Charlotte writes to Police Commissioner and Conservative MP on crime rises

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Today, Charlotte Holloway, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Plymouth Moor View, has written to the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner and our Conservative MP Mr Mercer to ask questions about recent crime increases, raising particular concerns on crimes that disproportionately affect women as well as Public Order Offences. 

 

Dear Ms Hernandez and Mr Mercer MP,

You will no doubt be aware that crime rose across Devon and Cornwall by over a fifth in the last year. I was dismayed to read this being downplayed by Devon and Cornwall Police in subsequent media reports. I'm sure we'd be in agreement that many of our police are out there doing a great job but we do need to look seriously into why there is yet another significant year on year rise.

Crimes where women are often the victim are rising at a staggering rate across our two counties. The latest crime statistics show that stalking and harassment is up by 77% and sexual offences are up by a third in just one single year.

We must look very closely at why crimes of this nature, which disproportionately affect women, are escalating at such a rate and whether enough is being done to protect potential victims here in Plymouth.

These statistics are not a one-off anomaly. Since 2015, stalking and harassment crimes have more than tripled across Devon and Cornwall. Since the Conservative Government came into power in 2010 the annual figure for these sorts of crimes  has gone up by over 800%. I'm sure you'll agree that's a truly astounding rate. 

Similarly, Public Order offences are up by 43% in the last year, which includes crimes like drug crime and public drunkenness. Given the recent serious incidents in Whitleigh and Southway and ongoing cuts to police and PCSOs I believe it is imperative that we increase the number of PCSOs on the streets of North Plymouth to assist with valuable community work and intelligence gathering.

As a number of Plymouth residents have been in touch with me on these issues, I would be keen to meet with you both to discuss this further. I know Mr Mercer has disregarded my concerns on crime levels and resourcing previously, but these figures should mean we put party politics to one side and do what is best for Plymouth, as well as wider Devon and Cornwall. Given the public interest in this matter I will be making this letter public.

Best,

Charlotte Holloway

Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Plymouth Moor View and Crownhill resident

cc
Cllr Tudor Evans, Leader of Plymouth City Council
Luke Pollard MP, MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport
Cllr Sally Haydon, Cabinet Member for Customer Focus and Community Safety

Government funded childcare scheme is failing young children

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Charlotte Holloway, Labour and Co-operative Parliamentary candidate for Plymouth Moor View, has commented on National Day Nurseries Association research on shortfalls in Government funding for delivering the Conservatives’ flagship childcare policy, published today:

 

“Last year the Conservative Government made a big noise on introducing 30 hours of childcare. This new research shows that the Government’s failure to provide funding is letting down children, parents and nurseries up and down the country. 

 

"Privately, some nurseries in Plymouth have told me that a shortfall of over £2,000 per child is affecting their ability to be financially viable. A proper childcare policy shouldn't mean that nurseries fear they might have to close down. It's just not good enough."

 

"I urge our Conservative MP Mr Mercer to look at how his Government's failure to properly fund this policy is failing Plymouth nurseries. These funding levels must be reviewed and I have written to Mr Mercer to ask that this Government do this urgently. 

 

"The next Labour Government will provide the proper funding required for 30 hours of childcare to all 2-4 year olds."

Charlotte comments on damning new figures on failed Conservative Studio School project

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New information brought to light today by SchoolsWeek reveals that at least £23m has been spent on failed studio schools. 26 studio schools out of a total of 59 across the UK have closed or are due to close, which includes Plymouth Studio School in Derriford. 

Charlotte Holloway, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Plymouth Moor View commented:

"The scale of this failed Conservative experiment is staggering. Parents and pupils deserve far, far better than a studio school programme where almost half fail.

"The closure of schools like Plymouth Studio School is causing great uncertainty and anxiety for children in our city, and thousands more across the country.

"My question to our Conservative MP Mr Mercer is how many more studio schools can be allowed to fail before he admits that his Government’s education policy isn't working? Plymouth parents will be asking how so much money could have been spent on so many expensive failures, when existing schools are being starved of funds.

