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Several Members of Ludlow Labour represented us at the Rally Against Austerity in West Bromwich, organised by our friends in the West Midlands Labour Party. After the lack of major ideas in this Budget and the damaging austerity policy stubbornly pushed by this Government, it was an uplifting evening of togetherness.

A packed conference hall heard Tom Watson, John McDonnell, Cat Hobbs, Faiza Shaheen and Jeremy Corbyn outlining why we won't stand for the government's economic failure. They put forward Labour's plans to build an economy that works for everyone.

We particularly warmed to this speech by Cat Hobbs, founder and director of 'We Own It'. Watch and we think you'll see why public services are probably the best, most wonderful, noble, civilised thing that humans ever invented. Vital services - water, energy, rail, NHS and education - should surely be dedicated to improve the lives of our communities and future generations, not the shareholders of private companies.

"Our schools and hospitals, our public transport, our water and energy, they're not optional extras, they're no consumer products, and they're not market opportunities... We built them, we paid for them, we use them - we should all own them” - Cat Hobbs.

Watch, enjoy and join us!

West Midlands Labour Rally Against Austerity in West Bromwich

Several Members of Ludlow Labour represented us at the Rally Against Austerity in West Bromwich, organised by our friends in the West Midlands Labour Party. After the lack of major...

Even the right-wing Spectator magazine observes that Phillip Hammond, our Chancellor, "doesn’t have many big ideas," in this Budget, "just a selection of small ones."  Those small ideas harm the majority of people striving for a better future.  As the use of food banks increases, at least one in four workers in the West Midlands earn less than the Living Wage of £10 an hour.  Under the new budget, working families will be less well off, on average, by £1400, annually.  Almost a million workers remain on zero-hour contracts - contracts which a Labour government will scrap.  Energy bills have increased under the Tories, whereas Labour proposes an energy price cap.

Equally out-of-touch is this government’s treatment of young people, single parents, the disabled and those hit by Universal Credit Cuts, including some of Shropshire's Tenant Farmers.  In this county, with an ageing population, we are also concerned for older citizens, losing out across the UK from £6 billion cuts in Social Care by March 2018.

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The letters page of local papers in Shropshire shows a growing shift in public mood away from the Tory slashing of services and austerity. The message expressed is a desperate need for a government who will invest in our communities, rather eroding and underfunding services, from hospitals to local transport to libraries. We have had enough.  We are beginning to openly demand a new Government that will invest in communities and our country.

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Local Letters' Pages Show Public Frustration With Continuing Cuts

Even the right-wing Spectator magazine observes that Phillip Hammond, our Chancellor, "doesn’t have many big ideas," in this Budget, "just a selection of small ones."  Those small ideas harm the...

There is much to concern us over the failings of this week’s Budget. Campaigners and Ludlow Labour have been particularly focused on our NHS crisis, as winter falls. Yet, as Simon Stevens, CEO of the NHS anticipated, “the budget for the NHS is well short of what is currently needed”. The effect on our Minor Injury Units, DAART services and in-patient community beds may be harsh, as the Clinical Consulting Group scrabble for financial savings. Our own MP, Phillip Dunne, is a Health Minister who has voted for these cuts.

However, the authorities are meeting with serious local resistance. This year, we have seen a surge in local passion to fight for decent hospital care. Access to community hospitals and Minor Injury Units can be a matter of life or death for a population scattered over a huge rural area, with roads that can become impassable in winter. Community Hospitals with services "under review" are Whitchurch, Oswestry, Bridgnorth and Ludlow. We hope these services will be improved - however, Bishops Castle hospital was recently mysteriously closed and reopened, following protest. It is not yet clear that all community hospitals will remain open with full services.

Recently, we joined other campaigners under the banner of ‘Save Ludlow Hospital’. Labour were working alongside: The League of a Friends of LCH, Ludlow Town Council, Defend our NHS, Save Ludlow Maternity Unit, Ludlow GPs, Lib Dem Members and local citizens. A Ludlow Labour Member explains: “We confirmed the urgency of the situation and within two weeks we had scheduled a public meeting (ensuring Phillip Dunne could attend).”

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As budget fails community hospitals and our NHS, we fight back!

There is much to concern us over the failings of this week’s Budget. Campaigners and Ludlow Labour have been particularly focused on our NHS crisis, as winter falls. Yet, as... Read more

Tom Watson, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party has met with members of the local Ludlow Labour Party, over drastic cuts to Shropshire’s health services.

