Category Archives: Walsall Council

Walsall Labour campaigns against allowance rises

Labour Party members campaigning at Bloxwich Market Square

The Labour Party in Walsall has launched a petition to oppose the proposed increase in allowances to Walsall councillors. It will be presented at the full meeting of Walsall Council on Monday evening by Labour leader of the opposition, Tim Oliver.

The petition was launched in Bloxwich on Saturday, with local Labour councillors from Bloxwich, Birchills-Leamore and Blakenall Heath plus supporters coming together to campaign.

Cllr Ann Young, Cllr Kath Phillips, Short Heath candidate Matt Ward, Cllr Tina Jukes, Cllr Julie Fitzpatrick, Cllr Ian Robertson, Cllr Sue Fletcher-Hall and former councillor Richard Worrall joined forces with Walsall North Labour MP David Winnick at the Market Square to speak to and collect signatures from the public. They also continued their campaign against swingeing cuts proposed in the opening hours of Bloxwich Police Station.

Walsall Labour councillors will vote against any overall increase in the budget for councillors’ allowances when they are presented at the meeting.

Labour councillors on Walsall council will reject plans to swell overall annual payments to cabinet members by nearly £16,000 a year.

Tim Oliver commented “We have been overwhelmed by the anger that these proposals have generated. Walsall people are ashamed that at this difficult time the local Tory councillors appear more interested in their own welfare rather than that of the borough.

Labour Party members gathered in High Street, Bloxwich.  David Winnick, MP, Cllr Ian Robertson, Short Heath candidate Matt Ward, Cllr Tina Jukes, Cllr Julie Fitzpatrick, former Cllr Richard Worrall.
Labour Party members gathered in High Street, Bloxwich. David Winnick, MP, Cllr Ian Robertson, Short Heath candidate Matt Ward, Cllr Tina Jukes, Cllr Julie Fitzpatrick, former Cllr Richard Worrall.

The recommendation being put forward by the ruling Tory administration comes as councillors learnt of more job losses and more cuts in the government’s funding to Walsall council.

The Leader of the Council’s Labour group, Cllr Tim Oliver said any increase in overall councillors’ allowances is totally “unacceptable.”

“At a time when the council are preparing to cut more jobs and our staff are coping with a pay freeze, this move appears at best out of touch and insensitive. There is no question of Walsall Labour supporting this move.”

“It is certainly our view that there are matters which need correcting within Walsall’s councillor allowance scheme. But let us be clear – we believe any corrections should be done within existing budgets. If in control Walsall Labour would look toward a different structure, but any changes made would have to balance themselves out at no extra cost.”

Labour campaigners busy collecting signatures on Saturday
Labour campaigners busy collecting signatures on Saturday

The recommendation to increase senior councillors’ pay comes in a report by an independent committee on elected members’ allowances. It proposes that special responsibility payments to the council leader would increase by £2000 to £22,365 a year; from £8.300 to £15,000 for the deputy leader, while seven remaining members of the cabinet would see their individual allowances rise to £9300 per year; an increase in the cabinet’s wage bill of £15,700 per year.

Public sector workers strike in Walsall

The majority of public sector workers are striking across the UK today in protest at damaging changes to retirement ages and pensions which are being imposed by the Coalition government.

In Walsall, members of trades unions Unison, GMB, Unite and teachers’ unions are exercising their democratic right to take part in this industrial action as part of the first national strike for thirty years.

Unions and their members are unhappy with how they are being forced to bear the brunt of government cuts, and say that poor economic policies being implemented, combined with the greed and incompetence of the banking sector, are the main cause of current problems, and this is not being properly addressed.

In Walsall Metropolitan Borough many council services are being affected to varying levels today. If in doubt, telephone to check before travelling. The main council switchboard is on 01922 650000.

See our earlier news item for a council statement and further details online.

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Markets in Walsall affected by strike action

Walsall Market
National industrial action  has led to the cancellation of two markets in Walsall.

Walsall Market and Willenhall Market will not stand on Wednesday November 30 after the decision by trades unions.

Councillor Adrian Andrew, Walsall Council Deputy Leader and cabinet member for regeneration, said: “This is a national dispute and employees are exercising their democratic right to strike. There will be disruption to services across the borough.

“The people who put the stalls up and take them down and who run the markets are on strike and not at work – hence the market will not operate. We’ve got a duty of care to shoppers and traders to run a market safely.”

New support for anglers hooked on Sneyd Reservoir

Sneyd Reservoir by Adambro (via Wikipedia)
Sneyd Reservoir by Adambro (via Wikipedia)

A newly-formed angling club has all sorts of improvements lined up for Sneyd Reservoir and the surrounding area.

Supported by Walsall Council’s countryside services, the Mossley Angling Club and Community Friends aims to promote responsible angling at this valuable Bloxwich local nature reserve.

Members will sell angling tickets to local anglers, check anglers hold valid permits and work to improve the area by carrying out litter picks around the reservoir.

The group, which has been driven and supported by Councillor Fred Westley, has also been supported by the North Walsall Area Partnership which awarded it £500 to purchase public liability insurance and membership of the Angling Trust.

These funds also enabled the group to purchase a number of litter pickers and hoops to hold bin bags that members can use on their regular tidying sessions around the nature reserve.

Money from ticket sales will be re-invested into managing and improving the reservoir in Vernon Way.

Councillor Anthony Harris, Walsall Council cabinet member for leisure and culture, said: “Fair play to the community-minded locals who have formed what I am sure is going to be a very effective group.

“All members of the community will benefit from its efforts to maintain and preserve an important local asset. I compliment all those involved in this project – well done.”

Councillor Fred Westley added: “I was approached by local residents to see if we could do anything to help with the clean-up of this site.

“It is a beautiful place but it can be blighted by anti-social behaviour. If local people are taking care of a local area we hope it will encourage local pride for the place.”

Donovan Bailey, area manager for North Walsall Area Partnership added: “We welcome residents who want to volunteer and get involved in activities in their local community. This is a perfect example of how this can be achieved.”