Stirling Heading for Labour Minority Administration

Chris Kane with vote Scottish labour sign at Stirling CastleIn our first blog, Labour Group Leader Cllr Chris Kane gives an update on what’s been happening since the election on May 5, and what is the likely outcome of negotiations to form an Administration to run Stirling Council.  

I’m delighted to have been returned as a Councillor for Stirling East and I’m grateful to the people of Stirling for electing six Labour Councillors to work hard to improve the quality of life in Stirling.

Labour Minority Administration

At the election, Stirling’s citizens elected 6 Labour, 7 Conservative, 8 SNP, 1 Green and 1 independent councillor.  We have no option but to try and find common ground.

We can do this by Labour forming a Labour Minority Administration to run Stirling Council. After extensive talks we believe we have the support of a majority of Stirling Councillors to achieve it.

Labour’s Political Priorities

Labour’s primary purpose is to deliver on the manifesto commitments we put to the people of Stirling before the election, with a particular focus on addressing the severe cost of living crisis and improving the quality of life for those living in challenging circumstances.  We must also provide local services that meets all of our needs.

Over the coming weeks we will be bringing forward new policies and improving existing ones.

As a minority administration, we know that the SNP and Conservative Groups can vote together against Labour policies. Issue by issue, Labour Councillors have to find common ground with all elected members. We must work hard and we must work with respect.

6 Labour Councillors. 23 Stirling Councillors. 170 Positions To Fill

On Thursday, the Council meets for the first time to appoint councillors to the many committees, public bodies, external organisations and boards we are required to serve on.

There are one hundred and seventy positions to be filled.  A Minority Labour Administration will consist of six Labour Councillors.

We must prioritise.

In the new spirit of finding common ground, we have this week reached out to all councillors to offer the opportunity to serve Stirling in a meaningful way.

Labour Political Leadership

I want to be crystal clear that all political leadership positions will be filled by Labour Councillors.  This includes appointing a Council Leader and Convenors of ALL decision making committees (Finance and Economy, Community Planning and Regeneration, Environment and Housing, Children and Young People).

We will seek to negotiate on an issue by issue basis. There is common ground between Labour and the SNP in Stirling on Labour manifesto commitments to more council housing, tackling poverty, addressing the cost of living crisis and the climate emergency.  There is common ground between Labour and the Conservatives in Stirling on the need to invest in roads maintenance and community sports facilities.   There is common ground between Labour and Green Councillor Tollemache on active travel and protecting our green belt.  There is common ground between Labour and Independent Cllr MacPherson who wants a fair share of resources for the Bannockburn ward.  Just as every councillor does for their ward.

There are, crucially, red lines for the Labour Group and the wider Labour movement which we could never support.  For example, there will be no compulsory redundancies at Stirling Council and there will be no outsourcing of council services under a Labour minority administration.

We are clear this is a Labour minority administration with Labour and Cooperative values at its heart.

Political, Civic, Regulatory, Advisory 

The council has four main areas of operation.  It delivers services and brings about change through political leadership and policies. It leads on Civic life in Stirling and represents Stirling culturally to other areas.  It regulates on issues such as pub licensing and planning.  It works with other public bodies, such as the Police and Fire Services through the Public Safety committee.

While Labour will lead on all political matters, we have offered to support the election of SNP and Conservative convenors to positions such as the Public Safety Committee and Planning Panel.

We spoke with the SNP Group about nominating a Provost and they declined.  We spoke with the Conservative Group and they agreed.  We have offered the Deputy Provost role to Green Councillor Tollemache and await his answer.  We have met with Councillor MacPherson and want to find a way to work with him and look forward to hearing his ideas.

Next Steps 

Stirling needs all of us to step up and work together. I hope all councillors will support this new way forward.

The Labour Group is ready to serve.

 

Read our “Manifesto for Stirling 2022-2027″

We’re excited to publish our “Manifesto for Stirling 2022-2027”, setting out what Labour Councillors will look to achieve over the next term of Stirling Council.