"Once we have full confidence that pupils at Plymouth Studio School have been successfully placed, with fully-funded and appropriate alternative education providers across the city, we must find out what went wrong and the lessons that must be learnt for the future.

“What these figures make clear, is that the proposed closure of Plymouth Studio School is not an isolated local issue but one that is the making of national Conservative Party policy. Our children deserve better."


Notes:
1. The article and information uncovered by SchoolsWeek is available at https://schoolsweek.co.uk/dfe-spent-more-than-23m-on-failed-studio-schools/

Charlotte starts new Herald column on being a pregnant politician

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The Prime Minister in New Zealand, Ruth Davidson in Scotland, it seems like there is something catching in female politicians getting pregnant at the moment.

That was really brought home when I found out a few months ago that I was expecting my first child in October, an absolutely wonderful surprise and one that came not long after being chosen by the Labour Party to be the next parliamentary candidate for Plymouth Moor View.

Check out my first column here: https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/news-opinion/gossip-girls-internet-trolls-new-1657247

Plymouth would get all eight Type 26s under Labour

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Good news today as Labour's Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith MP has pledged that a Labour Government will base port all the Type 26 and Type 31 Frigates in Devonport.

This is the result of some sustained campaigning from our neighbouring Labour MP Luke Pollard, and something that Nia and I spoke about when she visited Plymouth just a few months ago. I hope this intervention from the Shadow Defence Secretary puts the additional pressure needed on the Conservative Government to do the right thing for Plymouth.

Check out the article on this in the Herald at https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/plymouth-news/plymouth-would-eight-type-26s-1628312

This photo is of Nia and I in Ham in February, where we also discussed saving HMS Albion, HMS Bulwark and the Royal Marines from being cut in the latest Government defence review.

 

Charlotte responds to announced closure of Plymouth Studio School

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Today’s news on Plymouth Studio School is very concerning and many people across the city are asking serious questions about how a school, open for less than three years, could have been announced as closing so quickly.

Whatever the reasons, the priority now must be given to supporting children at the school. Many pupils will be about to face summer exams, or part way through a course which only the Studio School offers in the city. 

Parents have pressing concerns about what happens next. The council must take all action needed to make sure parents and children get the information and support they need at a distressing time. 

It is time to pull out all the stops to make sure that children affected get the quality of education they deserve. Children in Plymouth shouldn’t be the ones to suffer because of the failings of the Tory free school experiment.

>> Read Charlotte's reaction in the Plymouth Herald

Tory MP must cancel book tour and put Plymouth first

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Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Plymouth Moor View has today issued a challenge to Mr Mercer to put Plymouth first by cancelling his book tour and spending more time in his constituency. The Tory MP is tomorrow, Saturday, due to attend his latest book promotion event in Gateshead, in the North East of England, and has been promoting the event over social media. Charlotte Holloway, Labour Candidate for Plymouth Moor View, has called on the MP to cancel his trip in light of this week’s announcements of significant job losses at Babcock.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Mr Mercer recorded a video on social media from the United States, where he stated that “I don’t want you to think that my priorities lie anywhere else but Plymouth” and “My commitment to Plymouth only doubles when this happens”. Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Plymouth Moor View Charlotte Holloway has challenged these statements.

Charlotte Holloway said, “I think most Plymothians, like me, will be pretty shocked to learn that our Conservative MP is off touring the country when we’ve seen this week’s troubling announcements that will leave people and their families deeply worried about their financial security. One in ten jobs are in the firing line at Babcock and we need all of the city’s MP working together to mediate a very difficult situation, not gallivanting around the country.”

“Book promotion in Gateshead is about as far as you can get from Plymouth in England. When Mr Mercer says he doesn’t want us to think his priorities lie anywhere else, this shows we can’t believe a word he says. He’s saying one thing and doing another. People have a right to be angry.”

“My job as Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate is to hold our Tory MP to account. Growing up here and living here, I know just how much the Dockyard is in our DNA. That’s why I’m challenging him to do the right thing, and spend more time in Plymouth this weekend with the people who he is paid to represent.”

