Due to the untimely death of Cllr Ann Whybrow, a by-election will be held on Thursday, October 25th for Suffolk’s Bosmere division.
Our candidate is Steve Phillips.
Steve will aim to carry on the active and successful record of representing you, set by Ros Scott and Julia Truelove, your previous Liberal Democrat Councillors. We hope to meet your needs again with a hard working Liberal Democrat.
Steve says: ‘I am looking forward to serving you in Bosmere as a County Councillor and hope you will elect me on the 25th.
I have been a Town Councillor for 20 years and have served as Town Mayor/Chairman of Needham Market Town Council on two occasions. During that time, I have regularly fought for issues within the Town, for example improved facilities for Crowley Park playing field, so I have a good track record.
I have listened and responded to individuals’ concerns and helped promote local community projects. I have helped to run the young persons’ football club in Ringshall and got to know many of the residents and their children.
I take a keen interest in our surrounding villages and getting things done. I have attended Parish meetings, visited local community shops and attended coffee mornings, as a member of the public. If you choose to elect me I will regularly attend Parish Council meetings as your County Councillor to ensure I keep closely in touch with your needs and views.
I will also keep in touch via email and social media, our www site and by producing regular “Focus” leaflets
As a family man with 5 children, now grown up, I have maintained a continuing interest in education and this will be of special interest if elected as your County Councillor.
Above all, I have tried to treat people fairly and hope to continue the trust placed in me.’
Every year the County Council is cutting back our vital services, shifting the burden onto voluntary groups and increasing charges without weighing up the impact on vulnerable people. They are responding to cuts in government funding but for several years have made “savings” sufficient to add to the reserves, which in total are over £150 million.
Health and adult social care is in crisis and many elderly people in the UK are not receiving the care and support they need. This has a severe impact on the NHS.
We believe cuts to health and adult social care, public transport, libraries, affordable housing, schools, road maintenance and the necessary infrastructure to support housing growth have gone too far.
Steve says “If these are things that you feel as passionate about as I do, please give me your vote so that I can challenge this Tory Council on your behalf. Your vote is important not only to you but to shape your Town or Village – so please vote for me on Thursday 25th October and together we can make a difference.”
Suffolk shows overwhelming public opposition to proposed Tory school transport changes- Leaked documents from Suffolk County Council show overwhelming public opposition to proposed school transport changes. Of the 3600 responses to Suffolk County Council’s recent home-to-school transport consultation, 85% “strongly oppose” the proposals and a further 5% “oppose” them.
This is the most responses received by a Consultation in recent years, and it is clear that parents, teachers and communities have very serious concerns about the proposals.
New Council Leader elected Following the recent Conservative Group leadership challenge, Cllr Matthew Hicks has been elected as the new Leader of Suffolk County Council, replacing hard-liner Cllr Colin Noble. His Deputy will be Mary Evans, former Chair of Scrutiny, and previously Chair of the highly effective crossparty Transport & Highways Policy Development Panel, before Cllr Noble abolished these on becoming leader a couple of years back.
Cllr Hicks has promised us a “new era” of politics at the Council, with a focus on mutual respect, collaboration and co-operation. We hope he will be more open to working with, and listening to, councillors from other parties.
The first major change has been the replacement of the only-just-established unwieldy and untransparent Cabinet Committees with new Policy Development Panels. We do not currently have full details on how these will operate but, well-organised, they provide excellent crossparty consensus.
Some ‘Outstanding’ Suffolk schools in Suffolk have had no Ofsted inspection for a decadeThe National Audit Office has revealed that over 1600 schools in the UK have not been inspected by Ofsted for 6+ years!
In Suffolk, 23 outstanding schools – almost half of those rated ‘outstanding’ – have not been inspected for at least 6 years. SIX of these schools were last inspected over a decade ago! This means that whole cohorts of students have gone through school without a single Ofsted inspection.
