Lib Dems surge to by-election victory

website-richmond-victory

Another amazing by-election result for the Liberal Democrats has seen them elect Sarah Olney to Parliament, sending a thumping message to the Conservative Government.

Sarah will be the new MP for the former Conservative strong hold of Richmond Park after she overturned a huge 23,000 vote majority to win.

Liberal Democrat support is now growing across the country as they show they are now the only party standing up against hard brexit and for a properly funded NHS.

Many traditional Conservative and Labour voters are now switching to back the Liberal Democrats because of their clear, positive message on Brexit and the NHS.

Three reasons to get involved NOW!
1. Only the Liberal Democrats are sending a clear message to the Government on Brexit
2. We’re also fighting to make sure the NHS has the cash it needs!
3. If you don’t fight for what you believe in who else will?

Join now at www.libdems.org.uk

Lib Dem membership soars since close of polls

As the polls closed and the ghastly General election results rolled in people began to realise that liberalism is still a cause worth fighting for.

The national total of new members is rising all the time. It’s around 11,000 as I write and many of these are under 30. The running total is here.

We are welcoming hundreds of new members across Suffolk and here’s a response from one of them:

I think I grew up thinking that Liberalism seemed a sensible way of going about things, even though my father is a lifelong Tory.  I was drawn, to some extent, towards socialism in my teens, appalled by the mean divisiveness of Thatcherism but always admired the Liberals, SDP and  Lib Dems, having the greatest respect for Shirley Williams, Paddy Ashdown, Charles Kennedy and others, with their ever sensible contributions to debate.

I’m afraid I took some notice of the “wasted vote” disincentive for voting Lib Dem, even when I would like to have done so, until the national disgrace of the 2003 Iraqi invasion, at which point I vowed never to vote for anyone who had supported that outrage.

I have to admit to having been disgusted to think, as the coalition was formed, that I had inadvertently helped to prop up David Cameron’s Conservatives in office.  However, I have gradually come to appreciate what a great job Nick Clegg and his party have done in staying the hand of the Conservatives and I would have been very pleased if my vote had contributed to a similar situation last Thursday…

What a desperate shock, and I share the immense sadness and disappointment of all Liberal Democrats  at the devastating losses, followed by Nick Clegg’s resignation as leader.

I agree with the statement on the party website that it is now more important than ever to have a strong central party to protect and promote liberal ideals and I would like to offer whatever support I am able towards that end.

If you would like to join us now click on this link

And an interesting commentary on the loss of liberalism in government here in the New Statesmen

VoteSmart says Lib Dem Grace Weaver is “only choice for change” in South Suffolk

imageVote for Grace Weaver on May 7th

VoteSmart has declared that Liberal Democrat candidate Grace Weaver is the only choice for change in South Suffolk. Liberal Democrats polled 31% in 2010, while Labour polled only 14% in the constituency.

Grace, who grew up in East Bergholt is an Oxford graduate currently working as a consultant advising health and disability charities. She commented “Only the Liberal Democrats can deliver the focus on education, affordable housing and transport that South Suffolk desperately needs.” More details on the South Suffolk Lib Dem website.

 

Grace leafletHave you had this leaflet?

If you haven’t received Grace’s General Election leaflet please let us know – as Royal Mail have failed to deliver in some areas. This is what it looks like. Please email us libdemssouthsuffolk@gmail.com with your postcode if you haven’t received it.

We are gathering evidence to take action against Royal Mail. If you’d like to see the whole leaflet it’s here.

South Suffolk Lib Dem Freepost final

 

IMG_5200Vote Kathy and Sue for Babergh!
And in the District Council elections in Mid Samford – covering Capel St. Mary, Holton St. Mary, Stratford St. Mary, Little and Great Wenham – you can vote for two hard working local councillors: Sue Carpendale and Kathy Pollard. Sue and Kathy have worked tirelessly for local people for more than 30 years. They say “Don’t forget you have TWO votes for Babergh in the Mid Samford ward and please vote for Grace Weaver at the General Election – a young, talented and dedicated candidate who will work hard for the people of South Suffolk.”

Published and promoted by E.Da Costa on behalf of the Liberal Democrats all at 16 Two Acres, Capel St. Mary, Ipswich IP9 2XP

General election – a few things to consider on May 7th

General Election May 7th – A Few Facts to Consider

LD rosetteOKAY – after all these weeks the finish line is coming upon us.

