On the 23rd September, the Constituency Labour Party are hosting a short cycle ride around the ring road in Canterbury, as an act of protest. This is in conjunction with the World Car Free Day on the 22nd of the same month.
The ride which has the full support by Rosie Duffield MP, Labour City Councillors and green ambassadors from across the area, will start at the Victoria Hotel on London Road at 16:00 and will slowly cycle around the flat ring road. It will finish up at the Guildhall near Westgate Tower.
The aim of the cycle ride is to put pressure on Canterbury City Council, to support moves to lower engine and other carbon emissions and to focus on initiatives to reduce congestion in the city. The group, led by local campaigner, David Ewens, is looking for concerned residents to join them on the 23rd. All abilities are most welcome; the ride will be slow and fun. Come and make friends and campaign for a greener city.
Rosie Duffield says, ‘This will be a fantastic event, drawing attention to an issue often forgotten by some of our city leaders; I am supporting David Ewans and Alan Baldock, the leader of the Labour Group of Councillors, in this excellent initiative’.
There is a Facebook Group for the event called ‘Canterbury Car-Free Day Cycle Ride’ or e-mail the team to express interest on the e-mail address at [email protected]
Rosie Duffield, Labour MP for Canterbury, expresses fury with Conservative-led Kent County Council who cannot sustain the school funding system in Kent for children with the most need. KCC have announced that from this autumn they cannot offer legally-due funding for the autumn term for some newly-assessed children with extra educational needs.
Rosie Duffield is demanding answers from Councillors and Directors at Kent County Council about the funding shortfall in their Education Department. Some students with High Needs Funding have found that promised places on courses have been withdrawn just days before the new academic year; the Local Authority is unable to confirm that they will be able to provide any funding for affected students until December.
With students already excited about going back to school, parents and carers of children who have been newly identified to have extra support needs, are finding places jeopardised and even withdrawn at short notice. Rosie has communicated with Patrick Leeson, the Corporate Director of Children, Young People and Education, only to be told that KCC ‘no longer [has] a reserve’. KCC have under-budgeted and as a result are failing some of the most vulnerable students for whom they bear responsibility.
The Council has a duty to administer High Needs Funding Support in cases where students require support costs exceeding £6,000. Rosie says, ‘the outrageous decision from KCC to hold back funding from some of the most vulnerable children in our system must be reviewed. Some parents and carers will have to stop work to look after children without places who now must remain at home. These children have just been assessed and places were offered to them before the summer on the understanding that KCC would fund them where the support costs exceed £6,000. The Council’s decision is an abomination that will result in an increased number of young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs). I have been contacted by concerned Headteachers of primary, secondary and further education provision in Canterbury and Whitstable; this decision by KCC is affecting not only schools in my constituency, but all education provision across of Kent.’
Rosie continues, ‘I will be writing to Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for Education to demand answers about the behaviour of this Local Authority. The Department for Education must step in as soon as possible. A failure to fix this broken system is a failure of multiple Conservative administrations and I will not stand for it.’