Tom on Rishi Sunak’s visit to Ipswich

While the Chancellor was in Ipswich, I wanted to show him some of our wonderful independent shops. St Peter’s Street is a great example of this. As well as Applaud Coffee, I brought the Chancellor to see Maria in Hug Womenswear and Cathy at OneLove gift shop.
Rishi Sunak also met Antonio, who runs The Italian Shirt Shop. Antonio thanked the Chancellor for his support for small businesses throughout the pandemic – and said that without the drastic action and unprecedented grants, his and many other small businesses wouldn’t have survived.
It’s clear that these unique shops bring a lot of atmosphere to the street. The Chancellor was impressed with the culture of support and commented that it is places like this that really make Ipswich a vibrant town centre and a great place to shop.

Vintage politics (3)

Super Blue says

For those of you who will be at tomorrow’s Borough election count, how many of you remember the 1992 general election? There was a new organisation, the Natural Law Party, contesting Ipswich and many other seats. Their policies included “yogic flying” which wouldn’t address the issue of our airport being vandalised by the Ipswich Borough Council leadership at the time for specious reasons.
There were no seats allocated to the NLP observers that evening at the Corn Exchange, but that wouldn’t be a problem for two reasons that everyone noticed. First, their observers hadn’t turned up. Second, as we all agreed, they could levitate instead of using chairs.

View original post

Legislation passed last week

Here are the nineteen Acts that received Royal Assent in the last week of April, as Parliament was prorogued for the forthcoming Queen’s Speech. One consequence of the Police Act is that it will be easier to stop violent protestors from disrupting everyday life, but there are others, as you can see, for those who assault emergency workers and for various dangerous offenders.

The Marriage Act will raise the minimum age for marriage participants to eighteen, preventing semi-forced ceremonies, whilst the Elections Act will stop personation at polling stations by requiring proof of identification to reinforce democracy. The Nationality and Borders Act will reduce illegal immigration to make resources more available for genuine refugees. Here is a little more on the Animal Welfare Act, tackling issues such as pet theft.The other measures include the Sign Language Act and Dr. Liam Fox’s Down Syndrome Act.

More evidence, if any was required, of a Government getting on with the job and dealing with the problems facing the country today. In the same way, Conservatives in Ipswich are ready to serve our residents, with solutions for the problems a tired Labour administration has done nothing about.


Getting on with the job (by Nadia Cenci)

On 5 May 2022 the UK will vote in a crucial set of local elections.

People will choose more than 6000 councillors and assembly members across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

These elections matter–they will decide who runs services in your area–and how much you will pay for them. But not only that, they will give an indication of how people feel, which is usually negatively against the government at half term.

The sad thing is only about 35-40% will vote because many think their vote doesn’t count – BUT it does!

I went to Brighton a couple of weeks ago and although not perfect it is a fun place with only double the population we have in Ipswich.

I’m a Fun with a Serious Intent kind of girl and I think you can achieve anything for a town if there is a sense of play for all the family, whether it be creative destination points or services.

Think of the buses with eyelashes painted on it’s lights and a name on the front – great idea! It is endearing and attractive. But that’s as far as this Labour Borough Council goes for fresh ideas.

Brighton ticked every box on that score, from the North and South Lanes to the lovely beach and the amenities. There’s something for everyone. And you could see that its people loved and appreciated their town. Not so here unfortunately – not as much as it should with our beautiful buildings, waterfront, history and parks to name but a few.

I love my town – it has something to offer if we only showcased it better and stopped concentrating on where Ipswich Labour thinks its votes are. This is true – I’ve been a councillor for 16 years and I’ve seen more than enough of the short-changing, for the rest of the town.

Last year I became a county councillor – what a difference – so refreshing, creative and lead by a true leader who wants Suffolk to succeed in every area. I too will do my best to use my locality budget to make a difference and to be at the front of creative ideas for my division Chantry and my town. And there are far more important issues than a birthday cake.

So let’s move onto other important issues – the rising cost of living.

Keeping bills down and cutting council waste is more important than ever.

And as our high streets, local businesses and services recover from Coronavirus, it’s crucial we don’t ruin the progress communities are making by getting distracted by playing politics.

The choice is clear:

You can elect Labour and opposition politicians who waste money and time playing political games.

Or you can elect hardworking local Conservatives who have a proven record of managing money well, delivering high quality local services, and who support good local jobs.

Conservative councils charge the lowest taxes in the country.

The Conservatives gave residents a veto on excessive council tax hikes.

Conservative councils fix on average 4 times as many potholes as Labour councils.

Conservative councils recycle more than Labour councils.

Labour and the opposition parties are obsessed with playing politics in Ipswich – taking the focus off what matters to you and costing you more:

Labour wants to introduce more new local taxes in addition to council tax–pushing up bills for hardworking families.

Labour ran councils into bankruptcy-while giving their councillors above inflation pay rises.

Labour wants to increase council tax for people who live on their own, by scrapping the single person’s discount, on those that live in bigger houses than they need (according to Labour)  hitting some of the most vulnerable in the pocket.

Labour called investments to level up your local area, like the Towns Fund, a ‘misuse of funds’.

