Statement from Brian Paterson Cameron

We invited them to tell you a little about who they are, any political history and about their political leanings.

I have lived in Whitegate for over 40 years and have been married to Kerry for 44 years. We have one son, Lee, who also lives in Whitegate. I am standing for re-election for Welsh Labour because I feel we need a comprehensive plan to take Wrexham forward and we can only do this with more Labour councillors. Having represented Whitegate ward for the past 10 years, I am familiar with the main issues facing residents and will continue to work hard to seek the appropriate resolutions. With a Labour led administration, the town will thrive.

Questions & Answers

1. What are the three biggest issues for your ward, how do you think they need to be resolved, and what will you do to achieve it?

The lack of a fair public transport service is a problem for all residents in the Whitegate Ward who don’t have their own transport. The bus service needs to be accessible for all and enable greater connectivity across the town. I will campaign with our Welsh Labour Group to get an improved service for the Whitegate residents. Off road parking has been a problem particularly on refuge collection days. I will continue to work with the housing department to increase the number of off-site parking spaces in our council house areas. Anti-Social behaviour is a problem experienced in some parts of our ward. I will continue to hold regular meetings with the police and other local agencies to resolve these issues.

2. What do you think needs to be done to help Wrexham recover from the pandemic and what hands-on-role can you play as a councillor ?

The pandemic has brought so many problems and has impacted severely on many people in relation to their mental health, feeling of loneliness and isolation and it has been particularly dreadful for those who have lost a loved one. It is important that the right type of services and support measures are available for the many people who may need to rebuild their lives. To give us hope for the future, we need to move boldly towards a better future for Wrexham and this can only be achieved through an economic growth plan for the town which will bring a broad range of well-paid jobs; will revitalise our town centre; give confidence to our business leaders and offer young people an optimistic outlook. Only Wrexham Labour can deliver this future for Wrexham.

3. As a councillor you may have the chance to take on further roles eg. Lead Member, Audit, Scrutiny. What appeals to you and what skills do you bring to that role?

I have served on several scrutiny committees so I have developed a wealth of experience of many council departments. Personally, I support the Welsh Labour Group’s democratic process which ensures that all Labour councillors are placed where they have an interest and their skills are appropriate. I trust in the system which finds the right person for the role.

4. What do the words climate emergency mean to you and your ward?

It is important we tackle the climate change issue urgently, not just across the county borough but across the world. We know that flooding occurs in some areas of our county and we need to seek long term resolutions. Reducing our carbon emissions is a must. A public transport system with an established park and ride scheme is one way forward. In Whitegate ward, I have already promoted biodiversity and will encourage the planting of fruit trees and the creation of more wildflower meadows.

5. What is the biggest thing you would have done differently from the ruling administration over the last 5 years? (Or, if you were part of the Administration - what would you have done differently?)

It is important that all our young people have the best education we can offer so I believe we need to investigate the reasons why some of our secondary schools have been identified as sub- standard according to Estyn inspectors. Lessons need to be learned because parents should have confidence in the Wrexham education system so that their choice will be for their local school. Over the past 5 years we have had the shocking situation of regulatory bodies raising significant shortcomings in the delivery of social care and education. It is not good enough and Wrexham residents deserve better. Genuine consultation and an openness with the public is something needed to move Wrexham forward - it is critical we consult with the residents who have elected us.

6. Local health pressures are well documented, from delayed ambulances to issues in the hospital. How can the council help resolve those problems?

As a member of the Safeguarding Scrutiny Committee, I have raised concerns about the shortage of GPs caused by many retiring and closing their practices. This often results in residents using A & E services and putting pressure on the ambulance service. There is a need to work with the local health board to introduce community health hubs with salaried GPs and advance nursing practitioners providing a host of services. This approach has proved very successful in many parts of Wales and, undoubtedly, it will relieve the pressures on our hospitals and the ambulance service at a time when they need to recover from the dire situation they have had to endure over the past two years.

7. What will you do on a local level to help support people in your ward affected by the cost of living crisis?

It is vitally important that we all recognise the financial problems many residents are facing with the rise in energy costs, fuel duty costs and the recent rise in National Insurance that the UK Tory Government has introduced at a time when inflation is rising by the day. It is important that Wrexham Council accesses every penny of support that Welsh Government has put in place to ease the financial burden on our residents. If re-elected as your Whitegate ward councillor, I will signpost residents in need of additional help to Caia Park agencies and to our brilliant community agents

8. How would you improve the local education system?

Given that there have been significant problems in several of our secondary schools, we need to identify where the weaknesses exist and how the local authority can help deliver improvement. We must also not forget to celebrate the excellent achievements in secondary schools and in our primary schools. With a working together approach between the schools and the local authority, we can resolve so many of the challenges schools face especially in the wake of the pandemic. We need an education plan which works for all our teachers, support workers, pupils and young people and parents so that they have confidence in the system and all our children and young people can achieve their full potential.

9. When the public view the Full Council meeting in June, do you envision you could be part of a Party, Group or coalition, and if so, specifically who and why?

The make-up of the council is determined by the voters. Once the election results are known, it is important that councillors work together for the good of Wrexham County Borough Council. With thirty candidates standing, Welsh Labour is the only party that can hold an outright majority to lead the council over the next 5 years but only if voters elect all our candidates. Presently and for the past 8 years the council has been administered by an Independent / Tory alliance. It is now a critical time for Wrexham to secure the change it needs and only Welsh Labour offers ambition and hope for the future.

10. This is a noteworthy election with 16 and 17 year olds now able to vote, what have you done to engage this new electorate and what do you think is the biggest issue for them locally ?

As we recover and rebuild after the pandemic, it is an important time for 16- & 17-year-olds to have a voice in local elections. In my regular newsletters, I encourage young people to register to vote and to use this to secure changes that will benefit their futures. There may be many issues that could have an effect on our younger people so I feel it is important as councillors that we speak to our younger people and hear their ideas and concerns because we need to deliver a better future for them.

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