Wednesday 27 September 2023

Nutrient Neutrality Speech at Norfolk County Council - 26/09/23

My speech to Norfolk County Council about Nutrient Nutrality on 26.09.23

Chair, earlier this month the Government confirmed that it intended to scrap Nutrient Neutrality laws. Laws regarded by organisations such as the RSPB as vital legislation that protects against water pollution caused by developments near to protected areas.

This matters to us here in Norfolk. Natural England concluded, following extensive research, Norfolk, along with 26 other areas with protected sites all over England, was on the edge. They determined that Norfolk’s river network simply couldn’t continue to take excess nutrients from house building without further damage to those habitats and species.

Councils, environmental groups and developers have spent months, and many thousands of pounds of public funds, working on a way forward, only for the Government to change course again at the eleventh hour.

It is important to understand that Nutrient Neutrality laws do not prevent development, but they do require developers to demonstrate that they have offset the pollution they will be generating by funding measures elsewhere in the catchment.

The greater the impact on the environment, the greater the offset required. The laws essentially encourage developers to adopt a more sustainable and environmentally friendly approach from the outset.

And it is important to note that if nutrient neutrality laws are scrapped it will be taxpayers picking up the bill for the pollution caused by housebuilders with extra public money made available to pick up the pieces.

Recent analysis has shown that Britain’s eight biggest housebuilders have made more than £7billion pounds in profits in the two years since the pandemic.

Residents, developers, councils, the environment all need research led, well-considered laws, they need time to plan and prepare. A Government that changes policy ‘on the hoof’ serves nobody.

But it’s not just the constant changing narrative from the Government that is the problem here. As the Housebuilders Federation points out, the inaction by this Government over a number of years has led us to this latest mess. The Government has not taken seriously the root causes of river pollution – they’ve delayed and procrastinated. Allowing water companies to get away with a lack of investment and declining infrastructure which results in significant quantities of nutrients entering out waterways. Further, the Government has been turning a blind eye to agricultural runoff too and whilst nutrient neutrality laws are important, these other factors are being ignored.

It is important to consider that as well as the obvious environmental risks, scrapping these laws could have huge negative financial implications for Norfolk’s economy.

It is estimated that the Norfolk Broads alone attract seven million people a year to Norfolk, contributing around half a billion pounds to the local economy, supporting more than 6,000 jobs. And that’s just the Broads. The Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is responsible for nearly 2 million overnight visits a year and contributes a further £163m.

We weaken our waterways at our peril, both environmentally and financially.

I hear the arguments about needing to scrap these laws to speed up house building. I recognise the demand. I see with my own inbox the many housing related cases. But, we can and must ensure development in the short term, does not destroy our environment in the long term.

We’re not doing nearly enough to tackle empty homes, second homes and under-occupancy in this County. In 2022, there were more than 4,000 homes empty across Norfolk, a 17% increase on the year before. In the same year there’s more than 13,000 second homes too.

Chair, we absolutely should be addressing our housing challenges in Norfolk, the affordability, the size, shape and location but we should be protecting our precious natural environment too, an environment that is integral to our economic success.

We simply can’t allow this situation to become a trade off between homes and our environment. If we can’t find a way for them to live together then neither will thrive and we’ll all be far worse off.