But now take credit for it!

They haven’t a clue about business and what this town centre needs. What have been successes has been mainly down to the excellent officers – not the councillors.

Labour are wasting thousands of pounds renaming streets and trying to tear down statues.

Conservative councillors work with the government and Tom Hunt, to deliver on the people’s priorities in their area.

As Tom says, it’s evident that where Conservative councillors have recently been elected, there is already a difference in their wards and divisions.

The levelling up agenda is well under way and I will post more blogs on this in the near future.

Our plan for a better Ipswich for all

Town Centre – Time for Action

  • Labour-run IBC have failed to create the safe & vibrant environment needed for the town to thrive & we have big ideas to make this happen.

  • Indoor market & entrepreneur hubs with spaces to nurture & showcase local talent

  • Car Parking incentives linked to spend with local retailers
  • Re-open a Tourist Information Centre & highlight the culture & history of Ipswich
  • £8million+ for regenerating empty buildings – funded by the Conservative government

Keeping you safe

  • The Conservative government has given funding to IBC as part of the £150 million for The Safer Streets Programme, to areas most affected by crime and anti-social behaviour. The latest round of the fund targets neighbourhood crime, violence against women and girls and anti-social behaviour. We would ensure this money made a real difference. 
  • We will collaborate with partners to investigate and fund extra visible police presence around the town centre operating on a zero-tolerance basis. 
  • A Conservative led council will create a safer Town Centre for us all to enjoy including re-instating the Best Bar None project.

Culture & Leisure capital of the East

  • Ipswich is proud to host nationally-renowned theatre, dance & music companies with music & theatre venues for mid-sized events & a museum that has been granted a £4million+ lottery grant for improvements – we need more to showcase Ipswich as the place to be in the East.
  • A waterfront visitor centre – highlighting our maritime history
  • The East of England lacks a multi-use music & sports arena with a large capacity – we will investigate the feasibility for this to be on Princes St – where your Labour council want to build another multi-storey car park

Communities and Sport

  • Abolish area committees and give each Councillor a locality budget to make a direct difference to the community they represent.
  • Reform the Community Cash Grants application process so that new and smaller community groups have a fairer chance of funding.
  • Invest in our neglected Sports Centres and Swimming Pools.
  • Reinstate the Crown Pools Crèche
  • Promote Borough Services to local businesses to offer employees competitive employee benefits packages.

Tom on illegal immigration

I was very pleased to watch the Prime Minister’s speech last Thursday on the Kent coast about the Government’s plans to tackle illegal immigration.

Since we left the European Union, we’ve introduced a new ‘points-based’ immigration system for legal migration, but there is a way to go before we can say conclusively that we’ve fully taken control of illegal immigration and our asylum system.

For me there is a clear and important distinction that must be made between genuine refugees who are fleeing from violence and persecution, and those who are entering our country illegally from another safe European country (France).

Every person who arrives here illegally and stays, places pressure on public services, and by doing so, skips the queue ahead of genuine refugees following the correct legal process for claiming asylum. 

There is nothing compassionate about turning a blind eye to these dangerous crossings where people have already lost their lives as part of an evil trade in human lives. We’ve got to destroy the business model of people traffickers. It’s for all these reasons that I welcome the Government’s plans for offshore processing in Rwanda. Rwanda is a safe country and will enable the individuals in question to build new lives. The UN and the EU already settle refugees in this country.
Some have attacked the cost of this offshore approach, but the reality will be that if pursued effectively, it will likely provide an effective deterrent that will mean that the number of people attempting unsafe, illegal crossings will most likely dwindle. As has been the case in Australia.
They had a significant issue with illegal immigration until they embraced offshore processing. Today, Australia doesn’t have the same issue with illegal immigration.
The message has clearly gone out that it’s pointless trying to enter Australia illegally because you’ll never be able to stay. We need a similar message to be sent out to those contemplating illegal entry into our own country.
If anyone doubts the scale of the problem they only need to look at the numbers. In 2018 the number of people arriving in the UK via this route was 299, in 2019 it was 1,843, in 2020 it was 8,466 and last year it was 28,527.
The indications are that this year we could get close to 50,000. Clearly, this is a completely unsustainable situation and it’s hardly surprising that this is such a concern for so many of my constituents.

As it stands many of the individuals in question are being accommodated in hotels. How is it cost-effective for the taxpayer to be paying for tens of thousands of people in hotels, potentially on an ongoing basis?
It’s incredibly difficult to run generous legal refugee schemes when we have this parallel illegal route growing and fuelled to unsustainable levels. It would clearly put unprecedented pressure on our public services.

Since 2015 our country has welcomed approximately 185,000 genuine refugees. These individuals have come to our country directly from the areas they’re being persecuted, or from areas close by. We had a generous Syrian scheme, Afghan scheme, Hong Kong scheme and now for the people fleeing the current war in Ukraine. I’m proud of the role we’ve played and continue to play.

