Ruth Milson candidate for Sheffield Local Election Crookes

Ruth Milsom

Labour Party Ruth is standing as a candidate for election in the Sheffield Local Election for Crookes and Crosspool ward on May 6th 2021.

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I’ve been an independent small business owner in Sheffield for nearly 30 years, growing my portfolio of musical, academic, and publishing activities from nothing. My experience makes me ideally placed to support small businesses and grow our economy on a local footing.

Through my work I know the education sector from early years to university inside out.

I’m passionate about the arts and our environment, recognising these as keys to wellbeing.

What do you think makes a good local councillor?

Local knowledge and a genuine interest in investing in a thriving community. A good understanding of the needs and concerns of different ‘people groups’.

Energy, and commitment to seeing projects through to completion.

Accessibility and a listening ear.

Good networking and connections, to facilitate local solutions to local problems.

Honesty and integrity, and an open mind.

Political clarity and direction, combined with ability to work cross-party to the benefit of the community we serve.

Tell us three things you're aiming to focus on or achieve for your ward during your term as councillor

Identifying and implementing steps we can take on a very localised level to contribute to making Sheffield a zero-carbon city – including strengthening the local economy ensuring access to the amenities we need on our doorsteps. Also safeguarding our green spaces as important amenities for wellbeing; achieving legal protections on pockets of land for community use, and enhancing how green spaces are utilised to everyone’s benefit.

Standing up for a fair deal for our students who live in the Crookes community. Housing standards should meet decent minimum requirements – I’ll dig in on the issue of landlord licensing to deal with this.

Working with local community groups and organisations to ensure we have cohesive neighbourhoods where people feel useful, cared-for, and involved. Encouraging participation in the new Local Area Committee structure to make sure local voices are heard, and the interests of Crookes & Crosspool are properly fed into the Town Hall.

Tell us three things you're aiming to focus on or achieve for the city of Sheffield during your term as councillor

Democratic renewal (including comprehensive, accessible, bottom-up pathways for citizens to participate in governance and decision-making).

Implementing a local Green New Deal.
– taking Sheffield to zero-carbon status as fast as possible;
– stimulating the local job market and economy via green schemes such as housing retrofits, new eco-builds, renewable energy production;
– protecting our green spaces for recreation and wellbeing; and bringing more land into use for local, sustainable food production;
– developing a modern, sustainable public transport system that works for people, not for profit.

Addressing inequalities citywide.
– building Sheffield’s local economy and redistributing wealth to tackle inequalities directly;
– continuing our council’s strategies for improving housing standards and eradicating food poverty;
– furthering our council’s core principles as a Real Living Wage city and City of Sanctuary;
– fighting for better funding to schools and nurseries.

Transport: The Sheffield City Region bus services should be taken back into public ownership

  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • Neutral/Other
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree

If you'd like to add details on your position, please do so here

As a member of ACORN, I actively support its ‘Take Back Our Buses’ campaign.
I firmly believe that all public services should be in public control, and run without profit motives. Bus travel is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. We need to get more cars off the roads for environmental reasons. We need reliable, affordable public transport to enable a fully functional society and efficient workforce.

I want us to accelerate to the first step of municipal franchising throughout South Yorkshire, but also to increase pressure on the government to allow full public ownership.

When we achieve franchising there must be widespread meaningful public consultation to inform routes and timetables.

Read my blog post on this subject from January 2020.

Economy: A Universal Basic Income pilot should happen in Sheffield

  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • Neutral/Other
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree

If you'd like to add details on your position, please do so here

I’ve been following the work of Sheffield UBI Lab since its inception, and wholeheartedly support the concept of a universal income to address the gross inequalities of health and wealth that exist right on our doorstep.

In my role as Secretary of the Socialist Health Association Yorkshire branch, I have actively stimulated discussion within the SHA on how UBI can and should be part of a holistic approach to healthcare (Videos from our event in January 2021 here and here).

Labour-run Sheffield City Council has responded to the comprehensive groundwork laid down by Sheffield UBI Lab, pledging in June 2019 to make a UBI pilot viable in the city.

If only Labour had been in government, we would have seen it happen by now; then shadow Chancellor John McDonnell had named Sheffield as one of his first targets for UBI pilots to be funded from Westminster.

Democracy: How would you like Sheffield City Council to be run?

  • By a leader who is an elected councillor chosen by a vote of the other elected councillors (this is how the council is run now)
  • By one or more committees made up of elected councillors (this would be a change from how the council is run now)

If you'd like to add details on your position, please do so here

I’m a long-time supporter of this change. Even before the citizen-led ‘It’s Our City’ petition was raised, I proposed a resolution through my local Labour Party (Sheffield Hallam constituency) to this effect. Other Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) in Sheffield have done the same since.

It’s quite understandable why some who are used to a Leader / Cabinet system of making and implementing decisions would feel more comfortable retaining the status quo. This structure does have its strengths – decision-making concentrated in a tight-knit executive circle could well appeal as an efficient way of getting things done.

But there is a world outside of Town Halls where citizens want to be more directly plugged into local governance. There are myriad grassroots campaigns and community organisations that demonstrate this.

A combination of a Committee system inside the Town Hall and *effective* Local Area Committees outside promises a renewed democratic structure for our city.

Social: Do you agree with the finding of the Government's Sewell Report stating the UK is no longer institutionally racist?

  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • Neutral/Other
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree

If you'd like to add details on your position, please do so here

I suspect that, with typical cynicism, the Tories are playing on some fabricated vagueness around the term ‘institutional’. If employment, education, housing, and health – all areas in which UK ethnic minorities report experiencing discrimination – are not considered ‘institutions’, then it’s just about possible to argue that ‘institutional racism’ doesn’t exist. Though that approach doesn’t even begin to answer governmental scandals such as Windrush and Grenfell.

We know that there are institutional racist attitudes in the employment sector. People from UK ethnic minorities are discriminated against at application/shortlisting, and in terms of promotion and progression opportunities.

And so it goes on. The report is a disgrace.