Is your bus pass valid on your new Suffolk Community transport?

So, people of Suffolk,will you be able to afford your new Community transport as re-engineered by your caring sharing Suffolk County Council? Will it accept your bus pass even? I really wouldn’t count on it

In Suffolk Coastal we haven’t yet been told the situation, but elsewhere in the county people already have had very bad news. Predictably, LibDem anxieties about the format of Suffolk’s new Community Transport franchises are already showing themselves to be justified.

In the whole of the mid-Suffolk district , franchisees  BSEVC have already announced that they will no longer be operating Demand Responsive Transport. This means  NO Bus Passes will be accepted , all fares will rise, under-16 fares will only apply if are accompanied by an adult, and the under 18 reduction is derisory. And, surprise, surprise, there seems to be no provision for young people to use SCC’s much vaunted youth card the Endeavour (that pallid simulacrum of the much more successful Explore  card ). An offer to ‘restore DRT if the demand is there is meaningless. How  can the demand be created if the national bus pass scheme  no longer operates?

What price Suffolk's new Community Transport Franchise deal? A lot in BSE- with the new company accepting NO BUs Passes, nor fares for under 16s unless accompanied by an adult (!) plus an overall increase in adult fares. And will the SCC Endeavour card be honoured? Er.. no
(click to enlarge) What price Suffolk’s new Community Transport Franchise deal?  Pretty high round Bury St Edmunds, – with BSEVC accepting NO Bus Passes, nor fares for under 16s unless accompanied by an adult (!), scrapping discounted returns  plus offering an overall increase in adult fares.   And will the SCC’s Endeavour card – that supposed banner of support for the  travel-poor young people of Suffolk-  be honoured? Er.. no

As Creeting resident Mark Valladares said bitterly on Twitter,

“My Conservative County Councillor claimed we would have a “better service at lower cost”. Now we know what he meant”

Mr Valladares also pointed out that  BSEVC has scrapped the discounted return fare – his return fare is now up by 54%.

Rural community transport  needs to be reliable and affordable because it underpins education, employment, training, access to health and social care for those that need it.  Once again SCC’s administration have turned their backs on those that need this transport most!

Caroline Page
Lib Dem Spokesperson, Transport

Every area  is offering a one hour ‘drop in’ to inform all the people within the community link area.  This adds insult to injury -not only is the time short, but the problem of access has npot been considered. For example  the drop-in for the whole of Suffolk Coastal, being in Woodbridge, can only be accessed by community transport link customers BY community transport link. How many will be able to get there for 10-30 to 11.30 on a Monday morning?

Babergh The Dining Room, Hadleigh Town Hall, Market Place, Hadleigh, IP7 5DN Friday 27th May Drop in between 10.30 & 11.30
Forest Heath Forest Heath District Council, Council Chamber, College Heath Road, Milden hall, IP28 7EY Friday 3rd June Drop in between 10.30 & 11.30
Ipswich Ipswich Town Hall Friday 10th June Drop in between 10.30 & 11.30
Mid Suffolk Mid Suffolk District Council, The Dove Room, 131 High Street, Needham Market, IP6 8DL Wednesday 8th June Drop in between 10.30 & 11.30
St Edmunds bury St Edmundsbury District Council, West Suffolk House, Western Way, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 3SP Wednesday 1st June Drop in between 10.30 & 11.30
Suffolk Coastal Suffolk Coastal District Council, Council Chamber, Melton Hill, Woodbridge, IP12 1AU Monday 6th June Drop in between 10.30 & 11.30
Waveney Waveney District Council, Riverside, 4 Canning Road, Lowestoft, NR33 OEG Wednesday 25th May Drop in between 14.00 & 15.00

Helen Korfanty – the LibDem choice for PCC

Helen Korfanty

Korfanty smallHelen, a solicitor, has worked in Suffolk for over 30 years in Family and Criminal Law, while volunteering with  both Victim Support and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

She has committed herself to abide by the Committee on Standards in Public Life’s ethical checklist  on how a PCC should conduct themselves in office.

