Sophie Wilson candidate for Sheffield Local Election Arbourthorne

Sophie Wilson

Labour Party Sophie is standing as a candidate for election in the Sheffield Local Election for Park and Arbourthorne ward on May 6th 2021.

Tell us a little bit about yourself

Hello, my name is Sophie Wilson, I’ve been a councillor since 2017 and am standing in Park and Arbourthorne for The Labour Party. I’m a socialist, trade unionist and am currently chair of ACORN Sheffield. I am interested in housing standards, tenants rights and drug reform.

What do you think makes a good local councillor?

A good local councillor is not the town hall’s voice in the community, but the community’s voice in the town hall. It is someone who will put public interest above their own, who is open, transparent, accountable and reachable.

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

Housing needs – There are long waiting lists for council properties throughout Sheffield and Park and Arbourthorne ward, with a high density of social housing, is no exception. I would prioritise council owned homes over socially provided homes.

Antisocial behaviour and crime – Over the past few years there has been an increase in crime and ASB in the ward. I helped set up an action group in response to a local shooting which shook the community. Whilst the police’s work has been commendable locally, I don’t believe heavier policing is a silver bullet here. We need to get to the root causes of this issue – often poverty, a misguided war on drugs, longstanding underfunding of youth services, and an outdated housing allocations policy.

Parks and public spaces – Over the past year I have been working on a project to rejuvenate the area around Arbourthorne Pond. I would like to continue and expand this work, in making the area a pleasant one to enjoy recreation time.

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

Similar to above. The city as a whole desperately needs more council housing. Once adequate housing is provided, many other problems become easier to solve. I believe housing is the area in which any city council can have the biggest impact.

We need a council which always prioritises the most in need. I would always vote to ensure funding is allocated based on deprivation indices, rather than political interests.

After the pandemic, I believe SCC (and many other councils) need a fresh change of approach to how we organise the local economy, the high street and town centres. Traditionally, the focus has been on retail, ‘anchor stores’ and offices. We need to diversify this approach. I would favour a ‘community wealth building’ approach which prioritises independent smaller businesses and start ups – particularly the creative spaces which Sheffield is so popular for.

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

I have long campaigned on this issue with ACORN, the community union I am chair of. After our campaign, SCR Mayor Dan Jarvis has committed to looking at taking back our buses into public control, however public ownership would of course be my preferred method of controlling how our cities bus services are run.

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 am not fully convinced on the arguments behind UBI, however I would like to see a pilot happen in Sheffield. I have concerns around the implications UBI would have on wages and the welfare state. I do not see it as a way of redistributing wealth, which is my main priority as a socialist. I would prefer universal basic services free at the point of use. However, I am intrigued by the proposed benefits of a scheme, and agree that UBI could have been helpful during the recent pandemic. I would vote for a pilot.

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)

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