Pete Barrow gave a three minute speech to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council on the very real problem that people face with their incomes in the borough. This has been shared extensively on social media but if you haven’t seen this raw and powerful speech then it is worth 3 minutes of your time…
Good evening, My name is Pete Barrow and I’d like to talk about our Town.
I speak as a resident and as a member of the Facebook group WPBC Compliments, Complaints, Observations and Suggestions.
All of us that care about our town tend to take an interest in any news stories about it. I have to say that reading such stories of late has been a dismal experience.
Recent reports have told us that –
• We have the third worst social mobility in the Country
• We have two areas that fall within the 10% most deprived in England
• We have the lowest pay in the Country
• We have an escalating problem with antisocial behaviour in the Town with many residents now genuinely frightened for their own safety
• We have drug taking and drug dealing taking place in public
• Our secondary schools are the lowest performers in Dorset
• We have an escalating housing crisis with rough sleeping up 60% in a year
• Our children have the worst obesity rates in Dorset
• Mental health admissions in W+P are greater than in Bournemouth
• Life expectancy is the lowest in the County
• I could go on but I think that is more than enough
One recent quote from an article written by Will Hutton in the Observer reads as follows.
“Pity the child born in Weymouth, Corby or Carlisle, locked into poor schools, a lacklustre economy and few decent jobs. If he or she had been lucky enough to be born in Tower Hamlets, Hackney or Westminster, their life chances might have been transformed.”
It seems we are being used as a national example of what a failing Town looks like.
I have lived in our Town since 1970 and I have never known a time when we faced such a stream of negative news.
I know that I am not telling you anything that you don’t already know and I am assuming you care about it as much as I do.
I know many of these issues have been building for a few years and that many are common to seaside towns, I also know that no single authority can solve them alone.
But, I do have to say that whatever you have been doing to address matters up to this point in time, does not appear to be working!
Councillor Cant as leader of our council, Councillor Ferrari as a cabinet member with Dorset County Council, Mr Drax as our MP, Mr Prosser and Mrs Ward as our Chief Executives, Mr Underhill as our Police and Crime Commissioner. You all have the power and authority to do something.
We need to hear from you, we need some visible leadership, we need to know that you have acknowledged the scale of the problems we face and that you have a plan to do something about it.
In particular we need some real joined up leadership. Too often the Borough, the Police, the County and the CCG seem to be working in splendid isolation rather than working with our communities, to tackle these fundamental problems.
Please don’t tell us to hunt around on your websites to try and piece it together, get out there and lead, tell us how you are going to solve the issues.
We don’t’ expect an answer tonight just some action in the coming days and weeks.
He is awaiting a response to the speech…
The people of Weymouth and Portland need a pay rise!