Sunday, 28 April 2013

When our time came. We did it right.

This Thursday the people of Whitwick and Thringstone will go to the polls to elect their County Councillor for the next four years.

I fervently hope that you give me the honour of representing you at County Hall.

But win or lose I want to take this opportunity to say that the past few months have been some of the most uplifting of my life.

This election campaign has time and time again shown me something that I am sure most of us already know, Whitwick and Thringstone are the most amazing communities one could possibly hope to serve.

So many people have given their time unhesitatingly to help my campaign, not only people who are members of the Labour party but ordinary (or should I say extraordinary) people who have seen that I am trying to positively work for our villages and they have volunteered to help out to make a difference.

The past few weeks have been emotional.

I have never failed to have been touched by the many, many people who have pledged not only their support but their faith in me to represent them.

As one lady said to me earlier today 'make us proud'.

How could I not feel privileged?

All through this campaign I have tried to remain positive. I have tried to say what I will do for our community and never resorted to criticising my opponents.

I honestly believe that is the way politics should be done.

Society needs people to become interested in politics once more, particularly our younger generations. We will only ever make the uninterested interested by showing how we are trying to make a difference, not by criticising the personalities of those we are up against.

Last summer our nation witnessed one of the greatest events of many of our lifetimes in the London Olympics.

In running my campaign I have constantly aspired to the words of Lord Coe at the Closing Ceremony.

'When our time came. We did it right.'

No matter the result on Thursday I want to be able to say the same thing.

If I am lucky enough to be elected this week I promise I will work hard for my wonderful community.

If you want to see me representing you please remember every vote matters.

By working together we really can make a difference to Whitwick and Thringstone.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Whitwick and Thringstone - the community that made me who I am

Often during an election candidates will resort to negative campaigning about their opponents.

I don't believe in negative campaigning.

I would much rather let you know how I plan on positively serving our community and then you decide on whether you want me to work for you (or not).

However in a leaflet one of my opponents has made an issue of the fact that I do not live in the division of Whitwick and therefore in the interests of clarity I will offer you the facts and then you can decide whether I am 'local' enough for you.

  • I do not currently live in the Whitwick 'Division' (Whitwick and Thringstone). I live on Long Lane in Coalville which is around 200 metres (over the bypass and onto Green Lane) from being in Whitwick.
  • I was born and spent the first 25 years of my life living on Main Street, Thringstone.
  • When I got married I moved to Cademan Street, Whitwick.
  • I went to school in Thringstone and Whitwick.
  • I go to church in Whitwick.
  • I am Vice-Chair of Governors at Castle Rock High School, the secondary school for Whitwick children.
  • I am a member of the Executive Committee at Thringstone Community Centre.
  • I am a member of 'Friends of Thringstone'.
  • I campaigned for and voted consistently to protect Whitwick green wedge.
  • I am a District Councillor for Thringstone.
  • I am a Parish Councillor for Whitwick.

Every fibre of me links me to Whitwick and Thringstone. It's the community that made me who I am, the community where I serve and the community that I love.

On May 2nd you have a choice.

When other candidates knock on your door and tell you they live locally I would urge you to ask them 'what have you done for our community'?

If you choose me you know you will have someone with a track record of working in our community, the community I am passionate about.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Our Common Future: Improving Lives in Leicestershire

The past few years have been the hard for our county. Whilst we have paid our council tax, the Government has cut its vital contribution by around 30%. Cuts will now continue for at least two more years because of this Government’s failure to grow the economy.

Under the discredited Tory leadership of David Parsons, Leicestershire’s most needy have borne the biggest burden. It is time for Leicestershire to stop picking on those least able to protect themselves in these hard times. We intend to protect much needed local services through a complete spending review from the base budget, stripping out waste at all levels.

Your Council Tax

Money is tight so we will not raise Council Tax above the planned freeze and 1½% rise. We will also stick to current spending levels but conduct a complete review of base budgets. We will argue the case for Leicestershire to get a fairer slice of the national cake. We will look to invest the Council’s excessive reserves for social care and young people and abolish the gravy train left by the Tories.

Care, Independence and Older People

Huge areas of social care, such as home care for the elderly, have been removed and their eligibility considerably reduced. Our priority will be to halt further reductions in the care of those with learning difficulties, sick, disabled and elderly people.

We will provide more appropriate housing locally, good local placements for those with exceptional needs and stop wasting money on expensive out-of-county places. Leicestershire has been overtaken by other counties who have provided modern purpose built ‘ExtraCare’ housing for people with increasing needs.

Our pledge is to extend the programme of Extracare for older people, providing the care we need.

Children and Young People

The Tories have broken up our county’s celebrated schools system. We must now work co-operatively
with all schools to improve standards, attendance andtackle racism and bullying.