Your LibDem candidates on May 7th are:

Bury St Edmunds   David Chappell http://davidchappell.org.uk/en/

Ipswich   Chika Akinwale  http://www.libdems.org.uk/chika_akinwale

Central Suffolk& North Ipswich Jon Neal http://www.libdems.org.uk/jon-neal

South Suffolk  Grace Weaver http://www.libdems.org.uk/grace_weaver

Suffolk Coastal James Sandbach http://www.james4suffolkcoastal.com/

Waveney Stephen Gordon http://www.libdems.org.uk/stephen_gordon

West Suffolk Elfeda Tealby-Watson http://www.libdems.org.uk/elfreda_tealby_watson

A few things to remember when you cast your vote on Thursday:

In 2010 the Labour government left a mountain of debt for the nation. Liberal Democrats shouldered unpopularity to take the responsible step of forming a stable coalition government. In the last 5 years 2 million new apprenticeships and 2 million new jobs have been created and Labour’s deficit has been halved.

The following initiatives were in the LibDem 2010 Manifesto and would not have happened without us:

  1. Tax cuts: Low and middle income earners have had a tax cut of nearly £1,000 a year. Because we raised the income tax threshold – as we promised (though David Cameron said it was impossible) people who earn £10,500 a year of less pay no income tax at all. We want to raise this threshold to £12,500.
  2. Education: We have invested in education, targeting funding at the most deprived children. This has meant an extra £60m for Suffolk schools. It is making a real difference to literacy and numeracy and has provided, for example, one-to-one tuition, breakfast and after-school clubs. In addition we have given free school meals to 5-to-7 year olds.
  3. Health: We have provided additional funding for health and introduced the first ever mental health waiting time standards. We will invest an extra £8bn a year in the NHS each year by 2020. We are the only party to promise this and say how it will be funded.
  4. Renewable energy and environment: We have trebled the amount of energy generated from renewables. We will introduce 5 green laws including protection for bees and pollinators.
  5. We have cracked down on tax dodgers – getting £9bn tax back through deals with Switzerland, Liechenstein and the Channel Islands. We have also prosecuted 10 times more people for tax crimes than happened under the last government.

Some endorsements in the national press:

The Times  “Nick Clegg made a bold decision to take the Liberal Democrats into government. Power has been a justified gamble for the Liberal Democrats…Their signature policy of taking people who earn £10,000 or less out of taxation altogether has been one of their successes.” http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/leaders/article4430579.ece

Independent  “Many of the good things the Coalition has done are owed to the Liberal Democrats. Nick Clegg may not personally recover from the tuition fees debacle, despite being right (eventually). But history will record him as the man who turned a party of protest into one of government.  http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/editorials/in-defence-of-liberal-democracy-10224221.html

Sunday Times  “…[the Coalition] did survive and this has been a period of political stability that would have been the envy of many majority governments of the past. Mr Clegg deserves to survive and so do his closest Lib Dem colleagues in government. Tory supporters in Labour-Lib Dem marginals may wish to vote for the Lib Dem candidate… http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/comment/article1551497.ece

Published and promoted by E. Da Costa on behalf of the Liberal Democrats all at 16 Two Acres, Capel St. Mary, Ipswich IP9 2EE

Lib Dems 5 point plan for Education

The Liberal Democrats have announced a ‘Five Point Plan’ for teachers and parents

The front page of the Lib Dem manifesto states our commitment on education, to protect education funding from nursery to 19.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party to guarantee the protection of per pupil funding in real terms over the next five years.

The Liberal Democrat five point commitment for teachers and parents will:

– Provide an additional £2.5bn of funding for 2-19yr-olds by 2020; protecting per pupil education spending in real terms over the next parliament and increasing the education budget as a whole.

– Guarantee all teachers in state-funded schools will be fully qualified or working towards Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) by September 2016.

– Establish the Royal College of Teachers to oversee QTS and professional development. And support the Teach First programme to attract high calibre graduates into teaching, in particular in STEM subjects.

– Establish a new National Leadership Institute to promote high-quality leadership targeting the most challenging schools in the UK.

– Get politics out of the classroom. We will give teachers more freedom over what they can teach by introducing a minimum curriculum entitlement – a slimmed down core national curriculum, which will be taught in all state-funded schools. As well as establish an Independent Educational Standards Authority (ESA) to remove ministerial interference in curriculum content and exam standards.