  • If elected Helen intends to:
  •  – encourage a collegiate, consultative culture to decision making  in policing in Suffolk, respecting and  tapping into the wisdom and experience of  front line workers
  •  – be the advocate for the people of Suffolk to ensure that we can live in a safer community.
  •  – help find financial savings and efficiencies in the Police Service so that resources can be found to fight growing serious crime such as child abuse, cybercrime and fraud.
  •  – encourage policies and technological innovation aimed at reducing crime and re-offending
  •  –  encourage the referral of people with physical /mental health and addictions to the best agency to deal with their problems effectively and away from the Police Service.
  •  –  ensure that those who experience domestic abuse and violence are able to access support and achieve the best outcomes for their individual needs
  •  –  encourage cooperation with other police services to maintain specialist skills and respond to unexpected challenges.
  •  – negotiate with central government for the maximum financial resources for the police service
  •  – support and encourage the voluntary sector who support the victims and bring innovative approaches to the causes of crime.

 

 

Prepared by Martin Redbond on behalf of Helen Korfanty (Liberal Democrats) both at Blacksmiths Cottage, Ashbocking Road, Henley, Ipswich, Suffolk IP6 0QX

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.

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

Lib Dems support Community Transport

cropped-Banner1.jpgWe’re all  representatives of  many Suffolk residents who are left at the mercy of our current rural transport service. As such, your Lib Dem councillors were keen to support a Labour motion to Full Council yesterday calling on the Conservative administration to  reverse decisions it has made about the future of community transport (see here for details).

As Lib Dem spokesperson for Transport, Caroline Page put it:  ” The new-look Community Transport is tasked  with doing so much more for so many more with so much less. Cynically it would seem that a primary reason for this design is that should these services fail, they would fail at one remove from the County Council. The outcome – whether intentional or not – is SCC could then look at the people unable to get where they need to go – the very people for whom Community Transport was intended – and say, “Not my fault, guv.””

A planned cut of 50% to the County council operators’ subsidy, when combined with a move away   from community-based services is a double-whammy.

Cllr Page pointed out that change was inevitable at a time of austerity. “But to remove the subsidy and to remove the minibus fleet simultaneously – and then sit back and say “Of course you’ll make a profit!” without checking whether it is possible, or what will happen to those who would lose out if it fails, seems plain irresponsible.”

Leader Colin Noble had confirmed earlier in the meeting that the current Rural Services Delivery Grant had maintained, rather than cut, Suffolk’s level of rural  funding. This emphasises the subsidy cut was not necessary “but an exercise of power without responsibility, putting ideology before efficiency,” said Cllr Page.

“I can only reiterate what I said at last month’s budget meeting: Yes, this is a time of austerity and we must all get real. SO lets talk the reality of reality. At such times we have a duty to support those people who are suffering most from the impact of austerity. We must do everything to ensure our rural community transport reliable public transport reliably underpins education, employment, training, access to health and social care for those that need it. ”

Despite impassioned and intelligent argument from the opposition cross benches,  the motion was voted down by the ruling Conservative administration.

Caroline Page
Lib Dem Spokesperson, Transport

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

 

“We must fight to save Suffolk courts..” PCC candidate Helen Korfanty

The news that Lowestoft and Bury St Edmund Courts are to close as part of government cost saving measures (despite strong representations from lawyers and elected members across the county)  will come as a bitter blow to Suffolk residents. (Background here).  Court closures are already national news because of the hardship these will  cause – specifically in rural areas.

Helen KorfantyNow Suffolk’s Lib Dem PCC candidate, local solicitor,  Helen Korfanty  is  calling for a fightback.

Call this justice? ” she asked in a letter to the EADT .

“We should continue the fight to save Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds’ Courts.

I was one of the lawyers who wrote to Michael Gove about the planned court closures.