I was very pleased to hear today that the Royal Navy is taking over the responsibility of UK Border Force in greeting those who arrive here via the small boat route, that hotel accommodation will be ended, and that we will start transferring many who arrive to a safe third country.
Of course, the Labour Party oppose these plans. Just like they continue to oppose the Nationality and Borders Bill. They claim they oppose what was announced today because apparently,it’s unworkable, too costly and unethical.

The reality is that they criticise it because they oppose all moves towards immigration control and are instinctively a pro-open borders Party. It’s a shame they can’t just be honest and say this. We all know it. They’re not fooling anyone.

The Government have attempted on numerous occasions to secure return agreements with France but to no avail. And to be perfectly honest I would rather our ability to control our own borders wasn’t completely dependent on the willingness of French politicians to cooperate. We’ve seen repeatedly how difficult this can be.

It’s taken a long time to get to where we are, but I’m pleased the Government have now firmly grasped the issue and come up with a plan that will be welcomed by many of my constituents.

When it comes to legal immigration, we need to continue to welcome the brightest and the best and when it comes to asylum, we must continue to be big-hearted towards those fleeing persecution.

But the key issue here, that is of concern to millions of people up and down the country, is “control”. I support the Government in its attempts to get control of our asylum system in the same way it’s done with legal immigration in this country.

Laura Allenby for Alexandra

My name is Laura Allenby and I have lived in Ipswich for 8 years and in Suffolk almost all of my life. I work in the Insurance industry which I see as an important sector in our town creating many jobs and opportunities for young people.

I’m passionate about ensuring the people of Alexandra Ward have access to the services and support they need within the town and am willing to listen to any issues or concerns that they have.

I would like the town centre to be an attractive option for businesses as well as somewhere that residents are excited to come out to socialise, shop and help build back our economy.

The town centre can be a thriving, bustling environment again by filling some of the empty units with new and exciting ventures. It would be great to build on the arrival of The Botanist, Brewdog and the Boom: Battle Bar which are all making their way to the town.

I often hear that people do not feel safe in the town centre, especially at night and I believe we need to do all we can to change this and ensure that the right measures are in place to catch any anti-social behaviour.

I look forward to speaking more with the residents of Alexandra Ward and hearing their thoughts and ideas for keeping Ipswich an appealing town for locals and visitors.

Eddy Phillips for Bixley

Eddy has been one of your Borough Councillors since 2014. He has worked closely with Tom Hunt MP, to ensure that Bixley residents and businesses get the support and help they need.

He works full-time at a major insurance company in Ipswich, so can see how the town centre has changed over the years. He backs the Conservative Group’s plans to rejuvenate it to make it more attractive for people to visit for shopping and other leisure purposes.

Attending church weekly, Eddy understands the vitally important activities that churches and other charities carry out in the local community. Through the local councillor Making a Difference fund, he has been able to assist financially for the annual carol service organised by local churches and recently gave some support for St Elizabeth’s Hospice. Eddy has regularly assisted residents with planning application and highways concerns.

Eddy says “Here in Bixley Ward, we are fortunate to have such a vibrant community where the younger and older generations live side by side and help each other. If I am fortunate enough to be re-elected, I will carry on supporting and advising Bixley residents individually, whilst campaigning on our town-wide proposals as outlined elsewhere in this leaflet”.

Mike Scanes for Bridge

Mike has lived in Ipswich since he moved from Manchester in 1985. Following his retirement from industry, he joined the NHS and worked for the Cancer Networks in East Anglia.

He worked at Southend Hospital from 2013 until 2016 as a Urological Cancer Project Manager. He was part author of a guide for Carers of Cancer Patients, published by a Major Cancer Charity and he was a supporter of the Hospice Movement both locally and nationally. Mike was a member of the Patient and Public Involvement Forum for Suffolk Mental Health Trust.

Widowed in 2004 he has two daughters who both live in Ipswich and two grandchildren who attend local schools. “As a Grandad of school age children, I am aware of the dangers of speeding traffic and unsafe parking in the school safety zones and the roads in Ipswich in general. I will work with the police and schools to make access to schools safer.

“Many of the roads in Southwest Ipswich are in an extremely poor state with many potholes. While there has been some resurfacing work in the area, there has been a deterioration over the last couple of years. If elected I will work with the County Council and press for more repair work in this area”.

Sam Murray for Castle Hill

Sam was elected in 2021 as a Castle Hill Borough Councillor and Whitehouse and Whitton County Councillor, which includes some of Castle Hill. Since her election wins, she has hit the ground running, championing her ward and division.

As a mother of 2 young children, Sam identified early on a lack of Council organised events in the area and soon sought to change this. Since then, North West Ipswich has been added to the summer events programme, a Halloween family night safari took place in The Dales in October and the February half term saw two tree planting events at Sherrington Road Rec and Castle Hill park.

Sam has also been working with Highfields Nursery School to secure funding for improvements and has been championing Garrick Way shopping parade to be selected for funding allocation from the Towns Fund.

Sam knows being a Councillor is a privilege and is always striving to be better equipped to serve her community. She was the first Councillor in Suffolk to complete the Domestic Abuse Champions training and has invited her colleagues to take part in the training too.

If re-elected Sam will continue to work hard for local residen.ts and is particulalry keen to push for a new play park in Sherrington Road Rec.