In Coalition the Liberal Democrats stopped the Conservatives cutting the schools budget. The scale of Conservative cuts in their plans is equivalent to axing four starter salary teachers in every school in England.

Find out more here.

Babergh and Mid Suffolk launch consultation on plans for future housing and business

Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils are consulting on a joint Local Plan for the two Districts. This is a chance for residents and businesses in both council areas to have their say on future planning. The recently adopted planning blueprint for Babergh has identified that 300 new homes should be built each year to fulfil demand across the District council’s area. Most of that development is scheduled to take place in the more urban areas – on the fringes of Ipswich and in Hadleigh and Sudbury, with larger villages also taking some development.

In Babergh there is an opportunity for people to comment on a range of issues including:

  • The redundant Brett Works site in Hadleigh, which has been the subject of a number of unsuccessful planning applications for a supermarket. Ideas for the future of the site are now being sought.
  • Unallocated land to the East of Sudbury, which is not currently part of the Chilton development plans
  • New policies on renewable energy sources like solar farms and on-shore wind turbines
  • Whether hamlets and small villages which are currently not permitted to have new dwellings be allowed some small scale development where there is identified housing need.

A number of consultation events are taking place in as follows:

  • Monday 23rd February Sudbury Leisure Centre Foyer 4pm- 8pm
  • Tuesday 24th February Needham Market council offices, Dove Room 4pm-8pm
  • Wednesday 25th February Hadleigh Leisure Centre Foyer 4pm-8pm
  • Thursday 26th February The Mix Centre, Stowmarket 4pm-8pm

The documents can be viewed in full  at www.babergh.gov.uk/jointlocalplan

The consultation is open until March 31st 2015.

 

Report to Mid Samford parishes January 2015

Sue Carpendale and Kathy Pollard, Babergh District Councillors

Happy New Year! Here is the report to Mid Samford parishes, comprising Capel St. Mary, Holton St. Mary, Stratford St. Mary and Little and Great Wenham.

In this issue:

  • Wind turbine proposal turned down at Wherstead
  • Tackling debt
  • Tackling waste
  • News on social housing
  • Network Rail public consultation

Wind turbine proposal turned down at Wherstead

Babergh’s planning committee unanimously refused permission for a 130m high wind turbine on land at Wherstead. This is a landmark decision for the council. Many people felt that the scale and environmental impact of this single wind turbine was not justified.

English Heritage objected saying “English Heritage considers that there would be harm to the significance of the churches at Wherstead, Belstead and Copdock and to Bentley Old Hall and Freston Tower.” In addition there were objections from the Dedham Vale Society, Suffolk Preservation Society, Suffolk Coast and Heaths, parish councils and many individuals. There were 644 letters or emails with representation, with 639 of those objecting to the proposals.

The Ministry of Defence said that the turbine would “cause unacceptable interference to the ATC (Air Traffic Control) radar at RAF Honington”.

The maximum power output from this turbine would be 2.5MW. Compare this with the Greater Gabbard offshore wind-farm near Lowestoft which has a maximum output of 504MW with a further extension planned, generating another 504MW. Offshore wind-farms do not seem to generate the same level of opposition as onshore turbines in high visibility locations, as in this case.

The applicant, Partnership for Renewables, is likely to appeal.

Tackling debt

At this time of year there are so many bills to pay. People on low incomes may be tempted to take out expensive loans for essential items like cookers and washing machines. It is shocking to see TV advertisements offering “payday loans” with interest rates of up to 1,000%.

Many people don’t realise that they can borrow money from the Credit Union in Suffolk at very reasonable rates. Recently renamed “Eastern Savings and Loans” they have opened premises in Ipswich at 58 Westgate Street. Their website gives details of their opening hours: http://www.eslcu.co.uk/. Last July we reported that a survey of council tenants in Babergh revealed that hundreds felt they need advice and information about dealing with household expenses, as well as ensuring that they are receiving the right amount of benefit.

Babergh and Mid Suffolk are sharing the costs of employing two people on fixed term contracts to help tackle some of these issues with people on low incomes. There will be pilot schemes in the Shotley Peninsula and Sudbury and Cornard. The scheme will then be available across the two Districts.