Download:  Labour manifesto for Stirling 2022 to 2027

Above everything else, Labour Councillors will focus on addressing the Cost of Living crisis and improving our quality of life by providing local services that meet our needs.

Labour Group Leader, Councillor Chris Kane, says,

Chris Kane with vote Scottish labour sign at Stirling Castle“There is a severe cost of living crisis which affects everyone in our communities, cutting the quality of life for most families and dragging more people into severe poverty.  It is Labour’s primary mission to do all we can to lift people and communities out of poverty by using every power we have to improve the lives of those living in challenging circumstances.  We must work hard and work together to build a Stirling which is safe and thriving and offers opportunities for all, with local services that meet our needs and improve our quality of life.  I would encourage everybody to read our Manifesto for Stirling and vote for hard-working Labour councillors on 5th May.”

Stirling Labour’s Manifesto sets out our Priorities for Action in Stirling. It is organised around our key pledges setting out the actions which we will pursue throughout the term of the next Council.  Among the commitments are:

Safe and thriving communities: with good street lighting and safe walking routes, access to libraries, sports facilities and cultural experiences. Well-maintained parks, roads and pathways, allotments and community gardens.

Children and Young People:  access to high quality childcare and schools which are well resourced and give your children the best start in life.

Housing:  affordable new build and regeneration schemes with a focus on modernisation and upgrading, insulation and carbon neutral electricity generation.

Transport:  an integrated transport system for every community that is run for public good and not private profit.

Economic recovery, jobs & regeneration: a strong focus on the recovery of the local economy that will prioritise well-paying secure jobs.  Encourage local job creation. Develop community wealth building strategies.  Promote business models that support wellbeing.  Recognise the contribution of our public sector key workers.

Download a copy of our Manifesto for Stirling:  Labour manifesto for Stirling 2022 to 2027

Our candidates (l-r): Ewan Dillon (Dunblane and Bridge of Allan), Josh Hamilton (Trossachs and Teith), Margaret Brisley (Bannockburn, Chris Kane (Stirling East), Jen Preston (Stirling West), Danny Gibson (Stirling North), Gerry McGarvey (Forth and Endrick
Our candidates (l-r): Ewan Dillon (Dunblane and Bridge of Allan), Josh Hamilton (Trossachs and Teith), Margaret Brisley (Bannockburn, Chris Kane (Stirling East), Jen Preston (Stirling West), Danny Gibson (Stirling North), Gerry McGarvey (Forth and Endrick

Meet Labour’s Candidates for 2022 Stirling Council Elections

The Stirling Constituency Labour Party are fielding candidates in all seven wards at the Stirling Council elections in May 2022. Find out more about our candidates below:

Ward 1: Trossachs and Teith – vote ‘1’ for JOSH HAMILTON

26 year old Josh Hamilton is a retail worker who has lived in Stirling all of his life.  Click here to find out more about Josh and his priorities for the communities of Trossachs and Teith

 

 

Ward 2: Forth and Endrick – vote ‘1’ for GERRY MCGARVEY

Gerry McGarvey has lived in West Stirlingshire for 15 years.  He’s already active within his community where he’s a community councillor and a Trustee on his local Community Development Trust.  Click here to learn more about Gerry and his priorities for the communities of Forth and Endrick

 

 

Ward 3: Dunblane and Bridge of Allan – vote ‘1’ for EWAN DILLON

Former Dunblane High pupil Ewan Dillon volunteers with the Dunblane Centre and represented Stirling as a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament.  A seasoned campaigner ready to make a significant contribution for everyone and be a strong voice for young people.  Click here to find out more about Ewan and his priorities for the communities of Dunblane and Bridge of Allan

 

Ward 4: Stirling North – vote ‘1’ for Danny Gibson

Danny Gibson has been a Stirling Councillor since 2012.  He Lives in Riverside with his wife and two children.  Danny is a graduate of Stirling University and is also standing at the Co-operative Party candidate in Stirling.  Click here to find out more about Danny and his priorities for the communities of Stirling North.

