This weekend, I attended the Labour Local Government conference in a rainy Nottingham. It was my opportunity to meet some truly inspirational people from across the country.
People who are working extremely hard for their communities dealing with true budgetary pressure and make extremely difficult decisions.
The decisions are difficult and the impacts are profound. However, Labour councillors across the country are doing their utmost to protect front line services, being creative in the use of their funds to focus on jobs & economic growth and deliver truly inspiring results.
Results that mean the ratio between the lowest paid and highest paid council staff is being reduced, results that mean apprentices are paid much more than the national minimum, results that mean council houses are being built in some areas of the country for the first time in 30 years.
During the conference, we also heard Ed Miliband outlining how One Nation Labour can make a difference in every community in the UK. Even when Labour councillors are not running councils they are working in their communities, bringing people together, prioritising the vulnerable and supporting the vital services that deliver for everyone.
This is the work that I see every day in Lincolnshire. Where certain politicians seek to divide communities, setting people against each other, I see our Labour councillors bringing communities together in common causes. Where certain politicians look to besmirch reputations to score petty political points, I see others who remain focused on the people they serve, seeking to represent their views and to resolve issues.
Politics today is about choices. As politicians we have to make choices, sometimes very difficult choices, about what services can be delivered under the current climate of shrinking budgets. As we come to the local elections in May 2013, I will be encouraging the people of Grantham to support councillors and candidates that will work hard in their communities for the people they represent, supporting the vulnerable and remaining focused on bringing people together.