Zöe's Blog

Read what Zöe Franklin has to say on topical local and national issues:

  • UC Increase Mar-Jul 2020
    Article: Aug 11, 2020
    By Zoe Franklin

    Last Friday the BBC broke the news that since March there has been an 81% increase in people claiming benefits. Sad, but unsurprising given that March marked the start of the coronavirus lockdown. However, a few paragraphs in, the stats from the BBC were even more devastating - in Guildford the increase has been a jaw-dropping 148%.

  • Zöe visits local aesthetician Sophia Wyatt to discuss post-lockdown reopening
    Article: Jul 27, 2020
    By Zoe Franklin

    A few weeks ago a local business owner, Sophia Wyatt of Sophia Wyatt Aesthetics, reached out to me by email to highlight the issues being faced by the beauty industry, which at the time was being prevented from reopening whilst hairdressers and barbers had already been given the green light to open their doors.

  • Child at computer (Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash)
    Article: May 30, 2020

    Over the past few weeks, there has been much discussion on whether certain year groups should return to school on 1st June. During that time I have organised a survey to better understand local people's views on the issue, and alongside our councillors have been following up the questions raised on the issue by you.

  • Pen and paper (Photo by Chandler Cruttenden on Unsplash)
    Article: Apr 16, 2020
    By Zoe Franklin
    Today (16th April) I have written to local MP Angela Richardson raising three issues relating to the coronavirus outbreak. I am sharing a copy of the text of the letter below.

    Update: I am grateful to Angela Richardson for her swift response to my questions and include these below the text of my letter.
  • Z Franklin signature
    Article: Apr 12, 2020
    By Zoe Franklin

    Whether you working in a hospital, care home, supermarket or other frontline roles, or you are home alone or with family, these are difficult times. More than ever we need to be looking after ourselves and others, our physical health and mental health.

    It isn't always comfortable to share how we are feeling but I encourage you to do just that, especially if you are struggling.

  • Article: Oct 8, 2019
    By Zoe Franklin

    The reinstatement of in-patient services for Cranleigh has been a long fight. For over a decade now the residents of Cranleigh have campaigned and fundraised with this goal in mind. It should be obvious then why the application by Cranleigh Village Hospital Trust currently under review by Waverley Borough Council for the site at Knowle Lane is such a disappointment - it simply does not fulfill the the people of Cranleigh's quest.

  • Surgeons in operating theatre
    Article: Sep 23, 2019
    By Zoe Franklin

    While listening to the people of Guildford and Cranleigh, on the doorstep and on the High Street, over the past three years there are two topics that come up without fail - Brexit and the NHS.

    Our health and social health services are at a crisis point in the UK. They have been at that point for years now and it is a credit to our brilliant healthcare workers that our NHS has continued to take care of millions of us every year. However, the UK's healthcare provisions are getting less reliable every year. Waiting times have increased, staff feel undervalued and patient care is suffering. Our social care is severely underfunded and we are failing our elderly population. Our mental health services are severely underfunded and we are failing those we need to support.

  • Climate Changes
    Article: Sep 18, 2019
    By Zoe Franklin

    The climate crisis is real and we must act now to ensure planet earth and our long term survival. I am therefore delighted that Liberal Democrat Conference this weekend passed an ambitious strategy to reach net zero 2045.

    We know that hitting this target needs everyone - communities, businesses, and all levels of government - to come together to achieve it. The Liberal Democrat's will:

  • School Children
    Article: Jul 17, 2019
    By Zoe Franklin

    This week saw the release of the Real Schools Guide 2019 and meant the publication of the annual 'best' and 'worst' performing schools in Surrey by local media. It's all too easy to read the reports of the 'worst' schools and label them and/or their pupils as failures, to blame their teachers and judge their leadership teams. Doing so is targeting the wrong people - we should be turning our eyes and judgement on the Conservative government.

    The Conservatives have repeatedly told us that schools have never had more money. The real terms figures tell a very different story. One in which school income is simply not keeping up with pupil needs.

    Here in Guildford constituency (which includes Cranleigh and the surrounding villages) two thirds of schools are facing a funding shortfall and the cumulative size of the total shortfall across all Guildford schools since 2015/16 is almost £6 million. The hardest hit are frequently our secondary schools and also primary schools in the poorest communities.

    Schools are being asked to provide the education our children and young people need on an ever-decreasing budget. They are also being asked to take on greater responsibilities alongside their teaching roles, such as watching for signs of child sexual abuse and being trained to help support children and young people with mental health problems. As a parent and former school governor I have seen the inspiring work of school leaders and teachers as they seek to educate the next generation. I have witnessed the deeply challenging conversations that school leaders across our country are having to have as they are forced to decide what to cut next. No decision is taken lightly, and pupils are always front and centre of that decision-making process.

    We should not be putting head teachers in the position of having to choose between building repairs and school textbooks, or heating bills and another teacher or teaching assistant's salary. We've even started to see stories of schools closing early on a Friday - sounds great if you're a pupil but this is damaging to children's educational prospects and unworkable for any working parent.

    Only this week I received a message from a parent sharing with me how at a meeting for parents of children moving up to secondary school in September they were asked apologetically by the head teacher for funding for essential school resources. My son is also moving up to secondary in September and families at my son's future school have been asked same.

    This cannot be allowed to continue.

    The Liberal Democrats and I want to reverse the real-terms schools cuts that have been in place since 2015. That would mean an extra £2.2 billion to our schools - new money from the Treasury. Add to that £7 billion of capital investment to maintain our schools and increase the number of school places, plus extra funding for children with special educational and behavioural needs.

    On top of that we need to stop talented teachers leaving a profession they are passionate about. That means proper pay. Teachers should be paid directly from the Treasury, not from existing local budgets.

    Children and young people are our future. Their education today sets them up for a positive future tomorrow and for our society's continued success.

    We need real, urgent change now to ensure schools have the funding they need.

  • Article: Jan 24, 2019
    By Zöe Franklin
    On Tuesday it became clear that Conservative-run Surrey Council Council are planning to increase Council Tax while continuing to pursue deeply unpopular plans to cut essential public services including closing 31 Children's Centres and 4 community recycling centres; scrapping certain concessionary bus passes; making savage cuts to library and cultural services; and cutting spending on special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). In spite of these cuts and tax increases, it is made clear in the report continuing the proposals that the financial future of the council is bleak.

    In contrast neighbouring Kingston Borough Council announced on Monday this week that they had made the hard decision to put up their Council Tax but were very clear that doing so was the only way to ensure that they could safeguard essential services that impact upon the most vulnerable in their community and ensure a financially secure and sustainable future.

    It's worth me saying before I continue that I am not suggesting that increasing Council Tax is the right solution for every authority but when faced with continuing government funding cuts that threaten core services, especially those that serve the most vulnerable in our communities, and council budgets where there is nowhere left to make the savings needed it is sometimes necessary to make tough decisions.