Many thanks to all those people who voted for me, including those who have put their faith in me for several years.
A big thank you to all those who campaigned for me. Those who knocked on so many doors over such a long period; those who spent hours telephoning voters; those who delivered so many leaflets; and those who carried out all the other jobs, from banging in poster boards to taking numbers at the polling stations. So many of you worked so hard for so long.
I have fought five general election campaigns and this was easily the best campaign, albeit that it didn't give us the result we wanted.
Special thanks to Zoe for working tirelessly to assemble our volunteers and getting people to turn out time and again. Nothing was too much trouble for her.
But every campaign needs a top organiser. And we had a brilliant and multi talented person who worked harder than anyone I have ever known in politics. Ben, you were the best organiser any candidate could have. Your commitment knows no bounds. You gave everything. We could not have done more. Thank you for dedicating yourself to our cause.
I have now fought five general elections in Waveney. I have won three and lost two. As I will be nearly 70 years of age in May 2020, it is now time for me to call it a day.
I would like to thank everyone who sent messages of support both before and after the election. It has been a privilege to represent the people of Waveney and to meet so many of you during the recent campaign and over many years. Thanks again to everyone who supported me.
Many thanks to all those people who voted for me, including those who have put their faith in me for several years. A big thank you to all those who...
Shadow Business Secretary, Chukka Umunna, visited Lowestoft on Monday and met young people who are working or who have worked on zero hours contracts.
He was told how people waited around each day to hear by text message whether they had any work or not. On many days there was nothing. Another spoke of how he had to accept such a contract or he would be 'sanctioned' by the Jobcentre. A young woman, not yet 20, said she had had at least 9 jobs since leaving education, all temporary on a revolving door basis, with uncertain hours.
Mr Umunna said that if he becomes Secretary of State he would immediately legislate to ban the use of exploitative zero hours contracts, while allowing people to work flexibly if that was their choice. He said that having the chance to talk in depth with these young people had given him real insight into the details of the problem. He would consult with businesses and employees to draw up the details of his proposed legislation.
Bob Blizzard said,
"Being obliged to work on these contracts is one of the main issues raised on the doorstep. I wanted to give local people the opportunity to talk with Chukka, but it was a problem getting them to commit to coming to a meeting, even the day before, because they didn't know whether they would be called to work or not!
"All these young people who did come along are dead keen to work, but they will not be able to settle down and get on in life with these zero hours contracts which are now so common. It's no way to run a country and we can't go on like this."
Shadow Business Secretary, Chukka Umunna, visited Lowestoft on Monday and met young people who are working or who have worked on zero hours contracts.He was told how people waited around...
"Urgent government intervention" needed
Railway signal modernisation work, which would have speeded up the operation of the notorious Oulton Broad North level crossing and reduced road congestion, has been put back by at least two years.
Work which had been planned for completion in October 2016, will now not be carried out until 2018, Network Rail employees have been told by their employer. They received written notification of this last Thursday.
The Oulton Broad North level crossing, with its ancient signalling system and manually operated crossing gates contributes greatly to the long tailbacks of traffic through Oulton Broad, because the signalling system and gates hold up traffic for much longer than more modern gates. This exacerbates the problem of traffic being funnelled to only two places to cross Lake Lothing which cuts Lowestoft in two.
Bob Blizzard said,
"Much has been made of this promised improvement, but now we find that the misery will last until at least 2018. This is unacceptable and needs urgent government intervention. It will mean three and a half more years of long tailbacks when we were promised an early end to the disruption caused by the current antiquated gates."
"Urgent government intervention" needed Railway signal modernisation work, which would have speeded up the operation of the notorious Oulton Broad North level crossing and reduced road congestion, has been put...
Staff at Lowestoft's B&Q store say they are 'gutted' at receiving written notification that the popular store will close by the end of the year. 40 people will lose their jobs.
Following rumours which are rife all over the town, Bob Blizzard went to the store on Sunday and spoke with some of the staff. They all received written notices on March 31st, informing them of the store's closure and starting the consultation stage of the redundancy process. Lowestoft is one of a number of B&Q stores across the country being closed by Kingfisher PLC. It has been open for 25 years, but will close after the current lease runs out later in the year.
