adage that ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me’ is quite simply rubbish.

More than half of young people have been bullied at some point and for 20% of those, it was at least once a week. With more than a third of young people admitting to saying something nasty to someone online, you might think that the solution is to make cyberbullying illegal. However, the reality is that making cyberbullying illegal would be both difficult to implement, hard to police and not really addressing the root cause.
Whether a young person bullies online or in school, they are still bullying an individual and we need to get smarter at how we resolve this. If you ask young people how to combat bullying, working in schools and educating young people about the effects is more often than not the preferred solution.

What would be more effective than making cyberbullying illegal would be providing more resources for schools to bring in organisations to work with young people on the impact bullying can have and ways of gaining support when they are being bullied. Obviously, bullying isn’t an exclusive issue for young people – as it happens right through society – but if you want to tackle this issue long term, then it is something which has to begin at an early age.

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Labour Soapbox – 27th April

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Some may consider the soapbox not so political this week? Offering girls free entry, then four free drinks? I beg to differ. This is just the type of issue that weaves through our lives each and every day; starting at the top with our attitude towards alcohol and women. Politicians need to be involved, and involve themselves; step up when necessary.

We have been advised that this specific offer may be unlawful as it contravenes the mandatory licensing objective relating to the responsible sale of alcohol.

Brentwood officers have told Labour’s councillors that they will act immediately and advise that this promotion must cease with immediate effect. Brentwood’s nightclubs are generally responsible operations and I’m sure this is an oversight or misunderstanding on their part.

Regardless of the target audience, when offers encourage specific groups to drink for free or at a discount, then these groups may become more vulnerable to crime or be more likely to cause disorder.

Licensing conditions are in place for a reason, to prevent promotions such as:

  • “all you can drink for £10”
  • “pay £5 entry and then drink up to 12 shots”
  • “10 pints for £10”
  • “pay your entry fee then drink for free until 10pm”

Across society we can all do more. Supermarkets also have a part to play in the responsible sale of alcohol. The cost to our health services, the physical health and mental health of individuals who become addicted to drink is clear.

Let’s keep on a responsible path.

Cllr Julie Morrissey

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Labour Soapbox – 14 April 2016

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It’s not often that this Conservative government does something right and the distribution of 27m leaflets at a cost of £9 million being sent to each household about why the UK should stay in the EU is yet another highly questionable move.

I will be voting to stay within the European Union, and campaigning for reform within,  but there is no way that Cameron and Co. should be spending an extra £9million of taxpayers money on what is clearly election campaigning. The amount of election spending is capped to provide a level playing field and this move is quite rightly being scrutinised.

It is becoming very clear that many citizens of the UK are engaging with the EU referendum campaign and the turnout in June will be high. Most people that I meet are still undecided on how they will vote but tell me how much they enjoy free movement and the trade opportunities that being in the EU ensures. Many feel they do not yet have the information needed to make an informed choice at this time.

So people need information but the campaign limit of £7million for each camp should be the full extent of election spending. It is not the role of government to fund election material, with a clear steer towards a particular viewpoint.
Every MP in the government has a free vote on this subject so, my supplementary question is, who  actually authorised this leaflet?

In short, another poor decision by a very poor government.

Cllr Julie Morrissey

Brentwood South

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Labour Soapbox – 21 April 2016

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A&E delays are in the news this week, with the figure doing the rounds that performance sank to a new low in the latest stats published for February. What do you think the root cause for this is? Do you think the general public should be worried?

Simple answer? Yes.

……..although the right wing media is determined to convince you otherwise, with zero support for our incredibly hard working nurses and doctors and the strikes they have recently been forced to hold.

During the 2015 General Election campaign Labour MPs and councillors warned of the threat to our National Health Service if the Conservatives regained power. After 13 years of Labour government, satisfaction in the NHS was high and waiting lists for operations were low.

After six years of Tory rule the opposite is now true. We only have to look at the action taken by junior doctors recently to see the mess our NHS is currently in.