Charlotte calls on Tory MP Johnny Mercer to vote against central Government Police cuts

Today, Charlotte wrote to our Tory MP Johnny Mercer asking him to vote against his Government tomorrow. You can read the letter below.

Dear Johnny,

It was good to meet the other weekend.

As you will be aware, tomorrow the 2018/19 Police Grant Report will be laid before Parliament. I am writing to you today as a constituent to ask that you vote against further Conservative cuts.

The Conservatives cut £2.3 billion from police budgets between 2010 and 2015. Theresa May promised to protect funding after 2015 but, in reality, forces faced further cuts to their budgets. Direct Government funding has fallen by over £400m in real-terms since 2015.

Before Christmas, the Home Office set out its provisional funding settlement for 2018/19, falsely claiming this equated to £450m in extra funding. In reality, the only new money central Government has committed is an extra £50m for counter-terror policing (having previously planned to reduce counter-terrorism funding for police by 7.2% over the next three years – or around £50m).

The remaining funding will only be realised if PCCs increase their policing precept to the maximum amount allowable. Many PPCs will now feel their only option is to pursue a regressive tax, where those affected by local crime are being made to pay for it twice over. I'm sure that, like me, people here in Plymouth Moor View, will ask why it is that they will have to pick up the tab, through the new precept announced last week, rather than your Government fulfilling its promise to properly fund our police.

The Conservative Government itself has only kept its funding at flat-cash levels with last year. That means yet another real-terms cut, this time worth £100m.

Since 2010, across the country we have seen the loss of over 21,000 officers – with more than 17,000 from the frontline - as well as over 6,700 Police Community Support Officers and 17,000 police staff.

Locally, we’ve seen over 600 officers lost since 2010. Police recorded crime in Devon and Cornwall is up by over a fifth in a year. Perhaps most worryingly, violent crime is up 29%. Certain crimes are also showing a dramatic increase, with harassment and stalking up by over two thirds, and sexual offences up by nearly a half.

Even your Conservative colleague, the PCC for Devon and Cornwall, has acknowledged the damage your party’s cuts have caused:

“In meetings with government ministers I have consistently made the case that central Government cuts to funding have been detrimental to policing.”

(Allison Hernandez, Cornwall Live, 18 January 2018, https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/cornwall-news/cornwalls-police-boss-alison-hernandez-1082255)

In fact, PCCs and Chief Constables from across the country have come forward to publicly warn of the strain their forces are under and the continued funding reductions they face.

As our local MP, instead of falling in line behind Theresa May as she imposes an eighth year of cuts on our overstretched police, I am asking that you vote against your Government.

Labour will be calling on the Government to urgently think again, and to come back with a fair settlement that properly protects our communities.

Given the public interest in this issue, I am releasing this letter to the media.

Best wishes,

Charlotte

Plymouth & Far South West forgotten by this Government in the Budget

The below article was originally published in the Plymouth Herald.

I’m a natural optimist. We can and must be positive and ambitious for the future of Plymouth. But I was left disappointed by Wednesday’s Budget that saw a Conservative Chancellor out of ideas and making zero mention of investment in our city and next to nothing for the far South West.

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Inflation is hitting poorest families hardest

Today, the Office for National Statistics issued their latest inflation figures and it's not pretty reading if you live in a low or middle income household.

While inflation overall stayed at 3%, there are concerning trends beneath this headline figure. Food and drink prices increased at a worrying rate of 4.1%, hitting hardest those with least. The ONS said the bulk of the pressure on inflation last month came from vegetables - rising 5.7% on an annual basis.

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Thank you + some unexpected interest from The Herald

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Just a quick note to say thank you for all the messages of support and offers of help over the past day since I started my selection campaign. It means so much to me. I'm looking forward to getting stuck into the big issues affecting the future of Plymouth Moor View - and will be sharing more on this over the next few weeks of the selection period.

It had been a slightly strange day with The Herald picking up my social media and putting me on the front page of this morning's paper! I wasn't expecting old hair styles to come back and haunt me from an interview I gave to them last year (!)

Check out the article at: http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/plymouth-news/former-plymouth-barmaid-geeky-rebel-730563