Bob Blizzard said,
"Staff told me they are 'gutted'.
Because many of them have worked there for a long time, some since it opened 25 years ago, they feel a bit like a family.
They are hard working and the store is popular with customers.
They deserve better and one feels for them and their families.
Following on from last week's announcement of the closure of AKD Engineering, it's more bad news on the jobs front for the people of Lowestoft.
One also has to wonder why the company has made no public announcement and told staff not to talk to the media."
Staff at Lowestoft's B&Q store say they are 'gutted' at receiving written notification that the popular store will close by the end of the year. 40 people will lose their...
Shadow Education Secretary, Tristram Hunt, met with parents and governors of local schools who wanted to know what Labour will do to raise educational standards in a town where three high schools and a number of primary schools have failed Ofsted inspections or been rated as requiring improvement in recent years.
Mr Hunt outlined his proposals for:
Local Directors of School Standards who would work with schools continuously to help them to drive up standards, not just turning up periodically to inspect them. All schools will be accountable to him/her so that parents can take complaints to the Director of School Standards.
Reducing class sizes for 5, 6 and 7 year olds, instead of opening more Free Schools.
A new emphasis on vocational education with a new technical qualification and a guaranteed quality apprenticeship for all students who achieve it (paid for by a bankers' bonus tax).
A reduction in university tuition fees from £9000 to £6000 ( funded by only giving high earners the same tax allowance on pension contributions as ordinary working people).
Protection of the education budget from cuts.
Bob Blizzard said,
"As an ex teacher, I do believe that a Director of School Standards is what we need, but I urged Tristram Hunt to ensure we have a structure that is focused on our area, rather than a Suffolk wide system that has let us down and left us out in the past.
"I also think that a new emphasis on vocational and technical education is spot on for Lowestoft."
SHADOW EDUCATION SECRETARY MEETS WITH LOCAL PARENTS AND GOVERNORS TO DISCUSS RAISING SCHOOL STANDARDS
Shadow Education Secretary, Tristram Hunt, met with parents and governors of local schools who wanted to know what Labour will do to raise educational standards in a town where three...
Bob was on BBC Look East last night (13th April) answering questions about Labour's manifesto.
Bob was on BBC Look East last night (13th April) answering questions about Labour's manifesto.
The national shortage of family doctors is now affecting Beccles Medical Centre.
The team of 12 GPs is currently 4 short, with 3 unfilled vacancies and one long term illness.
This has been revealed in a media statement from Dr. Tim Morton (30th March).
"Along with all UK general practices, the surgery is facing severe recruitment problems, with young doctors shunning GP training schemes and older GPs retiring early because of mounting workload pressures."
GPs are the key to our NHS and it won't work properly if we continue with shortages.
Along with cuts to mental health wards at Carlton Court, cancelled operations and a looming financial crisis at the James Paget Hospital, it's clear the NHS won't survive another 5 years of David Cameron.
Labour's plans to recruit 8000 more doctors, 20,000 more nurses, 3000 more midwives and 5000 more home carers, using money from a mansion tax on houses worth over £2m, will reduce GP workload and make the profession more attractive.
VOTE LABOUR TO SAVE OUR NHS
SUPPORT OUR LOCAL DOCTORS
The national shortage of family doctors is now affecting Beccles Medical Centre. The team of 12 GPs is currently 4 short, with 3 unfilled vacancies and one long term illness....
From the Lowestoft Journal:
Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves visited the town yesterday (Thursday, March 26) to hear how the tax had affected the town’s residents.
In a meeting at the Aspire Centre in Yarmouth Road organised by Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Waveney, Bob Blizzard, she heard from around 15 people currently paying the tax.
Among them was 59-year-old Siggy Erkens, who is a full-time carer for his wife, who has a number of health problems and contracted polio as a child.
The couple live in a specially-adapted three-bedroom house in Minden Road, Lowestoft, with one room classed as a ‘spare’.
“They make us pay for the third bedroom but we use it for storage for things like my wife’s bath chair,” he said.
“Her problem is degenerative. It will get worse and she will end up in a wheelchair. Our house is already adapted with lights and sockets at eye height.”
