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Suffolk County Council: Bosmere By-Election

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’s Background

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.’

Current Issues

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.”

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Speaking Up for Suffolk’s Women

Caroline Page, LibDem Green and Independent Group Spokesperson for Women

When the Suffolk County Council LibDem Green and Independent Group was formed, Caroline Page was appointed Group Spokesperson for Women.  She says:

“We are the first and only Group in this county to have this role. Interesting, because there IS no Suffolk County Cabinet member for Women for me to shadow.

So why am I spokesperson? Exactly because there is no Suffolk County Cabinet member for Women for me to shadow.  And this has significant consequences for the women and girls of Suffolk.

29% (22) of Suffolk County Councillors are women –  which is below the national average. But even nationally the picture is poor. Latest research shows:

  • Only 33% of local councillors are women 
  • 28% of women councillors say childcare is a barrier, compared with 18% of men.
  • 47% of women (almost double the % of men) experience clashes with other caring duties. Unsurprising, considering half of all women aged 59 are, or have been, unpaid carers. Men don’t achieve such odds till age 75. 
  • 38% of women councillors report sexist comments within their party, and one-third in council chamber
  • 43% of women councillors have faced sexist assumptions about what they could do based on their gender rather than their career, qualifications or capacity.
  • Yet women councillors are just as ambitious as their male counterparts: 45% of women and 47% of men say they want to progress to a more senior role in the council

This  lack of recognition, representation and respect  of women within local authorities, results in lack of local authority recognition and funding for issues that disproportionately affect women – whether it be outcomes for girls, or the plight of family carers or the funding of refuges and safe houses. We see examples of all these in Suffolk.

Seems that Suffolk – nursery of those indomitable seekers after equality, Elizabeth and Millicent Garrett – is in need of a reminder that equality is still a long way off.

We need Spokespeople for Women to ensure that gender equality in Suffolk is a fact rather than a fiction, to make sure that the best person gets the job, that the girls in our schools are wholly supported to have same aspirations and futures as their male peers.

Alongside this we need a clear understanding of the utter necessity for certain woman-specific provision. We can all dream of an equal society, but whilst 1 in 4 women experiences domestic violence, whilst one British woman is killed by a man – generally one she knows – every 2.4 days, women and children desperately need refuges,  support, safe spaces for access, and the funding for all this. And everyone, whatever their gender who believes in equality realise this as truth.

But without a woman to speak up for equality in the Suffolk administration – what happens to it?  It is ‘assumed’ as existing without existing. The funding gets lost because the issue has no direct relevance to those in charge – and the whole county suffers.

Sad but true.

So  I am going to be here to carry on pointing it out, until the Suffolk  administration realises this too.”

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Liberal Democrat Response to the Budget and the Labour Amendment 2017

Yesterday saw the setting of the County Budget for 2017-18. With an election in May this was always a day when we would emphasise the difference between the parties and it did not disappoint.  The was lots of Conservative emphasis on keeping spend down and how they have amassed large reserves over the past seven years.  Labour wanted to spend to preserve services and give the residents of Suffolk what they need.   We felt the Conservatives were cutting too hard but Labour were spending at the top limit of what would be possible.

My approach -on behalf of the LibDeb group- is below, seeking to use the resources available but not take unreasonable risks.  In the end the administration carried the day and a further £30 million will be cut from services.

John Field: Deputy Leader of Suffolk Lib Dem Group & County Councillor for Gipping Valley

Continue reading Liberal Democrat Response to the Budget and the Labour Amendment 2017

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Lib Dems – giving Hadleigh a voice!

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Cllrs Dave Busby and Caroline Page kickstarting the Hadleigh by-election campaign this weekend

Following  the long-overdue resignation of Suffolk’s most shameless county councillor -the non-resident Brian Riley – Suffolk Lib Dems are campaigning to give back to Hadleigh residents  the  quality representation they enjoyed with their previous County  Councillor, Lib Dem David Grutchfield.

So what exactly has Brian Riley cost us,  the people of Suffolk?

“Well, since he moved to America eighteen months ago, he’s continued to claim his County Councillor’s  allowance . Then there’s the cost of this by-election forced on the county by him failing to attend even  one  council meeting every six months and so  being obliged to stand down. That’s about £25,000, and for what?  To represent his residents? To represent the great town of Hadleigh?  It doesn’t looks like it!   And in addition he has helped keep this service-cutting Tory county council in power,”  says  David Busby, County Councillor of neighbouring Belstead division.

