Elections 2014: Labour – standing up to the Coalition

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Hi, I’m Aled, a second year law student at Corpus Christi, and I’m running to be Labour Council in Holywell ward, and for me there are a number of reasons why you should vote Labour in the upcoming elections on May the 22nd.

Being a student at Oxford is great, but Oxford is a city of contrasts; and the Labour City Council provides vital support to many of those who need it in Oxford. Despite the Tories and Lib Dems cutting the government grant by 47% between 2010 and 2015/2016, the Labour City Council want to invest 142 million in Oxford over the next four years,

This includes 500 new council homes in Barton, a £300,000 investment in the covered market, flood alleviation schemes (at Marston and Northway) and £46 million on refurbishment of existing council properties. All of this estimated to create over 1,000 jobs. Good times. Not only that, the Living Wage for council staff will increase to £8.36 and the council has committed to avoiding compulsory redundancies.

One of the biggest issues that affect both students and non-students is that of housing. Oxford is currently the least affordable city outside London and Labour are dedicated to ensuring that quality housing is affordable by all. The City Council require developers to build affordable housing as part of new developments, and is campaigning to be able to extend Oxford beyond its current boundaries in order to make real inroads into housing need. Currently we also provide a licensing scheme for shared houses; meaning that they are inspected and standards are maintained. This has raised standards in over 3,000 properties so far.

There are other issues that Labour want to prioritise, particularly regarding students. At a national level, Ed Miliband has argued against the current £9,000 tuition fees that students have to pay, and at a local level, Oxford City Labour are dedicated to working with OUSU and local student campaigning groups on issues such as the Living Wage. Andrew Smith, local MP for Oxford East, recently held a student surgery in St Hildas to discuss issues with Oxford students, and if I’m elected to be a student councillor I’ll hold regular surgeries in JCRs in central Oxford.

The current cuts to homelessness provision are another area that Labour are keen to fight against. The Labour City council are also maintaining funding homelessness prevention despite a government cut in this funding, in stark contrast to the Tory-led County Council which has slashed funding by 38%.

So on a local level we want to prioritise meeting housing need, supporting local communities, fighting poverty and deprivation, and building a strong economy for Oxford. However, there aren’t just council elections. With Nigel ‘don’t mention the LBC interview’ Farage banging the populist drum on Europe, it’s more important than ever that students get out and vote to ensure that the EU is about improving people’s living standards, not right-wing ideology. Ultimately we can’t let UKIP and the Tories take control of our European institutions, and a vote for Labour in the European elections will support candidates who will fight tooth and nail to promote the interests of people in the South East. These elections also provide an opportunity to send a message to the Tory and Lib Dem Coalition that their cuts to the most vulnerable in our society; from Disability Living Allowance to Legal Aid, have electoral consequences.

Labour may be the party of pretty naff party political broadcasts, but we are also the party of students, and fairness, and it would fantastic if you would be kind enough to vote Labour in the upcoming elections on May the 22nd.

Aled Jones is the Labour Party candidate for Holywell Ward

PHOTO: Reading Tom