Social Care

“ Time to Care “

  • We will campaign to put pressure on Wiltshire Council to increase investment in social care and to produce an Adult Social Care Strategy that addresses the mental health issues of the elderly associated with loneliness and isolation.
  • We will ensure that all care workers are properly equipped with PPE and every care home has a robust and separate system of infection control.
  • We will work to end all zero hour contracts in this sector and that all care workers are placed on a proper contract of employment and paid at least the Living Wage.
  • We will strongly encourage Wiltshire Council to sign up for the Unison Ethical Care Charter and that this is included in all the contracts of private providers of social care, to ensure a clear staff/client ratio for care homes and care in the community and that no contracts are awarded to companies seeking to profit from social care.
  • We will campaign to raise the profile of all care workers to be seen as “key workers” and that they all receive a good level of training leading to a minimum nationally recognised qualification provided by a new National College for Carers and a commitment to get all unqualified staff trained within a year.
  • We will strive to develop a professional, user responsive, National Care Service and campaign for Wiltshire Council to take back control of Children Services and Care Homes.
  • We will campaign to improve the provision of mental care for all care workers and service providers in the post Covid 19 era.
  • We will work towards improving the liaison between hospitals and care homes in providing an efficient and sensitive system for managing elderly care and to end restricted visits to care in the community, limit the number of people allocated to each carer, ensure that visits are regular and include provision of meals and that clients can build a long lasting relationship with their carers.

The social care sector has become a forgotten sector and often seen as second class when compared to the NHS. During the Covid 19 pandemic it  become evident that the sector struggled to cope with the level of infection due to lack of sufficient funding, inadequate PPE and a very poorly paid staff with little training. Despite these difficulties care workers provided a good standard of care and gave much love and time to all those within their care. In Wiltshire a tragically large number of people lost their lives in care homes during the pandemic. Although this is lower than other parts of the country it is still a very sad loss of life and the loss will be felt by many families and friends who have lost loved ones. Clearly the social care sector needs more funding to ensure proper infection control and a service of care that we can all be proud of. Care workers must be seen as “ key workers” and not be dismissed as unskilled! Proper recognition should be given to the skills involved in caring for others and training provided for all care workers that will lead to a new sector qualification. It is now time to end all zero hour contracts in the care sector and all care workers should be placed on proper contracts of employment and paid at least the “ living wage “. We need to celebrate the work of care workers, share their stories, raise their profile and fully appreciate the dedication they have shown during the Covid 19 pandemic in caring for some of the most vulnerable members of society. We need a clear strategy for social care and infection control, properly funded and delivered by a partnership of the NHS, Wiltshire Council and all carer organisations.

The Environment

“Make Wiltshire the best County for life, work and nature”

  • Keep recycling clean and local. Set ambitious targets for recycling – and enforce them
  • Push for safe cycle paths as soon as possible connecting homes, workplaces and open spaces.
  • Wiltshire’s revision of its Local Plan to include robust and enforceable targets for sustainable development, with greater transparency in the planning process ensuring that every developer delivers the environmental benefits they promised.
  • Invite applications for housing that meet high standards of sustainability to help us achieve the 2030 carbon emissions world targets.
  • Make tree planting and maintenance a priority for all public land and support community groups to do the same.
  • Give our full support for local green energy production schemes. Ensure all council buildings and vehicles are powered by sustainably sourced energy. (Buildings immediately, vehicles on replacement).
  • Review the provision of all public transport in the region to ensure it is fit for purpose whilst ensuring the needs of those with mobility issues are met including more frequent services, reaching newer housing developments, smaller busses etc.
  • Support community environmental initiativesg. litter picks and keeping waterways maintained.
  • We aim to reduce overall food miles to encourage and promote locally sourced foods and drinks, regular farmers’ markets, farm shops etc.

 

Supporting statement

The quality of our lives is greatly affected by the environment we live and work in. Access to clear air and open space is a human right. Wiltshire is a largely rural county with a population of only 720,000 and most people live within a short distance of the countryside.

To encourage walking, running and riding through this beautiful countryside Wiltshire Council must ensure that adequate footpaths, cycle paths and bridleways are provided and properly maintained. And it is vital that parts of our region are safeguarded from development to allow nature to flourish. 

Caring for the environment means much more than this, it is also about reducing our carbon footprint through increasing our use of green energy, reducing waste and better recycling. It is about ensuring new buildings are highly sustainable.

Also it’s about walking and cycling rather than using the car for shorter journeys, about a reliable network of local buses, about tree-planting and wilding grass verges, about buying local, about litter-picks and a hundred and one community initiatives to make their towns and villages healthier and more attractive.