“You just have to compare Mr Riley’s lackadaisical performance  with that of the previous incumbent – David Grutchfield, ‘Mr Hadleigh,’ – who gave 24 years of his life to help the people and town of Hadleigh.  It’s clear that Lib Dem councillors  step up to the plate, take their responsibilities to their constituents seriously, and are not obsessed by the power drug.”

The LibDem candidate for this by-election is Trevor Sheldrick , who has already shown a long track-record of dedication and service to Hadleigh  and its residents. Trevor has been 10 years on the town council and is currently the Mayor of Hadleigh. As well as  a community speedwatch volunteer,  he’s a First Responder- one of that band of amazing volunteer paramedics who arrive before the ambulance to keep you alive.

Its time to get back to having a ‘real’ councillor representing Hadleigh – you deserve it!

Dave Busby
Caroline Page

Published and promoted by D Busby on behalf of T Sheldrick (Liberal Democrats) both at 16 Two Acres, Capel St. Mary, Ipswich IP9 2XP

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Bus passes no longer available for use on community transport in Mid-Suffolk and Ipswich

Further to our report on Suffolk’s new bus franchises Thedwastre  South Councillor Penny Otton reiterates: “It  now turns out Suffolk county council Tory council has awarded a contract for the Mid Suffolk  area where you cannot use your bus pass. You can pay or swap your bus pass for a voucher worth £100. How  many trips will that cover?? Is this fair?? I don’t think so!”

BSEVC covers not only MidSuffolk, but also Ipswich. Fortunately  for the rest of Suffolk these are the only two areas where this iniquitous system is currently running -though the franchises are able to change their operating terms at any time.

“We’ve been told that BSEVC is able to refuse bus passes because they are operating 9 seater transport rather than the previous 22 seaters.  This allows them to operate under different rules as community car schemes and Dial-A-Ride rather than  Demand Responsive Transport.  SCC officers have told us this is because the 22 seater buses  are  ‘not economically viable’ ; that BSEVC do hold 22 seaters, and that they could bring them back into use ‘should demand increase,” explains LibDem spokesperson for Transport, Caroline Page .

But as  the voucher system allows previous bus pass holders living in remote areas to make no more than 11 return journeys a year,  it is hard to see how this promise is anything other than window dressing!”

 

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Fire Cuts – You Have Spoken

During the recent debate on the proposed cuts to the Fire Service the Conservative administration continually referred to the fact they could not support our motion as the results of the consultation were not known, hence we lost the motion by one vote

Well now the results of the consultation are known and have been published. What you the public are saying is a resounding NO to the proposed cuts.

What you said:-
Bury St Edmunds proposal
78% disagree
13% agree
Ipswich proposal
85% disagree
9% agree
Lowestoft proposal
76% disagree
15% agree
Sudbury proposal
60% disagree
19% agree
Wrentham proposal
72% disagree
15% agree

With the results now known it will be up to the Cabinet to make the final decision on the cuts at their meeting on the 17th May. So to all of those Conservative Councillors who were waiting for the results of the consultation before they made up their minds about which way they would vote what are you going to do now?

We gave you a chance to represent your voters the residents of Suffolk but you decided to sit on your hands and wait until you heard what the people of Suffolk had to say. Well they have had their say and it is a great big loud NO so how are you going to influence the gang of 9.

When we put our motion forward we were told by the administration that we had jumped the gun and should wait for the results of the consultation. What they did not say is that the whole Council is the Fire Authority and this was the only chance we had to have our say, as they had decided it would be the cabinet that would make the final decision and NOT the COUNCIL.

All of the way through we have been assured that this is a meaningful consultation and it will inform the final decision. Well we await with baited breath to see if they meant what they said. Because if they did and they take on board what the people of Suffolk have said then they only have one option open to them and that is to REJECT THE PROPOSED CUTS TO OUR FIRE SERVICE.

I thank you the people of Suffolk for taking your time to respond to the consultation and attending the various meetings.
73% of you disagreed (53% strongly disagreed) to the cuts.

NOW I HOPE THAT YOU ARE LISTENED TO.

David Wood
Leader Lib Dem & Ind. Group

The findings of the consultation can be found on the Suffolk County Council Web Site.

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Fire Cuts Still On The Agenda

Despite the best efforts of the Opposition Parties at the Suffolk County Council meeting of 17th March 2016 life threatening cuts  to the Fire and Rescue Services  are still on the Conservative administration’s agenda.