Of course people should be worried. Regardless of class and money, we all need the NHS at times in our lives and many of us will need treatment for illnesses and accidents. ‘Going private’, as a colleague mentioned to me last week, means that he will still have to use an NHS hospital, just bypass the queue. When that time comes we need to know our NHS is there for us, surely better that we bring our NHS up to ‘private standard’ for all, not just those who can pay?

Attacking our national institutions and public workers is a popular Tory pastime. Typically squeezing those who can least afford it while top earners get the rewards.
It’s a disgrace.

Mark my words, our local councils and public services are under threat.

Think before you vote on May 5th.

Cllr Julie Morrissey

Brentwood South

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2016 Campaign Uncategorized

Brentwood Candidates for May 2016 Elections

P1030901Brentwood Labour Party have announced their full slate of candidates for May’s local elections alongside their new ‘Manifesto for Brentwood’. The launch took place outside of Brentwood Town Hall and the local party’s five key pledges central to their conversations with residents so far.The full list of candidates is as follows and there is more detail below about each one:
Brentwood North: Helen Witty
Brentwood South: Julie Morrissey
Brentwood West: Deborah Foster
Brizes & Doddinghurst: Emma Benson
Hutton Central: Susan Kortlandt
Hutton South: Toby Blunsten
Hutton North: Liam Preston
Ingatestone, Fryering & Mountnessing: Jane Winter
Pilgrims Hatch: Cameron Ball
Shenfield: Richard Millwood
Tipps Cross: Michele Wigram & Eric Watts
Warley: Tim Barrett
Helen Witty for Brentwood North
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Helen is an Assistant Headteacher of an Essex Secondary School.She is married with two children who both attended Pilgrims Hatch Primary (now Larchwood) and Sawyers Hall College. Helen is a governor of Larchwood Primary and also Chair of Governors of Marner School, a primary school in Bow.Having seen some of the inside to local education she believes Brentwood needs to do far more for young people who want to take up training in Brentwood.Having moved to Brentwood in 2000 one of the first headlines that she saw was the closure of our cinema. She has been watching the shenanigans surrounding the William Hunter Way development and it is clear we need more openness about what is going on. Helen supports redevelopment that meets the needs of local residents, creates jobs for local people and will allow people to start their own small businesses and shops.
Julie Morrissey for Brentwood South
P1030892Julie has been honoured to represent Brentwood South residents on the council for the past four years and hopes to be re-elected in May. She has worked alongside many residents supporting them with their issues and worked hard to protect our town centre from Conservative over-development. Only a strong Labour council will support our most vulnerable citizens from Tory cuts to disability benefits and other damaging cuts like those to youth and library services.Julie lives in the town centre with people who have been let down by the Tories again and again. She believes plans for a further 200 flats in the Bay Tree Centre will bring more problems for current residents who have many issues to deal with due to an under-managed night-time economy. If re-elected the residents of the ward will be at the heart of everything Julie does.
Debbie Foster for Brentwood West
P1030881 Debbie is a Christian, mum, wife and Family Support assistant at a local school. Her role is to help pupils’ families and she enjoys making even a tiny, positive change in their lives.She spent her formative years in Brentwood and received a great education in the town – she was inspired to become a teacher before raising a family. She still retains a great interest in education both nationally and locally!The local community is very important to Debbie. It is where her faith and her politics come together. She is involved in the life of her church, a caring force in Brentwood West. Debbie supported the “Toddler” group at the church, where she became friends with a lot of local parents and carers.She wants to see a socially and morally just society and believes it needs to be achieved in her own town before conquering the world!
Emma Benson for Brizes & Doddinghurst
P1030876Emma has lived in Brentwood for her whole life and currently works for a communications and engagement agency, ensuring that local residents are properly consulted on local issues. Emma has always been passionate about local issues across Brentwood. As a young person, Emma set up Brentwood Youth Council and she was also a member of UK Youth Parliament, representing Essex.The current administration in Brentwood has cut Parish Grants by 37% in one year. This will also disproportionately affect Doddinghurst on a per resident basis, with Doddinghurst receiving just £3.04, compared to Stondon, which will receive £6.16. Emma believes that a fairer system, based on a per resident Grant, could achieve the same savings, but in a fairer way.Furthermore, whilst new housing is desperately needed in the Borough, this has to be delivered in a way which is sustainable and affordable. It is imperative that the local communities get enough chance to get involved with the Local Plan, and are properly listened to.
Susan Kortlandt for Hutton Central
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Susan is married and has lived in Brentwood since 1997. After 30 years as a modern languages teacher and active trade unionist, she now volunteers at Brentwood Citizens Advice, enjoy walking and cycling, music and theatre.Susan really worries that young people are being forced out by the exorbitant cost of housing. We need affordable properties for first-time buyers, better oversight of the rented sector and social housing to meet growing demand.Secure, well-paid jobs are also a priority. She supports the real Living Wage and proper apprenticeship schemes. Community facilities are threatened by Conservative budget cuts. We certainly need to protect libraries, bus services, sports and leisure centres, parks and, of course, Brentwood Theatre. Susan also wants to see more GP and dental surgeries and improved mental health provision.She is pleased to be giving voters in Hutton Central an opportunity to support Labour.
Liam Preston for Hutton North
