Save our Services in Surrey


The group Save our Services in Surrey (SOSiS) have been active for several years now and represent a range of political parties and ideas on the left of the spectrum. The thing that ties these diverse individuals together is a desire to fight for our public services in the county and an understanding that austerity is an ideologically-driven agenda that is wholly unnecessary.

Woking Labour Chair Barry Faulkner and newly elected vice chair Vicki Kirby have been attending meetings of the group in a personal capacity with a view towards building broad-based campaigns against austerity and attacks on council services.

On February 11th Barry (above, standing) spoke as part of a panel  at a SOSiS meeting in Staines discussing “Corbynmania: keeping up the momentum”. The meeting was well attended by over 40 local people, and other speakers included Sean Hoyle, President of the RMT Union, and a junior doctor from St Peter’s Hospital.

A wide range of groups were in attendance, including Momentum disabled members, the Socialist Party, the Greens, Plane Stupid environmental campaigners and a Labour PPC. All those in attendance recognised the things they had in common and though there were also issues dividing individuals, everyone agreed to get behind the Labour leadership where possible, especially when it came to fighting attacks on the NHS and other essential public services.

We may come at issues from slightly different angles politically, but there is more that unites us than divides us. The entire meeting gave a rousing ovation to Holly, the junior doctor who spoke, and the justice of the doctors’ cause was universally accepted.

SOSiS will continue to campaign on issues of importance to Surrey residents, such as the “Justice for Zane” campaign seeking answers to the death of seven-year-old Zane Gbangbola in his family home in Chertsey in 2014.

Housing crisis – it’s about to get worse

Woking Labour were in the town centre on Saturday talking to people about the Housing and Planning Bill which is in the process of travelling through the House of Lords.

This is a devastating bill that will mark the beginning of the end of social housing, and push families into severe poverty. It does nothing to secure the future of families or ease the housing crisis.

Many people stopped to talk to us about their situations, and all said the same: they are struggling with extremely high rents, or unable to move out of their parents’ house at all, having to raise their young children in crowded conditions.

We desperately need more council homes, and controls on rent. While this government is trying to reduce welfare spending, the huge unregulated rents landlords are charging force people into needing Housing Benefit to top up their earnings. This bill will only increase this need, by raising rents to unaffordable levels. The selling of the ‘high value’ public owned housing stock, and passing the revenue from the sale straight back to central government instead of staying in the borough, will only squeeze our local budget further.

Local Authorities are facing increasing cuts to their budgets and unable to provide crucial services to its residents. Now, more than ever, we need to keep our council houses safe, to provide secure homes tuat people can actually afford.

Please contact us if you would like to join us, or pop by and let us know how you feel.