Tarlochen Singh-Mohr and Sean Fernyhough, Chair and Secretary of Ludlow Labour, with Mark Kirby seized their chance to meet Mr. Watson at the Labour regional office in West Bromwich, to ask him to help save Shropshire’s plummeting services.

Sean, Tarlochen and Mark Meeting Tom Watson

NHS spending across Shropshire is being cut by £135 million per year. Following the closure and promised reopening of 3 of our 5 maternity units, Minor Injuries and GP services are “under review” by the Clinical Consulting Group (CCG). Minor Injury Units may be reduced from 4 to 2. Community hospitals face closure, despite the CCG’s data proposing to close Ludlow hospital being criticised as “misleading and biased” by doctors from two local Ludlow surgeries.

Broseley town Councillor Singh-Mohr told Mr. Watson, “Many people living in rural Shropshire are anxious about the funding of both general practice and local pharmacies. Patients are being told it is increasingly difficult to provide the services everyone wants.” He described the crisis engulfing our A&E units at Shrewsbury and Telford, alongside a creeping move towards privitisation.

Mr. Watson agreed that the problem of Shropshire’s cuts must be raised in Westminster: “we are applying all the pressure we can on the government to provide proper funding. We will constantly raise these concerns.” Mr. Watson will visit the Ludlow constituency in the New Year look at how to shine a spotlight for our services in Westminster. In the meantime, the West Midlands Regional Health team will work with Ludlow Labour Party members to protect and develop services, ramping up campaigns, alongside Shropshire locals.

Deputy Leader of Labour Party focuses on Shropshire’s health crisis

Tom Watson, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party has met with members of the local Ludlow Labour Party, over drastic cuts to Shropshire’s health services. Tarlochen Singh-Mohr and Sean Fernyhough,... Read more

Ludlow CLP have been fighting the drastic cuts to our Health Services, alongside campaigners in Shropshire. Our CLP Women's Officer and rural health activist, Tess Finch-Lees, made sure our voice was heard, when Jon Ashworth, Shadow Secretrary of State for Health, recently visited Telford CLP and invited questions from the floor...

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"On 8 November, Telford CLP hosted an evening with Jon Ashworth, shadow secretary of state for health, which I had the pleasure of attending. Having given an informal talk, Jon opened up questions to the floor. I asked about his plans for implementing the motions passed at conference in Brighton. Specifically with regard to the NHS reinstatement bill, the rejection of the Five Year Forward View (FYFV) and working with Labour councils to give them clear direction in order to block Tory Sustainability and Transformation Plans (AKA, Slash, Trash & Privatise).

I impressed upon Jon, that those of us holding the front line against savage Tory cuts to our NHS, are in dire need of reinforcements from him and that implementing policy agreed at conference was a matter of urgency. The NHS is running out of time and is crying out for the party that created it, to save it.

Jon agreed that the new policy would have to be implemented but didn’t outline any concrete plans for doing so. In a one on one conversation afterwards, I also asked Jon if he would sign up to the #NHS takeback pledge. He said he needed to talk with the leaders’ office and health campaigners before committing. I offered to expedite a meeting with leading academic Allyson Pollock, if that would help. He declined the offer but kindly agreed to continue the conversation with me via email, which I look forward to doing. Watch this space for further developments!"

Insider's Report on an evening with Jon Ashworth

Ludlow CLP have been fighting the drastic cuts to our Health Services, alongside campaigners in Shropshire. Our CLP Women's Officer and rural health activist, Tess Finch-Lees, made sure our voice...

Australia took an important step, on 15th November, for LGBTQ rights globally; in the Same-Sex Marriage postal survey in Australia, 61.6% voted Yes while 38.4% voted No.

However, the fight for equality in Australia does not end; in fact, this was probably the easiest part of the process. Several conservative political groups seek to protect religious freedoms within any Act legalising same-sex marriage. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s target of passing the Act by Christmas looks unrealistic.

The objectors are likely to demand legal protection for businesses who refuse to serve LGBTQ customers, and for the right of parents to remove their children from classes if the content is inconsistent with a ‘relevant belief’.

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While the UK has achieved more than Australia in LGBTQ equality, we have further to go. Labour championed abolishing the infamous Section 28 and equalised the age of consent. But we must make LGBTQ hate crimes aggravated offences, change the wording in laws protecting LGBTQ people, from ‘gender assignment’ to ‘gender identity’ and ensure that sex and relationships education is LGBTQ inclusive. PrEP drugs should be readily available, to prevent people from developing HIV after being exposed to the virus.