We will review child protection in Leicestershire. Modern children’s homes maintained within the
county where need and costs are justified.

The youth service has been halved. Labour councillors will attempt to rebuild the service from the bottom

Our pledge is to provide grants for youth projects where they are most needed.

Health and Families

County Councillors have statutory responsibility to oversee the local health services. We will do this with diligence putting the needs of patients first, ensuring the large contracts at the disposal of commissioning groups are working for the benefit of the local community.

We will re-envigour school sports partnerships and the Olympic legacy in sport and the arts. Wellbeing
means far more than medical treatment.

Our pledge is to fight the breakup of local Health Services and ensure they are focused on you.

Countryside, Museums & Libraries

We will value libraries and museums. We will protect and improve our flagship museum at Snibston. Leicestershire’s heritage needs both protection and celebrating. We will champion projects like the Charnwood Regional Park and Ashby Canal. We will not let history down by ignoring archaeology.

Transport and the Environment

Climate change is posing real problems and we must reduce carbon in the atmosphere. We need to encourage more people to cycle, better public transport, with fewer car journeys. Flooding must be addressed with measures from gully emptying to major plan-led infrastructure.

We strongly support the electrification of Midland Mainline but will continue to challenge the route and the business and environmental case for HS2.

We will review the failing Park & Ride Schemes with all options open. We will resist large scale incineration of waste in favour of recycling and cleaner technologies.

Our pledge is to prioritise road safety with 20mph limits where residents want them and safe cycle and walking routes.

Jobs and Young People

The national economy is static and our local economy has received less help than other regions. We will boost business plans and marketing of sustainable employment sites including the Rail freight project at Junction 24, and business, science and enterprise parks.

New apprenticeships and training opportunities for young people will be increased. We will explore discount travel cards for young people to cut the cost of fares.

Our pledge is to launch a new Economic Plan for jobs and increase the capacity of the local enterprise partnership, increasing job opportunities and creating at least 1000 new youth apprenticeships.

Improving Lives and Improving Leicestershire

Our Vision for Leicestershire

We need our County Council to ensure the best education for our children, to help elderly people live happy and independent lives, to protect Leicestershire’s countryside, and help deliver jobs and opportunity for residents. We want all those in work to receive a living wage. Labour councillors will dedicate themselves day in day out to achieving this for all residents across all communities.

Who we are

The Labour Party was founded to defend working people and help the weakest in harsh times. The Bedroom Tax and real cuts in help for working people on the lowest wages are the actions of political bully boys and not a government that believes we bear burdens equally as one nation.

Labour candidates share a passion for better social and public services in a world where everyone has the
opportunity to reach their potential. We promise you that all Labour candidates will work hard when elected to serve Leicestershire.

Working Together

Our County Council represents the community in all sorts of ways and has hands on responsibility for key services such as Health and Education. We recognise we cannot do this alone and depend on community and voluntary organisations working together.

The Tory idea of the Big Society has failed largely because they depleted resources for successful voluntary
organisations providing vital services whilst squandered what was left on short term projects.

We will support and rebuild voluntary and community organisations at the grassroots across Leicestershire.

Labour Listening Pledges
  • A New Leicestershire Economic Plan for Jobs, creating 1000 new apprenticeships.
  • Extended Programme for Extracare Homes for older people, providing the care we need.
  • Grants to deliver Youth Projects and Facilities where most needed.
  • Fight the break-up of local Health Services and ensure they are focused on you.
  • Prioritise road safety with 20mph Speed Limits where you want them.
Tory Record  
  • Poor record of Inward Investment  
  • Homes for the Elderly Sold off  
  • School Transport abandoned  
  • Voluntary organisations decimated

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Coalville Twenty13

Street Entertainers
Were you one of the many hundreds of people who enjoyed Coalville Twenty12 last year?

Did you have a great time celebrating the build up to the Diamond Jubilee and Olympics on a sunny May day in Coalville Park?

Did you enjoy the many different bands, street performers and stalls?

If you did then you are bound to enjoy this years event, craftily titled, Coalville Twenty13!

As Chair of the Coalville Special Expenses Working Group I am absolutely delighted to let you know that plans are well underway for this years big community event.

It will be a great opportunity for all of Coalville and it's surrounding villages to enjoy the summer sun (we hope), listen to some great music and experience one or two surprises!

Don't forget to keep Sunday 23 June free in your diary. It promises to be a fantastic day out!


Sunday, 7 April 2013

Potholes - The Saga Continues

In recent weeks I reported on the problem of potholes in Whitwick and Thringstone.

I am delighted to say that after my constant pressure North West Leicestershire District Council have now repaired the previously reported pothole on Dalkeith Walk, Thringstone, having resurfaced a significant proportion of the access road.

Unfortunately the problems on Parsonwood Hill, Whitwick, and many other local roads gets worse.