 

Ward 5: Stirling West – vote ‘1’ for JEN PRESTON

Jen Preston is a public sector worker and a former member of Borestone Community Council.  Jen has a strong interest in pushing good quality, affordable housing of the right type in the right places.  Click here to find out more about Jen and her priorities for the communities of Stirling West.

 

 

Ward 6: Stirling East – vote ‘1’ for Chris Kane

Chris Kane has been a Stirling Councillor since 2017 and is the current Depute Leader of Stirling Council.  Chris lives in Braehead with his wife and two children.  A Stirling University Graduate, Chris is also a former Stirling Observer columnist and Central FM presenter.  Click here to find out more about Chris and his priorities for the communities of Stirling East.

 

Ward 7: Bannockburn – vote ‘1’ for Margaret Brisley

Margaret Brisley has represented Bannockburn Ward since 2007, but has served as a councillor for 40 years.  Margaret’s experience and her commitment to her constituents is second to none.  Click here to find out more about Margaret and her priorities for Bannockburn and the Eastern Villages.

Suspension of the “Stirling 13”

Stirling Labour strongly condemns the actions of the University of Stirling recently in suspending 13 students for protesting in support of industrial action being carried out by the University and College Union (UCU). We are stunned by the strength of their over-reaction to events that are similar in nature to events on University Campuses throughout Scotland and the UK.

The “Stirling 13” have been suspended for eight weeks each, including several Labour members. This suspension puts at risk their academic studies as they are not allowed to submit coursework during this period, in some cases risking their degrees. They are barred from Campus in addition. While we welcome the latest news that affected students living in University accommodation are not now to be evicted from their living space, we are disappointed that this was even a possibility in the first place. We now urge the University management to reconsider the remainder of these excessive sanctions.

We see this as a huge over-reaction by University management in the face of a peaceful student protest, in which by all accounts, no damage was done. Nor does it does sit well with the traditional reputation of Scottish Universities as centres of free speech and peaceful protest. It is especially disappointing in light of close links between our party and the University, with many Alumni contributing significantly to local and national political life; including Lord McConnell, Mike Connerty, Richard Leonard MSP, Cllr Danny Gibson, and Provost Christine Simpson to name a few.

If Stirling University wishes to salvage its reputation on this, it should start by reconsidering these decisions.

Mark Eyre
Secretary

Labour Living Wage boost for Council Workers

Stirling’s Labour Councillors have ensured that the council’s lowest paid workers will receive a little bit extra in their Christmas pay packet thanks to a motion from Bannockburn Councillor Margaret Brisley.

In November, the Living Wage Foundation proposed that the National Living Wage should rise from £9 to £9.30 from 1stApril 2020.  Cllr Brisley proposed that the lowest hourly rate payable at the council should rise from £9.07 per hour to £9.37 per hour, but that it should be backdated to 16thNovember so that employees will see the difference in their Christmas paycheck.

Cllr Brisley’s also committed the council to bringing forward plans in the New Year that could see the council increase its minimum rate of pay to £10 per hour from 1stApril.  Cllr Brisley’s motion called for a proposal to be part of the council budget process to introduce a ‘pay supplement’ to be offered to employees to ensure the lowest wage offered to employees was the equivalent of £10 per hour until the Living Wage Foundation recommends a rate equal to or above £10 per hour and such a rate is adopted by Stirling Council.  

This takes Stirling Council a big step closer to fulfilling a Stirling Labour manifesto commitment ahead of the 2017 Stirling Council election to introduce a £10 Living Wage.  

Cllr Brisley says,

“It was a Labour led Administration that ensured Stirling Council became a Living Wage accredited employer in 2015 and it is the Labour Group on Stirling Council that is leading the way again with another pay rise for our lowest paid workers that is above the Living Wage Foundation recommendation.   The Labour Group are determined to get this pay award over the £10 an hour line, but it is tough trying to overcome Tory austerity and SNP Government cuts to council budgets.  My motion to council today ensures we have a real shot at delivering £10 an hour in April. It would be a done deal if Labour are elected at the General Election and I hope people vote Labour to ensure a government that will deliver real change for the many, not the few.”