He said any house they downsized into would need to be adapted - but that the council had not offered them another property, leaving him forced to pay the tax.
“I can’t avoid it,” he said.
Beverley Taylor, 62, also told Ms Reeves how she had been hit by the tax.
Mrs Taylor, who has lived on Europa Road for 32 years, suffers from charcot foot syndrome brought on by her type 1 diabetes.
It weakens the bones in her foot enough to fracture and can leave her in so much pain she has to take morphine.
The morphine lowers her blood sugar, which - combined with her diabetes - has resulted in her passing out and needing an ambulance.
Her children stay at her house on nights when she takes morphine and she had a long fight to be exempt from paying bedroom tax on that room.
“I’m lucky,” she said. “But I still have to pay bedroom tax on my other room. I don’t want to lose my home. Just because you’re disabled doesn’t mean you should have to lose your dignity.”
Ms Reeves said:
“It was a privilege to meet local people.
“I promised everyone that the first thing I’ll do as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if Labour wins in May is scrap the bedroom tax.”
From the Lowestoft Journal: Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves visited the town yesterday (Thursday, March 26) to hear how the tax had affected the town’s residents. In a...
What a cheek! Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, the man who closed Blundeston Prison, came to Lowestoft last week and obviously hoped we'd forgotten all about it. He didn't mention the prison or utter a word of apology to our community or the hundreds of people who lost their jobs or who now have to travel considerable distances to other prisons to earn a living.
Just like David Cameron (who didn't mention the prison either), Mr Grayling and the leading local Tories seem to think that if they pose for self congratulatory photos and tell us we are doing well, then people will believe that they are not worse off than they were 5 years ago.
Mr Grayling specifically appeared because of worries about the closure of Lowestoft Magistrates Court. For some time now, magistrates have told me of their concern that the Lowestoft Court will be closed and merged with Gt Yarmouth. Despite his spin, it's notable that Grayling said he could not comment on the future of specific courts in Suffolk and Norfolk. Magistrates have told me they think reorganisation plans have been kicked into the long grass until after the election.
Finally, tiresome though it is, I have to respond again to the same old attack from Tory Councillor, Martin Parsons. As I've said before, when was MP, unlike the current Tory Council Leaders and MP, I didn't spend my time talking about a replacement bridge, I campaigned for a third crossing. That's why I spoke about it in parliament within five weeks of being elected; and why I gathered a 15,000 signature in support of a third crossing; and why I got a feasibility study done by the Highways Agency in 2009.
Cllr Parsons conveniently ignores that nearly £4m was spent on a complete overhaul of the bascule bridge in 2008, that his own Leader, Cllr Law, recently stated in the Journal, will last at least another 20 years, exactly what the Highways Agency told a meeting I attended at the Town Hall. But those overhaul works brought the town to a standstill, so I said back then that we must have a third crossing in place long before another overhaul becomes due.
But despite all this, SCC would not promote a bid for a third crossing, because their 'Transport Strategy for Lowestoft to 2021' was all about walking, cycling and using buses, and stated that, "If the strategy realises its potential, then the need for further transport infrastructure may not be needed."
As the pressure has mounted, SCC have now shown that the process for obtaining a third crossing has to start with them as the local highway authority. It's just a tragedy that their leaders and the MP are so out of touch, they plumped for a new bridge next to the bascule bridge, instead of a central crossing, and called a public meeting to tell people that. Now, after being roasted by public opinion, they want to spend £2m on more studies to try to get themselves out of a hole, rather than actually listening to the overwhelming view of the people of Lowestoft.
What a cheek! Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, the man who closed Blundeston Prison, came to Lowestoft last week and obviously hoped we'd forgotten all about it. He didn't mention the...
When Ed Miliband visited Lowestoft on 15th December, Bob Blizzard took him on the bascule bridge with Peter Colby. He said that:
"If a Labour government received a bid for a third crossing, we would support it"
On the day that the BBC broadcast John Humphrys' programme about Lowestoft, hope and the bridge, he interviewed Labour's Tessa Jowell on the Today Programme.
This is what she said:
When Ed Miliband visited Lowestoft on 15th December, Bob Blizzard took him on the bascule bridge with Peter Colby. He said that: "If a Labour government received a bid for...