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Liam is passionate about a society that supports everyone in the community and, in particularly, one which support those most vulnerable. In his day job he works for a national homeless charity so sees the challenges many people face just to get by. Liam has chaired a number of charities supporting young people in the past and has recently stepped down as an advisor to the Council of Europe.Liam was Labour’s General Election candidate for Brentwood and Ongar last year and continues to support residents he met during his time on the campaign trail. Liam has recently moved into Hutton North and is keen to show local resident’s how he would build on his general election pledges to support the community further.Through his work with young people who are homeless and also having an awareness of the housing market challenges we face. Liam is keen to see investment in low-cost properties within Brentwood specifically for Brentwood residents to access. Alongside this he would also like to see measures introduced to ensure enough social housing is built as well as the freeing up of brownfield land to create more homes.As the former of Chair of the Co-operative Party Youth and current eastern representative Liam will be standing as a joint Labour and Co-operative Party candidate at this election.
Toby Blunsten for Hutton South
P1030874Toby has been a resident in the borough for the past decade, throughout which he has attended the Anglo-European school. In 2015 Toby graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a degree in Politics and Sociology. Since graduating Toby has found employment as a Bid Writer for a multi-million pound organisation.Since graduating Toby has pushed himself to become increasingly involved in the political activities of the local community. Currently Toby is actively engaged within Chess in Chelmsford an organisation helping rough sleepers reintegrate into society.Toby’s main ambition if elected is to fight for greater opportunities for young people, allowing them to develop the skills and capabilities to continue to live in this borough. As such Toby would support apprenticeship schemes within the council and the community to encourage. Toby would also challenge developers to utilise brownfield sites to further sustainable development whilst providing affordable housing and reducing our waiting list.
Jane Winter for Ingatestone, Fryerning and MountnessingP1030894
Jane is a long term Brentwood resident, having moved to the Borough in 1972 and has lived in Ingatestone for many years. She worked for the NHS for 43 years after 3 years at the United Nations. She raised her family in the Borough and she’s very proud that both children are now working in the health and social care sector. She is married to a retired local teacher and enjoys the Arts and travelling.If elected she will strive for a decent standard of living for all local residents. She will make it a priority that the Local and County Council pay its directly managed staff a real Living Wage and include this clause in all of its contracted service providers.She will actively support apprenticeship schemes within the Council and community services for local young people, working with the County Council to achieve this.
Cameron Ball for Pilgrims Hatch
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Cameron is a Sixth Form student at Brentwood County High school, studying Politics, History, and Psychology. Cameron has lived in Pilgrims Hatch his entire life and believes that it is a great place to grow up especially with the close proximity to the capital. Cameron believes that Brentwood Borough Council does not have a deep insight into the needs of young people in Brentwood and that he can bring to the table new fresh ideas along with passion and enthusiasm. Cameron understands the needs of young people through his own personal experiences and through the needs of friends and peers. He recognises the slow decline of public services in the town especially with the shutting of Brentwood police station and wants to fight to maintain a strong presence of public services workers in our town.
Plans to build many new homes across Brentwood are a brilliant idea as we have a distinct lack of affordable housing for young people who wish to live in Brentwood, however, Cameron believes that the current Local Development Plan is ill-thought out and needs to be based on capacity of the roads and local services and also the preservation of Brentwood’s green spaces, something he believes, only a Labour council will do.
Dr Richard Millwood for Shenfield
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Richard has lived and raised his family in Brentwood since 1991. He is an education professional concerned with the innovative organisation of effective learning, particularly using technology. He frequently travels from Shenfield station and uses the local Shenfield shops regularly. Richard believes that issues around the condition of roads, street lighting, road safety and parking are not being addressed properly, and will campaign to restore street lighting using low maintenance and cost effective LED lamps.Richard is a strong supporter of the local Labour manifesto pledge to develop and promote Brentwood Borough’s excellent location as a great place to start, expand & sustain a business and work to encourage more businesses to move to Brentwood. He will help put the Borough on the tourist map by advertising its diverse heritage & leisure facilities, especially its beautiful parks. He intends to establish a working party to report within six months on how the Borough can attract employers.
Michele Wigram for Tipps Cross
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Michele has lived in Brentwood for 30 years and has worked for the Citizens Advice Bureau service in Essex and London for the past 25 years. Her daughters attended St Thomas’ and Hedley Walter Schools.She believes that voluntary services play a vital role in supporting elderly, disabled, sick and vulnerable members of our community. It is essential that the Council ensures that all these organisations have long-term stable funding, which will enable them to deliver the best possible service to residents.There is a need for additional housing for our community and this housing must be affordable. However, it is also important to ensure that the area is not overdeveloped and that our green spaces are protected and cared for.
Tim Barrett for Warley
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 Tim has been a Brentwood resident his entire life, growing up in the town and going to local schools.

