Labour listens to local residents

On Saturday 10th November I, along with fellow Thirsk and Malton Labour activists, held a street stall on Malton marketplace. It was brilliant sunshine for the entire 6 hours we were there, and we spoke to a large number of people about the issues that matter to them locally as well as challenging the lie that Theresa May continues to repeat, “of an end to austerity”. If austerity is over then why are schools still facing huge budget cuts?


We went out with one simple question “What could Labour do to help make Malton and Thirsk better?” with a particular emphasis on what we can do for Ryedale. The district council elections are now less than 6 months away after all, and we are passionate to ensure that our manifesto will address the real needs of local people.

We got some really fantastic ideas about things that matter hugely to local people. Almost everyone we talked to said fracking was one of their biggest concerns. Labour will ban fracking nationally but Ryedale cannot wait till a general election! Any councillors we get in May will fight fracking, and continue the work that Thirsk and Malton Labour has done in the past to oppose the development at Kirby Misperton.

Another major issue was the roads in and around Malton and transport, roads and paths between the villages and towns in Ryedale, the lack of cycle lanes and the dangerous railway crossing between Malton and Norton. This clearly needs some serious work and Labour are ready to put in the time and effort for Ryedale and fix these issues.

Lastly, and possibly most importantly in my mind, the issues of access to local councillors, accountability and honesty were raised. This goes to the heart of any local democracy.  I heard too many times on Saturday that people cannot get to see their district councillors, that they don’t answer questions and that they only ever see them when its election time. I promise you now, all wards that elect a Labour district councillor in Ryedale will see weekly Labour surgeries and ward walks so that you can always access us, hold us to account, and raise issues that affect you throughout the year. Not just when it’s time to vote.

Labour is committed to making a real difference on things that really matter to the people of Ryedale!

If there is anything you would like to see on Labour’s Ryedale District Council manifesto 2019 please comment on this post or email me at:

School cuts will hit hard in our rural community as Tory austerity continues

Before coming back to Malton, the town where I was born and spent 18 years of my life, I was a teacher in London working in Hackney, Islington and Barnett. I felt for myself the impacts of Tory austerity, not just on my pay but also on the service we were able to offer the children, the educational opportunities we were able to provide and the equipment we had available to us. Now back in Yorkshire, as a dad whose daughter will start school with the full impact of austerity realised I am appalled by what this government is doing to a local authority that has been Conservative for as long as I can remember.

Here in Malton and Norton, we have three primary schools and two secondaries, all of which have taken a real battering from the ideologically driven austerity from this Tory government and the Tory/Lib Dem coalition before it. Norton Primary school is estimated to lose £72,446 from their annual budget by 2020 or to put it another way that is 2 highly experienced teachers salaries, or nearly four teaching assistants. Malton Primary will loose will lose £7,796 and St Mary’s will see a drop in £15,683 or £114 per pupil from their annual budgets.  These schools are an essential part of our local community and a striving hard to become outstanding. The pressure the teachers there are facing will already be high, with rising class sizes and budget cuts meaning less in-class support from teaching assistants less time available from senior staff to assist and support teachers developments (as they will be increasingly needed to cover sickness, planning time and staff training). All this means our children will face a rougher start in their educational careers.

The secondary schools fare no better. Malton School, which I attended from the age of 11 to 18, will lose an estimated £207 per pupil or £112,701 from their annual budget and Norton College loses £118,957 per year by 2020. This again represents teaching staff cuts, equipment shortages, fewer trips, and fewer clubs that help our young people after school.

Schools across the country are facing huge cuts to their funding and in September thousands of headteachers marched on Westminster to tell the Tory government that enough was enough. I doubt very much that, given these painful cuts are set to continue for at least the rest of this parliament, many schools will be impressed with the pitiful cash that was offered to schools in the recent budget, equating to roughly £10,000 per primary school.


As I said at the start North Yorkshire has been a Conservative area for as long as I can remember. Yet the impact of austerity is felt in our county very keenly  I might of course have more sympathy for our tory led council’s plight if they didn’t reward themselves with banquets after cutting transport for disabled children.

Perhaps it is time for a change.  Time for a better government, better councils, and a better deal for our teachers, communities, and children.

Len Simpson, Why I’ve Joined Twitter

In many ways, social media does not interest me. Some of my reservations are to do with my age and era. Do I really want to learn new skills just so I can involve myself in so much trivia?  Some of it is so offensive, intolerant, and divisive that I want nothing to do with it.

Occasionally, I will look at my wife’s, Marion’s, facebook page, to keep up with some distant relatives and mutual friends.

Then, along came Bryan Barrett. A chance meeting over a football match in the local pub has led to an increasingly committed awareness of what it means to be a socialist

A lifelong commitment to the Labour Party is turning into something much more tangible.

Wherever I have lived, in three completely different geographical parts of the country, I have had to accept complete Tory dominance. When we moved to Norton just three years ago, I was dismayed to discover that this was yet another bastion of callous Toryism. Put a blue rosette round a pig’s neck, and it would win a seat in Parliament.

But now, something is stirring. People from all walks of life are beginning to see that austerity is/was not a necessity; it is a political decision, driven by Tory ideology which always favours the rich at the expense of the poor.

And real people are really suffering, particularly those not lucky enough to be born in the late 40s, early 50s.

Tory policies are increasingly being questioned. Complacent, comfortable MPs like Kevin Hollinrake are finally being held to account, to justify their lack of genuine involvement with their constituents.

And though I am just a novice, I am beginning to realise that Twitter can be a powerful weapon to bring together those of us who seek genuine social change, by shining a light on cruel and unnecessary Tory policies.

At a branch meeting I attended last night, 15 people of widely different ages and life experiences met with renewed hope and enthusiasm for a better future for the many – not the few. Several were there as a direct result of their involvement with Twitter.

Something is stirring;  watch this space….

Len Simpson
#tandmclp Member
Born April 1947


Campaign Day: 10th November 2018

Come and join us handing out leaflets and chatting to shoppers about how the Labour Party is planning to help local people and to hear views on what matters to local people. It’s a fun and friendly day and we hope as many members as possible can support this. Malton Market Place, 10:00 – 14:00 Saturday, November 10th
Malton Market Place