Thursday 11 May 2023

Norfolk Full Council - Tuesday 9th May 2023

I was back at Norfolk County Hall again on Tuesday for a Full Council meeting where I was pleased to support a Labour motion which received cross-party support calling for more to be done to stop sewage being pumped into our seas and waterways. I'll post the newspaper write-up of the motion's success in the comments.
There was also a motion on the agenda today tabled by the Green Group (Three Cllrs out of Eighty-four Cllrs in total). This motion called for the Norwich Western Link road to be scrapped and the money ‘saved’ to be re-allocated to an alternative list of projects.
Disappointingly one of their proposals was to allocate money in support of 20 minute-neighbourhoods.
I have a longstanding objection to the Norwich Western Link road. This is well documented and the reasons for logged. But, I will not vote for or support any move towards the establishment of 20 minute neighbourhoods.
Myself and a fellow Cllr therefore tabled an amendment to the Green motion that removed the recommendation to reinvest money into 20 minute neighbourhoods. If the amendment were approved, the original motion would have simply called for the Western Link road to be scrapped. Our amendment was defeated however, but so was the whole Green motion, thankfully.
This is all a bit complicated as it involves motions and amendments and Council procedure rules but the long and short of it is attempts by the Greens to allocate money towards 20 minute neighbourhoods have been rejected.
For now the Western Link road limps on. In my view any funds "saved" from scrapping the Western Link should be used to fund our core services that are in a desperate state. We have an adult social care system in crisis, children's services lacking funding to properly support all of Norfolk's children and a public transport system that's woefully inadequate - to name just a few of our challenges. As was highlighted today, rather than building new roads the County Council should be taking better care of our existing road network!
I am pleased that the Green motion was rejected by the Council today, but maintain my view that the Western Link road is unjustifiable and unaffordable.

Wednesday 19 April 2023

Responding to some of the usual election lies....

When you're a Councillor, and particularly at election time, you kind of get used to all manner of things being said about you.

Some of it is a sort of twisted truth, some of it is a complete lie.

I don't normally respond to such rubbish - people spreading such untruths will never change their ways, they'll never listen to the alternative narrative and certainly never admit that they are wrong. They clearly don't bother to do any research but spread hate and misinformation gleefully.

However, seeing as I have a bit of time spare this morning, I thought I would respond to a couple of the things floating around on various anonymous Facebook pages:

1. "Councillor Terry Jermy is the highest paid Councillor in Norfolk" - hilarious! All Councillor allowances are published online on the relevant Council websites. It is blatantly clear to see that I am not the highest paid Councillor on Breckland, or Norfolk. In fact, some Councillors are paid more than double what I am. 

2. "Terry Jermy overspent his budget when he was Mayor of Thetford" - I was Mayor in 2016/17, and people are still peddling this nonsense. I finished my Mayoral year with money to spare, visited several hundred events and activities during the year and raised £6,000 for local charities - a sum much greater than most Thetford Mayor's achieve. Approx halfway through my Mayoral year staff highlighted that I might run out of funds because I was so busy, and from that the rumour began - pushed by several Councillors who did nothing but try to undermine me during my year. However, most Mayor's have to use part of their 'allowance' to fund their end of term Mayoral Ball. Charity balls are very difficult to make profitable, that's why so many Mayoral Balls have been cancelled in recent years. Council funds literally need to be used to cover some of the costs and that money gets taken from the Mayoral allowance. I've always felt uncomfortable about public money being used to essentially help pay for a private knees up. £500 had been set aside to help with my event, but, I had already secured an external sponsor, a local estate agents, who donated the money to help cover the costs. Problem solved and there was now no risk of any over spending. Oh, and my Ball sold out, we literally had to squeeze in an extra table - so rather than being a drain on council funds, the event made an actual profit, hurrah for charity (which ironically is the sole purpose of the ball but rarely do Town Council balls make a profit). 

3. "If Cllr Jermy really has Thetford's best interests at heart then ask him how he managed to overspend his budget by £30,000 last year and why the Council Tax payers of Thetford have had to fund his incompetence by way of a 20% hike in their bill this year"

I don't have a budget as a Councillor. I am Chair of the Amenities Committee, who does have a budget. The only additional 'power' I have as Chair is that I get to use a casting vote in the event of a tied vote amongst committee members. The budget is the committee's budget and we are all equally responsible. The current finance figures are draft, but show that expenditure is significantly lower than budgeted - no overspending. But income is also down. Largely because we have not received anticipated income from the Rural Payments Agency - they pay the council for it to manage its land (common land mainly) in a way that supports conservation. We do not know at this point if that money is delayed, or will never come. Have previous committees over estimated the income? possibly. Has the council not submitted all of the claims and is due some more money? also possible. All of this was explained by the Finance Manager to the committee at the April meeting - available on Youtube if you want to watch. There was approx £8,000 of additional expenditure that wasn't anticipated. Due to an error by the committee back in 2016, and an error by officers, we've been forced to repay £8,000 to the rural payments agency for fencing around castle park. The payment should have been made by a certain date and it wasn't and a recent audit highlighted this so the current amenities committee has lost £8,000 due to an error in 2016. Who was Chairman of the committee in 2016? Brenda Canham. Is this £8,000 mistake hers alone? of course not.