Every year the Living Wage Foundation sets an hourly rate for accredited employers to pay and gives them six months to make the change. Under the previous Labour-led Administration, Stirling Council became a Living Wage Accredited Employer in 2015.  Every year since Labour Councillors have voted for the change and for it to be applied almost immediately, ensuring those who need it most get a little extra at Christmas.  

Beware Tory campaign deceit

A statement from CLP Chairperson Mike Robbins:

This week, Tory Brexit cheerleader for Stirling, Stephen Kerr, published a leaflet in ‘Labour red’ colours with headlines and messages that appear to be trying to fool Stirling’s Labour supporters into backing him. 

From Boris Johnson misleading the Queen, to Jacob Rees Mogg’s recent comments about Grenfell, we see Tories treat people with contempt so often that it has begun to seem normal. 

‘The only way to stop Boris Johnson is to vote Labour’

The only way to stop Boris Johnston and five more years of a toxic Tory Government is to vote Labour on 12thDecember.  Nicola Sturgeon has said she won’t work with Labour, so every vote for the SNP in Stirling puts Boris Johnson one step closer to Downing Street. 

The man on the leaflet is Alistair Weir.  Volunteers of all parties who pour their heart and soul into campaigning will recognise the hurt and betrayal felt by Labour activists in Stirling when he publically pledged support for the Tories while in a leadership role within the local Labour party during the 2017 General Election.    

‘After two years and two endorsements, we can safely say Alistair Weir is a Tory’

Everybody is entitled to a change of heart, but sadly Mr Weir didn’t have the decency to resign first and so was expelled.  After two years and two endorsements, we can safely say Alistair Weir is a Tory. 

Rather than setting a standard for others to follow, Stirling Tories are now setting the bar as low as they think they can get away with.  It is not acceptable for entitled Tories to try and cajole, trick or scare people into voting for them.   The local SNP are equally bad; this week their candidate pulled a similar leaflet stunt to try and trick Green party supporters.  

‘If you want real change for ordinary people, then vote Labour on 12th December’

Stirling deserves better.  Labour are offering the most radical and ambitious manifesto in generations. We are offering policies that work for the many, not the few.  If you want real change for ordinary people, then vote Labour on 12thDecember. 

Mike Robbins – CLP Chair

Scottish Labour select student Mary Kate Ross to contest Stirling at the General Election on 12th December

Scottish Labour’s candidate in the 2019 General Election is Mary Kate Ross.  Mary Kate is a nineteen year old History and Politics student studying at the University of Stirling and if elected will be the youngest MP in the country.

Motherwell born Mary comes from a strong line of Labour activists, including her father, a former North Lanarkshire Labour councillor.  At university Mary is the Vice-Chair of the Labour students’ society and the Chair of the Stirling University Tenants Housing Association.

Mary says,

“I was fourteen when the SNP tried to rip apart the United Kingdom and sixteen when the Tories tried to rip us out of Europe.  I didn’t have a voice or a vote on the two biggest issues that will affect my future and that simply isn’t acceptable.  Since I was seven years old, the SNP have been in charge of Education in Scotland and by every measure they are failing my generation.  On climate change, my generation has had to resort to taking days off school to make our voices heard.  Enough is enough.   The youth of Scotland will no longer be silenced by entitled Tories and blinkered nationalists.  If elected to be Stirling’s MP, I will stand up for all of Stirling’s communities and I will ensure that everybody, regardless of their age, has a bright and fair future.’

On the attraction of standing as a candidate in Stirling, Mary Kate says,

“Stirling is now my home and I want to represent Stirling as your MP in Westminster.  I moved to Stirling two years ago because I was attracted to the city, the university and the possibilities of a fantastic life here at the heart of Scotland.  I cannot think of anything better than committing my career to ensuring Stirling has another strong and vibrant Labour champion, as it did for so long under Anne McGuire.   I live in the city and I am a keen champion of tenants’ rights because I believe everybody, no matter their age or circumstances, deserves a warm, secure home.   This election is about the future I will fight to ensure everybody has a good job paying a fair wage and a safe place to come home to at night.”   