“Make Wiltshire the best County for life, work and nature”

Housing

     Our housing system is failing. Rising property prices and mounting debt are pushing home ownership beyond the means of many people. The gap is being filled by an unregulated private rental sector, with insecure tenancies, high costs and varying conditions. We need a national programme of council and social house building. We will use the powers available to Wiltshire Council to make a difference to the availability of affordable housing, environmentally friendly and energy efficient dwellings, and helping all families to get on the housing ladder.

 

TACKLING UNAFFORDABILITY 

     Home ownership is beyond the means of many people as property values and debt continue to soar. The Government’s own definition of ‘affordable housing’ falls short of the reality for many people as it is linked to market value, not income. In addition, the housing element of Universal Credit is capped at a value significantly lower than market rents, making the private sector unaffordable for people on benefits.

  • Get the right mix of new housing developments to meaningfully deliver affordable housing, so that it is linked to incomes, plus housing at social rental levels at a minimum of 20% of each affordable housing and social rental levels
  • Open up the Housing Waiting List to lower income households as the supply of social homes increases
  • Lobby national government to provide a social benefits system which reflects reality
  • Help local people to get a foot on the housing ladder through promoting low-cost home ownership schemes.

SUPPORTING TENANTS

     The availability of good quality, secure social housing has been eroded for decades, with adequate housing being treated as a commodity rather than a basic right or force for social good. This has pushed many to enter private rentals, a sector characterised by high costs, varying conditions and insecure tenancies. The private rental sector continues to grow in Wiltshire and accounts for 20% of all households nationally.

  • Build new council homes, delivering at least 500 new homes per annum within four years through a combination of council and social housing
  • Increase resourcing for support of tenants through advice and enforcement in the private rental sector, and establish a Private Tenants’ Charter and Register of Approved Landlords.

REVITALISING PLANNING POLICY

     Supply has not kept up with demand and market pressures have made homes unaffordable for local people. Wiltshire’s ‘Local Housing Need Assessment’ has placed challenging targets on the council to facilitate new developments. It is currently failing to meet the requirement for a five-year housing land supply, increasing the ability of developers to challenge local plans. In addition, the ‘piece by piece’ approach to develop housing on the edges of towns has put new pressures on local services, particularly in Calne, Melksham and Trowbridge.

  • Deliver sufficient new sites for housing through the planning system to meet the 5-year housing land supply requirement and keeping up with the ‘Local Housing Need Assessment’
  • Ensure that all new housing developments make a real contribution to improving the infrastructure of the community, raising the Community Infrastructure Levy so that these contribute to schooling, health and welfare facilities as well as physical infrastructure
  • Undertake a strategic review of the Community Infrastructure Levy applied by Wiltshire Council to new developments in order to ensure that it is sufficient to meet the needs of each community, especially in growing towns such as Calne, Melksham and Trowbridge where the levy is currently 25-35% lower than the rest of the county
  • Campaign for compulsory purchase at white land value of all sites with approved planning not built upon within 5 years (to ensure these are released into the community and not land banked)
  • Use Wiltshire Council powers to compulsory purchase long-term empty properties for conversion to social rented homes.
  • Develop at least one new garden village development, incorporating local employment and services, sustainable transport links and a mix of housing types, reflecting the best in modern design.

COMMITTING TO ADDRESS THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY

     In 2015, the Conservatives ditched legislation made by the Labour Government in 2006 which would have required all new homes to be net zero carbon by 2016.

  • Require all new homes to be zero net carbon to address the climate emergency and help bring people out of fuel poverty
  • Campaign for a national programme to bring all existing homes up to the same standard by 2035.

PROVIDING PATHWAYS OUT OF ROUGH SLEEPING AND HOUSING FOR VULNERABLE GROUPS

     Although the 2017 Homelessness Reduction Act placed a duty of prevention on local authorities, rough sleeping is on the rise in Wiltshire and vulnerable groups face huge difficulties getting on the housing ladder.

  • Ensure adequate supported accommodation is available to provide pathways out of rough sleeping in each of the four former districts of the Wiltshire Council area
  • Ensure that a coordinated approach is taken to get the necessary support in place to prepare rough sleepers for moving into permanent accommodation through the ‘Housing First’ model
  • Implement best practice homelessness prevention in the county based on a framework of early identification, pre-crisis intervention and preventing recurring homeslessness.

Economy

 

Our local economy is built on the hard work of people across many different sectors and some of these have had a pretty tough time in recent years. It’s an economy that with the right support, targeted in the right places could be so much more. We want an economy in North Wiltshire that works for everyone. Whether it’s tourism, agriculture, services or manufacturing, we want it to be dynamic, green, co-operative and skilled.