LDGI Spokesperson for Education, Lib Dem Cllr Penny Otton, raised the issue and her concerns at a Council meeting on 24 May. The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Education, Gordon Jones, assured her that he shared her concerns and would raise it with the head of Ofsted.
Ofsted have said that the majority of ‘outstanding’ schools are exempt by law from inspections. However, if a number of concerns or complaints are raised against a school, they would have the power to carry out an inspection.
Citizens rights of EU born residents Our very own Lib Dem County Councillor Inga Lockington hit national and international headlines when the Home Office turned down her application for citizenship despite her 40 years uninterrupted residence in the UK, married to an English doctor, her 19 years as an Ipswich Borough Councillor, her 17 years as a Suffolk County Councillor and a stint as Mayor of Ipswich! Apparently the Home Office felt she couldn’t prove residence!
Although Inga’s story ended with an apology and an offer of citizenship, she points out this would not have been the case for many others in her situation.
At May’s full council, Lib Dem leader Cllr Caroline Page asked Matthew Hicks whether Suffolk was doing enough to support such cases of Home Office injustice amongst its residents. Specifically whether we funded the Suffolk Law Centre -the only free law centre in Suffolk- and whether he would be prepared to talk to Centre Director Audrey Ludwig about unmet needs? The reply was cautious, unspecific, and referred to Suffolk’s CABs – all of which had funding cuts in SCC’s 2018 budget.
Unitary council discussions on hold? Back in March, it was announced that Colin Noble had unilaterally commissioned the think-tank Respublica to produce a report outlining the options for a unitary council in Suffolk. This news was not well-received by the (almost all Conservative) leaders of District and Borough Councils, who had not been consulted by Cllr Noble.
However, in the lead-up to the Conservative Group leadership election in May, Cllr Noble announced that work producing the report had been suspended. It is not yet clear whether this work will resume under the new leader, Cllr Hicks.
Possible U-turn on Lowestoft records office At Council on 24 May, a petition was presented by the Save Our Record Office (SORO) campaign group, calling on the Council to reverse the decision to close the Lowestoft Record Office.
Cllr Hicks responded by acknowledging the importance of keeping local records in Lowestoft, and pledged to work with local residents and councillors to develop a long-term, sustainable solution for the storage of archives in the north of the county.However, he made it clear that there is currently no capital or revenue budget available for the project, and so the council would need to seek funding to help deliver it.
New development with affordable homes in Cockfield On 15 May, the Cabinet approved proposals for the development of a 4.5 acre site near Cockfield, which is owned as part of its County Farms estate. The development will be comprised of 51 units, including 12 affordable rented homes. There will also be homes specifically for first-time buyers, affordable shared ownership homes, and self-build plots.
This project is being treated as a pilot for future developments on Council owned land. The County Council is planning to work closely with design and property partners, and there will be a particular focus on local needs and benefits for the local community. The council will also benefit from financial returns as a result of developing the land.
After May’s AGM , Suffolk Lib Dems has a new leader: Cllr Caroline Page. Cllr Page was also also elected the Deputy Leader of Suffolk’s Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group. The new Suffolk LDGI Leader is Green councillor, Andrew Stringer.
Cllr Caroline Page, the county council’s first group spokesperson for Women, is a passionate campaigner on a diverse range of issues.
She says “David Wood has been a fantastic leader, and I am excited at the prospect of building on the foundation he set out. I am very grateful for all that he has done for Suffolk LibDems over the past years. I am excited to be taking on this new responsibility for the party, and alongside Andrew Stringer, for the LDGI group. We will continue to hold this administration to account and work for the good of residents across Suffolk As a group we all believe gender balance in politics is important, so it is pleasing to see this better reflected within our own leadership structures.”
The LDGI Group was formed following the elections in May 2017, bringing together 12 councillors from different political backgrounds. The Group has pledged to work together to hold the Conservative administration at Suffolk County Council to account, whilst still encouraging free thought, debate and voting within the Group. If you would like to find out more about it, click here
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News & Views from Lib Dem County Councillors