Tim has long been an active member of the community and a keen volunteer. He has been a volunteer leader in the Scout movement and previously in St John Ambulance.

He has been working with your local councillors across Brentwood since 2010, talking to hundreds of residents on their doorstep and getting changes made to improve our community. Tim’s priorities will be reducing the impact of speeding traffic in the ward, tackling the chronic lack of parking and supporting our local businesses to succeed.

Dr Eric Watts for Tipps Cross
Eric moved to Brentwood in 1989 to work as a Doctor at Basildon Hospital where he established an award winning haematology department . He is a passionate supporter of the NHS and campaigns to prevent further fragmentation of the service and to restore a comprehensive service based on planning and co-operation.He has represented the UK in international conferences and is the Chair of Doctors for the NHS. He is now involved in representing patients through the Patient Participation Group and Public Engagement Group of the local health authority and is keen to help patients to have a stronger voice.
He is a keen supporter of comprehensive schools, being educated at one of the first comprehensives and his daughter attended Shenfield schoolIf elected he will work to ensure good public services and that everyone has the basic necessities; good housing, education and healthcare.
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LABOUR COUNCILLORS CONCERN OVER MORE TOWN CENTRE DEVELOPMENT

imageLocal Brentwood South Labour councillors Gareth Barrett and Julie Morrissey were out in the ward this weekend to talk to residents about their concerns regarding the draft Local Development Plan (LDP) and a new application to develop land at the junction with Primrose Hill and Crown Street.

Labour councillors are very concerned about the concentration of new housing that is proposed for the town centre area in the plan and also new applications for further housing in Brentwood South.

Your Labour councillors spoke to many residents this morning (Sunday 14th February) about the LDP and the new application. Many will be writing in to the council make their views clear that they do not want further development in this area.

