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Labour City Councillor for Cowley Marsh Mohammed Abbasi was elected Oxford's first ever Pakistani Lord Mayor on Monday.

Mohammed said "It is a great honour to serve the city in this way. I am looking forward to the coming year as Lord Mayor and to meeting with a large variety of people and community groups."

Oxford's Lord Mayor is the most senior, in terms of total years of service, councillor to have not yet undertaken the role. The outgoing Lord Mayor is Labour City Councillor Dee Sinclair.

Mohammed previously served as Sheriff of Oxford, and stepped in as Lord Mayor in 2013 when Alan Armitage resigned.

The new Deputy Lord Mayor is Green councillor Craig Simmons, and the new Sheriff is Labour councillor Rae Humberstone.

In another milestone for Oxford's ethnic minority communities, Labour's Farida Anwar was elected Oxford's first Bangladeshi councillor for Headington Hill & Northway on May 22nd.

 

 

Labour councillor Mohammed Abbasi becomes Oxford's first Pakistani Lord Mayor

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Oxford Labour is passionate about making our city a fairer, safer, greener, more equal place to live.

In recent years, the Labour City Council has:

  • Introduced a special Oxford Living Wage for staff, contractors and suppliers, and increased it regularly.
  • Brought in a licensing scheme for shared houses, dramatically raising standards of accommodation and management and seeing complaints fall by half
  • Increased support for advice agencies in the city
  • Supported arts organisations to reach out to all sections of the community
  • Backed Low Carbon Oxford and reduced its own carbon footprint
  • Introduced "Oxford Cycle City", to make Oxford an easier, safer place to cycle
  • Refused to pass on the cut in Council Tax Benefit to Oxford's poorest citizens
  • Refurbished dozens of children's play areas across the city
  • Invested in provision for young people, and in the biggest educational attainment programme of any district council

If re-elected, Labour will:

  • Build hundreds of new council homes, at Barton and in other sites across Oxford, to tackle the housing crisis
  • Preserve its funding for homeless hostels and outreach services, in spite of government cutbacks of over 40%
  • Improve parks pavilions across the city
  • Continue its successful "cleaner, greener" programme to reduce the blight of dumped rubbish
  • Work to improve cycle paths across Oxford, using its own funds and pressing the County Council for action
  • Continue to support exciting holiday activities for young people
  • Build a new community centre at Rose Hill

In Europe, Labour's top candidate for the South East is Anneliese Dodds, who lives here in Oxford in Rose Hill. By voting Labour in the European Elections on 22nd May you are voting to have an MEP based here in Oxford who will stand up for you. Anneliese says: "My priorities are to protect and extend workers' rights across Europe, including measures against zero-hour contracts, and to work for action to prevent climate change."

Vote Labour in the City Council and European Elections on May 22nd!

 

Why vote Labour?

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One of the biggest causes of the cost of living crisis in our country is the price of renting or buying a home. That’s why a Labour government will make sure that Britain builds 200,000 more homes a year by the end of the next Parliament so that more families can fulfil their dream of home ownership.

Nine million people are living in rented homes today, over a million families, and over two million children. 28% of households in Oxford are private rented. With tenants in Oxford facing rip-off fees from lettings agents and insecure tenancies, Labour has announced the biggest change in a generation to make the system fairer for renters.

The next Labour government will ban letting agents’ fees for tenants, saving renters on average £350 in costs, and will legislate to make three year tenancies the standard in the British private rented sector to give people who rent the certainty they need.

Andrew Smith MP said: "While the Lib Dem / Tory Coalition Government refuses to act, a Labour Government will give families the security of a longer tenancy and predictable rents to stop excessive rises so that they can manage tight family finances and plan ahead. If you buy your home, most estate agents will not charge you fees, but people in Oxford who rent are given no protection and they get charged £350 on average. That’s a lot of money for a lot of people and that’s why Labour will legislate to ban these rip-off charges by letting agents.”

Ed Miliband announces sweeping reforms to the private rented sector

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Anneliese Dodds, Labour's top-placed candidate for the European elections in Oxford, Andrew Smith, Labour MP for Oxford East and Sally Copley, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon, were today celebrating the introduction of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for the first time in Britain, fifteen years ago today.

However, they warned that many employers are currently getting away with not paying the NMW because of a lack of enforcement action by the Coalition Government. 

Although in theory the Coalition Government has said it will 'name and shame' employers which do not pay the NMW, so far only five employers have been named (of whom none were from Oxfordshire) and of those, three had underpaid less than £1000 to only one worker. No action has been taken against those larger firms which have been exploiting workers by failing to pay them the NMW. In addition, the Coalition Government has lobbied in Brussels against measures which would make it illegal for employers to pay foreign agency staff less, and give them worse terms and conditions, than UK workers. Finally, the Coalition Government has also abolished the Agricultural Wages Board which regulated wages and working conditions in agriculture.

The NMW is currently £6.31 for adults, £5.03 for 18-20 year olds and £3.72 for under 18s. 

Anneliese said: "It's great to be celebrating the National Minimum Wage's 15th birthday today. My first job was paid £2 an hour - and I'm pleased that those days are gone. Although the Conservative Party argued against the National Minimum Wage, saying it would cost jobs, in practice it has lifted thousands of low-paid people out of poverty over the last decade and a half. But the National Minimum Wage will only work if it is properly enforced- and we've seen enforcement reduced significantly under this government".

Sally Copley said: "Labour is exploring ways of strengthening the National Minimum Wage, such as extending the role and powers of the Low Pay Commission. Labour is also campaigning and working with employers across the UK to encourage them to pay their employes a living wage." 

Last year Ed Miliband announced that a future Labour government would introduce 'make work pay' contracts to incentivise firms to pay the living wage

Andrew Smith MP added: "Here in Oxford the Labour-run City Council already pay their workers a living wage and I support the efforts of campaign groups, such as the Oxford Living Wage Campaign, who are working closely with major employers to get them to pay their staff a fairer wage."

Oxford Labour celebrate 15th birthday of National Minimum Wage

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One of the biggest problems that parents face is the cost of childcare. Parents locally are facing a triple whammy childcare crisis of this Government’s making. Prices are up 30% since the election. Places are plummeting and there are fewer Sure Starts despite David Cameron’s pre-election promise to protect children’s centres. Support for parents has also been cut with some parents getting £1500 less help with childcare support through working tax credits. This is having a real impact on the ability of parents to go out to work and for work to pay.

Yet parents calling out for help with childcare now will have got little comfort from the budget. Whilst new support through tax free childcare is a good start, families struggling now won’t see any benefit until after the election. David Cameron and Nick Clegg haven’t spent a single penny to improve the support the vast majority of families struggling with the cost of childcare since they got into power, in fact they’ve removed support to the tune of £1500 per family.

Labour understands the huge pressure families are under at the moment with childcare. That’s why we’d go further. On top of Tax Free Childcare we’ll extend free childcare for working families with three and four year olds by an extra ten hours, to 25 hours a week, 38 weeks a year. This will mean that for the first time a second earner will be able to work part time without having to worry about paying for childcare. This increase in childcare support is worth £1500 per child and will help mums to get back to work or work the hours they want. The 15 hour early years entitlement will remain universal for all parents and the additional support means families would be even better off under Labour.

And we’ll introduce a guarantee in law to ensure every parent has access to before and after school care through Primary schools because we know how hard it is juggling working hours with school hours.

Labour understands the pressures parents face at the moment. That’s why we will invest in childcare help, and make childcare work for working families.

 

Labour's childcare pledge

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