The motion to rule out these changes – put forward by Lib Dem Leader David Wood and seconded by the Leader of the Labour Group – was narrowly defeated by 36 votes to 35 at yesterdays Council Meeting.

Earlier, the Portfolio Holder Cllr Matthew Hicks had refused the FBU petition calling for the cuts to be the subject of a decision and debate by full council, despite a impassioned speech by the Fire Brigades Union rep Steve Hayward. (A speech that bought a standing ovation from opposition councillors ; sadly the Conservatives sat on their hands).

In a debate lasting 2 hours many worthwhile and important points were raised by opposition councillors as to why these cuts should not take place and why the safety of the people of Suffolk should come first. Time and time again, the Conservatives kept insisting that they were waiting for the results of the consultation to be made public before any decision is made.

But who will make that decision – the Cabinet and to quote the Public Protection Portfolio Holder Cllr Matthew Hicks “It Is important for the council to balance its books so the Fire Service must play its part”. Hence the reason for our motion, to let all of the elected representatives have their say on your Fire Service and its future.

During a passionate summing up Cllr David Wood referred to the extra money the council had been granted from the government from its rural sparsity fund ( a nice round £6.8m over the next 2 years), asking “Instead of putting it into reserves, shouldn’t a proportion of that be used to save these cuts? after all it does belong to the taxpayers of Suffolk!

(Apropos  of this, Cllr Wood was  asked to withdraw his description of senior Conservative Cllr Guy McGregor stating “lets not waste money“. In the interests of keeping the  meeting going he did so –   however, if you listen to the Suffolk County Webcast   do be sure to listen carefully to the Councillor, and especially his closing words.)

We may have lost the first round but the fight will continue to make sure the residents have a Fire Service that is fit for purpose.

Cllr David
Leader Lib Dem & Independent Party

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Suffolk Fire & Rescue: Cuts Could Cost Lives

Suffolk Lib Dems are joining forces with the County Council Labour Group at the County Council meeting this coming Thursday (17th March) in a joint motion to try and overturn the proposed cuts to the Suffolk Fire & Rescue Service .
The motion:-

“This Council believes that the reductions in fire appliances and crews as recommended in the Suffolk Fire Service Risk Management Plan 2015 – 18 would pose a serious threat to the safety of the residents of Suffolk, their homes and their businesses.

The Council therefore calls upon the Cabinet to approve and IRMP which excludes the following proposals:-

Bury St Edmunds proposal:  To remove one on- call fire engine from Bury St Edmunds Fire Station, and make consequent reduction to associated on -call firefighter posts.

Ipswich proposal:  To remove two fire engines from Princes Street Fire Station and one fire engine from Ipswich East Fire Station, and make consequent reductions to associated whole-time and on-call firefighter posts.

25102013254 (2)Lowestoft proposal:  To remove one on-call fire engine from the Lowestoft South Fire Station, and make consequent reductions to associated on-call posts.

Sudbury proposal:  To replace one of the fire engines at Sudbury with a rapid response type firefighting vehicle, and make consequent reductions to associated on-call firefighter posts.

Wrentham proposal:  To close Wrentham Fire Station and remove the fire engine, and make consequent reductions to associated on-call firefighter posts.

By proposing this motion to the  Full Council this will give everybody a chance to debate in full the devastating effect these cuts will have on the County of Suffolk. We have cast political differences aside to enable this debate to take place, something that would have been denied if just left to the Cabinet.

We firmly believe that the safety of the residents of Suffolk should come first which is why we are saying NO to these proposed cuts. Hopefully a majority of YOUR COUNCILLORS will agree with us and support this motion.

David Wood
Leader Lib Dem & Ind. Group

 

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Europe: The Benefits of Staying IN

Prosperity:

Remaining in works for Britain. Britain is already stronger and better off trading and working with Europe. We are part of the world’s largest single market, allowing British businesses to grow and prosper.

Peace:

After decades of brutal conflict, European nations came together in cooperation. To this day, neighbours and allies support each other in what remains the world’s most successful project in peace.

Opportunity:

British people have more opportunities to work, travel and learn than ever before. Staying in Europe gives our children and grandchildren greater prospects, and the best chance to succeed.

Environment:

Protecting the natural environment remains one of the planet’s biggest challenges, for health, for food stocks and for climate change. These problems are tackled better when we all come together.

Security:

Together we are stronger against terrorists who despise our liberal and modern way of life. And together we can break the criminal gangs who threaten our country with the illegal drugs trade, weapons and human trafficking.

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