Tackling waste

As the song says Christmas may be “the most wonderful time of the year” but it is also the most wasteful. The cost of the food we throw away over the Christmas period is estimated at £64m – including 74 million mince pies (source Unilever).

Baroness Ros Scott, who lives in Suffolk, chairs an influential House of Lords EU Scrutiny Committee. The Committee recently published a report showing that the average household in the UK is throwing away the equivalent of 6 meals worth of food every week, at an approximate cost of £20. That’s more than a thousand pounds a year. Supermarkets are also throwing out food that does not meet the size or colour standards they have set. The organisation WRAP has more information on how we can all reduce food waste.

News on social housing

Following a bid submitted to the Government’s Additional Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Borrowing Programme, Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils have been granted approval to borrow a further £5.5m, above our Housing Revenue Account borrowing limits. They are among just 21 councils nationwide to have been successful in gaining this extra borrowing power. For us this means that by the end of 2017 Mid Suffolk and Babergh councils will be able to build 60, much needed, homes for rent. The councils have been working closely with Suffolk County Council to use sites they own and need to develop. There will be more detailed plans in the New Year including the locations, proposed plans and timescales.

Network Rail public consultation

Rail users may want to add their views to the current consultation taking place about the Anglia rail routes. This can be found here.  We understand there are proposals that might particularly affect users of the Peterborough/Ely services.

Contact: Sue Carpendale sue.carpendale@babergh.gov.uk

Kathy Pollard kathy.pollard@babergh.gov.uk

Get online with free training sessions on August 11th at Suffolk One

A group of summer Interns from Mid Suffolk and Babergh District Councils are holding free workshops to help people who have trouble using computer technology.
The Beginners’ Internet and Technology Skills workshops, each lasting two hours, will be held at Suffolk One Sixth Form College on August 11th from 10am and 1pm. Student volunteers from the sixth form college will also be joining the interns to help on the day.
The idea for these workshops came from Babergh and Mid Suffolk’s four summer interns, who are spending 13 weeks with the councils to gain experience of what it is like working in a district council. Their internship comes under Suffolk County Council’s Raising The Bar initiative, which aims to raise educational attainment levels within Suffolk.
Robert Carmichael, Management Support Intern at Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils, said: “We came up with the community project of a computer and internet workshop for beginners from our work within both councils. We had become aware that there is a skills gap between those that can use the internet and those that can’t. After seeing this we wanted to do something to help so we created this workshop.
“With the world becoming ever more digitalised this session will help those people who are keen to learn but are currently struggling to get online for one reason or another. We can take up to 30 people at each workshop and it would be fantastic if we can fill these places and help even more people enjoy the benefits the internet can bring.”
The free workshops are open to anyone and will include:
•    Setting up email an address
•    Skype- video and instant messaging
•    Internet Searches- understanding what to look for and how to look for it.
•    And any other general queries that attendees wish to discuss about technology that they have encountered or own.
Babergh and Mid Suffolk are committed to helping to provide stronger communities and part of their strategic priorities are based around enabling people to develop skills and assets which help themselves and their communities.
If you, or someone you know, would like to attend either of the sessions, which are being held at 10am and 1pm on August 11th, or have any questions, then please contact Annabel Larter, Environmental Health Intern, on: 01449 724709, email Annabel.Larter@midsuffolk.gov.uk or Emma Seymour, Communities Intern, on 01449 724926.

Severe weather warning from UK Power networks Friday 18th July

Here is a message that councillors have just received today (18th July 2014) regarding possible disruption to electricity supplies from thunderstorms:

Today is a normal day across the networks with no widespread power cuts due to the weather. However, UK Power Networks has been notified of a severe weather warning from the Met Office with heavy rain, thunderstorms and lightning forecast to hit the East of England, South East of England and the London area this Friday night and over Saturday 19th July.

Our paramount focus will be on restoring electricity to customers as quickly and safely as possible and we are currently putting in place a range of measures to be better prepared to respond to any potential impact on our networks and customers.

Measures

We are preparing to deal with the storm’s potential impact on our network and customers.

Below are some of the measures we are taking:

•    We are arranging additional staff to cover call centre roles. Additional people have been allocated to take and make phone calls and provisions are in place for even more engineers and resources to be available on short notice in case of need.
•    We invest in a partnership arrangement with the British Red Cross and can activate their volunteers to support vulnerable customers if power is affected.
•    The emergency teams in the local authorities have access to the web link that enables them to see fault levels.