I have spent some time this afternoon delivering election leaflets around Whitwick and it's fair to say the roads are in a mess.

The following SIX photographs show potholes JUST on Parsonwood Hill. Many other roads are in a similar situation:

Leicestershire County Council are letting many roads fall into a state of disrepair, but where is there a strong voice for our community?

A Councillor who works hard, who doesn't take 'No' for answer, can make a difference.

I would be honoured to be that Councillor at County Hall representing Whitwick and Thringstone.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Why Council Tax needs to be frozen (and why Leicestershire Tories plan to increase average tax by £50.00)

For a number of years now large numbers of people in Whitwick and Thringstone have found it difficult to make ends meet.

Countless local people have seen wages stagnate, taxes increase and welfare benefits subject to real term cuts.

It is for that reason that I strongly believe council tax, the one form of taxation which Councillors have control over, must be frozen.

Since becoming a District and Parish Councillor I have consistently spoken and voted against increasing council tax. I would say unequivocally that is the right thing to do.

I am delighted that once again this year Labour controlled Whitwick Parish Council, of which I am a member, have frozen their portion of your council tax.

But now more than ever while our economy is in it's current parlous state, and more importantly while people continue to struggle, Councils must continue to freeze council tax. Sadly, however, you are not always given the full picture.

The Conservative Party will always try to tell you they are the party of low taxation, but many of you will be unaware that the Tory administration at Leicestershire County Council have already planned to increase your council tax by 1.5% in each of the next 3 years.

Using the County Council's own figures* an average householder will see their council tax increase by around £50.00 over the next three years.

At the same time the Conservative administration at County Hall have built up reserves of around £100 million.

Now, I would never say that council tax should be frozen indefinitely. There may come a time when council services are so stretched that an increase is the only option.

But whilst ordinary people continue to struggle and reserves are large that time is not now.

* - based and rounded on a Band D property

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Work to Thringstone play improvements underway

Melrose Road Play Area
I am delighted to let local people know that construction work has now commenced to bring £30,000 worth of new play and safety improvements to Thringstone.

Residents will recall that I, along with my District Council colleague Dave Everitt, have spent a great deal of time lobbying for funds to be allocated for better, and much needed, play facilities in the village.

After a consultation period with neighbours, parents and children play facilities have been designed which should not only be more fun for those using them but should also improve child safety and discourage anti social behaviour.

I would like to thank all of those local people who contributed to the consultation. If you do have any ongoing concerns, however, I would urge you to contact me.

Hopefully in just a few short weeks not only will we have much improved play facilities for our children but also better weather with which they can enjoy them!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

How do YOU know what YOUR County Councillor does for you?

The chances are you don't.

The only time many of us hear from our County Councillor is during election campaigns.

That's just not right.

Your County Councillor makes important decisions on your behalf and can be invaluable if you have a problem and yet, for many, their actions are invisible.

I believe being a County Councillor means making yourself available to your electorate in as many ways as possible.

That's why I believe it is important to have comprehensive web presence.

As a District Councillor you know what I have been doing for you by taking a look at my website.

You can contact me, usually getting an immediate response, through my Facebook page.

Or, if you choose you can get up to the minute jottings of what is happening at the Council by following me on Twitter.

Many local people don't have access to the internet, and it is important to work for them by getting out in to the community, but in this day and age more people do.

Leon Spence is one a very small number of Councillors who has a proven track record of having a multi-channel web presence.

Whitwick needs a County Councillor who can serve our community in a digital age. Only Leon Spence fits the bill.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Your Labour AND Co-operative Candidate

Over the next month or so, in the run up to the May 2nd County Council elections, I am hoping you will see my name all over the place.

You will see 'Leon Spence' on leaflets, on posters and most importantly on the ballot paper in the Polling Station.

Every time you see 'Leon Spence' you will also see that I am standing as 'Labour and Co-operative Candidate'.

Many people don't know why it doesn't just say 'Labour Party'.

The answer is simple.

I am standing on behalf of two separate political parties, 'The Labour Party' AND 'The Co-operative Party'.

The Co-operative Party is the sister party of Labour and, although many don't realise it - because our elected members are also all members of Labour as well, we are the fourth largest party in parliament.

As a party we believe that people will achieve more by working together than they can by working alone. We support the efforts of those who seek success through that co-operative endeavour.

I am very proud to be a Co-operative member and I'm very proud that Co-operative retail stores are coming back to Thringstone and, hopefully, Whitwick.

In bringing back the Co-op to our villages we will not only see improved shopping facilities for local residents but also the creation of jobs for local people.

The Co-op also, and vitally, sees the importance of it's role as being part of the local community by partnering and in many cases providing financial support to groups.

On May 2nd if you support Co-operative principles please considering putting your 'X' for your Labour and Co-operative Candidate.