4. 20% hike in Council Tax bills - I voted against the original proposal to increase Council Tax by 30%. When the voted was taken to increase it by 20% at the January meeting, I was absent, my father passed away two days before the meeting. Had I of been there, I'd have voted against. The Town Council is wasteful, we do not get value for money, they rely too easily on whacking up council tax without looking for new sources of income or reducing costs. I make these points nearly every year but of course, that doesn't stop people trying to blame me for Thetford's council tax going up, which is entirely untrue.

Thursday 23 February 2023

Breckland Council Budget Meeting - February 2023


Chairman, we have all seen the decline of our high streets - both locally and nationally. It is important that we all recognise the value of these spaces economically, culturally, and recreationally. Breckland Council has a crucial role in supporting our town centres, a role in making them places that people want to visit and importantly, spend money.


To be places that people want to visit there must be shops worth going to. When I look at the empty shops in Thetford they are often sadly long term empty properties. Large corporations that do need seem to care that they are empty, sucking the life and vibrancy out of our communities. When myself or others enquire about rents, they’re often at levels unaffordable with terms that do not make sense. It’s tough running a small business, I know myself as a run one, I speak to dozens of small businesses every month through that role. There is talent in our district, creative thinking, entrepreneurialism, but forces too great for individuals to overcome are preventing progress. We need the councils backing.


This proposal is simple, it uses Breckland Councils soon to be more generous capital reserves to purchase shop units in the district, allowing affordable rents and terms to be set, specifically to support local entrepreneurs and small businesses. With an estimated return of around 4%, this proposal would make no difference to our revenue budget, rents matching our returns from bank interest, but it will provide new opportunities for people to trade. And this council will own the capital asset. The new support with paying the rent for 6 months for businesses moving to the town centre is to be welcomed, the new Puddin shop in Thetford is a great example, but it is short term and not sustainable, what happens when the grant runs out, what happens if the rents change. Why are we as a council prepared to pay off other landlord’s mortgages, but not look to own such assets ourselves? We need to be bold.


This amendment also looks to continue the MTI scheme, no, not with murals or clocks for Dereham, conveniently kicked into the long grass until after the May elections, but with facilities that the public quite rightly have been campaigning for and recognise as a barrier to people visiting. Amenities such as new public toilets can be supported by this fund, with the hope that Town Councils will join and match fund wherever possible.


I urge you colleagues to support this amendment.