DYNAMIC

Targeted investment in growth, jobs and tourism, in every town and across North Wiltshire

We’ll establish a Wiltshire Investment Fund. Delivered through a local Enterprise Investment Bank, it will deliver capital investment and training and will champion the growth of community businesses and cooperatives.

We’ll work with partners and local enterprises to establish a ‘Wiltshire’ brand. This will help promote and market Wiltshire produce and products.

Wiltshire Council will play its part in promoting Wiltshire as a strong brand through its websites, public buildings and renewed road signage.

As our High Streets change, we’ll transfer ownership of Wiltshire owned retail units to town and parish councils so they can implement local lettings strategies, and support pop up shops and arts initiatives.

We’ll make sure that the ultra-fast broadband rollout our rural businesses need is delivered, with no place left behind.

We'll put in place a framework so that Wiltshire Council buys more goods and services locally to ensure that the Wiltshire economy thrives. We’ll ask other businesses and employers to join this framework and do the same.

We'll end Wiltshire Council’s use of zero-hour contracts and pay the Real Living Wage. We’ll require our suppliers and contractors to do the same.

We’ll ensure that land set aside for commercial or employment use is marketed thoroughly by Wiltshire Council and the LEP before it is given over to more housing.

We’ll increase funding support to ‘Visit Wiltshire’ to promote tourism, but in return we’ll expect to see them play an active role working with partners to revitalise established attractions and to identify and develop new ones. We’ll also expect them to support town and parish councils in promoting tourism at a local level.

We’ll support museums, the arts and festivals through direct funding and support them in bidding for funding from other agencies.

As we work with partners to enhance all of Wiltshire as an attractive tourist destination, we’ll implement a ‘Wiltshire Card’ providing tourists with one simple ticket for all destinations and locals with free or discounted admission to local attractions.

CO-OPERATIVE

Making our enterprise agency work for all of us and bringing businesses together to do more

We want the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to be more accountable and we believe all our communities should benefit from the millions of pounds spent in our region, not just those areas decided on by unelected LEP committees. We’ll ensure that that Calne, Royal Wootton Bassett and Malmesbury, as the biggest towns in North Wiltshire, have representation on the LEP Board.

We’ll complement the large Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) growth areas with mini growth zones in every town. As large companies can in those areas, small businesses will be able to access advice, support and funding to grow and to employ more people.

We’ll bring together food producers who want to work with each other to establish a Wiltshire Local Food Network. This mutually owned co-operative, sharing the costs of marketing and distribution, will bring much needed scale and support to producers.

We’ll support local Community Assets such as pubs and shops through rate relief and planning protection and we’ll actively promote the community’s right to buy these assets if they are at risk.

GREEN – Growing the green economy and building a better environment

We’ll extend Wiltshire Council’s investment in renewable energy. We’ll require energy conservation and energy generation measures to be implemented on all public buildings and on council houses. We’ll also develop renewable energy projects on council-owned land, such as solar farms.

We’ll establish a network of small-scale green enterprise parks and business centres to provide the infrastructure needed to support the development of a strong local green economy.

We’ll collaborate with local Further Education Institutions and employers to ensure that vocational training is provide to support the growing green economy.

We’ll ensure that planning controls are used to require all new developments to be zero carbon and we’ll support renewable energy developments such as solar, onshore wind and micro-hydroelectric projects.

We’ll ask that all parish and town councils set land aside in neighbourhood or town plans for green energy generation.

Wiltshire Council should play an active role, providing expert advice and assistance in accessing funds for community energy initiatives to community groups, parish and town councils so we’ll establish a team to do just this.

We’ll develop and expand the network of trails, footpaths and cycle routes within the county, supporting the promotion of active leisure tourism and greener commuting.

SKILLED – Building your skills and supporting education providers to deliver what you need

We'll champion further investment in Wiltshire College building on the recent improvements made to Lackham, Salisbury, Trowbridge and Chippenham campuses.

We'll continue to support the creation of a Wiltshire University and all the benefits that will bring.

We'll champion apprenticeships for the unemployed and those in desire of a career change.

We'll work with schools and colleges to create a link between themselves and future employers.

We’ll collaborate with the Further Education sector in Wiltshire and local employers and partners to ensure that the right vocational courses and apprenticeships are provided to support local growth sectors.

We’ll use Wiltshire Council’s network of county farms to provide opportunities and skills for new entrants into the farming sector

We’ll improve employment conditions and skills in the social care sector by signing up to Unison’s “Ethical care charter for the commissioning of homecare services”, joining other councils like Cornwall and Plymouth in becoming an Ethical Care Council.

