Councillor Paul Drinkwater - Maiden Speech
Councillor Paul Drinkwater - Maiden Speech

Find out what Councillor Paul Drinkwater said in his Maiden Speech on 14 November 2018.


Chair, Councillors, Citizens of Leeds

In 2008 there was a global economic crash which was caused by the trading of financial instruments based on subprime mortgages and debt which turned out to be worth significantly less than speculative traders and markets were lead to believe.

I would like to remind Council that this is the root cause for the agenda of local authority central government budget cuts that we continue to face. The Labour Party was not, as some people in this chamber choose to believe, responsible for a Global economic crash.

The responsibility for this lies with greedy hedge fund managers. The malpractice and unlawful actions of international banks and bankers and Governments of the world relying on the frailty of World Markets which trade simply on confidence and the perception of value.

As Woody Guthrie wrote, “The Gambling man is rich while the working man is poor.”

So we find that our resources are suffering in the misguided belief that cuts to public services are an essential part of rebalancing our economy. Whilst tax cuts are bestowed on those who are still increasing their corporate and personal wealth despite the crash.

In our Communities, we struggle to maintain the infrastructure that those we are responsible for rely on.

Infrastructure like our Community Centres which provide community groups with the facilities to operate from.

Under the current Government, agenda to shrink the public sector we find that Community Interest Companies can find funding that is otherwise starved from local authorities. We make the pragmatic choice to support our communities and encourage and develop these companies which take on roles previously delivered by the Council such as managing our Community Centres.

Leeds Community Spaces has been created to manage facilities on the communities behalf by trustees with a track record of effective Community work in Leeds ensuring that our residents can and will continue to benefit from these assets and that they have a greater say in the administration and priorities of those centres. I would like to thank the trustees for their commitment and public service.

Kentmere Community Centre is about half a mile from my house so I have a particular interest in it. The Centre has been underused and has lacked investment. It was originally built as a small middle school. The potential for its use in the Community is huge. It sits within an area identified as one of the most deprived in Leeds.

The new supervisor of the facility Rachel Dodson has already secured more local users to add to the original users of North Seacroft Good Neighbours Scheme which provides a lunch club and other activities for older people.

Seacroft Select Boxing Club has moved in from the basement of a derelict pub next door. The club is doing outstanding work with young people in the area. Dave Zubrzycki an inspirational role model who runs the club, lives in Seacroft. He deliberately targets individuals and groups of young people who are causing Anti Social Behaviour in the area and is being very successful in turning young lives around. Boxing despite being a combat sport encourages discipline and structure. Teaching young people how to control aggression, perhaps the kind of discipline some politicians would benefit from. Another example of a community group fulfilling our obligations.

Fall into Place will be running drama workshops from January designed to increase confidence, friendship and social cohesion.

United Response will have staff based at the Centre providing services and support for adults and young people with autism, mental health needs or physical disabilities.

Leeds Development Education Centre and a Church Group have also made bookings and there are innovative plans being made to use the kitchen for catering training to help people into employment.

As local Councillors, we are already involved in supporting Leeds Community Spaces to maintain this vital asset in the Community as well as supporting the local user groups who are using the space. It is essential that we work together to provide a more Asset Based Community Development approach doing things with our communities, not to our communities.

You can watch Councillor Paul Drinkwater giving this speech by clicking here.

Message from  Katie Dye, David Jenkins and Paul Drinkwater, Labour Councillors for Killingbeck and Seacroft.

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