Stirling Constituency Labour Party Chair Mike Robbins says,

“Stirling has been a university town for fifty years and I’m delighted that we’ve found Stirling’s next MP from its leafy campus.  Our local party was impressed by Mary-Kate’s passion for the town and clarity of thought on the issues that affect everybody, but in particular youth issues.  Contrast that with Stephen Kerr who has done nothing but inflict Brexit misery on Stirling and an SNP MEP candidate who thinks of Stirling as a back-up plan for when his European gravy train comes off the tracks. Stirling has a clear choice between continued constitutional chaos or a bright future under Labour.  Every vote for Mary Kate Ross is a vote for a brighter, fairer future.”

You can keep up with Mary’s campaign on social media via www.facebook.com/stirlinglabour, or on twitter @labourstirling.  You can contact the campaign to tell Mary about the issues that are important to you by emailing mkrforstirlinglabour@gmail.com

Stirling Labour comment on the EU crisis

‘Stirling Labour strongly condemns the reckless, anti-democratic actions of Tory Prime Minister Boris Johnson in suspending Parliament for a crucial five-week period in the run up to Brexit Day.  It is now clear that he intends to take Britain out of the EU without a deal, and is happy to risk democracy in the process.  He is turning Britain into both a tin-pot dictatorship, and the laughing stock of the Western world.’

‘It is outrageous for Stirling Tory MP Stephen Kerr to cynically talk about the prorogation of Parliament as if it’s a normal event.  It hasn’t been normal since the days of King Charles I, which led to a Civil War.  How on earth can Kerr even try to pretend that shutting down Parliament in the middle of the biggest crisis since World War two is okay? Even some Tory MP’s, including the Speaker of the House of Commons, have referred to Johnson’s action as “a constitutional outrage”. Kerr’s party are threatening the future of the UK, democracy, and our economy by doing this.’

We call on Kerr to reconsider his decision to sit on the fence while populist dictatorial decisions are taken by his Government, and to condemn the actions of Johnson.  Kerr should also stop pretending there is any chance of a decent deal being negotiated with the EU as a result of his Government’s increasingly Trump-like behaviour.

‘This contrasts with Labour’s attempts to unite the country, and broker a deal to ensure that we avoid the effects of a No Deal Brexit, as well as giving the Country an opportunity to think again now that we understand the full implications of our crisis situation.’

‘Democracy is like the Amazon rainforest – it can only be torched once, and it’s gone.  On behalf of the Many, we will do everything we can to ensure these tactics don’t work, and that both Stephen Kerr, and his appalling Government are held to account.’

Published by Mark Eyre – Secretary, Stirling Constituency Labour Party

Airthrey Kerse Planning Appeal REJECTED

Commenting on the news that Scottish Government Ministers have refused a planning appeal that would have allowed 600 homes on land at Airthrey Kerse, Stirling North Labour Councillor Danny Gibson, who represents Causewayhead, Cornton and Stirling University, said,

Danny Gibson “I would say we’ve been holding our breath hoping the Scottish Government would make the right decision, but we’d have been holding it for 382 days.  That’s how long it took between the Scottish Government’s planning and environment appeals division making a recommendation to Scottish Ministers to refuse the appeal, and Ministers getting around to agreeing with them.   This is a victory for local communities who did not support this application and a vindication of Stirling Council’s 2016 decision to refuse planning permission. It is also an indictment of the current national planning procedures, which allow a minority SNP Government to keep communities cruelly hanging on for decisions seemingly on the whim of Ministers.”

This story relates to our 2017 Stirling Council Manifesto Commitment:

  • We will put pressure on the Scottish Government to overhaul the planning system to put more power in the hands of our local communities, not the hands of developers or distant government bureaucrats