Transport & Highways

“Getting Wiltshire Moving”

Objectives

Our over-riding strategy for transportation in Wiltshire will be based around three core principles:

  • It will provide Choice. Over 70% of all journeys to work in Wiltshire are by car. We will seek to provide viable alternatives to residents.
  • It will be Greener. We will seek to decarbonise transport in Wiltshire, in line with Wiltshire Council’s commitment on Climate Emergency to make the county of Wiltshire carbon neutral by 2030.
  • It will be Safer. For decades, road casualties had been consistently falling, but there has been no improvement in Wiltshire since 2010. We will deliver improvements in road safety to resume the long-term trend in improving accident rates.

Providing Choice:

We will seek to extend and improve public transport in Wiltshire so that it offers a real alternative to car use. There are many challenges involved in making bus services economically viable in rural areas, but other councils have shown that, by taking innovative approaches in conjunction with local communities and commercial bus operators, and working with new technologies, these can be made a success.

  • We’ll work closely with local communities through town and parish councils to understand demand for new or more frequent bus services.
  • We’ll work with town and parish councils to raise additional funding to subsidise rural bus services through the town/parish council precepts.
  • We’ll work with commercial bus operators to establish new routes to meet demand through both regular and demand-responsive services.
  • We’ll provide a Wiltshire Council IT platform with mobile phone App to allow residents a simple one-stop service for finding bus routes, getting real-time information on bus movements, and booking demand-responsive services.
  • We’ll work with local communities to develop Community Transport options where commercial services are not viable.
  • We’ll take innovative approaches to open up school bus services to fare-paying passengers where possible.
  • We’ll re-invigorate Wiltshire Council’s car-sharing scheme to increase up-take and ease rush-hour congestion.

Greener Transport:

We will extend the network of cycle routes within Wiltshire. We will do this through a range of solutions including creating cycle lanes, way-marking routes along minor roads and providing dedicated cycle tracks. As well as helping to make cycling a healthier and sustainable alternative to car travel, this will support our plans to encourage active tourism to boost the Wiltshire economy.

  • We’ll ensure that all Wiltshire’s market towns have a cycle network development plan, including Cricklade.
  • We’ll develop cycle routes to link our market towns with each other.
  • We’ll develop cycle routes to link villages with each other, and connect them to their nearest town.
  • We’ll work with other partners, such as Sustrans, to develop the national cycle network within Wiltshire.
  • We’ll ensure that all town centres have generous provision for cycle parking.

The transition to electric vehicles will be a key element of decarbonising transport. Whilst the range of electric cars is increasing, and prices are starting to come down, take-up is hampered by a lack of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Local authorities have an important role to play in addressing this limitation.

  • We’ll establish a network of Electric Vehicle Charging points throughout the county, starting with town and village car-parks, and then extending to on-street parking points. We will do this by securing funding from government sources, such as the Office of Low Emission Vehicles, and establishing a partnership with an electric infrastructure provider, either through an “Own and Operate” model or through a shared revenue model, whichever offers best value.
  • We’ll work with commercial bus operators that run subsidised routes in the county to establish a realistic timetable for replacing diesel buses with low emission vehicles.

Too much national funding is concentrated on major road improvement projects, which increase traffic flows and move congestion elsewhere.

  • We’ll oppose major new highway improvement projects, such as the proposed £75M Chippenham Relief Road, which will have a significant environmental impact and is likely to result in increasing congestion in towns like Calne.
  • We’ll lobby central government to switch funding from new road schemes and into public transport subsidies.
  • We’ll concentrate Wiltshire council highways investment on pragmatic local schemes to address road safety issues or resolve localised traffic congestion (such as Curzon Street in Calne) through improving traffic flow.

Improving Road Safety:

Following years of improving performance, road traffic accident casualty figures in Wiltshire have shown no improvement since 2010. In 2018, 228 people were killed or seriously injured on Wiltshire’s roads. We will take action to improve road safety.

  • We’ll invest in road safety improvement schemes, informed by local data and evidence, prioritising high risk groups and areas, and planned and delivered in consultation with local people and other agencies such as the police.
  • We’ll introduce 20mph speed limits around all schools in the county and ensure that they are provided with safe pedestrian crossing points.
  • We’ll extend the implementation of 20mph zones in residential areas in consultation with local communities.
  • We’ll increase resourcing of road safety education, training and publicity.
  • Currently, 40% of the local road network in England is classified as Amber or Red Condition. We will support the recommendations of the House of Commons Transport Committee for a national investment fund to bring the local road network back to a steady state where preventative maintenance can be effectively undertaken, rather than inefficient and reactive pothole repairs.

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