Saturday 31 December 2022

Suffolk County Council Quarry Proposal for Barnham

Later today, the Suffolk County Council planning committee will be reviewing an application to create a new quarry and access route at Barnham. This application was tabled pre-covid but has been stuck in the planning system, largely due to an object from Natural England. They've now removed their objection, due to being content with 'mitigation' provided and the application will be determined today. Why is this important? given the weight restriction on the Elveden Road, the lorries will be sent in and our through Thetford (and some out towards Bury St Edmunds). The estimate is an additional 4 HGVs per hour for the next 5 years travelling along the Bury Road and Brandon Road in Thetford. Totally unacceptable. We have enough issues with traffic and HGVs along these roads and I know that many residents in these areas wrote and objected to the application when it was first tabled.
Below is my written objection to the application which has been made available to the committee. Suffolk County Councillor Joanna Spicer, representative for Barnham will be speaking against the application today in person.
Dear Joanna,
I am writing to restate my strong opposition to the two Barnham quarry related planning applications due to be discussed by the SCC Development & Regulation Committee on Monday 31st October 2022.
This application will have a significant detrimental effect on the quality of life for the residents that I represent on Thetford Town Council, Breckland Council and Norfolk County Council as a Town, District and County Councillor.
Residents of Bury Road and Brandon Road will be particularly impacted and many wrote to object to the planning application some time ago and I am sure that their objections still stand, as do my own.
These roads already have significant issues with HGVs plus a significant amount of other traffic. This causes severe noise disturbance, all hours of the day and various issues with vibrations. Cars are routinely damaged along Bury Road too. We see drain covers damaged on a regular basis plus damaged kerb stones from HGVs mounting the pavements as two HGVs (and often some HGVs and cars) are unable to pass safely. This area is not safe for pedestrians and cyclists and I routinely receive complaints about this. There are numerous recorded collisions along the A134 in Thetford already.
The report before the committee notes an additional 4 vehicle movements per hour but fails to recognise that this is on top of the significant levels of traffic that exist already. All of these new vehicle movements will be from very large vehicles, often full of very heavy material. The resulting noise and air pollution is not acceptable.
The 2019 Thetford Network Improvement Strategy commissioned by Norfolk County Council concluded that:
The AM and PM peak traffic speed maps show key areas of congestion in the morning along a large section of the London Road and at the London Road / A134 traffic lights.
In the PM peak congestion worsens along the London Road / A134 traffic lights.
One of the proposed actions from this was to commission a Network Pinch Point and Key Junctions Assessment including Nuns Bridges Road – I do not believe this has happened
The report notes that the A134 Brandon Road / London Road / A134 Bury Road junction: “The signalised junction is operating at capacity in the 2018 observed scenario and over-capacity in the 2036 future scenario with the Thetford sustainable urban extension” – Thetford has already seen significant growth since the data was collected in 2017/18 and the junction here may already be over capacity.
Regarding data collected – “ANPR and ATC data analysis showed that between 4,000 and 6,000 daily trips route between the south and east of Thetford (both directions), many of which route via Nuns Bridges, also via Norwich Road and the A134”. The report notes “that some 200 HGVs per day routed southbound on the A134 Bury Road”.
In the conclusion of the report it states: “There are issues on the A134 to the South of the town, traffic volumes on Nuns Bridges Road and junction within the town”.
If this planning application is to prooced, Suffolk County Council should be insisting on a route that does not cause such significant additional detrimental issues for the residents of the A134 Thetford Road at Barnham, and the approx. 200 homes that line the route of the Bury Road and Brandon Road in Thetford.
I would ask that the committee consider the implications of this application on these residents and whether enough has been done to review the impact on them and whether any amendments could be made to the proposal to improve this. Without thoroughly exploring these options the committee will not be giving due regard to the dozens of residents that wrote to object to these proposals.
I am happy for you to share my email with the officers and / or committee members as you see necessary.
Best wishes,
Councillor Terry Jermy
Norfolk County Councillor – Thetford West Division
Breckland Councillor and Thetford Town Councillor – Thetford Burrell Ward