I recommended that if the government insists on selling off court buildings then Ipswich Magistrates’ Court could share a building with Ipswich Crown Court (Crown Courts are underused.) They could then sell one building and Lowestoft Courts could be saved.

If they wanted to save money in Bury St Edmunds they could either rent out the upper floors of the Magistrates’ Court Building or combine the family and Criminal court into one building. The savings would far outweigh any costs of adapting one of the buildings.

He never responded to my suggestions.

We should not despair. Lowestoft is due to close first.  We can monitor and report on the problems that we know will inevitably follow.  If the building is not sold off immediately the government has the chance to change its mind.

Bury St Edmunds Courts are due to close in September.  Dare I think it is because the government is still not sure that their plans are workable!

If we don’t succeed we can press the government to pay for all the computer access to the court BEFORE the buildings are closed down, and insist that the hardpressed police budget does not have to pay for it all.

Helen Korfanty
Solicitor
Liberal Democrat Candidate
For the Police and Crime Commissioner of Suffolk

pub, East Anglian Daily Times  Friday,  12th  February 2016

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.

What does the EU do for you?

Ensure Your Safety

European Arrest Warrant:          criminal suspects can be easily extradited from EU countries back to the UK, putting an end to the days of the “Costa del Crime”.

Europol:            The EU’s crime-fighting body, helps British police exchange crucial information and coordinate investigations including Operation Rescue which smashed the world’s largest paedophile network.

Counter-Terrorism:           Close coordination across EU is vital in the fight against terrorism. The EU is stepping up cooperation between national governments to tackle the financing of terrorism, crack down on the trafficking of firearms and exchange information on known terrorist threats.

Create Your Opportunities

Freedom:         Around 2.2 m people live, work or study abroad with no need for visas and 15,000 British students take advantage of Erasmus each year.

Investment in research:      British universities receive millions in research funding each year – more than any other EU country.

Saving You Money:                From cheaper flights to lower roaming charges the single market saves the average household £3,000 each year.

Protect Your Environment

Biodiversity:            Endangered species in the UK such as the golden eagle and otter are given strong protections through EU laws.

Energy Efficiency:       EU energy and fuel efficiency laws are good for the planet and cut bills. EU energy efficiency legislation will save consumers £500/ year by 2020.

Air Pollution:            EU limits are crucial to reduce air pollution, which causes at least 29,000 early deaths in the UK/ each year. Over one third of the most harmful pollutants in the UK come from abroad.

Secure Your Peace

The EU’s original foundations can be found in peace-keeping among European countries.

By working with fellow international bodies such as the UN, the EU has played a leading role in promoting peace worldwide.

Defend Your Rights

Anti-Discrimination:      EU laws prevent you from being unfairly discriminated on the grounds of ethnicity, disability, age or sexuality.

Workers’ rights:       Employees are given a minimum of 4 weeks paid leave a year and cannot be forced to work more than 48 a week.

Victims’ rights:        UK citizens who fall victim to a crime when travelling in the EU are guaranteed a set of minimum rights thanks to EU law, including translation, protection and compensation.

Europe: Keep Britain IN

InIn Europe, Britain can thrive. Together we will be a stronger and more prosperous nation, creating opportunity for future generations, respected all over the world.

Together we created the world’s largest free trade area, we delivered peace, and we gave the British people the opportunity to live, work and travel freely. History shows that Britain is better when it is united with Europe.

Together we are stronger in the fight against the global problems that don’t stop at borders. We can stop international crime, we can fight climate change, and together we will provide hope and opportunity for the future.

It is not the time to turn our backs on Europe, leaving us isolated, sidelined and alone.

By voting to remain in, Britain can thrive.

Together we show the world an open, outward-facing Britain we can all be proud of.

Join the Liberal Democrat campaign today, to remain in together, and to stand up for the type of Britain you think we should be.

www.libdems.org.uk/europe