SIX MONTHS TO SAVE THE ISLAND

There comes a time when all bickering has to stop and we have to pull together.

With public services taking a terrible battering on the Island, now is just such a time. The County Press is teaming up with the Isle of Wight Council to launch a petition to government, calling on them to look again at the way the Island is funded.

Secretary of State Greg Clark has pledged to visit the Island in the coming months, having been asked to do so by MP Andrew Turner.

Now we want to give him the strongest possible message about how Islanders feel about the way we are treated.

We may not qualify for a rural grant, but surely those at Westminster have to see how deprived the Island is in the context of its south east neighbours.

The next six months are crucial because that is the run-up to Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne's Autumn Statement, which will shape funding for the vital next financial year.

This petition asks the government to:

• Acknowledge the Island is unique and needs extra help.

• Change the way the Island is funded, in recognition of the unique challenges we face as an Island community.

• Give us more money.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

You can sign up to the petition online below, through the form printed in the County Press or at a number of points around the Island.

We are all in it together and if we don't want to see the same old headlines about toilets, libraries and care centres being closed, we need to send those in power the strongest possible message.

SPREAD THE WORD

We need to spread the word, and we need your help to do that. Use the links below to share the this petition on Facebook or Twitter.

WHY ARE WE FIGHTING?

Councillor Jonathan Bacon - leader of the Isle of Wight Council

I am very pleased to be able to be involved in the announcement of the 'Fight for the Wight' campaign; this will play a crucial part in securing proper funding for the Island in future years, from central government.

On Wednesday 24 February the Isle of Wight Council set its budget for the next financial year. I am afraid to say that due to continued reductions in government funding, together with the £50 million savings we have already had to make over the past five years, further reductions of our cherished and often essential discretionary local services have been necessary this year in order to balance our budget. I'm sure that you may be angry about this. I am.

Read more.

Alan Marriott - editor of the Isle of Wight County Press

You would have to be pretty hard-hearted to not be affected by the stories the County Press has been running over the last few years about council cuts.

To see village bus services, libraries, public toilets and sports centres have funding withdrawn is bad enough.

Read more.

John Burrows - chief executive officer, Wightlink Ferries

Through both our business activity and our sponsorship and support programme, Wightlink is very much a part of Island life. As such, we are aware both of the virtues of living in such a great place but also of the challenges faced by the local community.

Read more.

FACTS AND FIGURES

LATEST NEWS

Fight for the Wight backed by business association

Isle of Wight County Press - March 29, 2016

BUSINESSES in East Cowes have given their backing to the Fight for the Wight campaign, calling on government to increase funding for public services on the Isle of Wight..

East Cowes Business Association is the latest organisation to get behind the campaign, which has also attracted backing from the likes of the Isle of Wight Law Centre, East Cowes Town Council, Brading Residents Action Group, as well as thousands of individuals, businesses and politicians.

Read full story.

Leading Isle of Wight businessman urges Islanders to back Fight for the Wight

Isle of Wight County Press - March 25, 2016

BUSINESSMAN Graham Vanassche has pledged his support to the Fight for the Wight campaign to help highlight key issues.

Graham, managing director of Leslies Motor Group, said it was vital the Island secured more money from the government to protect jobs and services.

Read full story.

Law Centre chair fears further funding cuts and signs up to Fight for the Wight

Isle of Wight County Press - March 23, 2016

LAW Centre chairman Roger Craven has backed the Fight for the Wight campaign, warning the lifeline legal advice service could be closed if its funding was cut.

Unless the government agrees to provide more money for public services, the Isle of Wight Council will be left with little choice but to slash the Supporting People budget, which funds services for some of the Isle of Wight's most vulnerable people.

Read full story.

UNISON members sign up to Fight for the Wight

Isle of Wight County Press - March 14, 2016

PUBLIC sector workers on the Isle of Wight have added their voices to the Fight for the Wight campaign.

Around 60 Unison members who attended Thursday's AGM voted overwhelmingly to support the campaign, aimed at securing more government funding for the Island's public services.

Read full story.

Fight for the Wight: 'The neglect of the Isle of Wight has gone on too long'

Isle of Wight County Press - March 13, 2016

MORE than 4,100 people have signed the Fight for the Wight petition, calling for more government funding for public services on the Island.

The campaign, which was launched a little over a week ago, has seen Islanders young and old, businesses big and small and politicians, come together to urge the government to help the Isle of Wight.

Read full story.

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