Wednesday 12 October 2022

Autumn Leafletting


Recent Press Clippings


Norfolk County Council Speech Re Austerity 11.10.22

NCC MOTION ON SUPPORTING PEOPLE - My speech to Norfolk County Council 11.10.22:
Chairman, if anyone genuinely believes that Norfolk residents are struggling today, solely because of Covid and Vladimir Putin than they are either deluded, or not paying attention.
Residents in my division have been struggling for the past decade as the austerity measures from the Conservative Government have removed support and safety nets and made people’s lives more difficult. Cuts to services from this Conservative Council, as it has sought to balance its books in the face of cuts and rising cost pressures, have added to the misery.
In Thetford our youth service was closed, along with the Youth Centre, so too Connexions, our Adult education Centre on Tanner Street shut and Priorsmead care home gone. In Thetford schools, children wait for their educational health care plans and schools are unable to meet children’s additional needs. Preventative services like drug and alcohol support have been reduced, and do not get me started on mental health support.
So many preventative support services have been removed or reduced, it is little wonder that pressures have increased at the other end with the police stretched, hospitals full and ambulance wait times increased.
As one local aid charity said to me recently, those that have been struggling for some time are coping with these latest challenges relatively well, they’re very resilient, frankly they are used to going without. But, these latest pressures are forcing a whole new load of people into making tough decisions, a whole new cohort worrying about how to survive.
The Wednesday sessions at Thetford Foodbank are normally the quieter day – seeing just 6-10 clients per session on average. Two weeks ago there were 19 through the door and last week it was 22. At a time when their donations have dried up and their own costs are increasing. Charities that so often meet some of the hidden demand are themselves struggling.
I’ve seen more people cry in the corridors of the community centre where I work in the past 6 months than in the past 6 years.
Some years ago, six local authorities in Norfolk ranked in the bottom 65 nationally for poor levels of social mobility. My own district of Breckland ranked worst, at 300 out of the 324 authorities in England. The life chances of Norfolk’s residents hindered by geography and political choices.
Inequality is growing. Demand is growing. More people are suffering, are worried.
And what is our new Prime Minister’s response to this? To lift the cap on bankers bonuses, to propose to remove the 45p tax rate and ponder not increasing benefits in line with inflation. Heaping yet more misery on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. When our residents our looking to our leaders at a time of crisis for support and reassurance, they’re being met with indifference or ideologically driven reticence.
It is right that we thank and acknowledge the dedication of our own staff and wider Norfolk residents for providing help to our most vulnerable and disadvantaged. I have no problem recognising that support is being given, but in doing so, you absolutely need to recognise that it is a travesty that such support is needed. That we are having to consider warm banks, on top of food banks, is a badge of regret, not a badge of honour. We must work to drive down inequality, focus on prevention rather than cure and address the root causes of the challenges that we face.
Motions that are more about a slap on the back help nobody.
I move the amendment.

Tuesday 26 July 2022

Read And Feed


NCC Debate on Norwich Western Link - 19/07/22

My speech to Norfolk County Council today on the Norwich Western Link:
I objected to the Norwich Western Link on the basis that it is unaffordable and unjustifiable – unaffordable in financial terms and unjustifiable because of its significant environmental impact.
At the time of our June 2021 Special Full Council meeting, we were debating the first of the big increases – with the bill rising then to £198m – and here we are for the second such big increase – we’re up to £251million. And if that’s not bad enough, my question to the Cabinet Member for Finance at the recent Cabinet meeting confirmed that we’re looking at a further £35million in interest payments for borrowing Norfolk County Council’s share of the bill – that’s nearly £900k a year in interest payments alone, or £900k a year in revenue not available for services (the minimum revenue provision over the next 40 years will be over £1.5m extra a year!). All of this of course is assuming that the Government agree to their share and remember, once the Government share is confirmed, it is capped – so any increase in costs past this point will fall 100% to this Council and that’s when we really will see the Norfolk County Council costs shoot up.
We’re over £70million now, and rising, and that’s just Norfolk County Council’s share.
Our services are being cut and Norfolk’s residents are suffering as this administration’s obsession and blinkered vision continues. Every single one of the cuts to services considered at the recent Cabinet meeting could be entirely avoided if it were not for the funds being consumed by this road:
• Saving £200k a year from closing HWRCs on Wednesdays and £70k a year from reducing Summer opening hours
• Saving £200k a year from reducing mobile library service
• Reduced funding for Waste Reduction initiatives and cuts to Norfolk Windmills Trust
• A single treatment for weeds on our highways network
As well as destroying the environment, destroying habitats and protected species, this road will destroy Norfolk County Council’s services and its financial credibility. It’s time to pull the plug.

