I grew up in Birmingham, studied in Kent but have lived and worked in Oxford for 25 years and made it a home for myself and my family.
I am a full time teacher of Media, Film and Performing Arts. I have run many clubs and workshops for all ages of the community and directed many youth productions. So I am well known to many people through out the county. Sadly, many of my singing groups for pre-schoolers have ended with the closure of the family centres.
My son is about to sit his GCSEs at a local state school – crushed under the pressure of dreadful Govian curriculum reforms, unprecedented levels of testing and targeting, seeing the vast millions promised by academisation, fade to nothing and being forced to consider a 4 day week to save money.
Even as a full time teacher and as many families in this area, I do not know how much longer I can afford to live here.
Extortionate rents are already forcing families apart and breaking up communities – mortgages are inaccessible to any but the very wealthy or trust funded. Services have disappeared. Homelessness is at an unacceptable level.
And now to make it worse, the Tories, via the County Council, are planning an ideological heist to get their hands on Oxford City Council assets by the back door (they know they could never win a democratic election here in the City !).
Under the thinly veiled “philanthropic” motive of merging the city councils to “save more money for services”, they are planning to take over Oxford City Council and get their hands on what’s left of the City’s assets – and you can bet that the first thing they will do, is give themselves a pay rise and the last thing they do will be invest in social care!
One of these, assets is of course, the last remnants of affordable homes left here in Oxford - Council Housing. We in Oxford are one of the few councils left in the country to still manage our own housing. This is why the rents are still affordable and the maintenance is still free and of a very high standard compared with Corporate Housing Associations.
The Tories are clearly out to gift social housing over to developers for redevelopment as we can see clearly throughout the London Boroughs where long term council tenants have seen their rents rise as much as 240%.
The planned gentrification of Cowley and Blackbird Leys, is only there to make it more attractive to investors, not for the benefit of the residents, and the planned Rail Link to London, will see more and more housing go to High Priced Commuter homes and see local people forced out of the city.
If you should see fit to elect me to the County, I pledge to do my best to become a veritable thorn in the side of any plans to privatise Council housing, Social and Health Care and to stop the Tories getting their hands on our City.