"As your district councillor, I would work with community members to explore imaginative ways to preserve and ideally improve local services." Virginia Branney
Virginia Branney

Reasons to vote for Virginia Branney as your district councillor

I have been an active Labour Party member for over 30 years and have had a long association with local government through my work and public service. I believe that I have the qualities, skills and experience to be an effective councillor.

A good local councillor

For me, being a good councillor involves many things. Firstly, openness and willingness to really listen to residents. Secondly, empathy with people whatever their background, and understanding what life’s like for those who are struggling in these tough times. Thirdly, the ability not only to speak up for residents but to negotiate effectively and work with other councillors and council officers to get things done. Being accountable to local electors is crucial too. Residents are entitled to have councillors who keep in touch and who report back regularly – not the ‘once elected, rarely seen again’ variety. With challenging times ahead, we also need councillors who are forward thinkers as well as day-to-day fixers.

A record of public service

For over 20 years I have held senior roles in public life, as an arbitrator and judicial office holder. I am a former national trade union officer and latterly an employment relations consultant. I have worked with people in different industries and across the public sector at times of major change in local government, the NHS, the police, in schools and higher education. If elected, I have the experience to be a strong and effective advocate for Kendal North residents.

As a volunteer, I was a community mediator in London and from 2004, with Cumbria Resolve, until the service ceased to be funded. In 2020/21, I was pleased to represent the Labour Party on the Oversight Panel of the Kendal Climate Change Citizens Jury. During my term on the Panel, I had a 100% attendance record and worked constructively with the other stakeholders. I am now a member of the Recommendations Panel. Convened by Kendal Town Council, the panel’s job is to assess and support progress in implementing the Jury recommendations.

An accountable local councillor

For the past 17 years I have lived in Kendal, just a few metres from the Windermere Road boundary of the Kendal North ward. It would be an honour to represent the people of Kendal North on the District Council.

If elected, I will:

  • hold ward surgeries
  • keep in touch with residents on social media
  • issue regular printed newsletters to Kendal North households
  • support the new Hallgarth Residents’ Association
  • do my utmost to attend 100% of council meetings
  • take an active part in council business

A councillor with integrity

The harsh reality is that local services have been hit by Tory Government austerity cuts for over a decade. Politicians are not always frank with people about the implications of this. If elected, I would be honest with you about what can and cannot be achieved, and as your district councillor, I would work with community members to explore imaginative ways to preserve and ideally improve local services. I am against privatisation and will press for more central government funding for local services and more powers for councils.

Labour’s vision for a better future

With the continuing pandemic, the uncertain economic outlook and the climate change emergency, our community needs councillors who have a vision for Kendal’s future that will deliver sustainable development and reduce inequality.

Labour has an agenda for a better future – for affordable housing, town centre revival, improved public transport, integrated health and social care, decent green jobs for young people leaving education and for older workers, and for all children getting off to a good start in life – to name some of the key priorities.

In relation to child poverty, for example, in Kendal North, the latest statistics show that 50% of children aged 0-15 lived in families that were in the 4th most income-deprived 10% (decile) of such families in England, while 50% lived in families in the second least income-deprived decile (DCLG, 2019*). Yet this so-called ‘levelling up’ Tory Government is refusing to keep the £20 uplift to universal credit.

If elected, I would be joining Labour’s team of councillors on South Lakeland District Council

Having a strong Labour voice on the Council will help ensure that progressive policies are taken forward into the new unitary council (East Cumbria) – proposed by the Government to replace Cumbria County Council and South Lakeland District Council in 2023.

* Department for Communities & Local Government

Promoted by Paul Braithwaite, Agent, Westmorland and Lonsdale Constituency Labour Party, on behalf of Virginia Branney, both at 22 Landsdown Close, Kendal LA9 7SB.

 

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