NCC Debate - Norfolk Transport Plan - 19/07/22


My speech to Norfolk County Council 19/07/22
Picture is of Stuart Terry and Terry Land at one of the bus stops on Woodlands Drive which gets to see not a single bus!
"There’s an area in Thetford known locally as Woodlands Estate – along its main roads, there’s a whole number of bus stop signs. But like many areas of Norfolk, there’s now not a single bus service for Woodlands. Residents have been telling me recently how people moving into the estate often stand at the bus stops waiting for the services that don’t exist. As I’ve been reading this transport plan, I can’t help but think how these experiences beautifully demonstrate the plight of so many Norfolk residents – forever waiting in vain for the transport services that never come.
And Woodlands Estate in Thetford is not alone –I’m sure many of us have similar examples in our own communities across Norfolk. Residents tell me that with the increasing cost of taxis, they would love to be able to use public transport and they can just about manage the walk to the bus stop, but there is not anywhere for people to sit down and to rest as they wait for the bus – something so simple, but a major barrier to many from accessing public transport.
For all the talk of progress and achievements in this document, for many, services have deteriorated and options have reduced. Cars and roads continue to be prioritised to the cost of all else. As data recently revealed, my own District of Breckland is now regarded as the most isolated in Norfolk. Saham Toney is ranked 43rd in England for the long length of time it takes to reach services by public transport, followed by other Norfolk wards.
For many, driving a car in Norfolk is sadly still a necessity, not a choice. But plenty do not have that choice with 20% of Norfolk residents not owning a car and a greater number still being forced to limit their car usage for financial reasons. I fail to see how this plan will do anything to address the needs of those residents, and what a tragedy as we face not just the cost-of-living crisis but an environmental emergency. How poetic that this chamber will no doubt vote through a ‘car is king’ transport plan in our air-conditioned room as we hit record-breaking temperatures just outside these doors. It’s fortunate that so many like to bury their heads in the sand, we’re creating more of it in our county!
But it’s not just non-car users in Norfolk that are getting a poor deal. Even if you have a car and can afford to use it, we’re seeing deteriorating standards. As the papers for the Infrastructure & Development Committee confirmed, the backlog of repairs to our highways network is now £57million, an increase of £10m on the year before. With inflation levels rising, this backlog will inevitably increase as what funds we have will not go as far as they once did. The funding for the next two years will be at the same levels, with no increases for inflation. In real terms, this could represent a 20-25% reduction in funding for repairs and maintenance. Recently, this Council has spent nearly a quarter of a million pounds on highways related compensation payments, mainly linked to pot hole issues.
This Transport Plan fails to deliver for car and non-car users alike, it fails to recognise sufficiently and respond to the cost-of-living crisis that we’re in. This transport plan does not sufficiently acknowledge and respond to the climate emergency, and it will accelerate carbon emissions not reduce them. It will continue to leave Norfolk residents forever waiting in vain for the transport services that never come. I will be voting against."