Cllr. Julie Morrissey said: “The Local Development Plan already proposes a high concentration of residential development in our area without further applications for residential building being considered. The application for Crown Street and Primrose Hill is not in keeping with the surrounding area and is just a step too far. Enough is enough.”

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Labour Soapbox – 10th February

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Lets be honest, the Local Highways Panel at its historic funding level and its current form has not solved our issues with potholes, pavement cracks, speeding traffic or congestion.

Yet it has been useful. Rather than a single ‘Cabinet Member’ County Councillor with complete control over our highways issues a body made up of locally elected councillors helped steer some of the funding to good uses locally.

Right now, there are some features currently under consideration that I believe would really improve the lives of some of my ward residents.  Some ideas proposed for cycling, if brought together in a sensible strategy, could also help.

Though some odd features have come out and the occasional wasted project designed for political, rather than practical impact, having less money to spend on improving our local highways will cause problems.

I am especially concerned that, with the level of development proposed in the administration’s Local Development Plan, investment needed to make these schemes feasible (or at least liveable for existing residents) will disappear.

What it also means is that those with the best knowledge of our local roads will have less ability to deliver improvements. The further away from the community highways decisions are made, the more likely the risk of poor decision or wasted funds.

This panel is not perfect. Yet it has done some good, and there is currently no better alternative. A near 50% funding cut is something that will hurt Brentwood, and should be rethought.

Gareth Barrett
Councillor for Brentwood South

If you would like to read previous Labour Soapbox articles click here.

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Labour Soapbox – 3rd February

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You wait ages for a consultation, then two come along at once. Not only do residents of Brentwood have to dissect the appalling draft Local Development Plan over the next month but we are now being asked to consult on the new Lower Thames Crossing proposals. The government commissioned Highways England to consider options at two locations and their assessment has led them to propose a tunnel under the Thames located east of Tilbury.

When previously asked a few years ago about the prospect of a new crossing, our Conservative-run council took the blinkered view that any of the proposed options at that time would have little effect on Brentwood residents. How naive.

Highways England have now identified three possible route options for north of the river which would connect to the new crossing. One of these routes, route 4, would involve a new road running parallel to the east of the A128, picking up the A127 and onto junction 29 of the M25. This would affect ancient woodland, a conservation area and enter our borough bringing more traffic and more congestion.

Contrary to the Conservative’s view Labour have real concerns about these government commissioned proposals, kicked into the long grass until after the general election and now set to become a reality. A real disaster for the ecology of South Essex, including ancient fenland, and for the way of life for Essex residents.

Cllr Julie Morrissey

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Labour Soapbox – 27th January

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Let’s face facts. When it comes to train services, Brentwood residents are not greatly served. While Shenfield and Ingatestone residents have the luxury of fast trains to London at regular intervals, us Brentwood folk have the slower, mainly all-stations service which can double the journey time for commuters into the city.
Just one more instance of Brentwood town centre residents having to accept second best while people living in rural and suburban parts of the borough enjoy the better deal.
So to answer the question posed in this week’s soapbox about how to improve the stations and services, its simple.
Make Brentwood a stop on the fast line service before entering outer London and make the next stop Stratford.

Don’t you think Brentwood commuters pay enough to deserve a faster train?

Cllr Julie Morrissey

 

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Campaigning Issues – Alfred Road

  The continuing plight of Alfred Road residents who have to put up with continuous access to Iceland by their lorries can be seen in the above photo from 7:30am on Saturday morning.

Alfred Road is very narrow and has one side full of parked cars. Cars get damaged and the pavements are in a terrible state because of it.

The council have failed to resolve this issue in spite of campaigning over many, many years although there is an alternative route that could be made available (around the back of the library).

Brentwood South ward councillor Julie Morrissey said: “The current Conservative administration has continually failed to resolve this issue for people living in Alfred Road. Once again, residents of Brentwood town centre are being treated as second class citizens by the council.

“A Labour council would give this issue a high priority and improve the quality of life for people living in and around the town centre.”