Name: Siobhain McDonagh
Candidate for: Mitcham & Morden
In the 1990s, when the Conservatives closed the Wilson Hospital and drew up plans to shut St Helier, who’d have thought we would have a new health centre at the Wilson open 12 hours a day 365 days a year, or have secured £219m to rebuild St Helier? Well, that’s Labour in action, and our local community deserves great praise for helping me campaign against the odds to secure our local NHS for the future.
I want the best schools with the highest standards and was disappointed the Conservatives campaigned against Mitcham’s Academies. 95 per cent of students at the Harris Academy now get five or more GCSEs – it’s one of the country’s most improved schools – and today twice as many local young people go to university compared to 10 years ago. I’m now campaigning for any pupil who falls behind in English or Maths to get the extra tuition they need.
When the global banking crisis hit us, the Tories wobbled. However, most experts agree the Government steadied the ship, saving thousands of jobs and avoiding countless repossessions. The recovery is fragile though, so now we must choose between Conservative cuts to services and tax breaks for the rich, or securing the future fairly. My priority is creating decent jobs for our young people, and many local residents have training or apprenticeships thanks to our policies.
Crime has fallen in Mitcham and Morden since 2003, thanks partly to us being one of the first areas to get safer neighbourhood teams of police officers. The number of bobbies on the beat is up by over 80. Sadly, London’s Conservative Mayor is reducing police numbers, but I’ve held numerous coffee mornings to introduce teams to residents, and as a result we’ve persuaded the borough commander to increase visible policing in evenings and weekends.
My first campaign as a young councillor in 1982 was for a station at Mitcham Eastfields. When it opened in 2008 it was south west London’s first new station since the war. It just goes to show tenacity can pay off – thank goodness the Government fixed the Tories’ botched rail privatisation. And while Labour introduced the Freedom Pass, and increased the number of buses, remember Boris’s 20 per cent fare rises, the true face of the Tories.
When I talk to residents, the biggest complaint is always the state of our streets. Merton’s Tory Council ditched plans for wheelie-bins to stop rubbish blowing around, but Labour’s councillors will provide bins for anyone who wants them, and double street-sweeping where there’s a problem – with CCTV monitoring of environmental hotspots. They’ll also help me take on the owners of Colliers Wood’s tower, which the council’s allowed to become a disgrace – so please vote for them too.
GENERAL ELECTION 2010 – LATEST NEWS
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