Tuesday 1 March 2022

Press Coverage of Feb 2022 Breckland Budget Meeting


Norfolk County Council Budget - February 2022

NORFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL BUDGET SPEECH 2022 (my first time seconding a county council budget amendment)
Norfolk is a beautiful place to grow up and grow old in, but so much of what we value and need is not equally available to all. Covid showed us the importance of community, local services, decent living standards and open spaces. As we emerge from covid, we have an opportunity to take stock, to reprioritise and revalue those things that make Norfolk the place we love, to safeguard them for future generations and to ensure that all of Norfolk’s residents have equal opportunity to experience that quality of life.
Over the past nine months I’ve had to deal with some of the most difficult and distressing casework from my time as a Councillor. Supporting the mother of someone who’s mental health quickly deteriorated after a routine hospital appointment, at 75, and on her own, she became exhausted and distraught once her son finally left hospital, only for him to be placed in a home on the other side of the County with no public transport available for her to visit. With no alternatives available, I found myself driving her to the home and providing moral support along the way. Or, the family of someone in need of palliative care, but no carers available, the family desperate to make the final days of their loved one as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Or, the family of someone that has significant learning disabilities, who was stuck in hospital for months and months, as there was nowhere suitable for her to go to. Traumatic enough for anyone, but unimaginable anguish for someone that finds change and noise and a lack of a routine so unsettling.
What these and other cases represent and confirm for me is that the status quo is not acceptable. It cannot be business as usual as we move on post covid. Our residents in Norfolk are being badly let down and with the Care Quality Commission rating Norfolk as the worst in the country when it comes to care standards, further proof if it were needed that something’s got to change.
The administrations answer to these challenges? Newton Europe.
During the various pieces of casework over the last 9 months, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with health & social care staff; they’re not short of ideas and suggestions for how we can make our services better. They don’t feel listened to. I’ve spoken with service users; they’re not resigned to the standards that they’ve been receiving but are actively wanting to contribute and help and advise. But they don’t feel engaged.
It took the mother of a child with down’s syndrome to successfully challenge this council in court on the minimum income guarantee for there to be a change in direction.
We need fewer consultants, and more compassion.
We need to be more focussed on listening, then we are on litigating.
The Labour Group amendment today is about investing in our own workforce, empowering and supporting the individuals that know Norfolk and know our residents.
When covid struck, public sector workers up and down the country including here in Norfolk got the job done. They went above and beyond. Local Government worked at its best. But yet, by engaging another private company, arms-length consultants, we’re outsourcing the difficult decisions. What message are we sending to a workforce that already feels undervalued, unsupported, with morale a real challenge.
Where is the leadership and direction from the Cabinet? When it’s a bad news story, the much revered albeit mythical ‘NCC Spokesperson’ is wheeled out, they’re called upon so often of late that I fear they will soon need their own special responsibility allowance.
And it’s not just in adult social care – Norfolk’s children, our collective future, are being badly let down. Many, many children still waiting for educational health and care plans. At the school in Thetford where I am a Governor, this is incredibly frustrating for the staff who work tirelessly to support these children with limited resources. They don’t feel listened to either and it’s no wonder that one of the major challenges for our schools is recruitment.
Shockingly, the council has just had to revoke an unlawful policy that cut access to speech and language therapy, after legal action was brought by parents. This council will spend over half a million pounds this year on legal costs fighting families despite losing 90% of these decisions. What a waste of public money and what message does it send out to children with SEND and their families?
Becoming one of the governments new educational investment areas is not a badge of honour. It shows many years of this county consistently failing to help young people get the best from their education and the best life chances.
Norfolk’s children and young people deserve so much better.
I urge you to support this amendment.

Tuesday 7 September 2021

Goodbye Boaty McBoatface! Sept 2021


Picnic Table Improvements Sept 2021


Breckland Wheelie Bin Woes

Social media can be very depressing at times, it gives you an insight in to people's thoughts and frankly it can be an ugly image sometimes.
Take yesterday's online story on the EDP website for example about Breckland's wheelie bin collection staff who have a rather difficult job collecting the bins in all weathers, have seen staffing numbers cut massively over the years, and their pay cut over lately. They're fighting to get a better deal from their employer, and frankly, I think most people would be doing the same if in their shoes.
Whilst there is obvious support for them, a lot of the comments on the online thread were very negative and very selfish. "Im not getting a pay rise, why should they" type attitude. Well maybe they deserve a pay rise, and so do you? That's part of the problem these days, people attack those around them rather than looking at the bigger picture. They think if I can't have something better, no one else can and you have a negative spiral.
Similar scenario with the Afghan refugees - "we should help our own before we help others" - maybe we should be helping both? And don't tell me we can't afford it - if we can afford to bomb these countries then we can afford to look after the refugees we help create. The housing crisis in this country is the result of decades long cuts to social and affordable housing, the continuation of right to buy and non-ringfenced reinvestment into the housing stock and greedy landlords profiteering by charging rents disproportionate to pay.
People were querying how a pay rise for bin staff could be afforded? "Council Tax increases!" oh no. Not a single comment highlighted that last year Serco made a profit of more than £125million, the top two bosses at Serco got £7.4million EACH in pay & bonuses last year and the company has been give the £37billion for the test and trace scheme.
Rather than attacking the people on the front line, asking for a fair wage for a hard days work, I know where I think the focus should be.
Now I've got that off my chest I'll get on with my days work. #FridayThought