Our electricity network is built to be resilient but extreme weather can affect overhead power lines when tree branches and windborne debris damage them. In the event of a power cuts as result of the localised gusts, lightning and heavy rain, UK Power Network’s priority will be to restore supplies as quickly as is safely possible and keep people informed as best we can during a constantly changing situation. We will work from job to job targeting big jobs first where many customers are affected.

In communication with customers, we urge the public to stay well clear from power lines and anyone spotting a damaged power line needs to report it to UK Power Networks.

To report any power cuts and damaged lines on free helplines, please refer customers to the following numbers: In the South East call 0800 783 8866, in the East of England call 0800 783 8838 and in London call 0800 028 0247. You can also see www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk and follow the company on twitter for updates @ukpowernetworks .

Preparing for a power cut

Below is some advice on how our customers can prepare for a power cut:
•    Keep our freephone number handy
•    See the website for some useful videos offering you advice during a power cut.
•    Keep spare batteries for radios and torches – local radio stations often broadcast helpful information
•    Keep an old-fashioned corded phone which you can plug in, as cordless phones won’t work in the event of a power cut
•    Take care if using candles, tea-lights and other naked flames
•    Keep fridges and freezers closed, with a blanket over as they will stay cold for many hours
•    Switch off all your electrical equipment, except one light which will let you know when the power comes back on
•    Remember the street lights may also be off so take care if you go out
•    Exercise caution in localised flooded areas -specific advice is available on the Environment Agency website.
•    Look out for elderly neighbours and other vulnerable people

Report on Health Scrutiny committee Jan 14th 2014

The Health Scrutiny committee is made up of councillors from Suffolk County Council and each of the 7 District and Borough councils in the County. The papers are available here

At its last meeting there were three major items on the agenda:

  • Radical redesign of Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk

Norfolk and Suffolk Mental Health Trust has hit the headlines in recent days as the union Unison has lodged an official complaint about the “radical reorganisation” of services which is currently underway.

The Trust provides a range of mental health services including alcohol treatment, learning disability and eating disorder services. Due to growing demand and financial constraints – it has to make savings of £40m by 2016 – the Trust has had to look in a radical way at how it delivers its services.

In a story in the East Anglian Daily Times in late December Chairman of the Trust Gary Page commented on the changes:

“Gary Page did accept that some of the changes introduced by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust had caused unforeseen problems – and were being partially reversed.”

Health Scrutiny committee members were very concerned about this radical redesign of services when they first looked at the issue last year. The new bodies responsible for commissioning mental health services in Suffolk are also keeping a close watch on the performance of the Mental Health Trust. Here are links to some of the recent stories, including a website dedicated to highlighting the problems, which is run by a group of volunteers.

East Anglian Daily Times

BBC

Suffolk and Norfolk  website campaigning against changes

  • Suffolk Community Healthcare

On October 1st 2012 Serco took over as the new provider of community healthcare services in Suffolk. This is a three year contract. The contract is managed by the Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning group (CCG) and West Suffolk CCG. These two bodies are the successors to NHS Suffolk, which was abolished in April 2013.

When Health Scrutiny first looked, in 2012, at the changes to be brought in by the new provider of community health services there were a number of concerns about reductions in the number of district nurses and occupational therapists. Serco seem to have taken these concerns on board and performance looks better – at least on paper!

The community equipment service is also experiencing problems with delays in providing equipment. This service is jointly provided by Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Community Health. We hope that the delays are now being addressed.

A representative from the West Suffolk CCG commented that Serco had taken over a poorly performing service. However  in December 2013 Suffolk Community Healthcare had met all its response time targets and views of patients were positive. Staff morale is still low – as it is across the rest of the NHS. Suffolk Community Healthcare employ 924 people and have now partnered with Bromley Healthcare, a social enterprise which is highly rated by staff.

  • Proposals for Liver Resection Services

NHS England (East Anglia) has been working on a project to implement a single specialist surgical centre for patients with liver metastases (secondary cancer of the liver). This centre would cover people living in Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and north Bedfordshire.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence recommends that a liver metastases service should cover a population base of at least 2 million people. This is to ensure that sufficient expertise is built up by the team involved. Reorganisation of such services is always controversial as it means that patients (and their relatives) have to travel further for treatment.