Ludlow Labour are committed to supporting LGBTQ communities across Shropshire. Our friends at the newly formed Telford LGBT (Twitter @Telfordlgbt), said, “The result was good to see but was a referendum necessary? Very sad that almost 40% are still against equality. Equality law should be like any other, decided by elected representatives – otherwise, why have governments?”

More UK LGBT rights needed, as Australia votes for Same-Sex Marriage.

Australia took an important step, on 15th November, for LGBTQ rights globally; in the Same-Sex Marriage postal survey in Australia, 61.6% voted Yes while 38.4% voted No. However, the fight...

The Head of Midwifery at Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital Trust (SaTH), Sarah Jamieson "Bridgnorth, Ludlow and Oswestry MLUs will re-open with the same level of service as before .. we are preparing the staffing rotas, wards and beds in preparation for the first shift at 8am on 1st January 2018"
This is excellent news for families and midwives alike all across Shropshire.
SaTH has recruited 20 additional midwives and has conceded that the cuts to their budget has made it impossible to deliver the service we needed. They have now prioritised services to rural areas first, and will need to re-negotiate their budget later. "Common Sense has prevailed! Rural Health Matters”. This is a brilliant result, thanks to every single person who has been involved in the campaigns for our Midwife-Led Units (MLUs) in Ludlow, Oswestry and Bridgnorth.

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Ann Rochelle and Julia Buckley during the Bridgnorth Maternity Unit protest earlier this year

GOOD NEWS - Maternity Units set for re-open 1st Jan!

The Head of Midwifery at Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital Trust (SaTH), Sarah Jamieson "Bridgnorth, Ludlow and Oswestry MLUs will re-open with the same level of service as before .. we... Read more

In October, Ludlow Labour developed into five branches – Ludlow & Clee, Craven Arms & Church Stretton, Bishops Castle, Clun & Chirbury. Joining Bridgnorth & Highley and Broseley & Much Wenlock, Labour is representing hard-to-reach rural spots, alongside our market towns. All branches can put forward motions within Ludlow CLP, empowering members old and new.

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Bishop's Castle, Clun and Chirbury branch launch was held at The Happy Bap in Bishop's Castle

As Labour support rises throughout Shropshire, we expect more activity in this huge geographical area. Meanwhile, Julia Buckley, our Parliamentary Spokesperson, is attracting attention from the Shadow Cabinet and the media.

Ludlow Labour Launches Three New Branches

In October, Ludlow Labour developed into five branches – Ludlow & Clee, Craven Arms & Church Stretton, Bishops Castle, Clun & Chirbury. Joining Bridgnorth & Highley and Broseley & Much... Read more

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L-R: Suzie Morris, Alison Hiles, Soma Ghosh, Corinne Marbrow.

On Monday, we joined mothers with babes in arms at a workshop trying to save rural Midwife Led Units (MLUs) in consultation with NHS providers. Currently, Bridgnorth, Oswestry and Ludlow remain closed.

Karen Higgins, running the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) with Commissioner Fiona Ellis, told a packed room in Rockspring Community Centre in Ludlow. “Leave the past behind, it’s done… let’s design the future!”

“We don’t want to leave the past behind,” said a mother. “We had a gold standard MLU in Ludlow – we want it back.”

It was pointed out that national guidelines by NICE recommend Midwife Led Units for women with low risks as cheaper, safer and better places to give birth.

“Let’s not think about NICE – that’s national, that’s not Shropshire,” said Fiona Ellis, who will be making recommendations on the future of MLUs to SaTH.

“But isn’t Shropshire included in national recommendations on what’s best for women and babies?” I asked.

“Yes…” Ms. Ellis replied. When I told her of my difficulty in planning to have a second child due to the removal of services, she shook her head, “Shropshire’s strong on choice.”

Really, so why don’t I know about it?

Insider's view on public workshops on closed MLUs

L-R: Suzie Morris, Alison Hiles, Soma Ghosh, Corinne Marbrow. On Monday, we joined mothers with babes in arms at a workshop trying to save rural Midwife Led Units (MLUs) in... Read more

Bridgnorth, Oswestry and Ludlow Midwife-Led Units are currently closed for births and inpatient post-natal care. They'll be closed for good, unless we make our voices heard on the rural MLU and NHS crisis. Please sign-up and attend these public workshops, run by the Clinical Commissioning Groups, before a decision is announced on 29th September. We are going to take part in constructive, local interactive workshops.

5 places left for Ludlow, further workshops available with up to 25 places.

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Join community workshops to help Save Our MLUs!

Bridgnorth, Oswestry and Ludlow Midwife-Led Units are currently closed for births and inpatient post-natal care. They'll be closed for good, unless we make our voices heard on the rural MLU... Read more

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